Sponsored Post: Ann Taylor’s New Wear-To-Work Boutique

This is a sponsored post from Ann Taylor’s new Wear-To-Work boutique — one stop shopping for wear-to-work styles.

Ann Taylor has long been a personal favorite of mine. When I started working, it was a bit aspirational — I remember saving up to buy my first pair of nice black trousers there, then having them hemmed four times because I was eager to have them look just so. In the heyday of my Wall Street legal career, Ann Taylor became the basis of my wardrobe — the majority of my favorite suits were from Ann Taylor, and I used to love to go to the store at the South Street Seaport when I had the rare leisurely lunch hour. Even now — as a new mother and self-employed blogger, rediscovering my style in a vastly different environment than the one I was in 5 years ago, I’ve found that Ann Taylor still speaks to me — the simple lines, the good quality, the chic, classic style.

So I’m thrilled about Ann Taylor’s new Wear-To-Work boutique (accessible from the “Lookbook” section of the front page). From that one page, you can browse suits, look through great work-appropriate dresses, and find wardrobe workhorses like skirts and cardigans — it really is one stop shopping.

This season, I’m particularly loving some of Ann Taylor’s personality pieces for the office. Take, for example, the dark jade jacket ($198) — I love it both as part of a suit (with a matching tweed skirt) and by itself. (Update: note that today there’s a limited time, 30% off entire purchase with promo code SALE30 — so these prices are even more reasonable than what’s listed in this post.)

Femme Tweed Jacket

This everyday sheath ($98) is highly rated by customers — I love the architectural lines and the sleeves.

Everyday Sheath Dress

This pencil skirt (now $70) seems bright and happy, but still professional. I like how the fabric has a bit of texture to it.

Marinella Print Pencil SkirtThis top ($58) is actually on a lot of models in the lookbook — I love how it looks more casual worn out, as here, and much more lux when tucked in — and I love that keyhole detail.

Abstract Paisley Long Sleeve TopThis one is just your basic black skirt($88) — but I love the added flounce.  It’s a rayon/nylon/spandex ponte, which I think of as being both sturdy and comfortable.

http://www.anntaylor.com/ann/product/ANN-Must-Have-Outfits/SEP1021M/Ponte-Flounce-Skirt/283207?colorExplode=false&skuId=11886525&catid=cat370082&productPageType=search&defaultColor=6600Readers, which are your favorite pieces from Ann Taylor’s new Wear-To-Work boutique?

Comments

  1. Nice pics, Kat. I especially like that teal jacket, although I don’t think I could pull it off.

    Does anyone else think Kate Hudson is a strange choice for an Ann Taylor spokeswoman? She doesn’t have the AT persona, IMO.

    • I too love that teal jacket!

    • To me, any celebrity that hasn’t done a single serious thing is a weird choice for AT. When I think of Kate Husdon, all I think of You Me and Dupree. I’d think that serious for a celebrity is testifying on the Hill for a pet cause or maybe starting a real business (not designing perfume). And now I can’t think of a single one who’s done those things!

    • Definitely! Kate Hudson is more California laid-back hippie…. such an odd choice for AT. Last year’s Demi Moore ads were better, although (hate to say it) Demi is probably a little older than the average AT shopper.

      I vote Elizabeth Moss a la Mad Men for AT’s ads.

      • Hmm…If you think about these brand figures as actresses rather than as any of their characters, probably none of them is appropriate because they don’t work in offices and probably never have or will. I try not to care, though. Just like I try not to be annoyed reading in magazine interviews about how hard it is for Katie Holmes/Gwen Stefani/Beyonce/Marion Cotillard/whomever to “balance her schedule” and stay on top of all her myriad roles and tasks. It’s so much more about fantasizing and relating to someone in an aesthetic sense than about who logically is in a position to endorse these products.

    • I actually think Kate Hudson is a brilliant choice, precisely because she’s unexpected. It should cause people who might have dismissed Ann Taylor as too frumpy to give their clothes a second look. It certainly worked for me. :-)

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      This is a little bit like Ryan Reynolds being the spokesperson here for Marks & Spencer (for those who don’t know, it’s kind of like a Macy’s, or a slightly more upscale Sears). It has a rep for being frumpy, but is trying really hard to improve, but sadly I didn’t think ‘oh wow, M&S is so cool because RR is the spokesperson’ but instead ‘oh wow, he must be really desperate’.

      Marketing FAIL.

      • Actually I find Ryan Reynolds a bit “frumpy” so it makes sense he would be the spokesperson for Marks and Spencer.

    • KH is a bit of a sellout. Her personal non-red carpet style is hippie-ish, but she still gets money marketing for AT, Almay and others. I chuckle when I go to the AT site and see “Kate’s picks.” I doubt she wears any of them in real life.

  2. DallasSkirtEnvy :

    I’m with you, Kat. Whenever I can’t find exactly what I want anywhere else, Ann Taylor never fails! This seasons looks I can see myself pulling out year after year.

    • Research, Not Law :

      I love their style and fit – but their quality has completely bombed in the last couple of years. As painful as it is, I have cut ties with my favorite brand. It’s just not worth buying the clothes if they don’t even last a season. If I had known, I would have bought everything in the store in 2005 and hoarded it!

      Hopefully someone from AT is reading. FIX YOUR QUALITY ISSUES!!! I WANT TO BUY YOUR CLOTHES AGAIN.

      • YES YES YES YES YES. I used to LOVE AT, but in the last two years, their quality has tanked. Their beautiful all-leather pumps now have rubber soles. Their silk blouses are now mostly polyster–but their prices haven’t changed! I have stopped purchasing from them. As beautiful as their clothes are, the quality just doesn’t justify the price, even at a discount.

        I hope that someone from AT is reading this right now too! I miss the old AT!

      • Anita (formerly S) :

        I find that their sweaters (with the exception of 100% cashmere) pill after a few wearings to the point where they have to be retired.

      • Yes! The clothes look nice, but so much polyester at silk prices! I only buy their stuff when it is on deep, deep discount as I don’t expect it to last more than a season or two.

  3. I’m trying to reply to a comment on the last post but when I hit “reply” it automatically takes me here. This makes me incredibly not happy. These clothes are lovely, but right now I want to give advice to the first year BigLaw attorney worried about her friends’ weddings and this site isn’t allowing me to do that.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Are you accidentally clicking the left arrow when you try to click reply? Try scrolling up or down to get the reply button away from the arrow.

      • You’re right! That’s what was happening. Grr. I like the arrows in some ways, but wish they didn’t have that clear space that’s still part of the button.

  4. Curious about the hive’s opinion of “sponsored posts”? I’m considering something similar for a brand that I manage. Are you any less likely to click through to look at product when it’s a sponsored post?

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      It all depends on the sponsor. If it is one I know and love, I will respect it. If it seems totally out of left field and unrelated then I think less of the person that took the sponsor. If it is an unknown brand, I will be less hesitant to try it knowing that it was a paid recommendation rather than by chance but I will be more likely to try it than if it hadn’t otherwise been mentioned.

    • eastbaybanker :

      It depends on my allegiance to the blog. If it’s a blogger I don’t follow closely, I will never read their sponsored content. If it’s a blog I read a lot, like this one, I’ll read the sponsored post maybe half the time. The reasoning being that I trust the person’s taste and style, so maybe the post has something to offer me.

      If you are managing a blog media blitz, please for the love of god don’t sign up every blogger in the universe. There was a period where every fashion blogger I read was hawking some hair coloring product. The gross overpromotion made me dislike the product AND respect the bloggers less. I think it’s important for companies to be selective about partnerships.

  5. I find Ann Taylor to be kind of hit-or-miss, at least for me. The majority of the clothes always seem somehow “off”. For example, I’ll often find myself seeing a blouse that I like the look of, but on closer inspection discover it is made of a slippery feeling polyester. Or I’ll see a skirt that looks cute from the front, and then realize it has some weird seams/buttons/zippers on the back or side that ruin it. That top with the keyhole that Kat is recommending is exactly what I mean! That would be cute, but why would I want a hole in the middle of chest–especially at the office? Yuck.

    I also find they do a lot of poly/nylon/acrylic blends in with their wool, cotton and so forth, which annoys me–sometimes fabric blends are advantageous to avoid wrinkling or some other quality issue, but mostly it just seems to cheapen the garment imho.

    I do like their cotton tees, though, and I bought two blouses about three weeks ago that I’ve liked very much–one I can’t find the link to, and the other is this one:

    http://www.anntaylor.com/ann/product/AT-Apparel/AT-Blouses-Tops/Le-Spot-Print-Bubble-Hem-3-4-Sleeve-Top/286320?colorExplode=false&skuId=11795230&catid=cata000010&productPageType=fullPriceProducts&defaultColor=1481

    • I have more or less stopped shopping at AT. When I was building a professional wardrobe 10 years ago they were great – many pieces from that vintage have survived and are still in good shape – but now the quality is so low that I don’t buy anything other than trendy pieces on deep discount because I know whatever it is will just fall apart. Their suits also look/feel/sound like cheap suits more and more. Not professional enough for the price.

      • Same here. I’ve regretted–and given away–everything I ever purchased at AT.

      • karenpadi :

        This.

        My first two weeks at a “real firm”, I spent close to $2k at AT to establish my professional wardrobe. The saleswomen were wonderful! So AT will always have a special place in my heart.

        I think my shopping spree was at the transition point between “quality” and “less quality”. I have some AT pants that still look great (since 2006!) and some that fell apart after 6 months. Last winter, I got some AT cashmere sweaters from the outlet, and, well, I’m already debating whether I should wear them to the office. I am just tired of having to re-buy a new wardrobe for work every 6-9 months.

        I also get the “something’s off” from AT. That keyhole–gah! The Demi-line, for example, had no cardigans (except for a $200 shawl/wrappy thing) and every top was sheer. I was mystified.

        • Yes. I’d say a good 75% of AT stuff is “off.” The keyhole on an otherwise frumpy top doesn’t make it hip or smart. It just means that it’s inappropriate AND frumpy.

          Or, all those fluttery tops you can’t quite tuck in (but which look weird untucked in because they’re shapeless and made out of charmeuse.)

          Or, all those sleeveless dresses that loose their sleekness when paired with a cardigan or a blazer, because many of us work where we need to keep our shoulders covered. I know that sleeves take time, and the time in sewing factories costs money, but I just get sick of all those sleeveless dresses that are supposedly for work. Many just don’t look that good with cardigan or blazer.

          • I totally agree with all this. I stopped shopping at AT b/c of that and the quality drop. The quality is what loft used to be and now loft is practically as bad as H&M. I am slowly switching overto J. Crew b/c of this. Just wish J. Crew realized that most ladies have boobs.

    • I find AT hit or miss as well. I work in a business casual office so I’m mostly looking for separates and I’ve found I have to go to the store to try items on. There have been some that looked questionable on the hanger and ended up looking great and vice versa. I’ve not had quality issues with their clothes though. I also want to plug their jeans. I bought another pair of modern slim jeans and I live in them on the weekends. I like that they’re slim without being skintight.

  6. This Wear to Work boutique seems to be a *tremendous* improvement over the old way of browsing suits on AT’s website. It looks like they’re finally showing all related pieces together, rather than letting you guess and scroll around to find out if that jacket you like comes with a skirt or pants or both.

    Still, I’m going to cosign on the complaints about a change in the quality of AT’s pieces. I have a pair of perfect, fully lined, brown wool pants that I got in 2006 or 2007. I’ve been trying to find a similar pair for the last several years, and nothing I’ve tried on has felt nearly as substantial or well made.

    • I remember when they changed the layout to keep suit pieces separate years ago and actually emailed to ask that they switch back. Nice to know that years later, my voice has been heard!! Too bad I stopped buying suits from them about the same time because it was just too annoying to browse that way.

      Last time I went to the website, I left in disgust because all the skirts seemed more mid-thigh than knee-grazing. Guess I am getting old!

  7. I recently ordered multiples of the v-neck merino cardigan, thinking I had found my holy grail. The colors and fabric were great. But the style was nothing like how it looked in the catalog and online. It is firmly in the “long cardigan” camp– the “v”/ top button was at my waist! The photos and description were really off. I don’t mind a long cardigan but this was not the office-staple cardigan I was looking for. Too bad.

  8. I find myself buying more at Loft than AT. Somehow the quality is just better, although it is more difficult to find business casual clothes at Loft. All of the sweaters I’ve bought at AT in the past couple of years have been so thin that I regret the purchase. It’s particularly disappointing to me because I’m both petite and a small size, and there just really aren’t that many stores that sell a 00P. Even AT primarily sells those sizes on-line, but at least you can return them to brick & mortar stores.

  9. harriet the spy :

    AT breaks my heart – all that good work wear, and nothing in plus sizes. Ugh.

  10. Better quality, please. I want to love AT, but it has to fit and wear well.

  11. aesthetic intelligence :

    Shopped at AT for 25 years and I can’t buy anything there anymore, regardless of how attractive something looks, the quality is just too poor. The fabrics and matrials are sooo synthetic.

    • This sponsored post got AT what it deserves: a bunch of testimonials to how awful their quality has become. Your target market is not idiots, folks!

      • karenpadi :

        I don’t think AT thinks we are idiots. I think Kat did a great job and the clothing does look wonderful.

        AT just got a lot of honest, candid feedback. I think people don’t often take the time to tell businesses why they have decided to stop patronizing them. Perhaps the candid feedback here can be used by AT’s marketing folks to emphasize the need for quality to its designers and fabric suppliers.

        BR faced the same issue years ago (declining quality) and started the monogram collection. Plus, BR’s quality, while still not great, has improved to “acceptable” (or maybe my standards are just that low now).

  12. Recently, I’ve had more luck with AT’s accessories than its clothing. Some of the belts, shoes, cuffs, and other pieces are gorgeous (can’t wait to wear the brooch cuff for holiday parties). But while I appreciate the more “luxe” approach (jewels, fur, etc.) for fun, in the past the store did seem to have a better selection of basics that were ideal for work, and that stood the test of time. It seems like there’s space for both in the store . . . maybe next season?

  13. I agree with all of the comments above. AT has grossly disappointed me in the past 2 years. I used to be a regular shopper there for my work (and casual!) clothes. I thought that the fact that I can never find anything that fits me properly was that I was changing and not the make of the clothes. I bought a petite 4 dress there last week and it’s way too short for work unfortunately. Also find the sweaters are too thin and pull easily. Boo! I am shopping more at Banana and J Crew these days.

  14. Agree on the quality changes. At 5’10″ I generally can’t buy their skirts or dresses as they are too short for work. Still like the suit separates but have had some issues with seams loosening on the pants.

  15. One additional comment-I like the 3/4 sleeve cardigans they are selling this season-bought the cream/black and red Studio Cardigan (good for more casual dressing days):

    http://www.anntaylor.com/ann/product/AT-Apparel/AT-Sweaters/Studio-Cardigan/285450?colorExplode=false&skuId=12011063&catid=cata000011&productPageType=fullPriceProducts&defaultColor=4060

    as well as the Chanel-style black and white Foyer Sweater Jacket, which can serve as a jacket or cardigan:

    http://www.anntaylor.com/ann/catalog/productDetails.jsp?prodId=285484&gridSize=md&productPageType=fullPriceProducts&colorExplode=false&skuId=12013487&defaultColor=6600

  16. I was a dedicated (perhaps a more accurate term is addicted) Ann Taylor customer for years. I bought my first suits at Loft, believe it or not. The company hired a new designer in 2009 and the quality immediately went downhill. Sweaters pill after just a few wears. Trousers aren’t lined. The fabric is cheap. Where Loft used to skew business casual, it is now skewed weekend casual. AT is more business casual than business formal now, and often skirts and dresses are too sexy for the office. It’s nearly impossible to find those classic, well-tailored AT pieces that will last for years. It’s just not worth the money to shop there anymore.

    • I found this post while searching for “ann taylor poor quality”. I wish the company would listen to its most loyal customers. I saw a dress for Fall 2013 that is acrylic, poly and some other fibers. Acrylic? Really, Ann Taylor??? Some of the prints are garish, and the shiny materials look cheap. The suits have that weird “I bought this at Express and it’s polyester” kind of sheen to them. I saw some printed skirts that reminded me of items from Express several years ago. The tees I purchased this year at Ann Taylor are the same quality that Loft’s tees were three years ago. The quality is not even as good as Loft’s was back in 2005. My tees from 2005 purchased at Loft still look great after repeated washing. The ones purchased at Ann Taylor this summer have already begun to look well-worn and the necklines don’t lie flat. I have found a few good pieces (but mostly regrets) at Ann Taylor over the last 3-4 years but nothing like the items in 2006 and before. I don’t even bother with Loft anymore. The fits are weird, everything is hippie-chic and looks like what Old Navy was selling just a few years ago with the same quality at a higher price. Overall, most ready-to-wear retail has declined in quality. Ann Taylor used to have just a few sales per year and now the whole store is on sale every time I go. When you have to run 40% promotions every other week and your clearance section takes up 25-30% of your floor space and no one is buying it, there is a problem that needs to be addressed. Please leave polyester, acrylic, rayon and poor construction to the H&M crowd who favor quantity over quality. Give us grown up working girls some elegant, impeccably tailored wardrobe options in natural fibers. Lose the cashmere supplier you have had the last 6 years because your cashmere has been awful. Stop it with the unlined pants and the weird fabrics and fits (the modern fit is way too short in the crotch–camel toe??) Get over the exposed zipper. Give us knits that last years instead of weeks. And finally, banish polyester, rayon and acrylic from your fabric options and bring back the silk, linen, wool and cotton. I am going to give Ann Taylor one last try for Fall 2013, and if I see the same crappy stuff, I am going to cancel my card and stop even browsing there. I hear that Talbots has picked up where Ann Taylor fell off…Tahari and Theory have also been recommended.

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