Suit of the Week: Ann Taylor

For busy working women, the suit is often the easiest outfit to throw on in the morning. In general, this feature is not about interview suits for women, which should be as classic and basic as you get — instead, this feature is about the slightly different suit that is fashionable, yet professional.

The dress that goes with Ann Taylor’s crosshatch suiting caught my eye first — it’s a V-neck with cap sleeves and an inset waistline — but the whole set of suit separates is lovely. A crosshatch pattern like this is perfect because it’s more interesting than a simple gray suit, without being, as Tim Gunn would say, “a lot of look” like a plaid or houndstooth. The single-button jacket looks great, and I like that the pants come in two fits and three size ranges (not plus, but up to size 18). The various pieces have full prices of $98-$179; although of course keep an eye out for Ann Taylor’s frequent sales.

Looking for an option in plus sizes? This mini houndstooth pattern is nice, and if you want an investment suit, this Lafayette 148 number in “black multi” is fabulous.

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Comments

  1. Horse Crazy :

    How would you include relevant volunteer experience on your resume?

    I’m applying for an event coordinator job. I have some minor event planning experience from previous jobs, but the majority of my event experience has been in a volunteer setting. My resume currently has sections for work experience, skills, and education. In the skills section, I currently list things like Microsoft Office and being proficient in Spanish, and I also have “experience with event planning” listed, because until now, I’ve never applied for event planning-specific jobs, so it hasn’t ever needed to be emphasized. Should I add another section for volunteer work, or should I just emphasize it more under skills, or do something else?

    • I would make a resume specific to this role. I’d rearrange slightly to have a “Relevant Experience” section at the top, where you list your volunteer work. I’d include specifics but make it clear it was volunteer. Then I’d have “Full Work Experience” and then “Education”. Leave skills off.

      The volunteer stuff should look like:

      Event Committee Chair, Community Foundation (2015-2018)
      – Coordinated and planned X Event for past three years. Sourced, booked, and handled logistics for a fundraising gala with keynote speakers and featured guests, as well as 1000 attendees from around the country.
      – Coordinated local community events such as Y and Z. Managed 3 subcommitees. Personally handled media outreach including social media awareness.

    • Anonymous :

      I have a “Community Involvement” heading that I list my volunteer work under.

    • You can add it under professional experience; that it is unpaid is not relevant to the fact that it is substantive professional experience.

      If it is for several different groups, include it under one header.

      You can mention in an interview that it is volunteer, or put it in parentheses on your resume.

    • I would definitely give the relevant volunteer positions their own section in this case. I would even list the “volunteer experience” section above “job experience” if you want to separate it like that. Or maybe you could just stick the volunteer things in the job experience section in the appropriate time slots?
      FWIW, volunteering has its own section on my resume, but I’m relatively new to the workforce so I had extra space.

    • I’d reformat the main section of your resume–the part that right now is about work experience–to be about “Events and Planning Experience.” Include both the relevant aspects of your professional experience and your various volunteer commitments.

    • Anonymous :

      I would add that maybe you shouldn’t list “Microsoft Office” under skills. It’s a waste of resume real estate to say “I know how to use basic programs most adults with office jobs know how to use” unless you’re able to say something position-specific.

    • I would do the same. I do NOT have volunteer experence, though I do have alot of CLE expereince, which is the same for purpose of our discussion. I have a seperate section of my CV that is labeled “OTHER EXPEREINCE”, and under it, I have 3 things:

      1) CLE Instruction — here I list the 13 CLE’s I have provided written materials for the manageing partner
      2) Litigation Support – here I mention that I have worked serving supeenies for cases pending in the NYS Courts
      3) Mentoring – here I describe how I mentor young associates, including Mason (who we had to let go) as well as Noreen, who I am now working with, and who Frank and the Manageing partner both enjoy working with!

    • Remove Microsoft Office!!!

  2. I am a total slob in my bedroom (I can never seem to find the space nor energy to put away my clothes at the end of the day) and living room. For some reason I’m able to keep the kitchen and bathroom very clean. I feel constantly exhausted and it’s easier to leave my shoes in the middle of the living room floor, breakfast dishes next to the TV, etc. Tips?

    • I always reccomend Unf*ck Your Habitat for cleaning tips

    • Anonymous :

      No advice–but this immediately flashed to mind:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLwHr6UU5E8

    • One thing that helps me is a hook on the back of the closet door for “worn but still clean” clothes”. That’s what I find piles up, things I wore out for a couple hours that I wasn’t ready to throw in the wash. I find I do better when I start with a clean slate, and then work small things into my routine to keep it that way. I make my bed every morning, with no top sheet it takes <2 minutes to straighten out the duvet and pillows, but it feels amazing to crawl into a made bed at night. Your shoes need a landing zone, somewhere they belong in your entry or closet, they go there immediately when you get home. Touch things like dishes, mail and other clutter items once if possible – eat and then immediately put the dishes in the dishwasher.

      • My worn but still clean clothes sometimes accumulate more than what can go on a hook — I have a separate laundry basket for them.

        • Nothing wrong with this approach, either! It helps me if it’s up where I can see it, so a hook works best. My friends who I learned this trick from have a whole set of hooks, ha!

        • Coach Laura :

          My worn but still clean clothes go into a storage ottoman that I got on from [email protected] for $30. It has a lid so it can look reasonably presentable. My work clothes, however, get hung up as soon as I get home because I hate spending money on dry cleaning and want to minimize washing and the slow wearing out that cleaning causes. Plus I’m too lazy to iron so if something is hung up, wrinkles often “hang” out.

      • Anonymous :

        I’m confused about why worn but clean clothes can’t just go back into the closet? If they’re still clean enough to be worn another time — why are they being kept separate?

        • Because I’m too lazy to put them back on a hanger.

        • If it was a suit or dress, I would put it back in the closet. But knits and more casual pieces like tees, tanks, jeans, shorts I put on the hook. It’s my reminder to take a second look to make sure they didn’t pick up an odd odor or stain I didn’t notice initially and as a reminder they perhaps should go in the wash next time.

        • Anonymous :

          Clothes that I’ve worn once may have some scent or dirt on them that wouldn’t risk transferring to, say, my impeccably clean interview suit, even though I’m fine with wearing that shirt for errands a 2nd time.
          Also, if it’s in the closet, how do I know if this is 2nd or 3rd wear? Personally, I don’t have this issue, because I use a strict smell test, but DH recently realized he had lost track of his clean vs. semi-clean white button-ups and had to do a closet purge.

        • I like to let things air out a bit.

        • You don’t prefer to air out clothes that have been worn once?

        • Kat in VA :

          I have those plastic hooks over my closet doors (split walk-in closet, it’s hard to explain). The ones you can find anywhere from Target to Bed, Bath, & Beyond. Some even have a projecting part for multiple hangers.

          Things that need airing like suits and delicate knits get hung on those overnight, then inspected, and then either put in the laundry if required or back into the closet.

          I air clothes out once I’ve worn them (if they’re not being washed immediately) because I don’t think they get quit the same airing inside the closet as they do hanging out…well, in the air, if you will.

    • I’m like you, especially with clothes and shoes. In my bedroom, the best I can do during the week is throw clothes in the hamper or drape them over a chair, depending on whether I might re-wear them. That at least keeps it off the floor. On weekends, I do my laundry and set aside time to hang up clothes (and steam and lint-roll as necessary) or put them in the pile for the dry cleaner. I like to watch Netflix or something while I fold, hang, etc. If, for some reason, I don’t get around to it on the weekend, the best time for me to fold clothes and clean is in the morning before work. I’m just too tired at the end of the day.

      For the living room, I try to set aside 5-10 minutes of “clean up time” with my 3-year-old before dinner. Mostly, I’m doing it to teach good habits and provide a buffer between the end of playtime and the beginning of dinner time, but it could work for any adult. I help Kiddo with toys but also clear dishes, throw away trash, put pillows back on the couch, move all the shoes, etc. Then, before I turn in for the night, I put any dishes left in the living room on the counter next to the sink and deal with them in the morning before work (usually while waiting for toast or waiting for Kiddo to finish breakfast).

      • It’s amazing how we have dressers and closets but no one has solved the “where do you put clothes you want to air out and wear again” dilemma with a real, built-in solution of some sort. The person who does will be rich, IMO.

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      A couple:
      – Set things up to make it as easy as possible for yourself to put things away. For example, I used to have these fantasies that I was going to hang up my worn-but-not-dirty clothes at the end of every day, or fold them and put them on a special shelf, or whatever. I didn’t, and they ended up in a pile. Now I have a laundry basket for them. It’s just as easy as dropping them on the floor, but much more contained.
      – Picking specific times for tidying, eg after dinner is ten minutes of tidying the living room (literally five or ten minutes makes a big difference!).
      – I’ve been using a habit tracking app on my phone, which helps a lot.

      • The one thing that makes it more likely that I will hang something back up is leaving the hanger out for the item on my closet door. Then, it’s a matter of habit and it’s just as easy to hang up as throw on the floor.

        Where I get into trouble is morning I don’t know what I’m wearing and then I don’t have time to hang everything I try back up and it ends up in a pile. I just have a big, wide, open basket for all that stuff (it wrinkles less this way than in a hamper).

        For the plates, I think you just have to get in the habit of walking dishes over to the sink. If you generally keep a tidy kitchen, you won’t have them pile up and even if you do at least they’re in the sink. If it helps imagine all the bugs you’re attracting! Fear of insects is basically the only thing that makes me regularly do dishes.

    • Anonymous :

      I don’t know if you feel like perfect is the enemy of your good, but I’ve finally accepted that throwing my frequently worn shoes in a heap on the floor of my closet is ok. They do not have to be neatly arranged by heel height and color as I was taught growing up. Close the closet door and it’s all ok.

      • Anonymous :

        This. My bedroom is our house dumping ground. Every other room is neat (save the playroom which is neat once every other week before cleaning day and a mess as soon as the maids leave again). Would I like to have a room that looked like a staged home? Yes, in theory. Do I care enough to do something about it? Nope. I close the door when company comes and just move on with my life. I will add though, I do make my bed every day. The bedroom just has a level of clutter that I can’t get on top of.

    • And Peggy :

      I’m you, my room’s a mess too. I’d look into a small clothing rack for the clothes you’ve worn but are still clean (like bras, pants, blazers, etc.). Make a point of doing some pickup when you put away clean clothes – if you’re having trouble remembering to do that, use a mesh bag instead of a basket which will deter you from just fishing out what you need each day. Try to attach some chores that you can get away with putting off with chores you need to do regularly. Try to pick one surface or area of the floor to declutter each weekend. Have shoe racks in parts of your home where you actually take off shoes.

    • A place for everything :

      I had this problem for years because I basically had too much stuff to be comfortably put away all at once. About four years ago I got rid of more than half my clothes on a lark after reading the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. That freed up a ton of space in my huge walk in closet to have large plastic baskets for work out clothes, shoes, underwear, tights, tank tops, etc.

      I suggest trying to put everything away at once. Wash all your clothes and see if they fit in your spaces. If not, you can consider getting rid of things.

      • Ouch! that hurts :

        I have open bins on top of my dresser for laungerie to wear again … and one is for the dya’s/week’s hang around the house outfit.

        Got a closed watch box/sections w clear top for dh accumulation of keys, entry cards, phones etc … and the other is specifically made for eyeglasses. There’s also a bin/basket atop his dresser for things to read, magazines, etc.

        In our closets we have a rack that holds three mesh laundry bags and/or one standing one. Above that we installed a short piece of elfa or lowes/home depot shelving that allows for stuff to be stored on top and then hangers … that’s the place the airing-out clothes go.

        YMMV depending on where your laundry bins go. This all started when we first bought a “cart” that had the laundry bag sections and then a tall “hoop” for hangers on the top. It went into our traditional, two pole closet …. right in between the two poles. Pole – laundry thing – pole as you look in the closet .

        With other homes and combining areas, we have a larger area now, so that’s the reason we moved to the addition of a short shelf above the laundry bags/bins.

  3. Fellow 1099 ladies – what is your preferred expense report app? I’m trying Expensify, but before I pull the trigger on the subscription, I wanted to see if there are any other options to seriously consider.

    I don’t need too many bells and whistles: I want to be able to scan receipts, put down a few notes, have them filed away for later, and be able to pull simple reports. Bonus points for categorization. Expensify keeps asking who I want to submit my receipt to, which I hope I can get to go away if this ends up being the solution. I am mostly tracking travel expenses, taking clients to lunch, office supplies, etc. I do have a tax accountant, I just don’t want to dump a hot mess on him at tax time.

    • I track ’em in Excel and then do pivot tables. Paper copies go in a file, to be joined later by that year’s tax return, along with the relevant 1099s from clients.

  4. short-term disability insurance? :

    Can y’all talk to me about short-term disability insurance in advance of TTC?

    I work for a small organization that does not qualify for FMLA, does not have any stated policy on parental leave, and does not offer any disability insurance. I am optimistic that when the time comes, I will be able to negotiate reasonable terms for my leave; my partner and I also have significant inherited wealth that would cushion us in the event of a temporary lapse in my income.

    That said, I don’t want to forego STDI if it’s a worthwhile investment. Has anyone here successfully purchased their own plan in advance of TTC? How much did it cost and how much of a hassle was it? Are there reputable companies you’d recommend? If it matters, I’m very healthy and in PA.

    • Disabilitynon :

      I’ve worked in the disability space, on the group benefits (employer-sponsored side) so no recommendations for private insurance, but can say you want to be sure the policy under which you are covered does not exclude pregnancy/pregnancy-related issues as pre-existing. This can mean a script or treatment for pre-natal vitamins, TTC work, etc.

  5. Anonymous :

    A local candidate keeps asking for volunteers to make phone calls and every time I get an email I wonder how beneficial this tactic is. I know I don’t answer the phone for unknown numbers on my cell and don’t have a landline. What say those of you who have campaign experience?

    • Yes, this is an important piece of the puzzle for name recognition and encouraging voter turnout. You are typically calling a targeted list of likely voters, and increasing the name recognition of your candidate. Yes, you’ll get some hangups, lots of voicemails, and once in a while someone will be nasty or snarky. But you’ll probably have a few really nice conversations, too.

    • Horse Crazy :

      But do you listen to the voicemail that the unknown number leaves? Phone banking is usually very beneficial. If you support this candidate and have the time, I would recommend doing it.

      Signed,
      Someone with a lot of campaign experience, especially local campaigns.

    • I’ve done phone banking for candidates and other politically type campaigns and typically get one answer for every ten or so calls. Depending on what the issue du jour is, they may have a script for you to leave a message as well. As a volunteer, if they’re well set up, it’s something you can do easily from your couch.

    • Anonymous :

      I have made these calls. In general, I’m not sure how worthwhile this is, but I did work on a campaign where we called people to make sure they had a ride to the polls. If they didn’t, we could arrange a ride for them. In areas with many low income and elderly voters, this can make a real difference in turn out. I thought that was pretty obviously worth my time. I’ve also made calls to people who are faithful voters to see if they’d commit to volunteering for the candidate/party. I am a little agnostic on this one. Maybe because my phone rang once while I was dialing, and it was the person sitting next to me calling to see if I’d volunteer.

    • Anonymous :

      People are more likely to vote the older they are, and older people are more likely to answer their home phone. I wouldn’t say the answer rate is very high, but it can be successful for those you talk to and it doesn’t take that long to call a number that doesn’t answer.

      The other main voter outreach activity is door knocking, which doesn’t necessary have a much higher reach rate and takes significantly longer for each attempt.

  6. Does anyone use WealthDocs for estate planning doc prep software? Or recommend another program? My firm currently uses interactive legal software and are considering other options. tx.

    • My old firm used Hot Docs. I found it very user friendly. Current (BigLaw) firm does not use either.

  7. Minnie Beebe :

    Can anyone recommend a good accountant in Chicago? Between my home office and a house that we’re renting out starting in September, I’m starting to think it’s a good time to outsource my taxes…

  8. What are your favorite inexpensive, relatively healthy dinners? No dietary restrictions, just looking for ways to trim the grocery budget.

    • Take a gander at https://www.budgetbytes.com/

    • Anything with beans or barley. One of my favorites:

      Boil 10 lbs of pork cushion (~1.60/lb at Cash & Carry) with whatever seasonings you want and lots of salt; freeze 4/5 of the pork that then easily turns into pulled pork any time you need protein. Leave rest of the pork in the resulting broth; add 2 lbs beans (I like small red or small white) to broth, boil 1.5 hrs, add hot pepper. This makes a ton of filling healthy food; freeze half. Frozen pork can be added to barley, rice, quinoa, or in tacos, casseroles or other soup with ingredients you have in the pantry. So now you have 5 filling dinners for under $20. My other similar cheat is duck. Roast duck ($2-3/lb) with a water bath, eat duck, make white bean soup with duck broth. You can always add greens like turnip tops or beet tops to soup for a fresh taste and extra nutrition. We do something similar about 3 days a week and make more fancy meals the other 2 days, leftovers 1 day, takeout 1 day.

    • Anonymous :

      Burritos with black beans, jack cheese, and spinach is my all-time go-to for 20+ years. Cheap and delicious, esp if you put just a little butter on the burrito and toast in the oven to melt the cheese and brown the edges of the burrito.

      Also, roasted or sauteed seasonal veggies with a little chicken sausage or chicken breast cut up. Stretches the protein and seasonal veggies can be very inexpensive (e.g., zucchini, yellow squash and corn = $1/lb in summer).

  9. Has anyone gotten anything at Ann Taylor lately? I need a new suit or two but hesitate given their recent history.

    • Anonymous :

      Oh, what’s their recent history?

    • I have, and the experience has been all over the map.

      I ordered 2 pairs of the same pants. The black pair totally fell apart and they accepted a return. The gray pair is still going strong.

      They’ve sent me the wrong item more than once, and then messed up the return. Dealing with customer service was exceptionally difficult.

      I have an eyelet skirt that has held up great so far.

      If I had a store locally I would only shop and return in person, and consider that worth it.

    • So I got 2 tops there a few weeks ago. I’ve bought AT in the past, but it’s been at least 3-4 years, and I’m pretty sure the quality has gone downhill. They just look less well-made. I got the tops this time on super-mega sale, so they were totally worth the $20 each I paid for them. But honestly, I probably would not have paid more than $30 for each, and they are full price over $60. I’d be very hesitant about larger pieces.

  10. This suit and esp. the dress are right up my alley (well, they will be once there’s a sale), but I’m long waisted and that inset waistband probably would be much too high. I’m normally a petite or regular for length but I would get a tall and hem the dress if the waistband would be in the right place.

    Anyone know if AT talls are longer in the torso, or just in overall length?

    Thanks.

    • You may be okay with a regular size? I can do reg length dresses from most brands but AT tends to run long on me. Similar to Anne Klein.

  11. wearing white :

    As a clumsy person who usually manages to spill on myself, I tend to stay away from white but I am eyeing this blazer (link to follow). Talk to be about the “rules”of wearing white? Is this totally ridiculous for fall and winter–a summer only thing?

    https://shop.nordstrom.com/s/mural-curve-open-front-shawl-collar-blazer/4303876?origin=coordinating-4303876-0-1-ZERO-recbot-searchpage_recommendation_similar&recs_placement=ZERO&recs_strategy=searchpage_recommendation_similar&recs_source=recbot&recs_page_type=search

    • BabyAssociate :

      I like that a lot. I would wear it in the fall and winter, “rules” be damned.

    • I have noticed reading comments on this site that these “rules” on seasonal colors vary a lot regionally. I don’t think they apply at all in Houston, for example. I have a similar white blazer I get use out of all year round. It seems to be different in places with real winters.

    • Aunt Jamesina :

      I own this exact blazer in white! I love it, but know that the shoulder pads might get a bit misshapen when you hand wash as instructed and I have had to push them back into place while wet so they would dry properly.

      I mostly wear this blazer in warmer months because I’m pretty fair and I look better in this shade of white with a bit of color in my skin. It’s a white with a bit of warmth to it, not a stark white, so I think it’s fair game in any month. If you’re wearing it in the fall or winter, I’d wear it with darker items in more wintry fabrics– tweeds, heavier wools, etc.

  12. If he does it with you . . . :

    An admin at my firm is having a fairly blatant affair with a partner. Both are married with kids (as are most women here, whether an admin or not). I am not in their group but share my admin with him. I guess she is now seeing all women at the firm as threats (what’s the dr Phil saying – if he does it with you he will do it to you?) and has gotten haughty and mean to all of us. I’ve been told that HR is afraid to tough it b/c she could sue us.

    UGH. And IC

    Can this feeling really be that all consuming? She is so mean to women who frankly don’t see the guy as a catch or are decades his senior (she is in her 20s).

    fWIW if I were going to cheat, it wouldn’t be with a guy on the hook for a ton of alimony and child support who’d bring angry step kids into the mix. He ain’t Jack Welch.

    • Anonymous :

      Jack Welch? How old on earth are you, trotting out that cultural reference?

      • Anonymous :

        What is a good reference for cheater who got divorced b/c of the cheating and had to pay through the nose to his ex? No one comes to mind (Spitzer, no; Clinton, nope; Mick Jagger was a serial philanderer and not technically married to Jerry Hall; Paul McCartney divorced but not b/c of cheating; Weiner, no $ to shell out; to my knowledge Murdoch wasn’t divorced b/c of cheating for his most recent divorce). And I’m a Page Six reader.

    • If she is getting haughty and mean, document it with her supervisor or HR, and leave the part about her intimate life out of the discussion.

      It’s an ego boost for her. Ignore her neuroses and focus on her professionalism, or lack thereof.

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