Suit of the Week: Ann Taylor Loft

Ann Taylor Loft City Classic BlazerFor 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, which should be as classic and basic as you get — instead, this feature is about the slightly different suit that is fashionable, yet professional.

We’re loving the “midnight charcoal” color of Ann Taylor Loft’s “City Classic” line of suiting, for some reason — it looks like a nice dark gray basic suit, and the price point doesn’t hurt. We also like that it comes in regulars as well as petites and talls. The jacket (City Classic Blazer) is $128, and the skirt (City Classic Pencil Skirt) is $59.50.  (Matching pants — Ann City Synthetic Trousers — are available online only for $69.50.)

Ann Taylor Loft City Classic Blazer Ann Taylor Loft City Classic Pencil Skirt



  1. Corporate Tool :

    I like this a lot, but I worry that lower-end suits look cheap on. Anyone have experience with Loft?

    • Anonymous K :

      I think Loft suits tend to look pretty good on, but their quality just doesn’t hold up as well as say, a Theory suit would. I think they are great if you are on a budget and/or if you really wear a suit. If you wear a suit every day and can afford something nicer, I don’t think they are the wisest choice.

    • I actually really like Loft. The blouses and sweaters are not always the best quality but I’ve had lots of luck with suits/suiting in general from there.

    • I have several Loft suits, one of which I wear nearly once a week because it seems to hold up without wrinkling unlike any other suit I own. It is the “only goes to the dry cleaner when I clumsily get something on it” suit. Don’t know what the fabric is but it’s awesome.

  2. Note to the tall ladies – the skirt does not come in Tall, and the regular is 20 inches.

    • My rule is that if it looks short on the model, it’s short. The model is wearing flats & it looks about 2 inches above the knee on her.

      I do like the simple lines though – nice to see a suit without a needless bow or ruffle stuck on somewhere. And, I do loooove the sound of “synthetic” trousers ;)

      • Wait! I take it back — the shoulders appear to have a needless ruffle (?) attached. Never mind. So much for basic clean lines. Though, admittedly this might win the prize for randomest place for needless ruffle placement.

        • geez, you’re right. that plus the strange exposed zipper in the back kind of kill it. both just seem strange . . .

        • Good eye! Those ruffles are horrific and atrocious and look like a manufacturing mistake….like they should be cast down to bargain basement as defective right away!

          • Seriously. Why?

            I don’t think of AT Loft as a ‘suit’ place anyway, but this is a mockery. Stick to tees, jeggings (I know, I know but they are ok), and Friday caz.


        • ugh! Hideous ruffles. I was excited until I actually went to the ATL site to look at it. Not a big fan of the collar, either.

        • anon - chi :

          I have a sneaking suspicion that Loft sometimes gears their pieces to a younger age bracket than the regular Ann Taylor – that might explain the weird ruffle. (I mean, it’s still a hideous misread of what I think most girls in their early to mid 20s are looking for in a suit …)

  3. What’s the deal with the exposed zipper on the skirt? It ruins the entire suit.

    • Anonymous K :

      I am missing the exposed zipper. Where is it?

      • Anonymous K :

        Wait, now I am seeing it in the pics with the jacket, but the skirt does specifically say hidden zipper. However, the gray is not shown from the back. This worries me.

        • You can see the zipper on the back of the gray skirt (peeking out from under the jacket). Ugh. And the ruffles just look like a piece of the fabric misfired thru the sewing machine.

          If anyone else reads projectrungay(d0t)blogspot (they recap Proj. Run. episodes, among other things – I no longer watch the show but enjoy their commentary anyway), the bloggers make fun of these “a*s” zippers on many an occasion.

          • Anonymous K :

            Yes, which I noted, but I am wondering if it is a different skirt that is shown with the jacket, since the description for this one specifically states that it has a hidden zipper.

          • oh – confusing, I agree! I guess you could trust the description of the pencil skirt, since at least it aligns with the accompanying picture.

          • Anonymous K :

            Yeah, I am confused! Thanks for pointing out to me that you can see the zipper in the picture with the jacket, though.

            Oddly enough, I looked through all of the skirts to see if it might be another one and it didn’t like like any of the others, either. I wish this was sold in stores so I could check it out!

        • this is very odd. The pics of the skirt in camel are clearly hidden zipper and look fine. The gray suit look with the skirt, though, it appears there is a heavy dark placket at least visible under the jacket where the zipper should be. Not sure what is going on there. Regardless, 20″ seems too short for a conservative suit look. and I agree, the shoulder ruffles are just odd.

  4. Anonymous :

    Does anyone own Talbots pants in the Lindsey fabric? If so, can you comment on what it FEELS like? It looks like it might be thin and scratchy (since I think the pants are unlined). However, the grey color is what I need this season. Decisions, decisions.

    • Anonymous :

      I have pants in the Lindsey fabric. They feel great–not scratchy at all. A nice smooth fabric that looks like a wool blend but feels like wearing soft cotton. And machine washable. I’ve had a pair for 6 months or so, and they are awesome.

  5. Anonymous :

    I really liked this until I saw the “shoulder ruffle accent.” *sigh*

    • ^ this. I almost bought this suit like 5 times and the shoulder ruffle got me every time.

    • Agree. It looks like a little bird (bug?) perched on the shoulder.

  6. Like everything but the little ruffle on the shoulder seam. Not feeling it. I’ve had good luck with some Loft suits, it helps to see them in person.

  7. I got a great pantsuit on super-clearance from Loft about 3 years ago– in fact, I’m wearing it today! It’s 100% wool and the pants are lined. No sign of anything like that on their website these days. Sigh… I’m probably too young to be complaining about quality heading downhill, but it’s really annoying!

    • Same! 3 1/2 years ago — 2 fabulous wool blazers from Loft. Still wear them. Haven’t seem anything approching similar quality there since.

      Though on an aside, I was there this weekend & they had a ton of cute, basic cotton long sleeve tees in great colors, on sale for $12. Great basics. Surprisingly nice quality. Anyone needing to stock up should check them out!

      • Ditto – had great suits purchased 4-5 years ago in the store and now the limited suiting selections are online only. Loft is casual Friday only place for me now. Their Julie fit for basic cotton pants (one size smaller than my normal which I find hilarious) and curvy boot cut cords.

    • me too. I really miss their suits. though it looks like it was more of a brand decision than a quality thing–let ann taylor carry the suits and loft be more casual. which is sad, because it used to just be loft was a cheaper price point but still had a lot of work-appropriate clothes. sigh. I mourn the general decline in american retailers.

  8. Suit question for my fellow corporettes. I have the jcrew wool crepe skirt suit in “cool dusk.” It’s basically a very light blue. I tend to think of it as a summer suit, since it is such a light color, but am wondering if I can wear it year round, because it is wool. Maybe it is an April to October suit? What do y’all think? I can decide if color or fabric should dominate the seasonality of something.

    Link here:

    • I think it’s probably April – October, but if you are feeling very fashion forward maybe you could pull it off with some thick dark gray tights and booties in the fall or as separates in the winter (skirt + winter white or light gray blazer + similr tone gray-ish everything else or something like that)…

    • anonymous :

      I think the light (in weight) wool fabric lends itself to seasonless wearing, especially since it is a classic shape and color. The other aspects of your outfit can emphasize current season or trends, if you choose. That’s the great thing about wardrobe items like this- more flexibility.

  9. This is stunning.

    So simple and elegant!

    • Stunning as in “I’m the pretty one of the multiple brides”

      Sorry, just not feeling it at all.

      • This. Made me laugh. I think that this dress would be pretty in a fabric that wasn’t quite so heavy. But the way it is… not so much.

      • Stunning if you are an ultra-orthodox bride.

        • anon - chi :

          FWIW, conservative and orthodox brides also must have their shoulders (and upper arms, I think?) covered. I promise there is actually a market for this dress!

    • I was at 2 weddings recently where the brides wore the most revealing & in my opinion wholly inappropriate dresses (one had a laced up corset in the back and a dip to the navel in the front). This would def be a nice change of pace, but I don’t imagine sleeves — much less long ones w/a high neck — are going to catch on.

      • I love this dress, although (again) JCrew’s styling does not do it justice. I picture it as the perfect dress for Megan on Mad Men (yes, even in a modern setting). Chic city late fall? Yes please.

        @AIMS – I know. I just saw a friend’s pics of a wedding where the bride wore one of those Panina (Pnina?) dresses (as freq. featured on Say Yes to the Dress). I have to say, I really cannot understand the appeal!

        • Wow – I’ve never seen the show, and just googled the designer. Those wedding dresses look more like Vegas showgirl costumes.

        • I can’t spell it either, but I know who you mean – Pnina Tournay? Those dresses are trashyyyyyy.

          • anonymous :

            Well, chances are, unless it was a family member, I wouldn’t be part of the wedding guest list for a Skimpy/Showgirl/”Jersey Shore” Wedding anyway. They can live in their world and I’ll live in mine, and we’ll all just be happier.

    • Wow, that looks a lot like the dress that my great aunt wore in the 40s and is a similar cut to the dress my mom wore (which was a heavy matte jacquard kind of fabric) in the 70s.

    • I love it. I think it looks so sophisticated.

      Sort of the antithesis of the hemp gown here


    • I remember when Ivanka Trump got married in her Vera Wang gown with sleeves, Vera Wang was interviewed about it and said something about how sleeves on wedding gowns are something she thinks are coming back, and that she felt like they were the epitome of chic. I agree that it looks very elegant.

      • I loved that dress and the sleeves!

      • I also loved Ivanka’s dress, because I had a heck of a time finding a wedding gown pattern (I was lucky enough to have my mother make my dress — she’s a fabulous seamstress) that had sleeves. I was getting married in a religious setting where sleeves were really the most appropriate thing, and finally my mom just added them on. I cheered when I saw Ivanka looking so so gorgeous but not totally exposed.

      • that dress was gorgeous. I definitely think there should be more dresses with sleeves–you don’t even see that many with short or cap sleeves. you would think there would be enough of a market of more religious weddings that would want sleeves, but I guess not.

    • I think it looks wrinkly and if I saw someone wearing it, would have assumed it was homemade for under $200, not a $2500 dress. I’d love to get married in sleeves some day (long or short) but this dress is not for me. I’m thinking something like Chelsea Clinton’s dress with sleeves.

    • i'm nobody :

      i like everything about it, above the waist. i tried on several jcrew bridal dresses and they’re overwhelmingly *very* short-waisted. terribly unflattering on my long torso.

    • Too much fabric for me. They could lighten it a bit and it would be beautiful.

    • to me, Kelly McGillis in Witness

  10. Brief hijack to anyone with an understanding of DC politics:

    Why did Michelle Rhee announce her resignation before the November elections? Wasn’t it presumptuous for her to do so before a new mayor was formally chosen?

    • Anonymous K :

      The Democratic primary is basically the mayoral election in D.C., so, while you’re right in saying that Gray hasn’t been formally chosen, for all intents and purposes, he will be the next mayor of D.C.

      • surrounded by lawyers :

        Yep. And she resigned as a result of “mutual understanding” (something like that) with Gray (whose status as the next mayor is absolutely beyond doubt).

      • anonymous :

        There is a small Republican/Independent or otherwise non-aligned pool of voters in DC but the demographics of the city work out to a solid Democratic majority. Fenty was very upsetting to the Democratic Old Guard in DC politics, and she was a major representation of that-IMHO, a wake-up call that some did not want to receive. Hopefully she will go on to other efforts in education reform, a likely proposition w/the documentary release.

        I do think it’s unfortunate that various blocs of voters seem to fall prey to voting “peer pressure” (either major party)…happens in cities, happens in rural areas, happens in families and occupations, such as “I’m a x because my mother/grandfather was a X.”

    • Anonymous K and Surrounded are right. Also, she was recently featured in the Waiting for Superman documentary and I’m sure she has some other (maybe lucrative) opportunities coming up now.

  11. Parisienne :

    I used to adore the Loft, but I think it has changed. Their clothes are targeted to a defiinite customer which isn’t me.

  12. Not a fan of the Loft suit. I don’t think it looks professional for client or business meetings and it does not last more than one season. Unless the suit is on sale I would not purchase. AT Loft is my go to for tee shirts. I *do* however love this skirt at Ann Taylor. The ruffles at the bottom of the skirt look feminine and soft! And the price is right!

  13. I bought this suit (the jacket and the pants) in tall and I love them! I didn’t buy the skirt because it doesn’t come in tall and would be too short for work. The pants are even long enough for me to wear heels with the suit (I am 5’11”, so that is very hard to find!), it has held up well and doesn’t need dry cleaning. And the ruffle details on the shoulder of the jacket is adorable in my opinion, it doesn’t stick out as much as some people seem to think that it might from looking at the photos.

  14. Also, I used a coupon from for 25% off the suit, and the site will also give you 3% cash back from your LOFT purchase. It made the suit into an even better deal!

  15. Thanks for showcasing a budget-friendly option, Kat. And I like that you pick things that are *cute* first, with secondary emphasis on price (something I need to do more often).

    BTW, I buzzed by TJ Maxx for lunch (haven’t been in ages because no time) and was *shocked* to see many many Calvin Klein suits for $79. They were obviously not the designer CK line, but the cheaper, Macys-type line, but still! And they were cute (some wool-blend, most poly, but well-constructed). The same suits were on sample sale sites this past week ( and and iDeeli.c0m) for around the same price (+/- $10-$20) plus $10 shipping. I’m going to stop messing around with Online Sample Sales for suits in this price point and save myself shipping and return charges, “merchandise store credits,” and vile “final sale” items. Humph. They induce purchasing by peddling this false sense of urgency and scarcity. Rant over.

  16. I recommend TJ Maxx as well – although their selection varies by store, the one near me has lots of Tahari and CK suits. I purchased a Tahari suit there that retails for $300 for $79.99. It fits great, the fabric is good quality, the pants are long enough, and it holds up extremely well without having to dry clean it. And as Lawgirl mentioned, I got to try it on and didn’t have to worry about shipping, returns, etc.

  17. I purchased this suit in the houndstooth pattern and I agree that the ruffle detail is tiny and barely noticeable. Its not a fancy suit and it could probably stand to be altered to fit me a little better, but I think its a great basic suit for the price.

  18. ^ also, to add, LOFT often has huge promotions and I believe I got 40% off when I ordered, so it was definitely worth it.

  19. with the code OCTAFF25- get 25% off on purchases of $100 or more. I got the whole suit, jacket, pants, and suit for under $180! :)

work fashion blog press mentions