I See You Ann Taylor, Looking Fresh and Modern for Grown Women

ann taylor summer 2021 my picks

Ann Taylor was my go-to retailer for YEARS. The clothes fit me well, the price was right, and the style was perfect whether I was attending a conference, traveling for business, meeting a client for dinner, or going out with friends on the weekend. And I recommended Ann Taylor over and over because I felt it was a great destination for women's apparel.

And then in 2015, Ann Taylor got bought by Ascena and everything changed. The fit wasn't the same, the quality wasn't the same, the style was severely lacking. It all looked so cheap and sad, like the wallflower big sister to LOFT. I couldn't in good conscience, recommend Ann Taylor to you if I wouldn't wear it myself.

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And then a friend of mine left working corporate for one apparel retailer I loved to go to Ann Taylor. I trust her business choices and her taste so I went to check out Ann Taylor again. Looking good… maybe because Ann was again sold last year? But how were the quality and fit of this new Ann Taylor? I decided to place an order of New Arrivals – dresses, knits, tailored separates, accessories. I gotta say, the 2021 Ann Taylor feels way more like the 2011 Ann Taylor than the Ann I've experienced off and on the years in between.

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From my order, I kept the sundress you see in this post. It's such a great dress. The only thing that I hesitated with was the lack of pockets, but I don't miss them if I wear a crossbody (and a tailor can put pockets in most anything quite easily). Unfortunately, it is out of stock but this one is the same silhouette in a red print. I also kept this scarf. It's so big and so lightweight, it's the kind of scarf you can wear on your hair, as a wrap at the pool, you can knot corners together to make a jacket/shrug, you can wear it as a belt, tie it as a halter top, and much more. I would have kept this dress if I didn't have such a large bust and it acted wonky with my industrial-strength strapless bra.

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Since then, I keep perusing Ann Taylor and keep seeing more that I would really wear. And so many good things for us grown-ass women. Not frumpy, but not juvenile. Pieces you can wear to work, or a barbecue, or brunch, or shopping. Pieces that will make you feel like a million bucks on vacation or for Date Night. I'll admit, writing this post inspired me to make another order!

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Almost everything at Ann Taylor is available up to size 18 or XXL, and several styles come in tall and petite. And unlike other retailers that think that short people aren't above a size 10, Ann Taylor offers petites up to at least 14. I've found items sell quickly, but Ann Taylor often restocks popular items. If your size isn't in stock, check back in a week.

I found Ann Taylor 2021 to fit pretty true to size. I ordered everything in a size 14, petite when available. Some of the 14 petite were too short in the rise for me, but at 5'3″ I often find regulars to be better for rise/torso and then just hem length. But everything fit, and fit nicely. Have you shopped Ann Taylor recently? Have you seen a change in this retailer?

12 Comments

  1. Terri
    July 22, 2021 / 7:29 pm

    After I had my second child, my body shifted a bit. I was still a small petite, but the department store offerings I collected looked more appropriate for retirees than a working mother. I ventured into an Ann Taylor, found nice suiting in all-weather wool, and didn’t look back. I bought dresses for weddings, stylish casual wear, and beautiful silk tops. Over 70% of my wardrobe was Ann Taylor. Then I got older. Ann Taylor started chasing the young crowd with cheap fabrics, shirts that didn’t clear the midsection, and pants that could not possibly cover my backside. I moved to Talbots and Lands’ End for better quality. I am intrigued with your selections. Ann Taylor used to be my go-to. I hope the store has turned a corner.

  2. Cori
    July 22, 2021 / 1:35 pm

    I have been an Ann Taylor shopper since the 1980’s and have always been a fan, even in those not so great years. There were always suiting staples that worked for the office and as a 16P, I could easily order online and return in store if something didn’t fit. It is still the first place I look if I need a wardrobe staple and always keep an eye on marksdowns since they seem to happen a minute after you seem to find something you like.

    • July 22, 2021 / 3:17 pm

      It’s true they were always a place to find good petite suiting over a size 10! I’m glad they still have their bi-stretch, it’s a classic!

  3. Karen
    July 22, 2021 / 12:43 pm

    First, as a “newish” reader, thank you so much for the picture trip down memory lane. So fun to see all the hair styles and the outfits…its easy to see both how your general style has stayed the same, but also how it’s evolved and changed

    Ah, Ann Taylor, when i was just entering the work force (back in the mid 80s) AT was aspirational for me, the price points still slightly higher than i could afford. Over time, they back my go to…perfect for work, and, on sale casual styles that made me feel grown up without feeling like i was dressing like my grandmother. Then in the early 20s I lived within walking distance to AT, and cant even tell you how much of my wardrobe came from AT. An then, came the time you mentioned, years went by and I bought nothing. But in the last year or so, them seem to be getting it together. I hope they maintain their current trajectory

    • July 22, 2021 / 3:16 pm

      Same! I hope this repurchase is a sign of positive things to come. My suggestion is next they expand their size range. 18 is good, 20 is better, and more would be even more fantastic!

  4. Louise
    July 22, 2021 / 11:47 am

    I’ve had the same experience. I left them behind, but was inspired to buy the orange dress from your post last week. I love it, and have purchased some suiting that is quality as in days of old.

    • July 22, 2021 / 11:48 am

      I am so glad you have had a similar experience. And isn’t that sundress awesome?

  5. Joan
    July 22, 2021 / 11:45 am

    FYI – The link for the sundress in red print is broken.

  6. Katelin
    July 22, 2021 / 11:17 am

    I haven’t shopped AT lately, but I’m so pleased that they have gone back to classic, quality style. AT was a destination for interview suits, special occasion dresses and yes, going out tops. The bridesmaids dresses for my fall 2001 wedding were gorgeous red silk just below the knee length dresses, off the rack from Ann Taylor. Then for my sister’s 2004 wedding she chose floral silk with some whimsical ruffles that fit her aesthetic and bridesmaids perfectly. Glad to see them back!

    • July 22, 2021 / 11:36 am

      Right? They left such a hole in the apparel world when they got cheap and casual!

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