What I Wore: Not Following Directions

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ann taylor peplum dress
citizen eco drive gold womens
fitzwell pumps wide width
working mom fashion blog
Blazer: The Limited (similar) | Dress: Ann Taylor | Shoes: Fitzwell “Aurora” | Bracelet: J. Crew (similar) | Watch: Citizen c/o WatchCo

I bought this dress in a rush, and I must admit after my first time wearing it I didn't have the desire to wear it again. But that would be a big waste of money, so I washed it cold on the gentle cycle (it says Dry Clean but it's 100% polyester ponte and I have bought a lot of Ann Taylor ponte before and it washes beautifully) and hung it to dry. This morning I tried to iron out the wrinkles with a relatively cool iron and where the iron went, the fabric immediately faded. Oh, and the dress which originally hit right to the knees is now at a length which is veering on inappropriate for the office. I must admit, I miss the old quality of Ann Taylor. They seem to be very lost, going from trendy to classic to trendy again, and their quality is all over the place. So if you get this dress, follow the instructions and be sure to dry clean. 

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  1. I have noticed the decline in quality among several of my favorite retailers. Prices have generally not declined along with this quality, but I have noticed that sales and coupons have. I’m sure retailers are cutting more corners to compete in this tough economy (and to maintain their own profit margins), but it doesn’t do consumers a lot of good when we are paying high prices for what is essentially disposable fashion. It is frustrating, to say the least.

    I second the suggestion about getting this top altered into a blouse. While it stinks to invest MORE money into an item, if you can turn it into a piece that you’ll actually WANT to wear, it may be worth it.


  2. Do you like the shoes that you are wearing in this post? I have had the hardest time finding shoes that fit. I have always been a size 8, but now a size 8 seems to slip on my heel.

    1. I bought wide and shouldn’t have, but otherwise these shoes are AMAZING and the price is insane (usually under $25 and real leather via 6pm.com). Fitzwell strategically places their heels to reduce pressure on your foot, very wearable for a higher height!

  3. This seems to be happening all across the board. When brands like Ann Taylor are dropping in quality, you KNOW it’s an epidemic. It makes me think fo the way people have been complaining about J. Crew’s drastic drop in quality (and hike UP in prices) ever since the early 2000’s, when it used to be a reliably quality-made preppy but still okay for business wear brand.

    Hell, I’ve noticed people complaining about L. L. BEAN’s quality going down. Our fast-fashion obsession is definitely coming back to bite us now.

    That said, you look gorgeous, the dress looks great on you and it’s pretty much the perfect color for your skin and hair!

  4. Sorry to hear about the shrinking and fading. But from the picture the dress looks incredible on you. The hemline and waistline both hit you perfectly, I think.

  5. I hate when that happens. I did that with a couple of skirts from BR without reading the washing label and it shrunk so much that I can only wear it on the weekend with tights.

    I’ve learned at least to iron the insides to test the fading issue but still forget sometimes. I think the dress still works on you.


  6. For what my humble opinion is worth Allie, I think it looks better on you now…this is the one you wore in that post at the shopping centre with your friends when you were hot and put your hair in a pony tail? I think the length is better. Sad to hear your fav brand has gone south…but it’s an opportunity to find ew pastures!

  7. I agree with many here who said you look great in the dress and in that color. I understand not wanting to spend more money on an imperfect item, and your “you don’t *have* to make it work” post from long ago is still one of my favorites… but all those caveats aside, you could go to a tailor and have him/her transform the dress into a lovely peplum blouse. Then you keep the good stuff without anxiety about length, skirt tugging, etc.

    And, yeah, I’m off Ann Taylor, and BR, and JCrew… which leaves me in a tizzy about finding reasonably priced work clothes. Even when I can find it on sale, Theory doesn’t fit me right. Can we crowd source a solution here?!

  8. Allie,

    I agree with everyone else that the dress looks fabulous on you. But I have to say that I am angry at Ann Taylor. This was not an inexpensive dress. For the price I would expect much better quality. Shame on them. Now that you’ve not followed the cleaning instructions, I suppose you can’t take it back for a refund. I am sorry. Ann Taylor mistreated my friend and I am unhappy about that.


  9. Ugh, that should NOT have shrunk like that. Polyester is practically indestructible. I wash absolutely everything and rarely have had something like that happen. (I even wash leather. I washed my wedding gown. I am washing machine fearless.)

  10. Yeah, it’s hard to know when you can get away with machine washing and when you really have to dry clean. I just bought a top from the Kohl’s juniors’ department, which I haven’t done in years, and it said Dry Clean on it. Yeah no. Well, now, like your dress, it’s shorter than it was, and the hemline is kind of asymmetrical. Luckily, it wasn’t an investment at all. That really is a bummer about your dress!

  11. I know it doesn’t have good associations, but it does look lovely on you – the colour is great and it’s a nice tailored style. With a pair of opaques or patterned tights you’d be just fine for the length (it looks alright to me, but if you’re feeling uncomfy).

  12. And yet, you look AWESOME. That berry color is truly your shade. I understand you’re frustrated with the dress (no, I really do…I never follow dry clean only directions, and have lived to regret it), but you are totally rockin’ your outfit. Wish I had your confidence! I know I could wear similar outfits, but fall into the trap of “I really shouldn’t wear that”. I live in a town of 400, and sometimes feel trapped with wearing what I wear b/c it’s what I’ve always worn! After I started following your blog I bought some black heels that I wore all the time to work–and believe me, I heard about it all over town! Sheesh.

  13. I’ve been noticing that as well. Surprisingly though LOFT has seemed to step up their quality. Not sure how that all works out but glad I still have some work-friendly retail options.

  14. Ugh…I’ve been feeling that way lately about Banana Republic. Everything just seems so poorly made, which makes me sad because it used to be a go-to for work stuff.

    1. YES! I only have one recent BR thing, everything else I order and return or try on and don’t buy because it’s just not like it used to be in regard to quality. J. Crew seems to be getting better (they used to be awesome then get inconsistent), but with it, their prices are raising. So disappointing, all of them!

    2. I feel the same way about BR! I used to buy their sweaters and cardigans every season and now it seems like they shrink or pill, even with dry cleaning or careful washing. Ugh!

  15. My last two orders from Ann Taylor have been a train wreck, with literally every single item going back due to low quality. It’s depressing, because they’d be my go-to otherwise.

  16. I buy almost all of my work clothes from Ann Taylor. I totally agree about the quality. It used to be reliably top notch, now it’s hit or miss. Plus, they just discontinued my favorite perfume that I’ve been wearing for about five years. Frustrating!

  17. Oh no! I just bought that dress during the 50% off sale yesterday. I was planning to wear it to a work event next week. Perhaps I shoud return it and take a trip to Nordstrom or J. Crew.

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