Ann Taylor Petites Chiffon Ruffle Shell is Back

It's back! It's back! Twitter friends already know the news, but my all-time favorite shell from Ann Taylor (as seen in my blog banner) is back - in seven colors. This was a Winter 2009 find from the regular Ann Taylor, and it was so popular it has been remade for the Ann Taylor Factory (outlet). The best part? It's on sale, and you can probably get your hands on one even if you live nowhere near an outlet.
Jacket: Theory Gratian blazer in "Lecture" sz 00
Shell: Ann Taylor Factory Chiffon Ruffle Shell sz XXSP
Jeans: Gap Legging Jeans in "faded dark" sz 00P

This top is perfect for wearing under suiting, blazers, and cardigans. When I don't have time to think in the mornings, I will just reach for this safe option. There are some differences between the 2009 and 2011 versions though.

2009: Retailed for $38, 1-2 inches longer, lower neckline, 94% rayon / 6% spandex (super pill-y)
2011: Retails for $39.99, shorter, slightly higher neckline, 60% cotton / 40% modal. I like it better!!

2009 in Soft Pewter (left) and 2011 in black (right), both XXSP:
Fit of the 2011 XXSP:
Continue reading to find out how to order these tops...

My local outlet had just one color in my size, and needless to say I wanted more. I've worn my old one to pill-y pieces. The S.A. helped me place an order in their computer system, and any store that had the color and size I wanted should fulfill the order. Cost for shipping is around $7.50, but if you have an Ann Taylor or LOFT card, shipping is FREE! I was surprised because the top was 40% off and normally free shipping is for full priced items. The S.A. said this was a "promo" and not a "sale" (i.e. no sale sticker on the tag) so shipping is still free for cardholders. I ended up ordering Deep Blue, Mud Bath, and Seahorse (a teal blue) at $23.99 a piece.

It was $23.99 because of their current 40% off promotion. This ends Monday, I believe. The best time to call a store is probably right when they open, or if you can't do that - an hour before they close. I was amazed and appreciative of how much time the SAs took to help me - looking around on the mannequins, in the back stockroom, looking in the system, calling around - considering the store was jam-packed.
I did a little dance when I also saw this chiffon petal top at the outlets, on sale as well for $23.99. Kelly introduced us to this top, and I wasted no time in ordering it. It adds just the perfect amount of detail peeking out from under a blazer or sweater. The outlet had this in Winter White and Pink - I ordered the Winter White. I don't have the tag, but PetiteXXS shared the item #: 256317
While there, I took the opportunity to try on their Factory perfect pumps. I like that the Factory carries shoes starting in 5.5 in store, whereas the regular store starts at 6 to 6.5. The silhouette of these are exactly like their regular perfect pumps (sold here), which I am in love with and wear every day. Unfortunately, the Factory versions are all faux-leather. For $70 (plus 40% off) I would still rather pay more and get the leather version. Same with their perfect skinny belts - tons of colors to choose from at the outlet, but sale price was $14 for fake leather that felt like plastic. You can score the real leather version (sold here) from their regular store during 40% off sales for just $4 more.

Factory perfect pumps - black patent (left) and dark pewter (right) - sz 5.5:
My only other outlet purchase was this Banana Republic wool blend sheath dress as seen on JetSetMeg (last photo). I liked the silky ribbon details around the waist and the slight gathering below. This dress requires no alterations on me (I could get the hips slimmed). The torso fits me perfectly and I don't recommend this for someone with a bigger chest.
Dress: Banana Republic Factory sz 00P
There were 3 of these left at my local outlet...and all of them happened to be size 00P. That is definitely evidence that it runs small! Since it was on sale for a good price, I picked up all three in case someone else is interested. I am selling for $32 plus shipping & handling (approx $5) and I'll ship to US or Canada. Material is 41% wool, 27% poly, 24% viscose, 8% nylon. Fully lined, retailed for $110. Sold!

I also tried on the following skirts in 00P. The left abstract one was $36 after discounts, and the right ( a very thick black and white tweed) was $30 after discounts. Neither spoke to me, so I passed.
That's it for my outlet post! I thought I'd have to fight dear Vicky for the sz 00 Theory items, but Theory wasn't happenin' this time around. I did run into her at BR, swapped coupons, chatted endlessly, and took an obligatory twitpic with her and her adorable little photographer : )


  1. thank you so much for posting this! I love that top and now I think I may just have to go make a stop to the outlets in a bit to see if they have any in my size. and that BR dress looks lovely! i'm going to email you offline now about it. ;) ps i'm a new reader to your blog and i love your style.

  2. Oh, both those tops are adorable! I'm wishing we had Ann Taylor in Canada now!

  3. oh that ruffle top is so pretty! ann taylor factory is so far away from me though. What are the seven colors it comes in?

  4. Ty for the heads up. I just got off the phone with AT Factory, and ordered the Chiffon Ruffle Shell in Dusty Mauve, Soft Pewter, and Black, and the Chiffon Petal Top in Winter White. I'm excited to get them in the mail.

    P.S. I forgot to let you know I got my items in the mail last week. Both the blazer and H&M dress are lovely as well as the extra gifts. I ate the chocolate right away, haha :p.

  5. I have to echo the words from aviva, where can we find the colors or better yet color swatches? =0P It is really funny (and a relief) that the ruffle shell top comes in a smaller and more proportional size than the ones years back.
    I really adore that black dress from BR. I already emailed you inquiring about it, I'm not sure if I need to size up or not.

  6. Tana - I'd call ahead because I was told that the top sold QUICK! Some SA's said they'd be getting more tomorrow though...and then others said the wouldn't so who knows.

    Aviva and Hanna - maybe someone will tweet swatches. In person I only saw Black, Soft Pewter, Deep Blue, Seahorse (see swatch here: ), but I heard on Twitter about the colors Mud Bath (I'm guessin brown), Dusty Mauve (the same color as my chiffon petal tank in this post), and a purple of some sort.

    LaLaaLove - what a bummer. I think AT would do really well in Canada!

    Nancy - oh good!! I'm so glad. I hope they'll have enough to fulfill all these orders lol ... mine are probably still pending from yesterday!

  7. Oh, wow. I own the black Banana Republic sheath pictured above in size 0P (bought it in winter 09 at the regular store) and I love it, but it looks a lot shorter on me and more fitted in the hips. I remember trying on the 00P and thinking it was running way small. I am starting to feel tall and large all of a sudden LOL :)

  8. Oo I agree, the 2011 version fits you a lot better! I think the higher neckline is a big plus for petites - most tops are usually too low cut for me in the front.

  9. What is the item for the Banana Black sheath dress?

  10. i totally love the 3 items you got for yourself! :)

  11. I mean what is the item # for the black dress. I want to look it up. Thanks

  12. @Alex Winter 09 sizing for BR was probably a tad smaller than it is now! I had to blog sale some of my very first 00P items from there as I couldn't even zip them up, and now their 00P is hit or miss.

    @swanprincess I think it is 149814, called the BR Ribbon dress. I hope you can locate one in your size!

  13. Great outlet finds...thanks for the info!

  14. what is the last three #? They can't find it. I need the rest of the numbers. Thanks

  15. swanprincess - here's the tag for you:

  16. Thank you Jean! I placed my order just now! So happy right now :). The dress looks so nice and pretty on you, I could not resist to buy it. The dress only cost around $27 ish something!! Yeah!! Thanks again

  17. It is so hard to resist ordering both tanks in all the colors available...though I still haven't picked up the phone yet because I can't decide what colors to order. So many choices...!

    Thanks for the heads up again about the terrific sales, I recently got an AT card so will probably put them to use and get free shipping!

  18. Love the 2011 shell...i may have to pay a visit to BR when I get back into town. Thanks for sharing :)

    <3, natasha
    twenty-something blog
    Enter the COSMOPOLITAN subscription giveaway!

  19. I tried on the abstract skirt the last time was at the br outlet and was so bummed about how huge the 00p was!...I didn't see the tweed skirt, but I really like it! It looks like it has blue and brown tints to it, but I'm wondering if it really does?

    The sheath dress looks so pretty on you btw!

  20. LOL...we got the same AT items! I got the ruffle shell in black, and the petal shell in winter white is getting shipped to me. The SA also told me they were getting a new shipment on Monday, so hopefully all these ladies will be able to get their xxsp tops too! I kinda want the ruffle shell in soft pewter (saw it in regular sizes and now I'm still thinking about it). I have a post coming with my haul (nothing new since I got the same stuff as you basically) either tonight or tomorrow morning.

  21. I love all the tops you picked up. I have a soft spot for ruffles, and am glad to see these ruffles aren't all in your-face-kinda thing. Subtle and just enough.

    I love the dress and the ribbon detail to give it just enough interesting focal point. I may have preferred for it to be a slight shorter on you. Overall, LOVE everything in this post.

    On another note, where are the outlets in Boston? I didn't know outlets are around here.

  22. As soon as I saw you posted this, I drove really quickly to my local outlets and bought two ruffled tops! I got the green and blue ones - so pretty! Thanks for posting this (though my wallet doesn't thank you as much, haha).

  23. I was at an Ann Taylor outlet (in Woodbury Common, in NY) this past weekend, and I was actually disappointed. The quality was lacking tremendously compared to their normal stores, whereas I found the quality of the clothes in the J.Crew and Banana Republic outlets to either be as good as in the regular store, or for the factory-exclusive clothing, pretty decent.

    Last spring, I bought a beautiful silk dress on sale at a regular Ann Taylor store, marked down from $158 to $99. I saw what was supposed to be this same dress at the factory store- only it was polyester and the quality was TERRIBLE! Yet they were selling it at $119! Needless to say it didn't leave a good impression on me. And I didn't see these adorable ruffle tops there- the selection was seriously lacking for petites.

  24. Damn, I totally missed the buzz on this post! I LOVE all the items you picked up!

  25. @Elizabeth Omigosh, I KNOW! I normally loathe the AT or LOFT Factory, because the materials and quality are noticeably worse than the regular stores. In my last few trips to the outlet, I didn't even stop at these two stores anymore. This time I was already walking towards my car, but I was so disappointed at my luck at the outlets that I heaved a sigh and decided to peek into Ann Taylor Factory. I was skeptical when I first saw these tops, and immediately looked at the material tag. It is a rare case that the Factory material seems to be better than the regular material was (but that was truly pilly and awful). And yes, I did pay MORE for the factory items than I did in winter of 2009. Oh well - I am happy with these cotton/modal tops, and I'm sorry to hear your store was so lacking : )

    @Gracie Looking at the photos, I think it does need to be shorter : ) And the outlets are at Wrentham - about one hour outside of Boston. BUT I just found out yesterday that there is an Ann Taylor outlet in Watertown at the Atrium mall...I've passed by there so many times and never knew.

    @Betherboo I like how you specified that you drove REALLY quickly : ) If I didn't have an Ann Taylor card for free ship, I would have done the same to the next closest outlet store. I'm so glad you were able to find them, in pretty colors nonetheless!

    @Elle There's no harm in getting more then deciding after they've arrived! I'm sure your Australian friend Megan wouldn't mind the ones you decide not to keep ; )

    @Alterations Needed West coast twin, as usual! We have a knack for unknowingly picking up the same exact that fuschia pink BR outlet top from 3 years ago, lol!

  26. Thanks for the info, Jean. I didn't get a chance to shop at all this weekend :( I am going to call tomorrow and see if I can place an order. Free shipping definitely is a plus! I also like the dress on you. It's a nice change from a typical sheath dress. Have a great week!

  27. Thanks Jean for tweeting about the shells!! As u already know I got all colors and then ended getting black when I saw it in person today at my outlet:-)

    And I just realized I tried on that skirt today at BR with the matching tweed blazer but passed cuz the blazer was a bit pricey and the skirt needed waist and hem alterations.

    I did get the gray version of the BR tweed dress...I was ecstatic when I saw a 00p left- pricey but u know me and my sheath dresses! can't get enough! Lol

  28. I caved and called back to add another color (deep blue) to my order that's yet to be shipped lol. Btw do you have any experience with how well modal holds up? I had a Jockey cami that I thought was modal and it pilled quite a bit too... but I'm not really sure if it was modal or not.

    What an awesome price for that BR dress... I think I paid $70+ for my plain black BR sheath dress way back when, not to mention the added cost of alterations.

  29. the shell is super cute! i like the new fit too. i can't believe the br dress fits without any alterations! i'm too lazy to go to the outlets, heeehee. i think the nearest one is about an hour away. i'm going to stop by AT tomorrow and hopefully there are some good stuff on sale.

  30. Those shells are downright delicious! (yes, delicious :))... I'm going to cave and call my AT Outlet in the morning and see what I find there. Winter White sounds good, but the other colors sound just as tempting... didn't have time to go today otherwise I would have been all over them! Glad to hear AlternationsNeeded, that there will be more shipped today/Monday ^_^. Will still call though and maybe have it held?

    Love all the things you got Jean - nice to see that the BR dress fit so well! I picked up my first perfect pumps at the AT at UTC, and now I know why you love them so much!

  31. I like that the AT factory shell is shorter. Better fit.

    Thank you swanprincess for bugging Jean to get the tag for you b/c I was curious myself. Actually, I've been looking for a black sheath dress.

    Jean, what is it with you and the popularity of certain items? I swear, you blog/tweet about it and it just becomes an instant hot commodity amongst your readers. and the word is spread like wildfire across this community and it becomes a cult favorite. You should get endorsed for your tweets.

  32. Bummers. I just called three stores, one only had XS in stock but was kind enough to give me two numbers that did have the XXSP in stock, but the other two stores told me they dont take phone orders and that 1. i would have to go to an outlet to place an order or 2. place the other online.

    Guess I'll be missing out on this beautiful top, which looks lovely on you btw!

  33. disappointed...I called two stores near me and they said I can't order over the phone!

  34. dang...I also called two stores near me, and was told I couldn't order over the phone. I guess I'll be missing out on this gorgeous top then :(

  35. Hopefully I find this on my next trip to US next month. Love the detail. Thank you for blogging it. Ladies: please leave an xsp for me.

  36. @grace nice nice! I hope you got them at a good price because you found them in-store. I always get jealous seeing the markdowns in-store for the size 6's and up!

    @AubreyOhDang! Many ladies are responsible for discovering petite favorites! Kelly with the Gratian jacket, Prosephina with the ruffle cardis...I've just had good luck shipping lately ; ) I saw you and Grace did a joint order. How cute...SD shopping budddies ; )

    Pauline, Linda, and Aviva...I don't think they "take phone orders" per se. Hope AT doesn't come at me...but I think the key is to say you saw them in store but your store didn't have your size. And you just found out you can order them in the system from another store, because your local store didn't carry your size. If the store DOES have your size in stock, then I can see how they may say they can't do the order. I would try calling again (or a different store) with this approach. I know many ladies were able to successfully order over the phone, so I hope you ladies can too before today's sale is over! It's definitely one of my favorites.

    @Canadianpetite Hehe, I sure hope there will be some left for your visit here : ) Stores should definitely make items that sell that quickly, in all sizes (my store had probably just one left in each color).

  37. I've been lurking on some of the petite blogs (yours, Reallypetite, Alterationsneeded, etc.) over the last couple of months, after tossing almost all the contents of my closet and starting over (Christmas present from my hubby who is a professional Santa). I thought I might have missed out on the shells. I was at my nearest AT outlet - 1.5 hours away - on Sunday and did NOT see them. But when I called this morning, Tuesday, I was told they had just gotten them in last night. The clerk kindly told me all the colors available in my size and I had no problems ordering over the phone. I chose 4. She even called me later to let me know they were ready to ship tomorrow. And they were still 40% off as well! I only hope they fit; if not, returns are accepted just like the regular store.

  38. Hey! I'm not seeing this dress online... no longer at the Banana Republic? It seemed like the perfect dress for my shape (all hip, no chest) and I have a style similar, but this one looks super nice! Looks like I've missed out on the sale from you as well. I'm up in Canada, so they wouldn't carry these there... they have some stuff now, but not dresses from what I can see!

    @canadianpetite, while you're down there, can you pick me up one? I will pay paypal or whatever if need be. :) lol Your nickname gave away that your from here. ;)

  39. I'm crossing my fingers that the local AT outlet still has a few of these left in my size. It's exactly what I've been looking for to add to my wardrobe. May I ask...which location did you shop at? I'm in the Boston area too.

  40. I love top ruffles it adds charm to the bearer


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