Sunday, August 11, 2013
I received this outfit courtesy of Ann Taylor for this Thursday's Boston event (RSVP here), but wanted to do a detailed and honest review on each of the pieces. There is currently 40% off everything both online and in-stores - not sure when the promo ends. My personal favorite item this season is their chevron skirt, and actually ordered this back when it first came out. I wore it in my last post with a top tucked in, and also tried it un-tucked and belted as shown here. This look is a little mature for me (looks better on the model), but I'll give it another shot with a more casual hairstyle.
1. Ann Taylor Regents Striped skirt
Fit: From my experience, most non-stretch, non-blousy pieces from AT/LOFT usually do not fit me right off the rack. Shopping such pieces now boils down to which ones are worth getting alterations on. This skirt was too big in the waist, but I could tell the flared silhouette would be extremely flattering, and the colors would be easy to pair with neutrals or even brights (like a kelly green). The cut is a happy medium between my usual conservative pencil shapes, and the poofier styles that may be too youthful.
On this skirt, I had the waist taken in from both sides for $15 (the tailor must've been in a good mood, as he usually charges $20-25 for zipper re-attachment). By having the waist sit higher, the length of the skirt was also raised from mid-knee to a flattering right-above-the-knee. The 00 Petite measured 13" across the waist pre-alterations, and 20" length.
Quality: Fully lined, side zipper. As much as I love the design, I wish that the outer material (60% rayon, 27% poly, 13% nylon - dry clean only) was better quality with less rayon. Another issue is the consistency of the stripes lining up. The design of the front and back are not completely symmetrical (a little longer and more flared in the back), so I understand it may be difficult to have the stripes matched up down both sides. However, there should be no excuses about the front and back chevrons being off down the center. The skirt I received thankfully had chevrons that lined up down the front and back center, but I saw a few other skirts in-store (even the one in the stock photo!) where they unfortunately do not match.
2. Ann Taylor Tailored Peplum Top (only left in regular & tall sizes online, but found mine in-stores)
This navy top is very nondescript, but I noticed it early amongst the new arrivals because of the tailored structure and clean lines. I like that the skirt flares out minimally, not like an overdone frilly peplum. I thought this would look elegant over slim trousers, or even over a pencil skirt in the same navy material.
Fit: It was a little loose on me throughout, but could've passed as-is just for wearing over pants and skirts. When belted snugly, however, you can see above how the extra material bunches up. Also, I wanted to be able to wear it tucked into skirts, thus got alterations to slim down the sides from the armholes through the waist. There is a side zipper and the top is fully lined, so this job cost $20. Unfortunately, I forgot to take measurements before dropping this off at the tailor.
Quality: I was surprised by the quality of this top in-person. This poplin-like material (64% cotton, 31% nylon, 5% spandex) is of good weight, has the right amount of stretch, and did not wrinkle after a day of wear.
For footwear, I had a tough time debating between the patent leopard pumps (they look more "tortoise" to me) and these neutral cap-toes. Although I liked the tortoise shoes, I did not recognize them as the "PP" style until I saw the description online. I've been buying PPs for 3 years....my first pairs had full leather uppers, leather lining, and leather soles, and my later pairs had synthetic soles and lining (not 100% sure about lining as it's not disclosed anywhere, but that is my guess). I didn't mind the rubber soles as long as the feminine almond toe and overall comfort were still there.
This season, AT's shoes were designed with the aid of Vince Camuto. There are new styles that I like, but the PP design is now very different from what it used to be. The biggest change -and saddest, for me- is that the toe is now wider and more round than almond. The retail price remains lower at $128 (used to be $155+), the soles and lining are still synthetic, and there is more cushioning inside. My friend who has never tried the original PPs thought they were great, but I miss the old design.
3. Lara leather cap toe pumps (2 colors)
I went with the cap toe pumps because the silhouette was more sleek, and the leather upper felt soft and of good quality. The pointy toes are not too narrow, thus did not pinch my toes like many other pointy shoes do. The 3.5" heel and newer thicker cushioning is comfortable, and I've walked quite a bit around the city in these already. I am trying to show the true rose-gold color of the cap toes versus what's in the stock photo online. I took my usual AT size 5 (for reference, usually take 5.5 at BR/ J.Crew).
4. Bowtie Clutch (4 colors)
This is an adorable little bag for errands or a night out - already picked one up for a friend. The material is synthetic leather which can be a plus or minus depending on what you prefer. I prefer genuine leather, but the quality of this synthetic is soft and not bad.
I love the bow + tassel details (favorite color is the preppy green with navy) and how much the clutch holds, but would've preferred one large pouch instead of two conjoined little ones. When the two pouches fill up, they can get bulky width-wise.
5. Pearlized statement necklace
Last but not least, my favorite accessory from AT this season. This piece instantly dresses up a basic or solid outfit. I've always had a penchant for pearls and chains, and this takes the guesswork out of mixing and matching jewelry in the morning. The faux pearls don't look too faux in-person, and the metallic gray beads add versatility to the color scheme. My biggest fear with costume jewelry is that the cheaper metals will quickly tarnish or turn green. Unfortunately, I can't tell whether or not this necklace is destined down that path - if it does happen, I will be sure to post an update. My older AT costume pieces have held up very well, but I know quality is ever-changing.
Drop length is about 15" at the longest strand. Weight of this piece on my scale is 6.5 oz (for reference for anyone who has the AT cabochon necklace, that registered at 4.5 oz).