I hope some of you got the little NPR wink above. This post is about Ann Taylor, not the NPR on-air personality, but the apparel brand that was established in 1954.
Paula made a joke on April Fool’s Day professing her love of Ann Taylor, Juicy Couture and Chico’s, three mainstream brands representing and catering to entirely different demographics.
In Paula’s latest musing she was verbally disgusted by my like of Blake “mainstream” Shelton. She accused me of having other mainstream skeletons in my closet. And she’s almost right.
One morning last week, at my local public school here in Brooklyn, I was kissing my daughter good-bye and wishing her a fantastic, fun day when I spotted Lucy. Lucy’s a fellow mom and hottie from England. She’s the head of our school’s PTA, has endless amounts of energy and enthusiasm, and is just all around lovely. On every occasion that I see her, she’s wearing something that’s admirable and more fashionable than the majority of the moms at 8:30 in the morning. This particular spring day, she had on a great chartreuse blouse which caught my eye immediately.
I asked her point blank where she got it…wondering if she would mind me getting one for myself. Quite embarrassed she mumbled under her breath, making sure no one heard her, “I got it at Ann Taylor.” Really?! We both looked at each other wide-eyed.
It just so happened that later on in the day, I found myself walking past an Ann Taylor at 5th Avenue and 47th Street. It was time to go inside—for the first time—ever.
I felt like an idiot walking through the AT doors at Rockefeller center, knowing my antique-pink mohawk wasn’t quite right for the career-wear hanging from the racks. I forged ahead anyway—Lucy’s blouse was calling me. Finding a few select things to try on, but not finding Lucy’s blouse, I was greeted by a shop girl named Aeralee.
I mean, look at her! Seriously. In that instant I knew I had something to write about.
None of them worked for me and I’m guessing not for many in their target, though the yellow dress is sold out on-line. The shell’s armholes were severely cut letting the underarm fat pour out and I don’t consider myself fat (what they’re showing on the model does not represent what they’re selling). I’d need to wear something over it and I don’t like to buy clothes that have limitations. The yellow summer dress was adorable but I wished that it was longer than it was. Mid-calf would have taken it out of ordinary and given it a little attitude. Not to mention, as I get older, I’m not a huge fan of exposing my legs from the knees on up. The pink dress was just ho-hum. I wished it ho’ed more than it did hum.
Judging from AT’s sales, they’re doing just fine. But I bet you they could be doing a whole lot better with a few design and styling adjustments. And they might just want to look to Aeralee, who’s right under their nose and already in their employment.
Aerelee is not the AT target, but she’s working there and making her Ann Taylor separates work for her (her blazer is AT, everything else besides the shoes are H&M). And like Aeralee, Lucy made that chartreuse blouse work for her in a casual, sporty, easy way.
Clothes are a funny thing. They run the gamut from really, supremely expensive, to super inexpensive and kind on the pocketbook. Still, no matter what the cost, it’s up to the individual to make their clothes fashionable. Shame on the person who thinks spending $500+ on anything makes them more fashionable. Because it doesn’t, won’t, and never will. Style comes from inside or with the help of a trusted someone. So next time you run into an Aeralee or someone that resembles her, ask for help and advice. It won’t cost you a thing. In fact, it just might save you some money.
Paula is right. In the future there might be a few more mainstream skeletons hanging in my closet next to Blake, because last week won’t be the last time I’ll walk through those Ann Taylor doors now that I’ve met Aeralee. And I’m even thinking of crossing the street and seeing who’s working at White House Black Market. They just might have something to show me.