The New Ann Taylor
Always a top favorite in my family of four female sisters, Ann Taylor has the most stylish and top quality made suits. So in doing my research, I asked my sister, Tracey, if she still shops there and she replied with a loud YES! and they have "the best coupons and sales!" Now, Ann Taylor has stepped it up again by doing a makeover on eight of its stores and we were lucky enough to check out the Costa Mesa concept store and get invited to their big unveiling party.
Before the big event, I snuck in to the Ann Taylor located at the South Coast Plaza. It is so clean, with white walls and shiny floors that it highlights all the clothes and I didn't know where to start. The shoes are placed on shelves like works of art and crystal chandeliers hang from the ceiling giving it a modern and clean feeling. In the dressing room, there are private lounge areas with modern lighting (no fluorescents here!) and a seating area for your friends so you can get their thoughts before you walk out with that purchase.
A multichannel touch screen in the lounge area taps right into their website if you can't find the size you are looking for in that store, then it's sure to be located on line or at another location. The day I went, there was also an extra helpful staff who didn't let me get 5 feet without a "may I help you" which always makes me smile. They were even nice enough to NOT point out to me that I was in the petite section while I was happily checking out all the gorgeous petite styles. I purchased a cute golden sleeveless shirt which will take me through the summer months, paired with white jeans for night time or a black skirt for business. I had to have a new pair of the wedge sandals to get me through my trip to New England too!
Now off to the Ann Taylor event! An elegant cocktail party at the Noguchi Garden in Orange County (that's the O.C. to you TV watchers) hosted with C Magazine and Ann Taylor was kind enough to make a donation to the local charity - Second Harvest Food Bank. The sandstone colors of the location were the perfect backdrop to highlight the different fashion displays laid out by the Ann Taylor team. There were bright aqua dresses, amazing jewelry cases and I was shocked to turn to my head and see.... a wedding dress! I didn't know that Ann Taylor has a whole wedding collection available exclusively online at www.anntaylor.com. Just in this display there was a long, chic looking wedding dress covered in a modern lace and 2 different styles of bridesmaid (or wedding guest) dresses in a coral color which happens to be a signature color of mine this summer due to my tan.
A few of the other guests and I met Andrew Taylor, the head of marketing and PR at Ann Taylor, who we showered with praise for the new store look. He explained the design idea for the store was a large runway down the center and intimate dressing rooms which give a boutique feel to the experience. Since I was surrounded by some tiny guests (and I am only 5' 5"), when I brought up the large selection of petites, the circle joined in to compliment Ann Taylor on always catering to the petite woman with not just cut downs of larger clothes but great styles all their own. I was a little jealous that I wasn't petite.
If you get the chance to visit an AnnTaylor concept store, trust me you will be blown away when you see their trendy updated looks for women with style. And don't forget to check out their wedding collection by logging on to www.anntaylor.com. If the old adage stands true of "always a bridesmaid, never a bride," then you better look hot while you are doing it!
South Coast Plaza, 3333 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, 714.754.1915, anntaylor.com
Having perfected a polished style for professionals, the chain is heading toward a more fashion-forward sensibility. The Chandler location is just one of eight concept stores, but Ann Taylor has plans to upgrade each location across the country.