Over its fifty-year legacy, Ann Taylor has amassed a reputation as the go-to destination for fashionable and affordable officewear. But starting with its fall 2009 collection, the retail giant has undergone a facelift—thanks in no small part to its newly appointed creative director Lisa Axelson, a veteran of Club Monaco and Banana Republic. Axelson made a name for herself that fateful season by introducing a range of decidedly different looks: boyfriend blazers, leopard-print ballet flats, and costume necklaces accented with faux crystals and pearls. At the brand's summer 2014 preview in Times Square last night, the trendiness continued—this time with nautical-inspired summer separates. Fortunately, the moderate prices still remain.
This season’s collection was an effort in mixing and matching, with a menswear spin: There were stitched sweaters paired with eyelet skirts, double-breasted cropped blazers layered over striped dresses, and your quintessential summer whites—smartly paired with nudes. One look, a navy lace skirt paired with a slouchy tee and a polka dot crossbody bag, would work dually well for the office or after-work drinks—a huge draw for career women, who make up a majority of Ann Taylor's consumer base. Each impeccably styled model stood against large-scale paintings of vacation locales, which, according to Axelson, were sketched from photographs on her own inspiration board. “The concept [of the collection] is the dream vacation infused in classic American style, with the influence of these far-off getaways,” she told InStyle.com.
The room was filled with Ann Taylor appreciators, including actress Jamie Chung, who gushed about her love for Axelson's menswear aesthetic (a nod to Axelson's own personal style). Her fandom was apparent in her outfit: Chung wore gingham tuxedo-stripe pants and a crisp white collared shirt layered under a navy knit sweater, paired with metallic silver brogues. “I love that some of the pieces really bring a masculine tone,” she told InStyle.com. “I’m all about the Bermuda pants, but still femming it up. Everything [Axelson] makes is wearable and comfortable, but still looks sophisticated and put-together.” We recommend she opt for look 11: a tailored white jacket and matching cropped pants—a warm-weather option that's perfect for work or play... or a getaway. Snap up the collection in stores or online at anntaylor.com on April 28.
Plus, see more stars wearing Ann Taylor!