Where do you go?
Don’t pretend you don’t know.
The woman in Washington wants to get it right, all of it — dressing, working, succeeding. The woman in Washington may find the sartorial portion of this success slightly tiresome. She may wish there were Garanimals for grown-ups.
And so she goes to Ann Taylor.
Is Ann Taylor Garanimals for grown-ups?
Ann Taylor is the capital of Appropriate Attire. It’s where aspiration meets motivation meets resignation, and that is why it is perfect for Washington. It represents the vision of what having a Big Job in Washington should look like — how it will involve breakfast meetings and shell tops, policy change and wide-leg trousers. Your life is about to catch fire, and when it does, you are going to be wearing a prim new pencil skirt.
Let’s go shopping, at a newly remodeled store on 13th Street NW, a new “new concept” store that smells like adulthood and tropical wool.
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“This is the first time I’ve worn civilian attire in 11 years,” says Sarah Thomas, 33, flipping through tweedy pant after tweedy pant on a rack at a downtown Ann Taylor. She’s been in the military, just got to Washington, needs to look office-y.
“Back in Rhode Island, it was a mixture of beach and prep,” says Hala Furst, 29, methodically attacking a row of work-to-weekend tops. She’s been in law school, just got to Washington, needs to look office-y.
For four months, this Ann Taylor store has been closed for refurbishing. Today, a rainy weekday afternoon, is its grand reopening. It is one of the brand’s “new concept” remodels — they are updating all of their 272 stores across the country to make them peppier, more current. This is the first remodel to open in the District.
Today, the store is bustling with women on the splurge. Attractive men ferry mini-crab cakes and brownies back and forth to the crowd of purposeful shoppers.
There is no lingering here, for the lunchtime buyers of the fitted blazer. The pilgrimage to this store is not a pleasure cruise but a necessary expedition for the noble civil servant, the powerful attorney, the CPA for the NGO. The office workers of Washington have come here, to the home of their patron saint.
“I have some serious history with Ann,” says Jeannine Gibson, 44, who purchased a cobalt blue dress that exactly matches the color of her company’s logo.
The history: She moved to the District by accident 20-odd years ago. Her car broke down on Route 66 as she was stopping through on her way to grad school. By the end of the summer, she hadn’t scraped together the money to fix the car, so she decided that it was a sign: Skip grad school. Stay in Washington. Get a grown-up job. The job she found was on K Street. She needed suitable clothes. She went to Ann Taylor.