Ann Taylor designer is a fan of all-day dressing

SAMANTHA CRITCHELL
The Associated Press
Modified: February 1, 2013 at 5:26 pm •  Published: February 1, 2013
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Day-to-night dressing doesn't quite cover it for most people. It's more like sunrise to bedtime, and the clothes need to be appropriate and comfortable for the long haul.

That means finding a look that blends in enough at business meetings, the bus stop and the coffee shop so the wearer doesn't draw too much attention — without giving up personal style.

Lisa Axelson, creative director of Ann Taylor, lives the life of so many working women: She balances duties of home, family and career with those things that change every day.

"Forget 'day-to-night.' You don't even have weekday versus weekend," Axelson says. That goes for clothes — and lifestyle. There are many people working from home, and they can end up turning a Sunday brunch date into a business meeting, she says. On the flip side, there's the school event scheduled smack in the middle of the workday.

She says she has to approach her day in a uniform that, more often than not (at least four days a week!), starts with black, tightly knit ponte pants that have a little Spandex in them.

Axelson recently spent a morning at Ann Taylor's renovated location in The Westchester shopping mall in White Plains, N.Y., pointing out the styles that she believes are the cornerstone of a woman's wardrobe in 2013. The store is set up like a closet, without a specific "suits section" or all the denim tucked in the back corner. Displays are more likely to be built around a color theme, or a versatile item.

Scarves, necklaces and other accessories get prime real estate, though, smack in the middle of the place. That's not by accident.

"I will change my accessories several times during the day. I have my commuter flats — every day it's the train-to-the-office trek — but I'm lucky to have a lot of choices at the office," she says. There's the sample closet and a predominantly female workforce at the company that started in 1954 with a shop at a hotel in New Haven, Conn.

On this day, she had taken off her fuzzy and warm winter boots upon arrival at the store, switched to heels — 2— inches is the sweet spot — and then went back to the boots on her way out.

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