Aiming high

Fashion journalists have been talking for a while about "masstige"--the phenomenon of luxury lines extending their brands into more affordable product lines. Now it looks like Ann Taylor is attempting to move in the other direction. The company is putting a new line into its stores known as "Collection", which will feature more expensive buttons and linings, among other things.

I don't wear a lot of suits, and anyway it looks like the clothes will be slightly more expensive versions of Ann Taylor's studiously inoffensive main line, so it's hard to see myself snapping up a ton of these items. On the other hand, the company does a booming business in places like DC, where if fits the conservative dress code of most offices. You can't swing a cat in downtown Washington without sending it through the petites department of an Ann Taylor Loft; it seems to be to our nation's capital, what Starbucks and Duane Reade drugstores were to my former home. So I'm sure the new line will do quite well.