Two market indices hit record highs yesterday (I won’t go into how useless they are as a measure of the economy; many others have covered the topic in the past) which adds yet another frothy layer to an economic outlook that bears an air of “irrational exuberance.”

Retail continues to teeter on the edge of collapse, pressured by both a tightening labor market and changing consumer behavior. And legacy retailers are among the hardest hit, as many are saddled with unforgiving infrastructure and outdated modus operandi.

Two fashion retailers that have been put on death watch happen to be brands that constitute the largest share of my work wardrobe: Both Ann Taylor and J. Crew are struggling to stem losses, but their diminishing cash flow doesn’t allow for a total overhaul and instead forces heavy discounting that harms brand equity.

(Mounting) financial issues aside, as I opined in a previous rant, the biggest issue facing J. Crew and Ann Taylor remains the lack of a clear brand identity, or the inhabitation of an identity that has fallen out of fashion (sorry). Recently, SNL poked fun at Ann Taylor in a sketch, and while the skit is delightfully tongue-in-cheek, it also highlights Ann Taylor’s inability to shake its boring/safe image.

So what I wanted to say before I went on this meandering rant is that both Ann Taylor and J. Crew are currently running fairly attractive sales as they struggle to sell products at full-price. If you are actively looking for new additions to your closet and haven’t shopped either of these sales, I would recommend browsing both.

At Ann Taylor, take 50% off select full-price styles with code GOODWORK. You can stack code THANKS7 for $50 off orders over $100. With these two codes, the maximum discount possible is 75% off. If you have ShopRunner (membership is free for PayPal and some Amex cardholders), the threshold for free 2-day shipping is $25. Otherwise add some sale styles (an extra 40%-60% off depending on category for a limited time) to your order to meet the $125 free shipping minimum. The Short Trench Coat and Flutter Sleeve Wrap Jumpsuit (see on me here) have been restocked in select sizes.

Pochette Satchel (on sale in two colorways)

And at J. Crew, sale styles are an extra 50% off with code SOGOOD until 04/26/19. While the sale in early April was fairly effective in moving merchandise, there are still 900+ women’s styles in the sale section. In addition to the Textured Lady Cardigan featured in this post, I would also recommend the Lady Jacket in Multicolor Cobalt Tweed with Braided Trim, which is very well reviewed, and the Point Sur Washed Wide-Leg Crop Pant. Some more sale picks:

Happy shopping!

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