Classic style through the ages

Ann Van Ryn sticks to her classic, comfortable look, ready for a day on the town or playing bridge.

Your Style - Ann Van Ryn
Ann Van Ryn on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022, in Rochester.
Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin
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Rochester was in the cards for bridge enthusiast Ann Van Ryn who has spent most of life here after growing up in Faribault, Minnesota, where she went to high school with her husband, Don. On the few of occasions when they lived elsewhere for his work, they made it a priority to bid Rochester hello again.

After going to college together, his job with IBM took them to Washington, D.C. But when starting a family, they were determined to be closer to home and soon moved to Rochester when he joined IBM here. And after transfers to London and Texas, the Van Ryns were back here permanently. Noting that she and her husband have been married for 61 years, she added, “I think it's a total of 54 years now that we've been here.”

“We loved being here,” Van Ryn said, noting that the couple has three children. “This was such a good place to raise our family. Rochester is a good place for so many reasons.”

Among those has been the opportunity to play bridge.

“I played in college. And then I stopped for a long time," she said. "When the kids were growing up, I played party bridge and eventually I somehow or other ended up going to a duplicate card game. And I just got fascinated by playing duplicate.”


Since, she has played in duplicate tournaments here and elsewhere throughout the state and the county. “I am not I'm not the top player at all by a long shot, but I love it. And I enjoy the people.”

Volunteering at Methodist and Saint Marys Hospitals has also been a passion.

“I helped at the Methodist Hospital for quite some time and was one of the buyers for the clothing sold there.” Very important as well, Van Ryn said, “I visited ostomy patients at Saint Marys and Methodist pre-op and post-op to ensure them that they would be able to deal with what is viewed as a difficult surgery.”

Your Style - Ann Van Ryn
Ann Van Ryn on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022, in Rochester.
Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin

How would you describe your style?

Classic. I'm on the conservative side.

Origins of your style?

My mother loved clothes, very much. She always was dressed to the nines, as they say. Both my brother and I grew up being instructed or guided by my mother and dad to dress appropriately for occasions, and probably more so than the average person.

Sources of inspiration?


In high school and, particularly, in college, and I guess even in my young adult life, I had friends interested in shopping and style. And I have had a very good friend, actually, who was the same size, which is on the small side. Sometimes we had a little bit of a challenge of finding clothes to fit, and she always was just so nice and was an inspiration to me or guided me.

What do you tend to wear to the bridge table and elsewhere around town?

I will say probably I'm always dressed for bridge. I mean, I usually have a blazer on or a coordinated outfit. I'm not wearing jeans. I'm usually wearing a blazer and black pants are a mainstay. I can also wear jackets or sweaters or tunics with black pants. … When I was raising my family, I was probably a lot more casual. My children, and especially my daughter, says, "Mother, you don't know how to dress down."

What do you hope your style communicates?

I really don't think about impressing other people or making an impression. I just want to be comfortable and enjoy what I'm wearing. So maybe it is that I value comfort and people see me as comfortable to be with.

Your most important wardrobe components?

Black pants. And a black sweater. You can do an awfully lot with those two items.

What should every well-dressed woman have in her wardrobe?


Clothes that you feel comfortable in. That's basically what I would tell anybody. Even if you're dressing fairly formally, you still want to be comfortable.

Do you have priceless, sentimental items?

Yes. I do. One of them is from my husband. When we lived in England, he bought me a letter fob of the kind used for a wax seal. He bought an antique gold chain for the fob and it is such a lovely necklace. … I also have a wonderful gift from my son. I think he was 7 years old, and he borrowed money from his grandfather, my dad, to buy me the tiniest little diamond on a gold chain. And so that's very special. … And then our three children, our two daughters and son, gave me a silver bracelet for my birthday that I treasure. … None of these are expensive, but they are priceless to me.

Tell us about some of your accessories?

I seem to only wear a couple pair of earrings, but have more necklaces and bracelets that are more diverse. … I only carry a couple of purses. I have a black bag and I have a camel bag and that's is it.

Do you have a preferred style season?

I love fall. The colors are good for me. And fall clothes are very comfortable for me also.

Your Style - Ann Van Ryn
Ann Van Ryn on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022, in Rochester.
Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin

Could we know a little about your footwear?

I actually prefer flat boots. As far as shoes, I tend, at my age now, to go to the lower shoes, too. I very seldom wear heels anymore. Flats are just much more comfortable. And flats have become so popular especially with leggings and tights, which I tend to wear also now.

Do you have a favorite shop in Rochester?

When I stopped working, and that was at a small real estate firm, I was recruited by Chico's. So I worked for them for 10 years. And Chico’s is my go-to store. That's where my clothing comes from.

Parting thoughts?

Appreciate being comfortable in your own style.

Your Style - Ann Van Ryn
Ann Van Ryn on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022, in Rochester.
Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin

Do you know someone who has unique style? Send nominations to with "Your Style" in the subject line.

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