Petite Lookbook - Crazy for Paisley

It's no secret that J.Crew petite sizing irks me. Numerous posts have been done showcasing the ill fit... the saggy City Pant and Wool Stretch Jacket in 0P on AlterationsNeeded, and the frump-a-licious Skimmer Pant in 00p on Pint-Sized Musings, just to name a few. Despite all the confirmation that J.Crew is not for tiny petites, silly me ended up impulsively buying a dress on final sale. But worry not ... a quick trip to Hemmingway Tailors was all it needed!

Revealing...the J.Crew Terra Paisley Dress, post-alterations:
Dress: J.Crew Terra Paisley Shift in P0 (alterations : straps shortened, sides taken in, hemmed)
Sweater: Aqua Kids cashmere bolero in girls sz L
Shoes: Aldo satin Arnoldoa pumps (sold here)

This dress has proven to be ridiculously versatile - it looks nice as a "skirt" when peeking out under a black cardigan or jacket, it's classy with heels for dinner, and chic for a night out when worn with ankle booties.

Shop this look in petite-friendly sizes:

The Bold Patterned Dress
I looked long and hard online and couldn't find anything similar to the above dress! Bummer : ( Some other picks, though:

1. Nanette Lepore Exotic Shift Dress in 0 - so $$, I can only dream!
2. Ann Taylor Petite Patterned Sheath Dresses (in leopardgraphic or pink floral) in 00P

I have never tried on anything from Lily Pulitzer so I can't attest to the sizing, but I have a sinking feeling that it's not petite-friendly. I usually do not care for their bright and busy garments, but I rather like this classic sheath with gold lace. Have any petites tried this brand in size 0?

The Kiddie-Department Shrug
1. Nordstrom Girls Bolero Sweater in L or XL
2. Flowers by Zoe L/S Shrug in L or XL (no large sizes left online, but check Bloomies in-store)

I'm lovin' this little cashmere shrug from Aqua kids (Bloomingdales in-house line). Not bad for $30 something during their winter sale! I've been wearing it non-stop with all my higher-waisted dresses. I like digging for boleros or shrugs in the children's department, since the typical "short n' wide" fit issue doesn't apply!

Let's look at the dress again pre-alterations with baggy arm holes and shapeless waist and hips (see old post here). Oh...and is that the dreaded underarm flab I see peeking out of the arm holes?
 And after the ladies at Hemmingway did their magic:
The dress has a side zipper and side pockets, which complicates alterations. My tailors ended up taking the torso in along the two back darts, resulting in a larger front panel than back - oh well! The loose arm holes were surprisingly fixed by taking up each strap by an inch or so. As for the hem, this dress is intended to hit at the knee (per the J.Crew model pic), but I had it shortened so that the busy print would not overwhelm my frame.
Perfectly done - clean alterations both inside and out! Total cost: $40 including a 20% discount. Very hefty price for alterations alone, but I have no regrets since I've already worn this 3x in the past month!
I had been in a serious frenzy hunting for a printed silk sheath after seeing this little number by Nanette Lepore on ChloeConspiracy. How gorgeous is that outfit? The J.Crew find couldn't have come at a better time ... my bf was ready to bop me on the head if he heard me babble about "Chloe's NL dress" one more time.

I loved this dress so much I wore it to dinner the night I got it back. Here's a photo of it "in action." Silly bf could not stop stuffing his face with pork chops for one second : )
I'm very sorry for the delayed responses to comments and emails - they are much appreciated! After 13 hours of staring at small numbers on a comp, I just want to trudge back to the hotel and pass out, so I've been checking and responding on weekends. CFA books haven't even been cracked! I think I'm gonna make it a goal to post 1x a week...any suggestions or requests are welcome : )


  1. Wow, they did an amazing job. The dress looks so sophisticated now that it fits perfectly!

  2. You look *great*! But holy cow, that is an insanely close dupe to the Nanette Lepore Cafe Sheath dress that I have- in fact, that's what I first thought you were wearing!

    I do really like the colors of the J Crew, though, and I think they're much more versatile from winter into spring than the print on the NL dress (which run dark and deep and rich and very autumn-y). I might have to hunt this dress down for a "summer" version to have, mmhm.

  3. that is a lovely dress! you look great in it :) the pattern on it reminds me of traditional culture-inspired prints yet it is still so chic. too bad we don't have j.crew in canada :(

  4. They did a great job on altering that dress. It looks seriously amazing now. Well worth the price of the alterations.

  5. cute dress! they did an amazing job. the patterns really cute too. too bad theres no j.crew in toronto :( you know what? a friend of mine saw your blog and thinks that we look alike. who knows, maybe we really were separated at birth lol

    ps. i would love for you to enter my giveaway :)

    xx lue

  6. Fantastic alterations! Esp the pockets...for me, they make a "meh" dress become a " Pockets! This is PERFECT!"

  7. The alterations on that dress turned out really well! I'm so glad your tailors were able to fix it up for you! And the shorter length is perfection! Another great addition to your wardrobe.=)

  8. frankly, you look too short.

  9. the alternations turned out great! the dress fits so much better and I love how the print looks with your dark hair. very elegant. also love how you paired it with the cashmere bolero. cute pic of you and the bf stuffing his face btw lol

  10. p.s. I'm adding you to my blogroll :)

  11. Great alterations and I like that you took up the length. Chloe's NL dress was exactly what I was thinking when I first saw you post about the Jcrew dress, great find! Glad the alterations worked out.

  12. you look amazing :) i love the dress and the alterations done, it suits you really well. :)

    lovin' your blog! adding you to my blogroll :)

  13. Oh wow that paisley is GORGEOUS. I love digital prints now and this is SO on trend :)

  14. I love the dress. I wanted to wear more bold prints too but I can never find one that I like enough or one that will actually look good on me.

  15. I love your dress. It suits you :D

  16. I love the dress! the pattern is interesting and yet very classy, definitely something you can keep on wearing over and over :)

  17. Gorgeous print! & Gorgeous couple you & your BF make.

    As for the jacket on the side ->
    I quite like the one that you purchased. I took a look at the one on the website and the colour looked darker and too plain in comparison.
    Im not sure if the photo is an exact representation of the jacket, but I like the light colour of the one that you purchased.

    PS. Aren't little brothers adorable? Do you live far from your little bro?

    -Jess Mai

  18. Such a pretty dress! Good job, b/c paisley is soo hard to pull off well. Your tailors are amazing!

  19. thanks for your lovely comment, you're such a sweetheart. I say save up and get that Nanette Lepore dress, it's so cute! OR tell the bf if he wants to get you to shut up about it, then perhaps he could help fund it ;) hahaha just sayin'!

    any way, I was wondering if you started a Twitter account to tweet about all your great posts? I know you're not the only petite out there who has trouble finding clothes that fit, so I did a quick tweet about your blog :)

    my twitter:

    thanks again! xo

  20. It looks beautiful on you!! OMG I thought a petite couldn't pull that off but I was wrong!

  21. wow, the dress looks great on u! i agree, it's very versatile!

  22. Do you have a suggestion for a good strapless bra?

  23. Thanks guys for the generous compliments : ) Anon - for a petite-fitting strapless bra, fellow blogger AlterationsNeeded ( did some posts recently on great ones that she got from the little bra company. Definitely check out her posts!

  24. Your blog is God-sent!!! I'm barely 5 feet tall and finding items to fit has been a challenge my while life, everyone jokes I shop in the kids My issues also include being a 32D and having wide hips and no butt...LOL, tmi, sorry!

    The dress looks great on you! A tailor must be our best friend! You are UBER cute!!!

  25. btw - I'm adding you to my blogroll!

  26. wow, so cute dress!

    and please visit my blog... it's only a month old and all and I would greatly appreciate it!

  27. Hi Janeen! How sweet of you. I have a hard enough time finding clothes as is - can't imagine with added curves like that? Wrap tops and wrap dresses are probably your best friend!

  28. beautiful dress!!

    do send me some love over at


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