Ann Taylor Petites and H&M Conscious Collection Reviews

**4/15 Update**
I went back to H&M today specifically to find this little peplum top. It was my instant favorite from the price list for wearing on hot summer days, and quite affordable at $12.95. It reminds me of my well-loved TopShop floral tee, except that was an overpriced $40. Good news: I found a sz 2 in a pretty floral print, versus plain white. Bad news: it's tagged at $18.
While there, I also stumbled upon this safari-esque orange & cream circle skirt for a mere $9.95. I've been looking for bright, easy-to-wear skirts for summer that aren't too short (the winds are gusty here in Boston!). XS was sold out so I took home an S. It's 100% cotton so it will hopefully shrink.
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As detailed in my previous post, the Ann Taylor family of stores is having an epic 40% off your entire purchase (regular & sale items) promo from today until Sunday. No coupon needed in-stores. I popped into my local store and there were so many cute finds to be had. Even with 40% off though, items were still pricey, so I limited my purchase today to favorites only.

1. Knit Jersey Striped Crossover Dress in XXSP, $88 retail & Citrine Belt in XS
This is pretty much gone online, but it's worth hunting down in-stores. I believe there's free shipping for AT cardholders. This navy and white dress was love as soon as I put it on. The knit material grazes my figure nicely but is not snug (aka no dreaded "S" shape at the tummy & tush). The faux-wrap V neckline is perfect and I love the side gathered pleats.

I've been eying this belt since AT touted "citrine" as one of their hot summer colors. It's similar to my beloved yellow cardigans, but with a slightly neon zing. Verdict: Bought both at 40% off, plus a $15 coupon ; ) 
Does the right-side pic look familiar? Teehee : )



This has the potential to be a classic tweed sheath dress, but the neckline was gappy for me and the entire torso and hips were too roomy. Verdict: Pass. Recommended for those a bit bigger than me.
This dress was so darling, and I especially liked the bow tie which cinched the waist in (sorry, hard to see in these photos). The material is mostly cotton, which I don't like for dresses as much as drapier fabrics. Verdict: Passed. Still too pricey after 40% off discount, and I had already found a navy/white dress.
I already have a beloved chambray shirt, but I've been curious to try this one nonetheless. It's basically the typical chambray shirt, but more structured, tailored, and refined, and it's very nice. It's cut slimmer than the Target sz XS one I have, but also pricier. I'm happy with mine, but if I didn't have one already I'd snatch this up.

As for the skirt, I've tried it on previously yet I keep reaching for it because I love the neutral color and speckly texture. As with all AT pencil skirts, fit is a lil' big on someone my size without alterations, but I love all my AT pencil skirts for work, and believe they are worth the alterations. 
This shell looked slim-cut on the hanger, and sure enough it fits tiny. It's a stretchy material, and was a snug fit on my torso. The armholes and neck hole were both small. I like the generous ruffle detail down the front side, but from the side view it's a bit bulky looking. Verdict: Pass. Liked the fit and cut, but didn't love the print or price.
Last but not least, I saw my friend try on the Bateau Lace Dress (regular sizing only) and did a double take. The material and crochet pattern is completely identical to the lace items out at the Factory stores now. Material content says it's slightly different, but I inspected it carefully and could swear it's the same. Price is also exactly the same ($198). The only thing different is the neckline, and I like the Factory version better, hands down! I'm curious why they brought it back to both regular and Factory stores, at the same price nonetheless.

Next up, as many of you already know, H&M's environmentally "Conscious" collection hit stores today. Being the dork that I am, I printed out the price list and circulated the store like a hawk looking for highlighted pieces. I was so engrossed in my hunt that I ran smack into a low-hanging sign and almost gave myself a concussion.

1. Scalloped High-Waisted Shorts sz 2, approx $18 retail. I've tried on a number of similar frilly scalloped items this season and most looked ridiculous. This didn't look too ridiculous, and the waist actually fit small. Material is flimsy and probably sheer, though. Verdict: Purchased w/ 20% off.
2. White Denim Sheath Dress sz 2, approx $30. This isn't part of the Conscious collection but it was hanging together. I really like white for summer, but it has to be done right. The torso fit slim, but the neckline was low and gappy on me, and you can see all the seams right through the fabric making it look a bit hoe-y. Verdict: Pass
3. Assorted Boyfriend Blazers sz 2, approx $50 each. I was extremely disappointed with all these blazers. They were roomy, and overpriced in my opinion for H&M. The middle one was a huge hopeful for me after seeing the photos, but it looked very cheap in person. Verdicts: PASS.
4. Linen Boyfriend Blazer sz 2, approximately $40 retail. I'm kind of determined to find a longer casual blazer to wear over short dresses and skirts. This was better than the above in material, structure, and price. Wonder if I can fry it in the dryer without it shrinking funny because it's lined in a poly material.  Verdict: Put on hold. It also comes in a light pink.
5. Eyelet Shorts sz 2. Price...forget? I was disappointed that most shorts (except for the scalloped ones) in this collection ran quite big for H&M. These would be cute as sultry little shorts, but instead looked like a diaper on me. Verdict: Pass.
6. Last but not least, what I personally thought was one of the prettiest pieces in the collection: Scalloped bubble dress, sz 2, $50. This has a brocade skirt and lighter top, which is a lovely combo in person. As you can see, however, the neckline is WAY too sexy for this girl. The "V" goes all the way down to the waist w/ no crossover. For something this revealing, my girls would need a trusty push-up bra versus flat little pasties. Verdict: Pass. 
My local store only got one shipment, so more items will be trickling in this week. I'll be back to scope out some more pieces I had my eye on. Overall today, the damage was $61 at Ann Taylor and $14.40 at H&M. Not too shabby for pieces I really like.

Readers - Please share what you picked up from today's events!

52 comments:

  1. I love my AT citrine cardi...it photographs really weird and bright but in person, it's a lovely color!!

    And I the chambray shirt I was able to track down (one of the items that somehow was sold out by early this morn).

    I am so curious to see if your blazer will shrink!

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  2. Wow!! Thanks for all the pictures and reviews, Jean! I'm absolutely in love with your first dress. I love love love the picture of you and your gorgeous friend - and the link reference. ^.^ The dress looks stunning on both of you.

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  3. Ok clearly, my fingers are typing faster than they should....

    I meant the chambray shirt was one of the items that I had in my cart last night and this morn- sold out! Grr...but luckily found it in-store! Woo hoo! :D

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  4. Oh! And the tweed dress - stunning!! Looking for it right now ^.^

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  5. lol Annie... Loving how we're spamming her comments. hahaha

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  6. Yay fitting room pics (thank you again for trying these on tirelessly for us)

    So it seems to me that a lot of the prettier pieces at LOFT/AT this Spring aren't particularly tiny petite friendly but I guess that's great news for me! I ordered the Yvonne tweed dress a few days ago and I am rather optimistic about the fit after seeing it on you! I am in need of a tweed dress still even though it's warming up rapidly here.

    And I was rather excited about H&M (and all the scallop pieces!) but I think I'll be disappointed...I was in love with that scallop dress but I can't wear something that revealing (gahhh so low cut!)

    Thanks again Jean!

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  7. How did you get the 20% off to H&M? I love the stripped dress!

    Just Better Together

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  8. Thanks so much for the conscious collection review, Jean! I was super excited after seeing the photos in the app but as far as I've heard the quality has been a huge disappointment for the price. I was really excited about that last dress too but wow... it is super low. I can't do it either! I think I'll still be going to check out the pieces in person (those scalloped shorts look like they have potential!). Did you see the white lacey dress that was in the editorial photos there?

    Jen

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  9. Wow, Jean. How long did it take you to write this post? It took me half an hour to read it. lol. Thank you SO MUCH for doing this review. I was completely wrapped up in work since yesterday and didn't even get a chance to browse, let alone going to the store. I'm enjoying shopping through you! I love the stripey dress on you. I can already see you with this dress in a lot of your future posts! Can't wait. The H&M collection all look way too big. I'm not impressed. I like the white dress, but as you mentioned, the seams are visible from outside, and I don't like that.
    How on earth did you smash your head on a sign? I thought that was one of the few advantages for being petite - we would never get hit by a low hanging sign. (Yah, that was seriously on the list of advantages for being petite.)
    Keep us posted on more H&M finds.

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  10. Hi Jean, thanks for the review. I know it is very time consuming for a post like this. I also went to AT and H&M today. I didn't find anything at AT. My local store doesn't carry XXSP/00P in store.

    I also tried on a few items from the "Conscious" collection. I believe the eyelet shorts was $19.95. A size 2 fits me well but I wasn't in love with it. I ended up buying a dress from this collection that I liked really well (with 20% discount). Hopefully, I'll have time to download pictures from my phone this weekend.

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  11. I love the navy dress with the dots --- I can see the bow clearly...sooo cute. Cotton dresses sometimes aren't versatile as ones that are more drapey in my opinion. And I love the skirt on the bubble hem dress from H&M....too bad about the low cut...

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  12. That texture on the sheath dress is so lovely! and I'm so in love with that scallop dress, too bad it's really low cut!

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  13. i'm jealous your h&m got the conscious collection! the material does look super sheer and flimsy though ... disappoint. i am still determined to get my scallop hem this season!

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  14. sorry about spamming your comments section but what is the skirt you are wearing with the chambray shirt? If it's the Golden Texture Pencil Skirt can you tell me how it fits? I ordered it earlier today and am rather excited about it!

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  15. Ok absolutely LOVE the first dress, it fits you perfectly! And OMG I love the picture with you and your friend! So how tall is she?

    I really like the dots print dress. I actually like your chambray shirt better - it looks "softer".

    Not feeling most of the H&M stuff - I'm curious how you will be styling the scalloped shorts. I think they would look like PJ's on me LOL! I LOVE the last dress, too bad about the low neckline but it sure is pretty!

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  16. Holy. Crap. That tight white denim dress. I'm in LOVE! It's exactly the kind of white dress I'm looking for! Well, I didn't know that until I saw this post. Thanks for sharing it!

    xoxo
    Em

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  17. jean-- i went to h&m briefly today during lunch. so much stuff but everything out of my size :(
    i saw everything u tried on. i love the dress and thought the same before even trying it on. i tried on those white eyelet shorts and was so disappointed -- so big in the waist and lots of room in the butt (and i have a big butt too!). i really like the first dress you got and the AT blouse. even though you look good in the polka dotty dress, im glad you didn't get it. it reminds me of a stephord wives kinda thing...
    anyway gotta go back to h&m when i have more time and hopefully they will have more sizes.

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  18. I bought the H&M linen jacket in pink and love it. I bought it for the same reason as you, to wear with short dresses and skirts!

    I am so tempted with the AT sale, love the dressing room posts! Maybe I'll finally get the perfect pump after seeing so many reviews on them.

    www.shimmering2light.blogspot.com

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  19. I also went to H&M today to see the Conscious Collection but I was a little disappointed. I love how all the items were off-white or white --perfect for summer, but were too sheer for my liking. Those scalloped shorts look so cute and feminine on you! I walked away with a casual maxi racerback dress in navy (I know I know, dark colour) and a crochet white cardigan.

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  20. Jean- sorry to hear about the smash on your head(hugs too you). So, if you have to pick... wich chambray shirt you would prefer (target or AT)? you got me thinking on the chambray shirt...no a good thing. Oh that is not a good sign that the HM (2)sizes run big on you, I hope they did not size up??? You and Jen look so adorable :)

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  21. The scalloped shorts and dress are super cute! I'd def do the dress but I doubt i'd be able to pull off the shorts.
    Cute :)

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  22. I fell in love with that first AT dress and snapped it up this week too! Wore it to the office this week already and got so many compliments.

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  23. Jean! I hopped over just to say that I love that striped dress on you! It's extremely flattering and worth the price. I never would have gave it a second look via the website or in-store...How are the CLs? I think you found the perfect nude. :)

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  24. Oh, and LOL at the sign thing - embarrassing much? That's something I would totally do, but boyfriend always throws out an arm to protect me. Though he wasn't there when I was walking and texting and walked into our garage door..

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  25. Oh I love the Scallop Bubble Dress too! If I were to buy it, I'd probably wear it with a tank top/cami underneath. ;)

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  26. thanks for your tips!
    http://sienastyle.blogspot.com/

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  27. SO SAD!! I LOVE every single piece you tweeted from the H&M Conscious collection and I was looking forward to getting the scalloped shorts, blazer and dress but NONE of the H&M stores I went to today had them. Yes.. I went to two malls. =( NADDA! So so sad...

    I love how everything looks so good on you. Hopefully it will be okay on me. Your phone takes surprisingly good photos. I'm impressed. Thank you for always sharing your opinions/ shopping experiences/ fitting room experiences and amazing finds on your blog and via twitter. Even though I'm not petite. I really like your outfit posts and they are truly inspiring. Makes me want to dress up more often. [Although my work does not have a strict dress code... practically has no dress code.] THANK YOU!!


    <3 s.

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  28. Everything looked so adorably cute! Probably since you rock every piece really well! <3

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  29. Ooh! Love both navy and white dresses! The striped one looks especially comfortable. I have to go find it! My poor shopping ban (of 1 day) is over before it even started!! Thanks for the great pics and picks!

    petitemom.blogspot.com

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  30. Which AT stores carry XXS P? My local ones do not :(

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  31. The color combo with the navy/white crossover dress and citron belt is so pleasing and interesting. I would never have looked twice at that belt otherwise, given its inability to match anything. I also LOVE the cropped pants you are wearing in the pictures with the shibori ruffle shell. Where did you get them if I may ask? They look great and fit you perfectly.

    I ended up getting the safari-inspired dress at H&M with my 20% off coupon (the one that comes in khaki, army green, and black with gold buttons). I am on the fence about it (return or exchange for green or keep the khaki?) I also got a couple of those uber skinny jcrew belts. There were still a bunch left at the jcrew in cambridge when I went last night (Thur).

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  32. y0ou have a pretty big head

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  33. Gasssp, so many items that you reviewed!!! Thanks for bringing up the new H&M collection. I read about it and I think it is sweet that H&M is going environmentally friendly and isn't too much steering into bad quality. Some of the blazers look a little thin for my liking. That less deep v-plunge dress is gorgeous! I totally want to go scope it out and maybe add a little modest insert or sew up the plunge.

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  34. What nail polish are you wearing? looks so great!

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  35. Hey there! I love your blog! I have just bought myself that same cute scalloped dress, it's perfect for summer! and it looks great on you too!

    If you wanna check out some really cute high street finds, please come visit my blog :). I like to mix high street stuff and my favourite asian beauty product :).

    http://sipping-green-tea.blogspot.com

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  36. I got that blue and white striped dress too! I love it because I feel like it gives my boyish body curves.

    I think you looked really great in that blue and white polka dot dress...too bad you didn't get it!

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  37. Hey girl.... great post! You are swimming in that tweed dress...cannot believe that is a petite 00. What size would you need at AT...-2? The navy and white striped dress is perfection though. So classic.

    I have a question....did the outlet crochet dress come in petites? They don"t seem to have a petite crochet dress online....

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  38. @Anonymous
    can you please share with us how you got an extra 20% off?

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  39. I've shrank H&M blazers before. The jacket overall shrank pretty evenly which was great. The only problem was that because the sleeves shortened, the lining is now longer than the sleeve,and is exposed. Although I can tuck the lining back in, it doesn't usually stay for long. It's fine if you plan on rolling the sleeves, but doesn't work well if you leave it long.

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  40. Thank you everyone for your comments! Guess there's a consensus on some of H&M's Conscious items. The Ann Taylor sale, though...I really hope you guys get to check it out this weekend, at both regular and outlet stores!

    @Anonymous @Justine The 20% off promo was with H&M's iphone or android app promo, which ended yesterday. If you follow me on Twitter, I try to share about these time-sensitive deals as they happen!

    @herwaisechoice The corset dress? My local stores didn't get it!

    @Ping Haha! Good! My friend was trying to peer pressure me into getting it. I showed her your comment.

    @Claud Target if you want more casual, AT if you like more structure : ) The AT one is really nice though, and fits better overall proportionately, but the pockets are bigger on the chest.

    @Kristen @1MadScientist Yay! It's a great dress : ) It does give some illusion of curves, so it would probably look great on someone really curvy too.

    @katmac Some major AT's have begun to earlier this year! I would call some stores to see if they do : )

    @Petite-ish Hi! The pants were from Ann Taylor last year in sz 00P and surprisingly fit me okay, minus the saggy crotch! Yay for the skinny J.Crew belts. $7 with the 30% off, right?

    @sara Thanks! It's J.Crew Clam Bake, a pretty red-orange.

    @Annapurna Is the new little one keeping you busy? : ) Yes the crochet dress came in petite in outlets. Size 00P may fit you because it was quite roomy on me. Check out Cee's blog at To Brighten My Day as she just bought it and reviewed it!

    @J Thanks, J! The CLs are doing great...I can't wait for bare legged weather to break them out.

    @doxyloo Thanks for the info and the heads up on the sleeve lining! I'll give it a shot next week.

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  41. I tried on that white dress (the see through one) also when I stopped by HM this week and I liked it, but was disappointed to find out how see-through it was. I probably would have purchased if it weren't for that factor.

    I also LOVE that cute, summer top you just updated about! That's my favorite item of this entire post! I'm so glad you went back and found it! :)

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  42. I love everything you shared even though you passed on some. Jean you honestly should be a petite model you are just perfect for it! Soo gorgeous!!! :)

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  43. love the bright orange skirt and polka dot dress on you:)
    i think the prices on that list were EURO and not dollars...tricky!

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  44. I love that first peplum top! Did you get it in the end? It's so girly and pretty

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  45. i tried on the boyfriend linen blazer. the size 2 were too tight in my arms, but the size 4 looked weird on me.

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  46. i love that first pic. the shirt is sooo cute!!!

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  47. I managed to track down the AT striped dress today in XSP...perfect fit! Thank you for bringing it to my attention--I would have missed out on a fantastic piece! I love the belt...too bad I couldn't find it. :(

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  48. I loved looking through your pictures! I think your style is so nice and put together. I'm from Canada and I will be visiting the US soon just for a trip to Ann Taylor and LOFT. You're one of the ones who have gotten me hooked on pencil skirts!

    I'm kinda sad you didn't get the polka dot blue dress! I thought it was adorable!

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  49. I couldn't find the peplum top you went back for! I walked around double and triple checking! I might have to try another store today and hope it's still there!

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  50. I didn't see that peplum top btu it's soo cute. I also tried on that whte dress but in a light blue flowery print which was also really pretty. I walked out with a few items so I was happy :)

    Tiffanie

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  51. did you ever hear back about the price discrepancy with the peplum top? Both were marked as $17.95 in my store too.

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  52. check out how this korean actress altered her H&M dress.
    http://i966.photobucket.com/albums/ae145/ockoala/49%20Days/pc27.jpg
    I purchased it and am thinking of having it altered like this.

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