Pleated Skirt & Pearls (and dress becomes a top)

Crochet lace dress: Ann Taylor Factory (altered) (similar here and here)
Blazer & Pleated Skirt: H&M; sz 2 (similar under $18)
Shoes: Aldo  Purse: Chanel taupe lambskin M/L flap  Pearls: eBay

This old H&M; skirt survived several rounds of blog sales. The knee-length A-line is not my silhouette of choice (much prefer fitted pencil skirts for my body type), but I held onto it as it’s unlike anything else in my wardrobe. For this outfit I broke out my girliest pieces – pretty lace, polished pearls, and delicate peep-toe pumps.

This is my second attempt at the dress worn as a top. The first attempt did not go so well. When done right, this is a great way to get more wear out of your favorite dresses. But for the pairing to work, the dress must be somewhat fitted and short enough to hide under the skirt, and the waist line of the dress must also be lower than where your skirt waist will hit. This dress was made nice n fitted by my tailors, but the length is a tad too long for this skirt. For a good example, Anh is the queen of this tip. I was also inspired by Callandra wearing this dress as a pencil skirt.

To break up this neutral palette, I added a juicy lip. Revlon Colorburst in Coral was too firetruck-red for me on it’s own, so I layered on my fave Super Lustrous Lipgloss in Coral Reef. Here’s an obligatory twirl:

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61 thoughts on “Pleated Skirt & Pearls (and dress becomes a top)

  • Sunshine May 11, 2011 at 11:48 pm

    omigosh lace & pleats, are we twins or what? 😉

    but your look is definitely more polished than mine! and the coral lipstick is something different but absolutely gorgeous on you. i don't even wear lipstick *sigh* time to learn how to enhance my looks…

  • Really Petite May 11, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    Pretty!! It reminds me of HerWaiseChoice's skirt and giveaway! Good thing u didn't sell this skirt!

  • Alterations Needed May 12, 2011 at 12:00 am

    I skimmed the first paragraph too quickly and after reading the skirt was H&M;, my brain scanned through everything I saw at H&M; yesterday and I did a little, "hrmph! I didn't see that at my H&M;!" Shucks! It's from a past season! I love that full skirt silhouette, and am looking for a nice knife pleat skirt to add to my collection. Love how you paired it with a blazer, that's probably how I'd wear it too. 😉

  • hypertigur May 12, 2011 at 12:07 am

    I love this combination a lot, very feminine. For myself I love "poofier" dress because I get to twirl in it and it's so spring! So I must agree, do not sell this skirt!

    Thank you last time for your kind words. I started blogging again and found small shoes!

  • Stephanie May 12, 2011 at 12:15 am

    first of all I love the new layout revamp! props to you and the bf if he had any hand in helping you 😉 I decided to go for a wider content section too. I still need to modernize the rest of it.
    I think you did a beautiful job pairing that skirt (that was obviously meant to stay in your closet) and the lace dress. I also loved the pop of lip color! 🙂 Great job on catching the twirl action haha.

  • Britt+Whit May 12, 2011 at 12:27 am

    super cute! you look adorable! I love the skirt with the lace!

    love from San Francisco,


  • Anonymous May 12, 2011 at 12:29 am

    Love this outfit! I have a similar body type and don't care much for a-lines generally — like you I prefer sheaths/pencil skirts. But I find that a fairly straight-falling pleated skirt that's not too long can be a fun change of pace.

  • Michelle May 12, 2011 at 12:52 am

    I love this photoshoot! Even with all the femininity going on, you look like a bad a** in front of that graffitied door…like you did it! :p

  • Tara May 12, 2011 at 12:54 am

    lovely as always Jean!

  • DSK Steph May 12, 2011 at 12:56 am

    You look fantastic! I love the outfit, love the makeup, and love the photos!

  • StealMyHeartLove May 12, 2011 at 1:48 am

    Gorgeous outfit! xx

  • hugstiem May 12, 2011 at 2:26 am

    That is really intriguing about the skirt silhouette on your body type. Your outfit is beautiful as usual, but I agree that fitted / structured pencil skirts look better on you. I was wondering why all your skirts were like that. 🙂 I wonder if it's because your hips are slim? My hips/butt are much larger than my waist, and I tend to gravitate towards A-line, shorts with flared leg openings, etc.

  • Pi Design May 12, 2011 at 3:50 am

    Gorgeous lip colour, lovely outfits!! I like this photoshoot especially your blazer looks nice on it!! wow, I just realized the H&M; blazer, i actually had tried it on a couple of days ago in size4 for me though..

  • Javacurls May 12, 2011 at 6:55 am

    Love the look! Super cute!!

  • Elaine A (TOBeautyReviews) May 12, 2011 at 8:26 am

    Wow I'm glad you kept that skirt! (Or not b/c it would have been MINE! 😛 ) I was actually hoping it was a recent purchase. I totally tricked me with the top being the Ann Taylor dress though – I thought it was a new top!

    I really, really love this look. Beautiful Jean!

  • Anonymous May 12, 2011 at 8:56 am

    You look great, I wish I could get away with pleats.

  • CynthiaC May 12, 2011 at 9:43 am

    Gorgeous, gorgeous photos, Jean! And yes, the skirt is a keeper – wardrobe should have a bit of variety, after all! 🙂

  • Nelah May 12, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Such a sweet feminine look. I like the colors of everything.

  • Anonymous May 12, 2011 at 10:09 am

    Jean, how do you make the belt stay in that position? I always have a problem with that.

  • purses and puppies May 12, 2011 at 10:21 am

    that is such a beautiful dress, i love these pics. your lip color definitely gives the look more excitement!

  • Jackie May 12, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Gorgeous as always, Jean!

    I love this outfit! The skirt is so cute!

    Red lips + tan looks great.

  • Kristy May 12, 2011 at 10:29 am

    I have the exact same skirt and I've been holding on to it very dearly 🙂 I love the pleats, the chiffon overlay, the sateen-ish waist band, just everything about it. This is a very inspirational look. I hope you won't mind if I copy this outfit. It's perfect for work 🙂

  • R.L. May 12, 2011 at 10:41 am

    Sooo elegant! Love the mix of neutral colors and of course twirl pics. 😉 I initially thought you had gotten a new lace top. It definitely doesn't look like it's a dress. Well done on being so versatile with it, Jean.

    And thanks for the tip about Nordies! I've been looking for a pair of comfortable neutral flats. I have some TB Revas but have accepted the fact that they just look good and I can't walk around town for hours in them. I'll probably pick up a pair of Attilio Giusti Leombruni Ballerina Flats after seeing them on Wendy and reading the rave reviews.

  • Heather May 12, 2011 at 11:31 am

    I love how you're getting more comfortable with your poses (very sultry on the first pic!). Your outfit is soo pretty – unique but classic. How do you get your lashes to look like that?!

    I just bought shoes from Nordies with only 3% ebate ): This always happens to me…buying things the day before an incentive comes on. Oh woe is me, but thanks for the heads up! (:

  • Mallory Taylor May 12, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    I absolutely LOVE how all your outfits always looks so effortless but classy!

    XO -Mallory

  • Elle May 12, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    you look so pretty!!! I am a big fan of this look, I recently bought a pleated skirt too after seeing it on Anh and Jen of HerWaiseChoice. I am glad you didn't sell this skirt because it looks wonderful on you!

  • Anonymous May 12, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    How do you make the belt stay in place? Due to all these wonderful fashion blogs, I have been buying belts. I wore one the other day with my top but my top kept shifting and so did the belt. I spent day pulling at the top and re-positioning the belt.

  • Erica May 12, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    That skirt is gorgeous! Man, I want one! Beautiful outfit. 🙂 Now I want to see what dresses of mine will work as as top…

  • AubreyOhDang! May 12, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    I actually like A-line skirts on you. Surprised not to see a bold AS necklace w/this outfit, but I guess pearls go better with the theme.

  • Ping May 12, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    jean i love that skirt! i think you look just as nice in this skirt vs the pencil skirts. hahah the obligatory twirl….a must!!

  • Di May 12, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    gorgeous~ love the outfit & makeup. accessories looks great too!
    xo Diana

  • La Petite Olga May 12, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Gorgeous outfit!! Great blog!!

    xx Olga

  • The Girlie Blog May 13, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    What a pretty pleaded skirt! Love those matching shoes too. Looking gorgeous as always!

  • Short Sister Style May 13, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    Love the skirt and the lipstick! Beautiful spring look.

  • SewPetiteGal May 13, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    I am in love with that skirt and am utterly bummed that it's from a past season! Love the sleek new redesign!

  • Petiteélégant May 13, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    Looking more and more beautiful!

  • Sarah May 13, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    this outfit is gorgeous! i love how soft and feminine it is, not to mention being able to reuse a dress as a top 🙂 great job!

  • ARIELA WONDERS May 13, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    Perfect outfit! I love the pleats!

  • Mindy♥ May 14, 2011 at 12:10 am

    Loving all the pics! I love how you worked the dress as a top! <3

  • mai May 14, 2011 at 12:18 am

    love this outfit!

  • Anonymous May 14, 2011 at 12:29 am

    The skirt looks a little sheer. Do you have any tips on under garments? like slips and no shows?

  • May 14, 2011 at 2:15 am


  • Annapurna May 14, 2011 at 9:52 am

    This dress works great as a top! I remember thinking that when I saw it at the factory store in watertown and wondered why they did not make a top (as they did make a skirt).

    I also like the navy, cream, and taupe pairing for spring. The blazer is gorgeous…is it a recent purchase? As for the skirt, there is no reason for you to shy away from the A-line…I think it flatters you just as much as the pencil skirts – as long as you keep them just above the knee (in one of the pics, the skirt fell at your knee…it looked fine but you looked taller in the pics in which the skirt hit just above the knee).

    I ended up returning the factory crochet lace dress (in PO) and getting the boatneck one from the regular Ann Taylor, in regular 00. I would have had to alter the factory dress as The price was the same, lol. The v-neck sat funny on my ginormous nursing boobs, the shoulders rode up on me, and the back was loose. The boatneck was more flattering on me anyway. Interestingly, the factory 00 looked matronly on me whereas the regular 00 fit just like the 0P. Further, there is a slight difference in the material; the factory store dress has a greyish tinge and more "craft-y" texture whereas the regular store dress is has a golden tinge and the lace to me looked less prone to snags. We will see!

  • MizzJ May 14, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    You are looking just lovely here! I'm so glad I kept my pleated a-line skirt as well – it seems to be extremely in trend this season!

  • {julee} May 14, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    you are seriously so pretty! love love love the lip color with the neutrals.

  • Memosne May 15, 2011 at 12:23 am

    I know this is a little late to the extra petit bandwagon, but I absolutely love your blog. <3 I've just stumbled across it, thanks to Jen from From Head to Toe, and I'm in love.

    Your style is so classy, simple, and ladylike. ^__^ Very inspirational. Thank you for being you!

  • Petite in the City May 16, 2011 at 12:06 am

    Great outfit! I've been meaning to try this with my dresses too.

    Good tip with the lipstick, I never thought of that. I think my colour palettes must be too matchy-matchy then!!


  • b_ra May 16, 2011 at 9:18 am

    i love this outfit! I'm glad the skirt survived blog sales. It's unique and the colour is gorgeous! Also, great touch with the lipstick!

  • Gigi May 16, 2011 at 10:36 am

    I saw a model in a NJ Gap store ad this weekend that looks JUST like you. She was even wearing an outfit I think I've seen you wear. Was that you? Do you model?

  • grace May 16, 2011 at 11:49 am

    LOVE the pleats and the gorgeous lip color! I think that was the first thing that caught my eye – that lip color.

    Gorgeous Jean, just gorgeous!

  • Bella Sublime May 17, 2011 at 12:11 am

    I love the flow of the skirt. And the overall texture rich combination of the all the pieces.

  • Anonymous May 17, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    I like the pairing with the blue blazer – I never would have thought of it. How do you make the belt stay in place?

  • Vicky May 17, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    Did you ever have any bad picture days? You look so beautiful in every single pictures. I love the color of your new skirt. It works so well with the taupe Chanel. And the crochet is to die for. You look great in that AT factory dress, whether you wear it as a dress or a top. 🙂 I'm so glad you picked it up.

  • Anonymous May 17, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    Hi Jean,
    Love the outfit. So cute. You always look so put together and polished in every outift. Random question and if you don't feel comfortable to don't answer it-what languages do you speak?

  • Stacey May 18, 2011 at 12:27 am

    I like wearing dresses as shirts too! I think it's actually helpful because the dresses don't crinkle/ go up as much as shirts.

    And I really like the new silhouette and greige color on you. :]

  • Cammie Callisto May 18, 2011 at 10:46 am

    You look absolutely stunning and just love your style.
    Gotta follow you 🙂

  • Anonymous May 18, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    hi, i've been following your blog and loving it, keep up the great work. i don't have my own blog so i dont even know how to add and what not but still like to come to your site from time to time. so very inspirational. i thank you. my question is, how do you wear heels all day long, i love your style, but dang, it's hard to keep up, i'm in my later 20's now, and would like to look more chiq like you. I can't wear heels no more than 3 hours straight and am very petite, so i need the height. i dont drive, so it makes it hard to commute in heels. do you have any suggestions?

    thanks a bunch, if you dont get to my question, it's ok, just keep on doing what you do best.

  • PetiteAsianGirl May 19, 2011 at 10:22 am

    Thank you SO much everyone for your comments! I'm very sorry again that Blogger lost the previous comments and never restored them : (

    @Anonymous For more sheer skirts, I suggest wearing skin-colored undergarments. I also have a nude slip that I'm not wearing here. The slip is from Target and is unfortunately too big even in a S/XS so I may get it taken in.

    @Annapurna I'm happy one of the dresses worked for you! In a previous comment I thought you mentioned the regular 00 was too matronly. My friend got both and also opted to keep the regular.

    @Memosne Thank you very much! Love Jen : )

    @Gigi Haha, it definitely was not me, but that's interesting : ) I don't model and I'd be impressed if Gap had a model who was that petite, considering the vast majority of their clothes don't fit women of my size.

    @Anonymous I don't usually have trouble with my belts moving, but I see them shift on my friends throughout the day so i know what you mean. I would suggest getting a roll of fashion tape and using a little in the morning to affix your belt to the garment. You can look up fashion tape online. Def don't recommend regular tape as I used that once and it left a sticky residue. For items that you will always want to wear a belt with, I've considered adding belt loops.

    @Anonymous Oh I don't mind! I speak English, mandarin Chinese, and can understand some Cantonese (especially food & dishes, hehe). What do you speak?

    @Anonymous I also commute to work daily (via subway and walking) and thankfully I live in a city where it is convention to wear flats and then change into heels at work. EVERY woman I work with does this, and it's almost an anomaly to see something wearing pumps on the subway because it's just unnecessary to put yourself through that. If it's acceptable where you live, I'd suggest commuting in sleek, dressy yet comfortable flats (nooo sneakers) then keeping a pair of heels at work and use insoles for the balls of your feet (I'll be reviewing some shortly on here). Hopefully you don't have to stand too much at work.

  • thefashionableESQ May 20, 2011 at 7:17 am

    What a cutie! The taupe color of your skirt is a perfect neutral! I sometimes shy away from that color and then I see it paired with such lovely colors and items – like in your post – that it makes me rethink taupe!
    Your photos are beautiful.

  • Beautygirl24 May 25, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    I absolutely love this look! One of my favorites I've ever seen I think. I hope my H&M; has that pleated skirt.

  • Kate March 15, 2012 at 5:30 am

    hi, I've been going through your blog for the past few days. discovered your blog through your youtube video on red skirts. i quickly bought a red skirt the next day! haha. i've seen a number of fashion blogs but yours is the best! (me being an office girl as well). Your style is extremely classy! you inspire me to dress nicely at work! more power!

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