H&M $29.50 belted dress - sunny yellow, blue paisley, & more

During a quick pit stop at H&M, I was drawn to these floaty sundresses with lady-like details. I loved the little collar, the flat gold buttons, the pockets (2 on the chest and 2 along the skirt sides), and especially the adjustable cognac and gold belt that can be re-worn numerous times with other outfits.

This is one of those easy dresses that are flattering on a wide variety of body shapes - the torso is not fitted to accommodate various chest sizes, the waist is elastic for comfort, and the A-line skirt conceals any hip/tush issues. Add the waist-cinching belt and you have a feminine silhouette.

Here's the yellow on me in a size 4, item #: 045992, $29.95:
A sz 4 was roomy in the chest and armholes for me. If there were a 2 I would've taken it right on home.
paisley
Continue reading to see the blue paisely on me...

Belted blue paisley dress in z 2, $29.95, item # 045992:
I only discovered the blue paisley when I left the fitting room to search for a smaller yellow. The print was so beautiful in my hands, but once I got home and tried it on, I don't love it. There's something about the full-on paisley polyester that feels "Forever21" to me versus classy chic. What do you guys think?

The dress has a 100% polyester semi-sheer overlay, and is lined everywhere except the back of the torso in a stretchy polyester knit. Measurements of a sz 2 are 16" across the armpits, 11"-16" across the elasticized waist, and 34" total length. Here's how the dress looks un-belted (left) and the bright blue lining (right):
I have another paisley dress which I absolutely adore, but it's not fair to compare the two. That one is made of luscious 100% silk, and even when purchased on final sale cost me around $200, including numerous alterations.

Comes in 4 colors total:
While grabbing the above photos from the H&M website, I stumbled across the below dress (only $19.95) and fell in love with the sherbert colors and easy shift silhouette. I didn't see anything like it, so if someone comes across one please let me know! I don't have much time to shop anymore and will have to rely on you guys for good find alerts.
Apparently it comes in blouse form too (pricier at $29.95). So vibrant and pretty!

I couldn't resist trying on some pastel denim from the juniors Divided section. They're $19.95 a pop and I saw yellow, teal blue, a spring green, and more. The fit is very skinny but I had the usual non-petite denim issues... larger back pockets extending below my actual butt, creasing under the butt and behind the knees, and the waist was disproportionately high on me (even though I know it's a higher-waisted style).
I also seriously contemplated getting these ankle trousers in a versatile deep navy. H&M has a lot of pants that I don't even look at twice due to the cheap material, but I was immediately drawn to the work-appropriate, more expensive-looking material of this one. I can't describe it better and I know it doesn't come through in the photos, but the material felt like the fabric on some of my Theory ankle pants.

Price is a reasonable $24.95 (item # 088191) and it has both front and back trouser-style pockets. Unfortunately, the 2 had a waist gap on me, and I didn't love the slit on both sides of the pant leg opening (but looked ok folded up, as shown below). If you're a little bigger than me in the waist, these pants could be a tri-season classic.

Readers - Do you prefer sunny yellow, blue paisley, or neither?

102 comments:

  1. Both on you but for me Blue Paisley definitely, I love it and neeeed it in my life! I love the sherbert coloured dress too, so different and pretty! H&M here I come...!

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  2. You always find the best things at h&m - I love it because I know what to look out for when I go there....their choice can get overwhelming lol! I love the pastel denim...am definitely going to give it a try.

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  3. I saw that yellow dress and passed it by, but after seeing it on you, I should have at least tried it on. Definitely going to check out the pastel jeans (since I'm not "petite" I hope they will fit for $20!). The Ankle trousers could be really cute with some alterations!

    xx Vivian @ http://diamondsandtulle.blogspot.com

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  5. Paisley - looks stunning on you! I have so many dresses like this already but the paisley print is gorgeous.....

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  6. the yellow dress is super cute! lovely!

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  7. Both the back waist gap and slits are such easy fixes!

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  8. I'm not in love with either. The fit is not great - it could be shorter. They look great in the H&M stock photos, but in your pics the yellow looks cheap and wrinkly. Based on your pics, I think the paisley looks nicer, but compared to your other paisley dress, it looks cheap. Also, I think the dress makes you look shorter than you really are. I know that once you put on heels it changes the overall look and fit, but the fullness of the skirt combined with the length is a bit childish on you. You typically look sophisticated and pulled together, and this dress veers in the opposite direction. It reminds me of the loose sundresses that little girls wear. I think if you were taller/bustier, this would work, but on you it makes you look younger.

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    1. I tried this dress in the store yesterday. It had so much fabric, it really felt like playing dress-up.

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  9. Now that I'm seeing the dresses in detail, I don't think I love them on you. Color, yes. Style, maybe not.

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  10. I like the yellow dress and the blue pants.

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  11. Ooh I love the yellow dress, the paisley one I can see what you mean about it being a little "Forever21" ish - it's very lovely but I think a season or so later you will tire of it.

    I like the shift ones but hopefully someone will have in person pictures - the material looks a wee bit shiny?

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  12. I actually really like the paisley one - but only if you removed the paisley layer from the skirt. So it would be paisley on top, brown belt, and blue skirt. Not sure how well the lining is though (and never written 'paisley' so much in my life! :p

    Monochrome Magpie

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  13. i definitely love the patterned dress more than the yellow however for the pants i actually bought the cream colored ones just because for my body type and length it fit perfectly. since you are so petite i would def recommend f21 pants because they have a variety of colors, they come all short and they are very cheap!!

    http://harperandmonroe.blogspot.com/

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  14. I love the blue dress!!! It is definitely something I would wear! Glad you posted this, as I don't normally get to go to H&M often! Now, I want to go for sure!

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  15. Seriously, is there anything you don't look good in!? :) If you can, keep both because they look awesome on you and fit so well. But if you're only keeping one, I say the Blue Paisley, I actually think you'll get more use out of it, and with sweaters are more likely to wear right through till Fall.

    xoxo
    www.natashafatah.blogspot.com

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  16. I tried both of those dresses on last night - I LOVED the yellow (although the skirt was a little too poofy in the hips for me), but I HATED the sheer back and how you could see the pocket on the skirt because the overlay is sheer. I was actually trying it on and think "If Jean tries this, she will hate the visible pockets" but I guess I was wrong! I liked the paisley, but it is absolutely not my style - I felt very southern/Texan in it, though - it's be cute with cowboy boots, in a field. ha! I want to try and hunt down the black in my size, though - I'm thinking the sheerness issues will be solved.

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    1. You are too funny! To be honest, I didn't even notice the pockets through the sheer material (too rushed in the dimly-lit fitting room) but I can imagine it is probably visible through the yellow. For the blue it is less visible due to the print. I also don't know why they cheaped out and lined everything but the back. You will just have to wear a nude-colored bra if you don't want anything showing through from behind..sigh!

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  17. Omg Jean, thanks for the review! I'll be looking for the dress later today -- it'll be perfect for our Cancun trip!! :) Drat, wish I had discovered it when the coupon was still available!

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  18. I really like the dress - definitely the paisley!! ;-)

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  19. the clothes look amazing! :)

    http://highprofilehighexpectations.blogspot.com/

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  20. These dresses are cute, but it sounds like the quality is pretty iffy. The unlined back is a deal killer for me. I think the blue looks more expensive/better made than the yellow...the yellow dress looks very wrinkled and the print hides the quality issues better. I really appreciate your reviews...our nearest h&m is almost an hour away so I don't get down there to browse very often.

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  21. Definitely the yellow! I would also go for white and orange one pictured above

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  22. Your flats are so cute! Did you post about them (or with them) before? I've never noticed until now. I think the paisley works better than the yellow. It's a lot more interesting and easy on the eyes.

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    1. Hi Kim - they're oldies from Cole Haan, found at Marshalls. CH flat sizing can be really off. I have three pairs of the same shoe in a 5, 5.5 and even 6.

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  23. Maybe it doesn't look as good in person, but I think the paisley is very pretty!! :)

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  24. These posts are very great, because you can see the outfits/pieces styled on a real person. I also think the review is always wonderful, because you know a lot about fabrics, altering, etc. They help me a lot, so I jus wanted to say thank you.

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  25. I'm not a fan of either dress, but I actually like how the blue one looks on you! I think even with a size 2, the chest area looks like it was made for someone with a larger bust to fill it. The armholes look about the same size on both the 2 & 4. I also prefer my summer dresses a little shorter, but what are your thoughts on the length?

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  26. I was eyeing the yellow and black myself, but I think the paisley looks stunning on you! :)

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  27. I was eyeing the yellow and black myself, but I think the paisley looks stunning on you! :)

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  28. I was eyeing the yellow and black myself, but I think the paisley looks stunning on you! :)

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  29. Yellow dress looks really good on you! I love the orange dress and the blouse too, I just dont understand why all the good pieces are sold in US only, H&M is european firm after all!! :-( Time to get overseas to do some shopping I guess...:-)
    WorldByBella

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  30. I also purchased this yellow dress after viewing it online but immediately returned it the next day after trying it on at home. The fact that you could see the pockets through the skirt and the sheer back cheapened the look. The skirt was a little too poofy and long for my taste, looked like what a Stepford housewife would wear and it's not worth alterations.

    I have to agree, the belt was pretty awesome though.

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  31. The blue paisley looks really good on your skin.

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  32. aaahhh, i love both dresses!!! yellow is such a beautiful color and paisley is such a pretty print! i also like the black version of the dress. :)

    <3, Mimi
    http://whatmimiwrites.blogspot.com/

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  33. paisley looks gorgeous on you!

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  34. Aw, I like the blue paisley one on you. Keeeeeep it!!!

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  35. I love the paisley! I think it's the next trend. I just bought a Zara paisley skirt. And I think I saw it in several other stores too. Can't remember right now.

    Helen

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  36. Love the paisley!

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  37. I'll vote for the sunny yellow!! Bright and beautiful !

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  38. I actually like the yellow on you. Get it in the size smaller and keep it. It's a gorgeous color!

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  39. I vote for the yellow dress. The color is perfect for the upcoming spring/summer. The paisley one is nice too but I think the full-on paisley is a bit much for a petite lady. I also bought the same pants that you tried on in red. A size 2 fits me quite well. I still don't love them as much as the LOFT wool trousers but I desperately need another pair of pants for work. If you're still interested in pastel denim, AE has a wide selection. I've seen them in store in a variety of colors. Enjoy the rest of your weekend, Jean!

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  40. I agree that the paisley isn't as amazing as you'd think. I did think "grandma" when I saw it on. It's still nice, but you'd have to be prepared for people thinking that, I reckon.

    I love the pattern on the right of the paisley! You should get that one. Or maybe I should get that one and you should get the yellow in a size 2, because it looked wonderful on you.

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  41. Uh oh! I called H&M last week looking for an item and an associate told me they are going to limit size 2 in women's clothing! My heart sank and I was hoping that she might be misinformed and this was only applicable to certain items, but I just clicked the link to the yellow dress and it says available in sizes 4-16. Say it isn't so!?

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    1. Unfortunately their website almost always says 4-16, even if the garment is obviously available in stores in a 2. Funny thing is, the website will show 2-16 for some things like swimwear, when I have never ever seen a 2 in-store for bikinis.

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  42. I absolutely love the paisley on you! I think you should keep it :) It's so unique and you pull it off very well

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  43. Jean, I am just curious, but are you Korean? You're very pretty!

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  44. wow, at first when i saw the pictures of the H&M dresses hanging, they did nothing for me. but then i saw the pictures of them on you and they look FANTASTIC! i am so upset i don't have an H&M remotely near me. i always find some great items when i am able to go! love the yellow pants, the navy pants outfit..and well everything i guess! great post!!

    Catherine Cab
    http://www.catherinecab.com

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  45. First off, I love your blog. Secondly, Ms. XXS, do you wear hosiery? As an Asian, I find it very hard to find a stocking color that does not make me look chalky or doesn't have that kind of dingy grayed appearance. Pointers?

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    1. I do not wear skin-toned hosiery. I know exactly what you mean. It's much too hard to find a pair that's the perfect skim shade, so I've given up.

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  46. You always seem to find really nice things at H&M, but I find that when I go there, I bring a ton of things into the change room that I think are cute and hate them when I try them on.

    I love the colours of the third dress in the row (beige with pinks), but I have a feeling I would hate it on me.

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  47. i grabbed the yellow and a bright fruit punch coral but tried neither on - it's still freezing here. but the paisley did catch my eye but i didn't bother because it seemed gaudy. the yellow pants are very cute and spring!

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  48. I prefer the yellow on you Jean, the blue paisley is nice but it just doesn't "pop" for me. I really like those pants you tried on - on someone bigger though do you think seeing the pockets would be an issue? That's a pet peeve of mine!

    As I will likely not remember to check back here if you do answer could you please tweet me? :)

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  49. Definitely paisley... I'm a sucker for prints!

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  50. Hi Jean, I recently discovered your blog and am loving it. I also live in Boston and work in finance. Strange thing is, we probably know the same people.

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    1. It's a very small world in Boston. Maybe our paths will cross soon!

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  51. paisley is much classier than yellow!

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  52. The yellow could potentially make you look younger, but I prefer that color over the paisley. The paisley however, looks more sophisticated. What I don't like about the paisley is the brown. It seems a little strong. Thanks for sharing pics. You always find the best stuff @ h&m.

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    1. ...or I guess it's gold. It looks brown on my monitor.

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  53. I love your necklace! Where is it from?

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    1. Thanks! It's old, from Talbots outlet.

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  54. Those belted dresses are so cute! I really love both on you!

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  55. Hi Jean. I tried on the yellow in my local hm and thought the sheer back was a bit off-putting, not to mention the color looked awful on me, but looks nice on you. Having seen the other choices, I might look for the white printed one in my local store - I think it might be a bit more sophisticated than the rest. You're right about the belt though, it could be useful for lots of other outfits.

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  56. I love the paisley on you!

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  57. Hi Jean,
    The yellow one looks beautiful on you! It compliments your figure and skin tone perfectly! You are so thin and toned!
    I received a gift of a charm bracelet from links london and found it ran perfectly for my tiny wrists. Anyone else tried them and found them to be small?

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  58. I vote for the yellow if it is in size 2. It is more versatile: you can wear it on regular weekends or even to a casual day wedding! Also love the blue pants!

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  59. I think I agree -- I love the blue paisley print but I'm not sure I'm bowled over by it on. Maybe it's the sort of print that would do better as a top?

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  60. The yellow is brighter and looks great on you, not sure about the blue because it is not as bright and seems to give an oldie (grandma) impression. I think the puffy skirt can be less puffy and tiny bit shorter to make you more in proportion. If you are not in love, I'd say return the blue and get the yellow when there is further price reductions.

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  61. The blue paisley dress looks amazing on you. The fit looks great. But I agree that the solid color looks better. I actually like the black one too! Very classy for Spring/summer.

    - xoxo

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  62. I was also drawn to the ankle trousers and actually picked them up. I didn't have the gapping issues you did, in fact they fit like a dream. You are right about the material and that is why I was instantly drawn to them. I went back and grabbed the red and black and was contemplating on getting the polka dots but they were too out there to be classic. For anyone looking to get some affordable trousers, definitely try these!

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    1. I am envious that they fit you like a dream. The color (s), fabric, and price are right, but I don't want to attempt waist and side slimming alterations.

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  63. The Paisley looks perfect on you! The length is perfect but I don't know how it'll look on me as I'm 5'6.
    I have to say though I'm not petite I still love your blog and your sense of style!
    I love your picks and the fact that you're frugal but still splurge on special items!

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  64. yellow seems to be more your power color, so I would choose the yellow! The yellow seems more classic-lady-like and the blue paisley gives off a more a bohemian vibe, which I'm not sure if that is your style :)

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  65. I love the yellow & the paisley. Sadly my poor H&M was down to 8s and 10s only on these today. So frustrating!

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  66. I'm definitely a fan of the blue paisley on you! After reading this post, I feel I might need to drop into H&M and try it on myself. :)

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  67. wow the dresses are amazing ! I also love the belt. love xoxox

    http://rainbowgatherer.blogspot.com

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  68. So pretty!

    www.patcandytips.com

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  69. I like the blue but for you, I vote for yellow through and through. The color is perfevt for your skintone and makes you look more feminine and sexier! I think the size 4 works out pretty well, and gives an illusion of bulk (in the right places ;) if u know what I mean). Yellow!!!

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  70. Of course, I love yellow, but for some reason, I'm more attracted to the blue paisley.

    Your H&M posts are making me amped for my visit to NYC to see my best friend. I'm going to head to either the H&M on 34th so I can visit Uniqlo, Forever 21, and trim stores in the Fashion District. Now I can't wait for Friday to come!

    xo Annie
    http://inspiredbythesethoughts.blogspot.com

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  71. I think Elle Woods said it best, nobody looks good in paisley...

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  72. Hi Jean! I just started following your blog as I'm about to step into the professional world :) Thanks for your helpful tips for petites. Love your reviews, though I'm not a fan of H&M. I'm surprised that you always rave about quality of H&M lines because to me, I feel it's not far from F21 and Zara. I remember visiting the Boston H&M on Newbury and fell in love but became throughly disappointed with some of their pieces after several washes. The Chicago H&M here is not as impressive in their displays as I remembered from Boston. Anyhow, just wanted to say thank you as a new reader. On this review, love the Paisley blue but you're right, it is not even comparable to your JCrew dress (I have the same print A line skirt) and the side by side comparison is criminal! LOL. BUT my BF whose sitting beside me as I read your blog aptly pointed out, I would never wear those two things at the same time to compare them like that and I'd fret less if I took a beach stroll or casual date night at happy hour in the paisley that didn't cost 200 dollars. LOL.

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    1. Lol! I remember that pretty skirt.

      My favorite pieces from H&M are usually never machine-washed...some of them are blazers, and some of them are from their higher-quality (but slightly pricier) "Trend" line. So far, I haven't had any beloved H&M pieces fall apart on me, unlike F21 and Zara after literally one wear. Also, I have to point out that even H&M's pricier Trend line is sometimes less than half the price of comparable Zara regular pieces.

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  73. I actually thought both dresses look good on you. What I love is your necklace. May I know where you purchased it from?

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    1. Unfortunately it's from last year :/ It's from Talbots outlet.

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  74. I like the yellow, especially with your gold baubles. I had the same problem as you though when I tried it on. I also tried on the pastel pants and they were too "high-waisted" for little me.

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  75. get phone case, gal! Ah! :)

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  76. First off, you look good in everything. That being said, I don't love the paisley as much as the yellow on you. You pull off yellow really well! Maybe it's the lighting? I'd like the paisley more if it were a skirt, not as a sundress.

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  77. i dunno i think the yellow dress looks the best on you even though it's not your size :)

    http://www.halwasat-faten.blogspot.com/

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  78. I agree with Yuni...YOU LOOK GOOD IN EVERYTHING! I like the paisley because I love florals and prints in general. Yellow just isn't a color that I normally would wear but that's just me.

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  79. I bought the yellow dress recently too & I sported it with my own belt & coral heels. See my post here --> http://www.iheartvintagecouture.com/2012/02/saffron.html

    It's such a beautiful, flowy, and perfect dress for spring & summer. I'm 5'2'' and 110 and I'm wearing a size 2 if that helps.

    www.iheartvintagecouture.com

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  80. jean, i looking at your side bar of recent purchases. i clicked, but my work blocks :/
    if they are the bcbgirl pumps...i have them in black. remember i left a pair of shoes at your place? those were it. they run 1/2" too big and they stretch out too!

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  81. I think I like the paisley on you more!

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  82. I bought the blue paisley dress after hearing about it in Labellemel's haul video and reading about it on your blog! I'm in love with the dress and I think it looks gorgeous on you :) I'm planning to wear it to a friend's wedding, but I'm not exactly sure how to style it yet. So far I've paired it with a blue blazer, but...I feel like it needs a different (brighter) colour blazer... How would you style the dress?

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  83. I find that the blue paisley suits you very well, and its print is beautiful, but the belt is a must with it. I personally don't like yellow on myself. it's alright on you but still the blue dress is much better.
    p.s. Really great blog, interesting and thorough.

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  84. OMG the yellow one! SOO CUTE!

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  85. I just came across your blog today after contemplating how to alter my own dress that I recently purchased (also from H&M and very similar to the yellow one you've posted here -- albeit in a bright coral). I had to purchase it in a size 4 as size 2 was only for the black dress but I couldn't let the dress go! I've fixed the arm holes to be slightly smaller and the back lays mostly flat though now I have an unsightly bump on the front of the dress. Is there anyway to fix this or am I relegated to wearing a thick belt?

    By the way, all your outfits are extraordinarily cute and I would never suspect you of being less than 5'!

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  86. http://tinyurl.com/c2pemut

    did you help her pick her Outfits on her blog? i was like looking around and got confsed bc i saw a lot of her outfits from yours as well as from wendyslookbook. i know bloggies sometimes use each other's ideas, but i gots all confused bc there were so many repeast.

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