Quick Review: ASOS $19.80 Drape Sleeve Little Black Dress


Asos drape sleeve dress (2 colors) US sz 2, Valentino rockstud pump sz 35, Chanel wallet on chain
*Please note: dress is very black – I lightened this photo to show the torso and draping detail*

For a limited time, ASOS is having extra 10% off their large sale selection with code PERFECT10 (shipping & return shipping are always free). I tried on a dress recently that I unexpectedly fell in love with. It was for a post later this month, but I wanted to share now while it’s still in stock and on extra discount.

I’m not usually drawn to plain little black dresses, but the silhouette of this one is easy and elegant – perfect with statement earrings for events where you want to look conservative yet chic. The stretchy poly material is comfortable and cool to the touch. The bottom portion of this dress is definitely more fitted than what I usually buy, but is partially balanced out by the looser top half. I’m wearing Spanx Simplicity Girlshorts (sz S) that I “invested” in last year to help smooth out lumpy butt. If anyone’s interested, I can do a review on those later.
This was my first time buying something outside of ASOS’ petite section, and I expected items to run bigger and longer. Unstyled, this dress looks a bit like like a muu muu on me and hits at mid-calf length. Fixing this though was easy – I simply secured a black belt around my waist and pulled the extra length up, letting it hang over the belt as part of the billowy torso. The one alteration I had to make was take-in the torso down the side without the sleeve, using a basic straight stitch that can be done by hand or on a machine. I’m also contemplating shortening the sleeves (currently have them pinned up 2-3 inches in the 1st photo).

Readers – Would love to hear your input on the sleeve length, and whether this dress looks better with or without a visible waist belt!

76 thoughts on “Quick Review: ASOS $19.80 Drape Sleeve Little Black Dress

  • yalda jan January 12, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    i already had seen this dress here:

    I was still not sure to buy it or not but I did it now:) Hope you will do soon the blog about the spanx cause I also want to buy them.

  • Isa January 12, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    The dress is very figure hugging and brings out the femininity in you, especially on the last picture with the visible waist belt.
    Regarding the sleeve, maybe shorten it a bit and slim it down?

  • Michelle January 12, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    I say beltless; the blousing at the waist in the first pic is very elegant. The dress is way too tight on the bottom for me personally, but you wear it well! (I think your hips are about 4" smaller than my 36" ones.) And definitely shorten the sleeves as you have in the first pic. Nice pick up!

  • juliefromchicago January 12, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    I am loving this with the waist belt! It makes the outfit a bit more refined!

  • Anonymous January 12, 2013 at 4:53 pm


    Your new Valentinos are gorgeous. Great taste as always.

    I just wanted to say how much I appreciate your blog, even though you probably get comments like this every day and are tired of seeing them! I'm a young woman who just graduated from college and started working at a real job a few days ago. Just a few days in, my female supervisor pulled me aside and gently told me that I wasn't dressed appropriately for work in our business-casual environment (I had worn a T-shirt under my blazer, and – to make it even worse – pants that looked like leggings.) I was so embarrassed and immediately read through every entry on your blog, then went shopping and bought a ton of work-appropriate clothes from Banana Republic and Express. I had just been a casual reader of yours before, but now I am going to go back and re-read everything you have written about and posted on regarding workwear. Thank you so, so much for fulfilling this niche for young professional women who want to look stylish AND appropriate at work. To be honest a lot of the other fashion bloggers out there have no business telling other women what to wear to work, because they basically sit at home all day and take pictures of dress-up, but you really are something special!


  • Debora January 12, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    Love this dress on you. I think the belt is a must with this dress. It defines your waist and adds breaks up one texture. Good job on the shorter sleeve looks more feminine.

    Love your ability to see how clothes will look on you once they are altered. Always an interesting read!


  • Mary Ann January 12, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    Wow, Jean – we aren't used to seeing you in this kind of silhouette. You look great! I think the dress looks good visibly belted or not…just depends on whether you want to draw attention to the belt. Great find! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Anonymous January 12, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    I agree with the post above! I am so glad I found this blog. I love your fashion sense and I re-read your posts for inspiration. I am also petite and need to dress professionally but still would like to keep my look fashionable. I would like to see any info you have on sewing because I just barely know the basics! I've hemmed my dress pants by hand but haven't been adventurous enough to alter other items.

  • Anonymous January 12, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    Definitely shorten the sleeves a bit, and it looks much better with a visible belt. This isn't the dress for me, but you wear it well!

  • Suzie Q January 12, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    The dress does look simple and elegant! Love the look especially with the belt. The sleeve looks a bit too billowy, maybe it would look better with the diameter of the sleeve more slim?

    Suzie Q

  • Bluevalentine January 12, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    I would love to read a Spanx review!!

  • Carla Krae January 12, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    I'd have to see it with a visible belt in a pic like the first 2. Dress looks great in the first set of photos.

  • busyellebee January 12, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    Hi, What a great find, I love this outfit. I like the dress with and without the belt, but I slightly favour the belted look. Either way, you can ring in the changes. I think the sleeve does need to be shortened a little, and maybe slimmed down in the arm.

    This is one of those dresses which you could wear to a dinner date, cocktail party, red carpet event … I'm off to buy one for myself! LOL ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Jane January 12, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    Sewing on this type of fabric can be tricky. You did a good job on the torso.

  • Olyvia January 12, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    yes, I'm interested in a review of the spanx you are wearing! For some reason, I try to avoid spanx because I already detest wearing tights/panthose…the thought I was wearing something constricting makes me hesitant…but my butt has been looking lumpy in pencil skirts and dresses lately..and not sure if butt-toning exercises will help….so maybe have to try the spanx route ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Midnight Cowgirl January 12, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    Love how you styled this dress!

  • Professionally Petite January 12, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    I like it without the waist belt and with the sleeve shortened. You have such a great eye for how to fix seemingly ill-fitting items. The after pictures look stunning!

    Professionally Petite

  • Jackie January 12, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    I like it with the belt and shortened sleeve, definitely.

  • Anonymous January 12, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    Love it! I prefer no belt and shorted sleeve (an inch lower than shown)

  • Visceral Maze January 12, 2013 at 7:56 pm


  • Julie January 12, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    The dress looks stunning on you! I love the addition of the belt, classes it up and matches the hardware on your Valentinos so well.

    xoxo, Julie @ OBSESSED

  • Anonymous January 12, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    love the dress without visible belt. i really like this look, chic and sexy

  • RTWatelier January 12, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    I have those color Valentino studded pumps but with a lower heel. I love Valentino shoes in general — recently purchased a pair of flats too. Makes $20 dresses look fab!

  • Miriam January 12, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    jean! the heels look so good on you! i just got mine the other day and they make my ankles look fat =(

    i actually like the added belt, it upgraded the simple little black dress.

  • Anonymous January 12, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    It looks better with belts on, I feel that the sleeves would be nicer if it just ends right at your wrist or 3/4 length. ๐Ÿ™‚ I always love your style and am amazed how you can actually make lots of overly huge American appearels fitting for an Asian. You sure have made us Asians proud even though we are so tiny mini petite ๐Ÿ˜€ I am only 1.52m and a US0 and its so frustrating that most american clothings are always so big. i have been taking lots of outfit advice from your blog. Thank you so much!
    Reader from singapore <3

  • newpetite January 12, 2013 at 10:38 pm

    That is gorgeous dress and you wear it well! Love the little longer length and would say yes to the altered sleeves.

  • Faux ionista January 12, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    A visible belt gives your waist more definition, which in my opinion is more flattering on you and I also think the sleeves should be shortened.

    Gorgeous rockstuds, btw. I am eyeing a pair in Noir, myself!


  • Michelle January 13, 2013 at 12:22 am

    I love the integrity of your blog; that you referred readers to spanx and that you chose to post this so readers could pick up the dress. keep on, Jean!

  • Anonymous January 13, 2013 at 1:12 am

    Oooh! The hermes belt is a really nice touch. For some reason the belt doesn't scream look at me (which in my opinion it usually does when worn with jeans, pants, etc with the H fully showing). Definitely wear the dress with the belt showing, it's more eye catching in a subtle way.

  • Anonymous January 13, 2013 at 1:20 am

    Very Nice! By the way, your military jacket is now only $38.79

  • Alice January 13, 2013 at 1:55 am

    Gorgeous as always Jean!
    While that ASOS dress does seem different from your usual outfits, I love the way you pull it off. The loose, billowy top attached to the sexy, tight bottom is a very interesting design. Even though you wouldn't picture a dress like this to be very versatile, I can definitely see it being paired with a variety of accessories for tons of different occasions!

    Personally, I think that the dress looks slightly better belted. The shift between the different tones to the upper and lower parts of the dress can be slightly jarring; it seems like the addition of the belt would make for a nicer transition and greater waist definition for a va-va-voom type of vibe. Even without the belt though, the dress is pretty fabulous! Also, the sleeves are much better in the top photo than in the bottom ones, where they aren't completely drowning your arms. If you wanted to, I feel like you could also take up the sleeves a little more to make them 3/4 length. That might balance out their width a little more. Those are just my humble opinions though!

    Now before I forget, I just want to say that those Rockstuds are too amazing. Right now, I can only dream of owning a pair of shoes that breathtaking. Some day! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Hope your weekend is going well.


  • Carol Li January 13, 2013 at 4:58 am

    I love this dress on you. I like the dress belted.


  • Helen Lena Chap January 13, 2013 at 5:01 am

    so classy and elegant!

  • Anonymous January 13, 2013 at 5:03 am

    Wow! Another jaw dropping attempt! I think u look better in this than ur previous sequin dress. This one is such a statement piece! ๐Ÿ™‚ I like how u hide the belt inside. It looks more chic and less working classic. ๐Ÿ™‚ Jean, it's fun to work it outside ur usual comfort style! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ love ya!

    Adelia Ng

  • Adelia January 13, 2013 at 5:04 am

    Oh ya forgot to mention. Your choice of shoes is perfect! It matches ur dress so well!

  • Mady T. January 13, 2013 at 5:09 am

    I really admire your patience in altering cloths…but it is worth it! love the way that the dress turned out!



  • GEMMA January 13, 2013 at 6:20 am

    Looove the look!

    Check out my blog: http://www.gemmamonclus.blogspot.com


  • Lady of Style January 13, 2013 at 7:20 am

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Lady of Style January 13, 2013 at 7:21 am

    I love the dress as worn in the first two photos. Perfect length and sleeve length. Mid-calf is definitely too long.
    A belt is nice but I don't think it is necessary. One shoulder dresses are so unique anyway and attract a lot of attention and the combination with your nude Valentino heels is just amazing.

    Love from Germany,

  • minnieyao January 13, 2013 at 7:23 am

    Wow the before and after is a big difference! I love your shoes by the way ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Anonymous January 13, 2013 at 9:20 am

    The dress looks great on you. Love the pic with belt. Nice heels!

  • Janki January 13, 2013 at 10:56 am

    I'd keep the belt. The H logo actually subtly pulls the eye in towards your waist. The transition from loose to very tight seems too harsh without the belt. For undergarments do you wear a convertible bra/strapless?
    Those shoes are so cute! I love how you've added them to the outfit without making it seem "too much". I would even try this look if the bottom weren't so tight.
    A review on the spanx would be great. I have a knock off pair that I use especially with my ON wrap dress.
    Keep it up. (I started my first alterations already and am taking some in person and online classes…hope my wardrobe shapes up soon)

  • phiphis blog January 13, 2013 at 11:10 am

    I agree with the shortened sleeve – belted for some reason makes this dress look less formal. perhaps a glittered black belt or something to mesh with the dress itself. but i like it belted too – the dress looks spectacular on you so you can wear it with or without a belt!

    and hurray!! i love the rockstuds on you – have yet to get the 100 mm heel but i live in the kitten heels.

    xox P

  • lorraine uy January 13, 2013 at 11:33 am

    I think it looks great either way. Especially after you did the alterations.

  • aliami January 13, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    Love the heels!!!

    I think shortening the sleeves (like you did in the first photo) is a good idea – it looks much nicer that way.

    The dress is flattering with or without the belt. You can achieve two different looks depending on what kind of event/outing you're going to.

  • Anonymous January 13, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    Jean, would you consider putting elastic in the sleeve hem so that it tightens around the wrist and then balloons out towards the sleeve? I'm not sure what the technical term is, but it's not hard to do. I think it would work well with the rest of the silhouette.

  • Advo January 13, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    Hi Jean,

    Your Valentino rockstud pumps looks amazing, and complement your LBD wonderfully! Could you do a post about them or answer a couple of questions for me? What made you decide to buy the pumps over the kitten heel? I'm contemplating the dilemma myself, because I like the height from the pumps but the comfort from the kitten heel. However, I am around your height, so I'm really curious about your decision. Also, if you just bought them which colour did you get them in? I've heard that Valentino make many different shades of "nude"?

  • Joy January 13, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    Ahh I love the Valentino Rockstud line! That dress looks great on you, but I just do not have the patience to deal with bell sleeves.

    Please do a review on your Spanx. I just recently acquired a different type of Spanx and I'm not really impressed, but they really do make you feel shrink-wrapped lol.

    Also thanks very much for enabling me to check out the Asos sale now. >_< http://shortandsweetjoy.blogspot.com/

  • Kiwi January 13, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    This dress really shows off your body!
    I wish I could do alterations like you. I always try on things in store that I love but fit too big.

  • Olivia January 13, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    Another stunning ensemble – you look great!! Thanks for sharing all the great tips!!

  • Anonymous January 13, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    You look so chic and lovely in that dress! The sleeve definitely looks better shortened as it gives the dress more symmetry. The dress works both belted and unbelted, it just depends on the look and feel you are going for. Keep up the great work.

  • lisacng @ expandng.com January 14, 2013 at 10:31 am

    Looks great on ya, showing off your figure! I'd say the sleeve length could be a bit longer, maybe right at the wrist. I like the "over drape" you did with the belt, giving it even more volume on top. I like it with the exposed belt, but I feel like the drape gives the dress more elegance and class. Good luck with your decision!

  • Mia January 14, 2013 at 11:35 am

    I love your blog! you inspired me to tackle some long-needed alterations for clothes that have been sitting in the back of my closet waiting to be tailored! and to put a little more effort into my work attire. now I frequently get compliments for wearing cute outfits ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Christie January 14, 2013 at 11:59 am

    This is such a classic look. I love how you styled the simple little black dress to something more fabulous and chic. Also, I love the shoes!!



  • pretty little things January 14, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    that first dress looks gorgeous on you — and so in love with those Valentino heels! xo


  • Richelle January 14, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    ah! how chic ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Estee cha January 14, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    Wow, beautiful, lovely ๐Ÿ™‚


  • Petitetomatoes January 14, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    Beautiful dress! I just saw those pumps on Wendy's blog. Love it!

  • PetiteAsianGirl January 15, 2013 at 12:26 am

    Hi Advo! I love the kitten heels on others but am personally not much of a kitten-heel wearer … I usually prefer to go low and sturdy, or all out with high heels. With the ankle straps I wanted as much height as possible to combat that area being visually cut off a little. I was also confused by the nude color options. On some sites it was labeled nude or beige but on Nordstrom it was "poudre." This one is a taupe-nude and I confirmed with blog friends Fast Food & Fast Fashion and WendysLookbook that they have the same color. I haven't seen any other shades of nude for this specific style in-person.

  • PetiteAsianGirl January 15, 2013 at 12:27 am

    Thank you very much for the tip – I really like the billowy look of the sleeve, but I think some others who don't may find this suggestion to be useful : )

  • PetiteAsianGirl January 15, 2013 at 12:29 am

    Erin – thank you so much for your kind comment. To be honest with you, a very similar thing happened at my first internship as a freshman in college. I was mortified and resolved to put more care into my professional atire. Thank you for reading along, and I appreciate hearing from you : )

  • PetiteAsianGirl January 15, 2013 at 12:30 am

    Thank you – that means a lot to me! have you considered beginners sewing classes? I love my sewing machine manual pretty early on, and classes (although they were back in China, so I have no suggestions for in the US) helped a lot.

  • PetiteAsianGirl January 15, 2013 at 12:31 am

    Thank you for the heads up!

  • PetiteAsianGirl January 15, 2013 at 12:32 am

    Thank you, Mia! I'm still working on tacking my own pile of long-needed alterations!

  • Stefanie Z January 15, 2013 at 12:40 am

    Definitely lose the belt, and alter the sleeves! Great dress

  • Holly January 15, 2013 at 3:32 am

    Hey Jean,
    I wonder if the dress is more like thick ponte fabric or thin jersey (like those American Apparel tees, which are sort of "see-through")? I had some bad experience with ASOS dresses (in darker colours)being so thin that the colour of my bra was showing! I had to wear nude colour underneath at last… usually i prefer to wear black underwears with black dresses, just to prevent some unexpected flashing moments ๐Ÿ˜›

  • Anonymous January 15, 2013 at 5:31 am

    instead of shortening the sleeves, I suggest that you hem the end of the sleeve to give it the "bubble" hem on your wrist, which is ruching at the sleeve where the opening is on your wrist (you can use an elastic band under for comfort & easy fit). I know this may sound confusing, but just an idea.

  • Anonymous January 15, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    This dress looks great on you and is very figure flattering! i love it!

  • Tien January 15, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    Hi Jean,
    Gorgeous find on Asos! I would vote for altering the sleeve as it looks slightly long on your tiny frame. Love the tips on altering the torso – I usually just send the clothes back a packing feeling like 'nothing fits!' and I too bought a pair of spanx shorts recently too!!


    Tien xo

  • Unknown January 16, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    Erin I also recommended you fastfoodandfastfashion, is a blog from Elle, whom is the right person to look forward for offices pairings too. She is also friend of Jean and both share incredibly founds for petites gales.
    I hope this help you too.
    Jen: The belt option makes and amazing bridge between two textures of your dress, making the union disappear under the belt line.

    Greetings from Mรฉxico

  • sodium1415 January 17, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    This dress looks great on you!
    PS: Please do a review on the Spanx shorts.

  • sodium1415 January 17, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    This dress looks great on you!
    PS: Please do a review on the Spanx shorts.

  • Melanie January 20, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    You look so gorgeous in this dress !

    Love xx
    Melanie ~ http://www.mlncrd.com

  • Anonymous January 23, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    Quite an ugly dress that doesn't compliment your figure. Bad pick. ๐Ÿ™

  • Anonymous January 24, 2013 at 2:51 am

    This dress looks great with the belt : )

  • Jenni Lee February 4, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    Can you do a post on belts?

Comments are closed.