Asos Banded Dress Review (Herve Leger Look for Less)

asos_red_dress_review
Off-Shoulder Midi Dress c/o ASOS (3 colors), Valentino heels, DIY clutch (tutorial coming soon)

I’ve received a few questions about this ASOS dress, and wanted to share some quick thoughts...

Length: This is labeled as a "midi" dress, despite being shown to hit above the model's knees. I used to alter my skirts / dresses to 2 inches above the knees without a second thought, but lately have been gravitating towards a longer hemline. I especially like them with either higher-waisted items (to visually lengthen the leg line), or with fitted pieces (to add some conservatism - ie. love this printed option).

For this dress, I experimented with all sorts of lengths before deciding on right at the knees (about 1" shorter than option #2 below). Below the knee was a little truncating even with my highest heels, and above the knee seemed too casual. I used this old formula as a guide, and chose the length that showed equal parts skirt and lower leg (lengthened 4 inches here by nude pumps).
asos_red_dress_review1
Material & Design: Although the banded look of this ASOS dress is presumably modeled after Herve Leger bandage dresses, I imagine that the material weight and quality does not compare (must also factor in that it's a fraction of the price)...
I have not tried any Herve Leger dresses personally, but from what I hear, the banded material is thick and sturdy. This supposedly aids in the "compression" effect (like built-in shapewear) for holding in trouble areas and enhancing curves. The poly/elastane blend material of the ASOS is thin and slightly see-through if you wear contrasting underwear. However, when pulled taut like it is here with no zipper, it nevertheless does have some compression and curve-enhancing effects.
asos_red_dress_review4 Sizing & Fit: The dress is labeled as a “bodycon” style, which implies a very tight intended fit. I’m not quite used to wearing skin-tight items, therefore wavered between two sizes for the longest time. I usually wear between US1 and US2 for ASOS, but debated between US2 and US 4 for this dress. Here were some of the differences (for reference, I'm about 5 feet tall and 92 lbs):

US 2– Very fitted throughout and had to squirm to get it on (*tip put this dress on by stepping into it and pulling up, versus pulling it down over your head. I learned this the hard way and had to thrash around with my shoulders stuck. If you have shapewear bottoms, that will help the dress slide on more easily). The snug all-around fit created some cleavage and a slight hourglass shape for a body with minimal natural curves. In the 1st photo of this post, I am trying on the size US 2 with the hem folded up.

     Left: US 4    vs.    Right: US 2
asos_red_dress_review2
US 4 – Fitted but not like a second skin. Did not “compress” the body like the size 2, which made me feel more at ease, but on the other hand lost some of the intended bodycon effect. It gave me less of a “lift" in the bust, pretty much no cleavage, and less waist/hip definition. The shoulder straps were also too long and kept slipping down.

                                                             Left: US 4    vs.    Right: US 2
asos_red_dress_review3
Final choice: After going back and forth a few too many times, I ended up sizing up to the US 4 and performing the following alterations:

1. Shortened the skirt length
2. Tapered the skirt for a more pencil-shaped silhouette
3. Took in the waist
4. Shortened the shoulder straps
asos_red_dress_review5
Since the dress is unlined, the alterations were not complicated but did take me some time. The end result is fitted with less clingy-ness at the bum (my main reason for sizing up), but the bosom-enhancing effects of a smaller size were lost. If you don't mind a very snug silhouette, I suggest going with your usual size and rocking it with confidence : )

Readers - What is your preferred length for a dress like this? Below, at, or above the knee?

56 comments:

  1. Hi Jean! I personally would wear the dress at the knees, which is where you have it. The off shoulder effect looked pretty cute, though unintended in your case. I too, need as much help in the bust area as I can get. ;/

    Looks like an awesome dress, hopefully you can wear it again soon!

    Much love from Seattle,
    Tiffany

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  2. i like the "just below the knee" length. but i have HIPS so i know the "at knee or even shorter" length would probably be most flattering on me. i also am not that comfortable in a bodycon dress but YOU my friend, look AMAZING in that dress! =)

    xoxo, jenn
    the stylish housewife

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    Replies
    1. i like branded dresses.. and its my favorite dress style... i will desperately wana buy this...
      http://www.apparelnbags.com/mens-shorts.htm

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  3. can you teach how to bronze, pleaseee? :)

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  4. Marchesa is coming to JC Penney stores March 1. Will you be interested?

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  5. Hi Jean, I'm new here, I love your blog! It really makes me feel less lonely as a petite woman, and you've given me great ideas on how to fix some items so that they fit better. Thanks!

    I'm about your height, and I also tend to wear my skirts/ dresses just above the knee, I feel it helps making me look taller.

    Regards, Veronica.

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  6. Wow, that’s just gorgeous and red suits you perfectly.

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  7. I really like it below the knees, You look lovely.

    xo
    http://pinksole.com

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  8. hello, Jean! I think the length for a dress like this is very personal things. The length of your dress fits you (if compare your three photos), but for me more flattering above knees. you look so elegant in the dress))

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  9. Hello Jean, I think its much suits with above the knees. Anyhow you look so lovely with this red dress. I believe red is suited to you very well.

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  10. I think this dress looks amazing on you -- the second length is my favorite! xo

    http://allthingsprettyandlittle.blogspot.com/

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  11. Loved all the alterations that you did with the dress! The length that you chose is perfect. This is definitely a great alternative to the Herve dress.

    xoxo,
    Suzie Q
    www.StyleCueBySuzieQ.com

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  12. I definitely agree with your decision to hem it right at the knee. At 5'2" I can't pull off longer lengths unless the bottom of the skirt is transparent (as it is with one of my lace dresses). Higher than the knee with a dress that snug leaves you looking more club and less classy. Great dress!

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  13. Somehow I don't like banded dresses. Its very hard to pull them off without looking tacky. Amazingly, you manage to do so but 99% of the population cannot.

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  14. I love that you used photos to test out different lengths before making alterations. Great idea!!

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  15. I prefer at the knee or above (much more lengthening). Below may work but only on super-fitted dresses. That length tends to make me look very short and squat. I think it tends to have that effect on a lot of people, though, unless they have super long legs.
    FashionEdible Blog

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  16. beautiful dress, jean! you give such great reviews & alterations advice.
    i actually like both the shorter length and the longer length!

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  17. I have knobby knees, so I love my skirts and dresses to hit right below the knee. Hope you won the contest!

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  18. This dress is gorgeous! I prefer this length too. I love the shoes too !! Very classy outfit :)

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  19. Thank you for sharing behind-the-scenes photos! :) I think this dress looks amazing on you and the length (and size) you chose is perfect for keeping it classy (especially since it is so easy to go wrong with a form-fitting dress). I'm actually not a huge fan of Herve Leger bandage dresses; they are way too constricting for me, but they do have a great compression factor! As for length, I think at the knee or just slightly above is the go-to length for me as well (although I have a penchant for flared skirts these days, and those look much better in shorter lengths for us petites)!

    L&F,
    KC

    www.lifeinpetite.blogspot.com

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  20. I for sure thought you would go for the size 2! Yes, it is form fitting, but that is the whole purpose of the dress.. but in the end, it all depends on your comfort level. Great review, Jean!

    http://www.xjole.com

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  21. Hi Jean! You look gorgeous in that red dress!
    I usually prefer my hem right above my knee. I dislike feeling fabric on my knees.
    Nice work on the alterations. This goes to show that getting a dress altered for your body really does make a huge difference!

    Love, Youa

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  22. Hey Jean!
    Just catching up...hope you and Nick had a fun V-Day. You look gorgeous in the ASOS dress. And I loved seeing the library...amazing! As a U.S. History teacher, I really have to get over to New England!

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  23. This is very interesting! I hope you don't take offense, but I find this more interesting that the original post. Thanks for sharing!

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  24. Hi Jean,
    I left a comment on your other post but I guess you didn't see :( I was just wondering if you think that those Valentino shoes (which I adore!) could be paired with a full-length gown similar to the colour of the dress you're wearing?

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    Replies
    1. Hi there - I envision full-length gowns to look better with strappy open-toe shoes, but I'm sure you can make it work! One other thing to keep in mind with open-back shoes is to make sure the length of your gown doesn't hit too close to where the back of your foot is when wearing the heels. I once wore a maxi dress with open-back heels and the length kept on getting caught under my foot.

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  25. You did a great job on the dress! Fitted clothes are the best! A few hours of alterations can really payoff. You look beautiful!

    Corporate Catwalk

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  26. I am an ardent fan, and this is my first time commenting!

    Forgive me for my first comment is to point out that "taught" in "However, when pulled taught like it is here with no zipper..." should be spelled "taut" :)

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  27. hi jean, i'm a fan of ur style...just curious where are you work? bcoz u always look fashionable..

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    Replies
    1. Thank you : ) I work in financial services.

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  28. This dress looks fab! I like the length above the knees :)

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  29. The new length looks perfect...such a beautiful dress!

    xoxo,
    Andrea

    www.andreaeveryday.com

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  30. you look great jean!
    check out my blog: www.petiteandproud.blogspot.ca

    xoxo, Laura

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  31. Classy look! You've inspired me for the upcoming season of bachelorette parties.

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  32. Love your shoes!
    www.rsrue.blogspot.com

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  33. you look unbelievably fabulous in that red dress :)

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  34. Love this dress on you. Below the knee looks great and makes you look really tall, but at the knees is more leg lengthening as opposed to body lengthening.

    http://shortandsweetjoy.blogspot.com/

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  35. That dress is freaking gorgeous on you! I would've gone with the smaller sizing for the curve-enhancing effect but both look great on your frame. :D

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  36. Red dress and Valentino heels= beautiful!

    http://www.momfashionworld.com/

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  37. Your pose and outfit in the first photograph is just gorgeous, a very eye-catching, chic and stunning look!

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  38. Hi Jean! I love the dress and your alterations. I have a question-i am interested in ordering from asos but am unsure of how their sizing runs. I am about 5'4 and 105 pounds. I wear between size 2 and 4 depending on the retailer but see that you sized up to a 4 for this particular dress. So I'm guessing I will need an 8?

    Thank you in advance and keep up the great blog!

    -Bibi

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  39. Great post. You look great!

    www.goodbadandfab.com
    personal style and fashion musings of a LA fashion lawyer living life in the fab lane!

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  40. That is a stunning piece of work lovely and gorgeous and it look great on you.

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  41. Thank you for the recommendation on this dress, Jean! I ended up getting the black because red was all sold out and the fit was perfect!

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  42. I think this dress so gorgeous on you! You did an amazing job with the alterations on it, it looks perf!

    http://lookofcataclysm.blogspot.com/

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  43. Beautiful! I'm only a bit taller than you, and your blog is always a source of inspiration for me.

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  44. You look gorgeous in this red dress; also the shoe is perfectly matching.

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  45. This dress looks perfect with your skin colour

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  46. If you're still interested in the Herve Leger look, the RealReal has one on consignment in size XS for $395. Just a thought. :) http://www.therealreal.com/products/herve-leger-bandage-dress-131?flash_sale_id=3631

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  47. I like the shape of this dress. It fits with you nicely.

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  48. Hi,

    Can I have your permission to print the photo of you in the three dress lengths in a local Asian magazine? The article is on how to dress for a petite frame, and I think this would be a great illustration. I will also feature your blog in the article. Thank you, Erin

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