Sale alert: Express is having 40% off everything (plus extra 15% off w/ code 9076 - thank you, Chloe!). If you need work pants, they offer a wide selection starting in size 00 short (runs a little big). I just loved this high-waisted ponte skirt on Kelly, and have been waiting for a sale to order it in colorblock and stripe to try. Based on how it fits her, I'm pretty sure it'll be a winner!
Haven't done one of these in a while, but wanted to share quick thoughts on two dresses I tried on. I've been a fan of Gap since my teenage years, and only wish that they'd carry petite sizing in-stores too. They do offer free shipping & return shipping on all orders over $50, but my orders never come with a return label (need to go online, fill out your address, and print).
Style: I love the silhouette of this dress and details like waistband and on-seam pockets. The skirt is fuller but not overwhelming, and I can see this being flattering on ladies both with or without natural curves. My only qualm with the cut is that the armholes cut inward a bit, possibly exposing armpit flab and bra straps. In-person, the sateen material is white and smooth and the orange and yellow flowers were more fluorescent than I expected.
Material is a comfortable, slightly stretchy 97% cotton, 3% spandex and is lined in the torso only. Care tag says machine wash cold.
Fit: I ordered a 0P to try on, and would say it runs small for Gap and fits similarly to a 00P at AT/LOFT. I can pinch about an inch of extra material at the waist, but not necessarily enough to require alterations (a belt also helps). Measurements of a 0P: 15" across the bust, 13" across the waist, 13" from top to the top of the waistband, 1.25" wide waistband, 32.75" total length, 14.5" wide across the bottom hem of the skirt.
Verdict: Unfortunately, most of my time is spent at work and I had trouble coming up with conservative pairings given the colors in this dress. It looked nice with a bright yellow blazer, but I couldn't find much else in my current closet to wear with it as a cover-up. The fit was flattering and the price with coupon is fair - no keep for this one, if Gap makes the same dress again in navy stripes or a more versatile print, I'll be all over it.
Next up is a J.Crew dress that I tried on a few times over the years....
J.Crew Origami Dress (pink on sale, plus 25% off $150+ w/ LOVEJCREW), Louboutin pumps
Style: If you can fit J.Crew sizing, they have some good work basics in lightweight, lined 100% wool. I have enough basics, but was drawn to the folding detail on the torso of this dress. It was underwhelming on me in-person, but would probably look better on someone who can fill it out.
Fit: Trying on a 00 petite, which was loose throughout especially in the chest and hips (waist measures the same as the Gap dress in 0P). I've tried on several dresses from J.Crew's petite line over the years and they tend to fit similarly. I did keep one a while back and alterations were $40-50, so it could be worth it if you buy during a sale.
With this particular design, the biggest problem for me was the chest gapping that exposed everything within to taller passerbys, and would not be easy to alter given the fold design and sleeves. The length was also short for work when sitting down. This is odd, because I am already on the shorter end of the spectrum that petite lines are designed for (technically women 5'4" and under), and this dress looks to be knee-length on the model (which I like). I used to always go for 2" above the knees and have come to realize that a longer length can be more elegant and elongating - I sadly regret getting some pieces hemmed so hastily in the past.
Measurements of a 00p: 16" across chest, 13" across the waist, 18" across the hips, approximately 31" total length.
Verdict: Got this for a sizable discount, but returned due to the fit issues mentioned.
Readers - Have you tried either of these dresses, or other items from Gap or J.Crew's petite line? If so, I'd love to hear your thoughts.