Spring: Mint dress, neutrals + cap toe pumps


H&M; dress, belt & clutch, Gap blouse, CL Pigalle 85 pumps (similar for less)

Boston weather teased me last week, allowing for 2 days of bare legs before freezing cold took over again. I jumped at the chance to break out this dress that I painstakingly altered + hemmed over a month ago. The fresh mint went perfectly with my latest loves – blush pink & cream cap-toed Louboutins scored at a great price (pre-owned via eBay).
Blair of Atlantic-Pacific styled this same dress beautifully with an elegant mint tweed jacket and multi-strand pearls. Inspired, I delved into my growing tweed collection and came up with the following…
handmmint7This example illustrates something that I’ve become very aware of over the years: proportions. As a petite woman working with under 5 feet of height, the key to looking streamlined versus stumpy often lies in the proportions and lengths of my garments… 

Although I prefer the color/texture combo on the right, the hip-length jacket paired over a longer pencil dress makes me look top-heavy and short-legged (and much worse with flat shoes, which Blair pulled off effortlessly). The jacket on the left is only 2″ shorter, but that makes quite a difference if you are petite. The longer jacket on the right also hits my hips at the widest point, so when that line joins with the dress, it effectively creates the illusion of a boxy rectangle versus the hourglass figure that I want.

Left: No 5. jacket in white sz S (review)   Right: Malang jacket sz S (review), both c/o Uniqueen

I also want to point out that the pairing on the left shows equal proportions of jacket, skirt, and legs, whereas the one on the right shows more jacket. This adds to the top-heaviness and makes me look broader, even though both jackets have the same shoulder width. An exception to this issue is when more leg is shown to counteract the longer top – ie. a long boyfriend blazer paired with a mini skirt and lotsa leg.
I’ve never tried a button-up shirt under a fitted pencil dress, but was inspired by my friend Ping in this post. The crisp collar and contrasting sleeves add a new dimension to the dress, but shirt lines underneath can get tricky. This probably works better with thin, sleeveless blouses.
While wearing this dress, I realized I needed to get some good shapewear, stat. I’ve been noticing strange lumps lately caused by un-toned flesh or ill-placed underwear lines, and also from the aforementioned shirt lines. I’m close to getting the Spanx Half-Slip Shaper, but am also curious about the Seamless Mid-Thigh Shaper from their less-expensive line, Assets by Sara Blakely (incredible, incredible businesswoman, by the way). From reading the descriptions, however, it seems that these pieces are more for slimming and not for concealing. If anyone has shapewear reviews or recommendations – please share!

Readers – Have you delved into mint and/or cap toes this spring?
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  1. Krizia wrote:

    Jean, it is so lovely to watch your style blossom! I think this outfit is a perfect example of your growing skill in mixing different pieces at different price points, and mixing trends with classics; tips that are so helpful to women (of all sizes really!) who like to be smart and savvy with their personal styles. Thank you for sharing your trials and errors with us. It's so inspiring to read a style blog that is very much driven by practicality, timelessness, and an open mind.

    Posted 4.2.12 Reply
  2. Anonymous wrote:

    Hi Jean, I absolutely love your blog. I have a question about the H&M; clothes you own, such as this dress — do you wear them to work? The reason I ask is that I find H&M; fabrics to wrinkle terribly after a very short period of time, particularly around the hips of a dress (due to sitting). Maybe the quality has gotten better since I haven't shopped there in a while. Thanks again for the wonderful advice. I bought those Goody spin pins based on your recommendation.

    Posted 4.2.12 Reply
  3. I don't follow trends. But I do love the mint color. The cap toe shoes aren't my style.

    Posted 4.2.12 Reply
  4. Beautiful outfit! As always:)

    Posted 4.2.12 Reply
  5. Wytane wrote:

    Love the belt! Very unique buckle matched with leather. Btw, I agree with you that the jacket in white looks better for the match! Keep up with the good work.

    I love love love your blog. Am following you 🙂

    wytane.blogspot.com x

    Posted 4.2.12 Reply
  6. Janki wrote:

    Wonderful post! Keep doing these tutorials on fit; it's what helps prevent us from making costly purchases because we don't understand the porportions we need (guilty!). As for the Spanx, I'd get the original. I have seen some good prices at Nordstrom's Rack. I was planning to get one too.

    I loved how you managed to layer without it looking too "girlish". Whenver I'd add a shirt to a shift dress, it had this pinafore look to it, like I was back in 1st grade.

    Great post as always.

    Posted 4.2.12 Reply
  7. Tara A wrote:

    Get the shorts (either Assets or Spanx) rather than the half-slip, because you'll go crazy trying to keep it in place. I love the shorts-type shapers for keeping shirt layers smooth and tucked-in under skirts, but I do usually have to fiddle with where the bottom of the legs hit, since my "mid-thigh" is not as long as a standard mid-thigh, and I don't want them peeking out under my skirt.

    Posted 4.2.12 Reply
  8. i just got educated! thanx plus this is an awesome look


    Posted 4.2.12 Reply
  9. Kitch wrote:

    Thanks for another educational post Jean! I totally agree with the blazer needing to have the right proportions to fit a petite body. This nutmeg blazer that I have actually looks best on a short or mini skirt: http://www.keeyatch.com/2011/12/ootd-err-night.html
    If I wear them with with a longer skirt or jeans, it kinda makes me look frumpy.
    On the other hand, I always find myself in a debate on the length of skirt. I perfectly understand that it needs to hit right above the knee of right in the middle of the knee. What I usually lean towards to though is the one below the knee, which naturally cuts off the length of the legs. However, I think its because of the shape of my knee and calves that I find the need to hide them, with an exception that the skirt MUST be high waisted to elongate me a bit more like such: (this is exactly a bad example of a blazer fit ruining the purpose of the skirt hahahaha)

    Posted 4.2.12 Reply
  10. wow 1st of all I really love that colour, and as everyone already mentioned, it looks beautiful in you. Elegant but very feminine and relaxing at the same time. Perfect for spring

    Posted 4.2.12 Reply
  11. I love the mint+blush combo! Thanks for continually educating us on fit and proportion. Sometimes it's easy to throw things together without stepping back to asses proportions. I have thigh shapers form Spanx and from the ASSETS line. The Spanx is smooth, soft, and silky; while the ASSETS is scratchy. If you can find Spanx on sample sale they are a good deal! I tried on this full slip from Target and loved it except for the bust area – the straight line across was bothering me, but you should give it a try, esp fro ~$16 – http://www.target.com/p/Vassarette-Womens-Body-Curves-Full-Slip-Smooth-Chemise-Assorted-Colors/-/A-13788541 (link goes to the "curves" version, but the in-store one is not).

    Posted 4.2.12 Reply
  12. Aww Jean you look so lovely and the dress looks so good on you! I tried this on but it didn't look good on me. I think the problem lies in the roominess under the armpits. You did a great DIY job by the way! 🙂

    Posted 4.2.12 Reply
  13. newpetite wrote:

    Love the dress on you! Have you tried boy shorts? They kinda help in avoiding the panty lines and give the clean and neat look!

    Posted 4.2.12 Reply
  14. Suzie Q wrote:

    I love mint and cap toe shoes this season. I love how you layered the collared shirt underneath the dress. Your shoes are amazing! Great insight with the two different blazers paired with the dress. Although the No 5 blazer fits your frame better, I love how that Malang jacket looks paired with the mint dress.

    Suzie Q
    Style Cue by Suzie Q

    Posted 4.2.12 Reply
  15. Tam wrote:

    You look gorgeous, as always, Jean! I agree that a more form-fitting, shorter jacket is much more flattering on us petites. This is why I often put together separates for workwear instead of traditional suits–much easier to find separate pieces that fit well instead of spending a bunch of money altering both pieces of a suit.

    I've picked up a mint shell and light scarf this spring as well as some cap-toed flats. Excited to wear them now that the weather is warm!

    Posted 4.2.12 Reply
  16. Anonymous wrote:

    I got the no 5 jacket & as expected the sleeves are too long for me. I was wondering where I should hem the sleeves to and where they should land? Thanks for your help!

    Posted 4.2.12 Reply
  17. Joanna Le wrote:

    Wow, those shoes are absolutely stunning! I agree with you about the white jacket. It definitely hits your waist at the right spot, and does more for your body than the jacket on the right.


    Posted 4.1.12 Reply
  18. I really love what you've done with that dress, that DIY is so genius and it's so cute. The jacket on the left definitely matches the dress better and makes it look put together. I think the jacket on the left would pair better with skinny jans and your red CL heels. Oh btw, how many pairs of Louboutins do you have? I'm so jealous, your collection is so sweet.

    Dude your blog is so helpful and inspirational! As a petite Asian girl too, I have issues finding clothes that fit, but since I'm a (grad) student, my clothes are casual, and it'll be a few years before I have to dress professionally. Your blog has taught my so much about professional dressing that is pretty! I thought I was confined to a life of boring slacks with basic button downs!

    Re: spanx and such: I bought a pair when I had a coupon, and I find them really uncomfortable to get into/out of (mine's a different style though). They'll smooth things out, but I'm not sure what exactly you might be looking for. If the problem appears just to be underwear lines, I suggest ultra seamless panties like such:



    Posted 4.1.12 Reply
  19. Julie Khuu wrote:

    Minty fresh honey! That belt is the perfect finishing touch to this classy ensemble…so chic!

    Posted 4.1.12 Reply
  20. Ping wrote:

    love this outfit, jean! i saw that dress in store on a hanger and didn't think much of it until you wore it. i wished it came altered like that. btw i am in love with that belt and i have seen you wear a couple of times. i'm thinking it's from h&m; too? i been looking for it but no luck.

    Posted 4.1.12 Reply
  21. Hey! The mint dress looks so clean on you with the outfit combos you put together! Any resemblance to a surgical gown has been totally eliminated thanks to your alterations that turned out so well. I just wanted to let you know that your blog has been the main resource for me while I am transitioning into the professional world with increasing instances where I have to look polished– like for an interview at Harvard Medical. Your posts have been so informative to those of us who are petite and have been poking around in the dark over the matter of fit. While I'm about your height, I carry about 4.5kg more than you in the legs and hips. Another point that I enjoy is that being able to relate to someone else who has roots in Boston/ Canton.

    Posted 4.1.12 Reply
  22. obsessed with mint to, it's not just you! I love both blazers in each photo! yes, elongated legs, but love the texture in photo #2. You look beautiful my love. xO

    Posted 4.1.12 Reply
  23. i am loving the mint colour – really a breath of fresh air (pun intended!) i love this entire outfit!


    Posted 4.1.12 Reply
  24. Carrie wrote:

    this dress is perfect for you!!! it's sleek and it hugs your body beautifully. i also like cap-toed shoes. especially flats. they're something different from your ordinary slip-ons.

    Shoetopia Giveaway — 3 winners. Come and join! 😀
    10% off discount code to Vantage Point Vintage


    Posted 4.1.12 Reply
  25. What an amazing outfit! The mint color is so great because it looks good on everyone and looks great on shoes, clothing, nails and jewelry. I love how you paired the dress with the blouse underneath and that fantastic belt!

    Posted 4.1.12 Reply
  26. amazing outfit! i love the mint green color!


    Posted 4.1.12 Reply
  27. Anonymous wrote:

    Those shoes are gorgeous, they make you look so polished.

    Posted 4.1.12 Reply
  28. sunash29 wrote:

    Great outfit and as usual you look stunning.

    Mint – absolutely!! got a few pieces for this summer.
    Thinking about Cap toe shoes (heels or flats) – they seem to be everywhere!

    i have been following your blog for the last 3-4 months and have been inspired by so many of your pairings! Keep up the great work!

    Posted 4.1.12 Reply
  29. Bettina wrote:

    Fantastic eBay score! And, I agree with you def the look on the left. The few inches really makes a difference when you don't have that many inches to work with to begin with 🙂 I always find myself having to say no to items that don't sit right in proportion to my torso if I know I won't take the extra steps to get them altered.

    Posted 4.1.12 Reply
  30. petiterealized wrote:

    love your outfit and new CL score!! The malang is much too shaggy for my liking. Wholeheartedly agree the no. 5 is a cleaner, better fit. 🙂

    Posted 4.1.12 Reply
  31. wow, the difference of 2" in those jackets is crazy!! i was just putting a post together with mint!! and i remember when you said you got those shoes, nice find!

    Posted 4.1.12 Reply
  32. siLvia wrote:

    Love the shoes and the outfit together!

    Posted 4.1.12 Reply
  33. Ky wrote:

    Great color combination! Your outfit is very classy and fun for spring.

    Posted 4.1.12 Reply
  34. Really like your streamlined take on the mint trend. I am trying to find me at least one substantial piece….still looking.

    7eventh Letter

    Posted 4.1.12 Reply
  35. Anonymous wrote:

    delurking to say that I've been meaning to try a white button down under a sheath for a while, specifically one that was featured on the jcrew site, kinda like the current memo dress. (the button down was cuffed at elbow length)

    Posted 4.1.12 Reply
  36. Anonymous wrote:

    hi jean!
    love this post! i an considering the No.5 jacket but I was wondering if you think it would be too cropped on someone 5'4"? I measured some of my blazers and your length measurement falls about an inch shorter than my shortest blazer. I'm unsure if it would look too cropped on me, i appreciate your input!
    thanks, vivian

    Posted 4.1.12 Reply
  37. grace wrote:

    Gorgeous Jean =) That mint is a beautiful color on you… and after all those hard changes (I'm still not brave enough to do any alterations).

    After all these posts with all these beautiful bright colors, you might have inspired me to add a bit more color to my wardrobe!

    I may cave and get a No.5 tweed jacket as well 😉

    Posted 4.1.12 Reply
  38. Ali wrote:

    I love the mint trend this year especially since it's always been one of my favorite colors. I bought mint, ankle-zip crop jeans from J Crew this weekend (at least they were cropped on my non-petite 5'6'' 100lb frame). You look great and I love the dress and the left look! Lusting over your shoes too.

    Posted 4.1.12 Reply
  39. Genie wrote:

    I've always loved pastels, especially the lighter hues of purple. But I love the way this minty green shade stands out against your skin tone, I find it to be very flattering. I also really like how the white blazer looks against the minty green, as well as how much more fitted it looks compared to the Malang jacket.



    Posted 4.1.12 Reply
  40. I have the same idea too about the proportion. That's why I bought the No.5 tweed jacket instead the Malang.But they both worth the money.


    Posted 4.1.12 Reply
  41. Jackie wrote:

    This looks so good on you! You are always so good at pairing colors.

    I agree, the white blazer looks better, it lengthens the bottom half of you.

    I'm not into to either one of these trends this year. I generally stay away from pastels and I'm not loving the cap toes as much as the classics when it comes to pumps.

    Posted 4.1.12 Reply
  42. Olyvia wrote:

    I love it when you give proportion advice! I'm still struggling on finding jackets that doesn't make me look more dumpy and stumpy. That is crazy how only a few inches make a big difference. I feel like I need to re-do my whole wardrobe. I'm definitely into mint this season, especially mint in jewelry or nail polish 🙂 And still searching for the perfect cap-toe for me!

    Posted 4.1.12 Reply
  43. Jackie wrote:

    This looks so good on you! You are always so good at pairing colors.

    I agree, the white blazer looks better, it lengthens the bottom half of you.

    I'm not into to either one of these trends this year. I generally stay away from pastels and I'm not loving the cap toes as much as the classics when it comes to pumps.

    Posted 4.1.12 Reply
  44. I love the layering! Mint is such a pretty colour on you. : )

    Posted 4.1.12 Reply
  45. Anonymous wrote:

    You look gorgeous as always Jean!!! love love mint!!

    Posted 4.1.12 Reply
  46. Anonymous wrote:

    I do like the color and texture of the right dress better, but I definitely felt like the left one looked better. I'm so glad you went on to say what it was that made it feel that way, because I couldn't put my finger on it. I'll definitely have to make a point to look for that with my own outfits now.

    Posted 4.1.12 Reply
  47. Anonymous wrote:

    I have the seamless mid-thigh shaper and though this may sound strange, I have to say that they smell kind of odd after a full day of wearing. The material just gets this weird smell to it if you sweat at all and though friends promised they couldn't smell it, I felt self conscious. I obviously washed before wearing and every time I dared to wear them and it was truly no good. They do conceal though, so if you're just wearing them for a couple hours in winter, it should be fine!

    Posted 4.1.12 Reply
  48. I am loving the mint color on everything from jeans to shirts to nail polishes! I have not tried cap toe shoes. I'm actually thinking of DIY cap toes for some old shoes that I have.

    Great outfit by the way. I like how the NO 5 jacket looks better.


    Posted 4.1.12 Reply
  49. you look so stunning! love the mint dress!
    xo, Tina

    Posted 4.1.12 Reply
  50. It looks absolutely beautiful on you!
    You're looking minty fresh kid! 🙂

    Posted 4.1.12 Reply

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