Ann Taylor Outlet Vintage Crochet Lace Dress in Navy


Ann Taylor Factory crochet lace dress in navy blue (not black) – item # 280570
Left: Fit of 00 Petite as-is   Right: Fit with 1-2 inches pinched back at the waistline
I was feeling burned out this week and decided to treat myself to a few minutes of holiday sale browsing. Since time was limited, I chose only one store – the hit-or-miss Ann Taylor factory (“hit” for me today). If you really loved Ann Taylor’s vintage lace dress from years past but missed out, it’s back at their factory store now in navy blue. The retail price ($169.99) is actually $30 less than last year, and there’s 40% off everything going on this weekend. If you’re a card member, remember you can get free ship from any store to your home on non marked-down items.
I was really excited to see this dress in navy, but since I already have the ivory version, I snapped a pic of it on the hanger and started to leave. However, something in my head told me the fit looked different from last year, and back in I went to try it on.
Belt: pre-owned reversible Hermes “Constance” (a beloved birthday gift) sz 70, extra holes punched

Sure enough, it’s a bit slimmer than last year’s. It’s still a little loose at the waist, but much better than this “before” pic. And more excitingly for shorties like me, the length of the 2012 version is about 1.5 to 2 inches shorter than 2011’s. I love the new length on someone my height (5 feet tall). I splurged on the ivory version last year…

and spent quite a bit getting it altered, but the one aspect my tailor couldn’t alter was the length. I love the look of the dress so much, but the length has limited me to wearing it for about 3 hours total. I’m short-calved, so (unless the dress/skirt is fitted) above-the-knee lengths work much better for me. Each time I tried to pair it with a hip-length blazer for work, the proportions just didn’t look right without sky-high, neutral heels. And when I tried to wear it as a top, the skirt part kept poking out. I kept scrutinizing the scalloped hem for any possibility of shortening it, but no luck.

Here’s a comparison of my ivory from 2011 (also 00 Petite) versus the navy from 2012 to show the length difference. PLEASE NOTE the ivory has been taken in width-wise several inches by my tailor. 2 inches of length may be nothing to some, but makes a huge difference on short legs.


So what did I do? I brought little miss navy home with me. As much as I love the romantic look of the ivory, I think it might need to go to a new home instead of gathering dust in my closet. I’m just hesitant to part with it (yet). Since the navy almost fits, I plan on taking it in from the back myself, and just wearing it belted in the meantime.

Here’s some other items that caught my eye, that are renditions of regular store stuff from last season:

Left: White poplin blouse w/ chiffon tiers, item # 280701, $49.99 before 40% off
Right: Tiered blouse + white “stone” necklace – lost the item # but blouse is $54.99 before discounts



Drape neck blouses in beige-taupe, teal, and a rich burgandy red (sorry, true color did not come out). I really liked the front part of these (trying on an XSP above – no XXSP’s in sight) and can see myself wearing it both tucked and untucked for work, but the back part bothered me as it’s simply knit. I’m starting to dislike items where the front looks nice and luxe, but someone clearly took a shortcut on the back to possibly save on costs. I left the store with just the navy dress.


Readers – What should I do? Keep the navy and sell the ivory? Keep both (in case I have a growth spurt), or return the navy?

I won’t be able to answer any comments, questions or emails until June. Thank you for your patience!

Leave a Comment


  1. Anonymous wrote:

    I love this look! I actually didn't pay much attention to this dress because I have in ivory too, but seeing it paired up like this made me want it! I called around and actually found a 00P on final sale! Thank you for making me re-think this dress! 🙂

    Posted 8.14.12 Reply
  2. Taylyn. wrote:

    I say keep the navy and sell the ivory.


    Posted 6.6.12 Reply
  3. Anonymous wrote:

    Hi Jean! I was wondering about your Hermes belt. What size waist are you to fit a size 70? I am 24" waist. Was looking at a size 65, 70 or 75 belt. Would like enough belt material on the end to sit on my hips and will punch more holes to wear higher waisted. Thanks!

    Posted 5.31.12 Reply
  4. AUBS* wrote:

    oh i totally dislike tops where the front looks luxe and the back is just cotton. same w/sequins and what not. i'll pay extra people!!!!

    Posted 5.30.12 Reply
  5. Kimy wrote:

    Keep both!!!! I'm not sure if you know but thought I'd share for others who are students… Ann Taylor has a discount for students who present their student ID!!! 20% off!!! Here's the link…

    Posted 5.30.12 Reply
  6. Ivory is perfect for the daytime in blazing summer heat! Navy is great for everything else! Tough choice! Navy looks a bit more dressy…

    Posted 5.30.12 Reply
  7. Anonymous wrote:

    Thanks for your post! I live in CA and picked up the Ann Taylor vintage lace dress this past weekend.

    Posted 5.29.12 Reply
  8. Jenn Chase wrote:

    First off, I LOVE your iPhone case. 🙂

    Second, it all depends on if you're really going to wear the ivory dress or not. I have a habit of hanging onto clothes because I might possibly one day wear it again. Which almost never happens. If you can't hem the dress, and that really bothers you, enough so that you'd wear something else instead of it, then I would sell it. But, if the hemline is just a small nuisance, and you really love it, then hang onto it, and play with accessories. If you then find it in your closet after another year, and you haven't really worn it, I think you have your answer.

    I would keep the navy dress. 🙂

    Posted 5.29.12 Reply
  9. I'd say if you're not feeling the ivory, maybe it's time it finds a new home.

    Also, your blog has been such an inspiration to me! I've had the WORST time finding office-appropriate outfits as a petite South Asian woman. Thank you!

    Posted 5.29.12 Reply
  10. AmyC wrote:

    Love this dress! looks fantastic on you! May I ask where you got your phone case?! ohh the memories of the game boy back in the day! 🙂

    Posted 5.29.12 Reply
  11. Anonymous wrote:

    Jean, someone copied your tutorial!!


    Posted 5.29.12 Reply
  12. Anonymous wrote:

    Hi. I think that all of the clothes that you choose look nice on you; however, if you don't enjoy wearing your ivory dress, anymore, and prefer to wear the navy one, now, then I guess this is a sign that you should give the ivory dress away and wear the new one.

    I have a question for you, as well as your readers: As a grown, small woman, have you been bullied by children, who assume that you're their age, or do you just try to avoid places where they congregate? I'm nearing my late 20s and am tired of hearing children laugh and make comments about me to themselves due to my small frame- other adults are able to walk alone or exercise in their neighborhood without being laughed at.


    Posted 5.29.12 Reply
  13. Anonymous wrote:

    Do you bring a belt with you when you go shopping? .. because I think that's genius!

    Posted 5.28.12 Reply
  14. Anonymous wrote:

    i like the ivory color more. may i ask what nail polish color you are wearing?

    Posted 5.28.12 Reply
  15. I really like the navy one. Keep it and sell the ivory.

    I love the dress when belted.


    Posted 5.28.12 Reply
  16. I was just recently reading a mag and the crochet look is very in! I think the lighter one is better for this time of year and the darker for an evening out.


    Posted 5.28.12 Reply
  17. This dress is beautiful! The belt really completes the look.

    I'm a new follower and LOVE your blog! Would love the follow back! Enter my giveaway for a Nordstrom and Starbucks gift card!

    The Pretty Pinhead

    Posted 5.28.12 Reply
  18. Can I please have a mini-rant in your comments section. I went shopping yesterday and I felt so frustrated that so many shops used clips to make their clothes more figure conscious on the mannequins. I feel so excited when I see a great fit on a mannequin and then look at the clothes on the rack and it is shaped like a flour sack. Thanks, I feel so much better with that off my chest!

    Posted 5.28.12 Reply
  19. Savannah wrote:

    Keep both, they're really precious! Plus the ivory will pop against a tan!

    Posted 5.28.12 Reply
  20. Constance is oh so gorgeous on you!!! I like the length of the navy but I'm still much more drawn to the ivory and would vote to keep that one. I'm a little surprised that this dress is one piece rather than the typical 2-piece (top sewn to skirt) type which would have made shortening much easier. What would it look like belted with the top pulled over a little as a blouson effect while shortening the overall length?

    Posted 5.28.12 Reply
  21. Wendy wrote:

    I like the ivory more, but you should keep both. You can always wear and pair them differently. 🙂

    And about that Pencil Skirt in ASOS, if I'm 5'4" should I go with the petite sizing or regular?

    Posted 5.27.12 Reply
  22. Anonymous wrote:

    Sell the ivory, keep the navy!

    Posted 5.27.12 Reply
  23. Jackie wrote:

    I like ivory one better I think. I love the cowl neck tops! They look like you can wear them with anthing! But boo, no XXSPs!? T_T

    I love you phonne case too 😀

    Posted 5.27.12 Reply
  24. Susan wrote:

    Prefer the ivory over the navy. Definitely sell it to another owner (who will probably love it!) if you believe the navy will be more suitable and have more wear.

    Posted 5.27.12 Reply
  25. Anonymous wrote:

    Hey Jean!
    This is kinda random but can you do a blog post on Sunglasses? I've had such a hard time finding sunglasses that fit me(since i'm asian with asian features; no nose bridge, high cheeks, small face) etc. And i've noticed that you have a few pairs of sunglasses that seem to fit you well! Also i've heard about "asian fit" sunglasses but i'm not sure what they are. I really value your opinion!:)

    Posted 5.27.12 Reply
  26. Yay for your Hermes belt!
    I love how it is an easy dress up to my outfits! As a petite fashionista, I am excited to see how you wear it too! <3

    A Preponderance of Fashion

    Posted 5.27.12 Reply
  27. doxyloo wrote:

    I love that your iphone cover is an old school gameboy! LOL.

    I like the ivory color better than the navy, although you make a good point with the length and it not getting enough wear. If you also love the navy and think you would wear it more, sell the ivory.

    Posted 5.26.12 Reply
  28. Kat wrote:

    That is very pretty lace dress! Nice find! I really do like the navy one. I really like the ivory too… ok ok… I'm not help 🙁

    Posted 5.26.12 Reply
  29. TINA wrote:

    I will keep the navy because its length will be more flattering.

    Posted 5.26.12 Reply
  30. Bela Anzu wrote:

    I think the ivory dress looks lovely on you even though it's a tad longer. It looks more fresh and youthful, and would work well for the daytime and summer. It's a classic.

    The navy is interesting to look at since it has contrasting colours, and as you said the shorter length is more flattering on you. It would be nice to keep, although at a glance, it doesn't stand out.

    So, if you only wanted to keep one, I'd keep the ivory instead of the navy, although both are nice. I'm looking forward to see what you decide.

    Posted 5.26.12 Reply
  31. Bela Anzu wrote:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

    Posted 5.26.12 Reply
  32. Keep the navy. Navy is the new black. As for the ivory, keep it until you are sure of parting with it.

    Posted 5.26.12 Reply
  33. Joy wrote:

    Both! Also, I love your phone case <3

    Posted 5.26.12 Reply
  34. Kellie wrote:

    I LOVE the cream lace dress on you, so please don't sell it. It's both classic and romantic. The navy lace dress is pretty too, but it doesn't have that "wow" factor that I feel comes with the ivory one. I think if you want to keep ONE only then just keep the Ivory one, but if you are open to keeping both, then you should because I know you could make the navy one work 🙂

    Posted 5.26.12 Reply
  35. Dr. Juris wrote:

    In order to combat the length problem of either, I'd probably make the waist of the skirt out of a separate ivory material, since otherwise the crochet would unravel. This would have the added benefit of cinching the waste, not that she needs it!

    Posted 5.26.12 Reply
  36. xoxoCat wrote:

    I completely agree with you…I remember looking for a sequinned top for a party last year and I couldn't find any that were sequinned on both front and back. It looked a bit cheap, imo.

    Posted 5.26.12 Reply
  37. Anonymous wrote:

    Hmm, keep the navy and sell the ivory! Unless you're willing to put more effort into making the ivory wearable. Something that fits better may come along. By the way, I love your gameboy phone case 🙂

    Posted 5.26.12 Reply
  38. Kiwi wrote:

    I'm sure many people will buy the ivory one. It'll be such a cute look in the summer.

    Posted 5.26.12 Reply
  39. Anonymous wrote:

    Sell the ivory dress… I would buy it from 🙂

    Posted 5.26.12 Reply
  40. Hmm…if you don't mind ALWAYS wearing it belted, would you consider taking the white dress up at the waist, adding a seam, in order to make it shorter? The bottom part might need some re-slimming if you do this, since bringing things higher might mess up the perfect slimming you already had done by your tailor. You're good enough now at simple alterations that I bet you could do this yourself with a free evening and glass of wine. =)

    Posted 5.26.12 Reply
  41. Petite JD wrote:

    Hey Jean! Did you see if they had any good shoes at the outlet? They seem to always have different options every time I go.

    Posted 5.26.12 Reply
  42. Claud wrote:

    Oh Jean, difficult decision, the ivory one is so romantic and soft but I think the navy is so classic and chic. Anytime I have to choose between any color and navy…I go with navy. I love that color a lot. 🙂

    Posted 5.26.12 Reply
  43. REESHELL wrote:

    i like the navy dress very much!!


    Posted 5.26.12 Reply
  44. Elle wrote:

    Don't sell either…I know you have a no dupes policy but I just adore the cream crochet dress on you. 🙂

    Posted 5.26.12 Reply
  45. Shannan wrote:

    Keep both. I like the ivory one and I don't think that it is too long. It is lovely.

    Posted 5.26.12 Reply
  46. Anonymous wrote:

    Hi Jean,
    I would love to have your ivory dress if you decide to sell it. I've been looking for that style for a while. Please email me at Thank you.

    Posted 5.26.12 Reply
  47. keep both! love the black shorts. where is it from?

    Posted 5.26.12 Reply
  48. Anonymous wrote:

    The white one looks prettier on you, but of course that's my opinion! But I would keep both

    Posted 5.26.12 Reply
  49. Anonymous wrote:

    keep the navy and sell the ivory. i think it's a good idea to avoid duplicates

    Posted 5.26.12 Reply
  50. Anonymous wrote:

    Navy is your color. Lace in cream is ubiquitous, anyway.

    Posted 5.26.12 Reply
  51. janellass wrote:

    I agree. However, if you use the bottom to make a skirt, the top might not be long enough.

    Posted 5.26.12 Reply
  52. I love the navy version so would definately keep it. Thanks for taking the time to share, good luck with all your exams!

    Posted 5.26.12 Reply
  53. I don't know how heft the crochet fabric is, so this might not work, but I successfully removed a scalloped lace hem from a friend's too long wedding dress, trimmed off the excess, then reattached it to remove over 2" of length. It's a bit tedious because I had to pick a place on the lace where I was going to trim it off and try to follow the curves of the design, and I sewed it back on with invisible thread, but it can be done. Check yours to see if the scallop is cut as a separate piece and sewn on, or if it is all in one with the dress. Most scallop lace hems I have seen are sewn on at the end, so you could (potentially) have the ivory hemmed.

    Posted 5.26.12 Reply
  54. Kimberly wrote:

    I would definitely keep the navy and sell the ivory – it looks beautiful on you and the length is much more flattering! 🙂

    Posted 5.26.12 Reply
  55. Great finds girl.
    That black lace dress looks great with the belt!

    ~Natasha Fatah~
    ~Natasha Fatah~

    Posted 5.26.12 Reply
  56. love that lace dress!! so cute! 🙂

    Posted 5.26.12 Reply
  57. p.lynn wrote:

    i love the ivory dress on you more than the navy, but the 1.5-2 inche makes such a big difference! i think the length of the navy dress ultimately makes it better fitting than the ivory. i'm sad that the length of the ivory is unchangeable due to the scalloped hem!

    Posted 5.26.12 Reply
  58. Anonymous wrote:

    The navy just seems too "dark", the white would be perfect for summer 🙂
    On the other hand, I am really loving the drape neck blouses, especially the beige one you are modelling – so chic! Gaahhh I wish we had Ann Taylor in Canada 🙁

    Posted 5.26.12 Reply
  59. My Style wrote:

    the lace dress is amazing! you're so right, the 2 dresses are so alike…the drape neck blouses are such statement pieces in a wardrobe! can't wait to see how you will style the pieces! by the way, love the way you review pieces..


    Posted 5.26.12 Reply
  60. newpetite wrote:

    I like the navy version.

    Posted 5.26.12 Reply
  61. Anonymous wrote:

    To express my true opinion, I do not like the navy one at all. It's not that it's unflattering on you, I just don't much prefer the dress itself. The white one is cute though. Definitely keep the white, especially now that you have invested all the expenses in it and the bother of taking it to the tailor and all…

    Posted 5.26.12 Reply
  62. jennifer wrote:

    love both! but if you sell the white one, lmk! where do you sell some of your stuff so i can get it 😉

    Posted 5.26.12 Reply
  63. love both that so cool

    Posted 5.26.12 Reply
  64. Suzie Q wrote:

    Both dresses are gorgeous. Keep both! But I'll buy the white one if you decide to sell it =)

    Suzie Q

    Posted 5.26.12 Reply
  65. Nandar wrote:

    Keep both

    Posted 5.26.12 Reply
  66. Nandar wrote:

    Keep both

    Posted 5.26.12 Reply
  67. Carla Krae wrote:

    This idea has potential.

    Posted 5.26.12 Reply
  68. Jackie wrote:

    Keep both!

    Posted 5.26.12 Reply
  69. Definitely the navy!

    Posted 5.26.12 Reply
  70. Mai Heart wrote:

    I have the same phone case!

    I love the navy lace dress. definitely a keeper!!

    Posted 5.25.12 Reply
  71. Dr. Juris wrote:

    Orrrr… could turn the ivory into a skirt and a top (separate) and alter the navy to fit, thus keeping both. 🙂

    Posted 5.25.12 Reply
  72. Unknown wrote:

    Alter the navy one and sell the white one. It fits better and you'll wear it much more than the white one.

    Posted 5.25.12 Reply
  73. jen chung wrote:

    Keep both! But if you decide to part with the ivory, please email me 🙂

    Posted 5.25.12 Reply
  74. Anonymous wrote:

    One of my favorite pieces on you is the ivory dress, looks very lovely on you! 🙂

    Posted 5.25.12 Reply
  75. KEEP BOTH. but i love the navy one.. 🙂

    Posted 5.25.12 Reply

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