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!


75 thoughts on “Ann Taylor Outlet Vintage Crochet Lace Dress in Navy

  • Reply Anonymous May 27, 2012 at 2:26 am

    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!:)

  • Reply Susan May 27, 2012 at 4:20 am

    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.

  • Reply Jackie May 27, 2012 at 9:27 am

    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 😀

  • Reply Anonymous May 27, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    Sell the ivory, keep the navy!

  • Reply Wendy May 27, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    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?

  • Reply SewPetiteGal May 28, 2012 at 12:30 am

    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?

  • Reply Savannah May 28, 2012 at 11:15 am

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

  • Reply Kathleen Lisson May 28, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    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!

  • Reply The Pretty Pinhead May 28, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    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

  • Reply Ms.Fashionista May 28, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    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.


  • Reply dietingfashions May 28, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    I really like the navy one. Keep it and sell the ivory.

    I love the dress when belted.


  • Reply Anonymous May 28, 2012 at 10:34 pm

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

  • Reply Anonymous May 28, 2012 at 11:21 pm

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

  • Reply Anonymous May 29, 2012 at 9:04 am

    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.


  • Reply Anonymous May 29, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    Jean, someone copied your tutorial!!


  • Reply AmyC May 29, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    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! 🙂

  • Reply theruchisonfire May 29, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    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!

  • Reply Jenn Chase May 29, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    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. 🙂

  • Reply Anonymous May 29, 2012 at 7:07 pm

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

  • Reply A Cup of Tea-Shirt May 30, 2012 at 2:44 am

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

  • Reply Kimy May 30, 2012 at 6:17 am

    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…

  • Reply AUBS* May 30, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    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!!!!

  • Reply Anonymous May 31, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    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!

  • Reply Taylyn. June 6, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    I say keep the navy and sell the ivory.


  • Reply Anonymous August 14, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    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! 🙂

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