Revived Favorites: Retro Print Shift Dress + Oranges


Dress, jacket and clutch – old H&M;, Sandals – pre-owned Prada via eBay, YSL ring

Last night, I had a great time being on a panel about Asian American women and fashion (hosted by ASPIRE). It was my first time talking about blogging as well as my career path and goals, and it was a treat getting to meet so many interesting women and to hear about their aspirations as well. One of the questions asked was how to truly gauge if clothing fits and flatters your figure. A trick that’s worked for me is to snap photos of yourself from the front, side, and back and inspect for unsightly gaps, tugs, pulls, and bunchiness. Cameras pick up things that get overlooked when one gazes into a mirror. Clothing that fits should usually graze your figure – not constrict nor swallow it.

Before —–> After

I initially realized this simple tip while drafting this oldie post, and have had many more “yikes” moments reviewing photos since then. One such occasion was with this H&M; dress. I fell in love with the print and convinced myself that shift style dresses were meant to be non-fitted. Only after seeing multi-angle photos did I realize how wildly unflattering and nightgown-esque it was.


A next step to understanding fit is learning about simple adjustments that can make a big difference. Thankfully, this dress just needed some slimming along the torso and sleeves…

…which made an immediate impact. Next, I chopped off the bunched arm openings to streamline the “shift” silhouette even more. I then shortened the length on the main dress and sleeves to show more skin and balance out the covered-up torso.


These small alterations made the dress feel so much more contemporary, and were simple enough to do at home. I left the original hem in to be let down as I age and grow more conservative : ) The length as shown worn with mid-heels was perfect for a spring dinner out.


I’ve gotten into the habit of wearing jackets draped over my shoulders (provides warmth, while preventing the elbows from rubbing constantly on a desk and wearing out). Unfortunately, a consequence is colleagues being stopped dead in their tracks at the sight of a four-armed woman.


Readers – What are your tips for gauging and understanding fit? Have you ever come to stark realizations after seeing yourself in photos?

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  1. Kim West wrote:

    Your outfit just looks all paired up. I love the tangeriny theme! You have a very nice flair for looking at fashion~

    Posted 6.13.12 Reply
  2. I so wanted to have this when I saw it in H&M; back then, but didn't buy it because it didn't flatter me at all (as I'm very petite, too)… Now I wish I'd bought it! It looks so good after your alterations!


    Posted 6.12.12 Reply
  3. Hi Rach, my personal path is not that interesting but I will definitely consider posting to have a discussion. I know this blog is more about frivolous items like shopping and outfits…but I do feel strongly about having direction in one's career path and making goals, so thank you for the suggestion!

    Posted 6.11.12 Reply
  4. Thank you so much, however I have to admit I splurge quite a bit! I just think it's important to plan and splurge on the right things, then save wherever else you can and make the most out of bargain items : )

    Posted 6.11.12 Reply
  5. Hi Becca, I would definitely ask locals (or fellow expats that have been situated there) for suggestions. If you don't have anyone to ask and are just popping into shops, I'd ask how long they've been doing alterations and then ask to inspect examples of their work covering various types of alterations (suiting is most complex). Unfortunately, I don't know of any commonly used online review systems there like Yelp here. I had to ask relatives and family friends where they go for alterations and custom garments, but those places happened to all be closed during Chinese New Year. I'm sorry I can't be of more help! Enjoy your big move – how exciting!

    Posted 6.11.12 Reply
  6. Hi Lorraine – I have not, but read a review from Cher:

    Glad you like them as well and got them on sale!

    Posted 6.11.12 Reply
  7. I've learned so much from you about fit! Love all the thought you put into your wardrobe Jean!

    Posted 6.11.12 Reply
  8. faye lu wrote:

    looking oh so gorgeous – retro with but still so modern, especially with the bright orange =)

    Posted 6.11.12 Reply

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