Navy lace dress + burgundy accents (& a big day)


Ann Taylor Factory dress (similar), thrift store belt, arrow necklace c/o Stella & Dot, Louboutin Simple 85 patent pumps, Prada Saffiano Double Zip Tote

Although I generally try to avoid owning duplicates, I have to admit there are some dupe favorites which I’ve never regretted buying. I feel like this lace dress in ivory and navy are individually special enough to warrant keeping both. The factory price was not bad, plus I performed DIY alterations to improve the fit.


Navy, burgundy and camel are some of my favorite classic colors. They are easy to style and have me dreaming of fall pairings. I am so stoked to finally add a camel bag to my collection, and expect it to get plenty of wear. I started making a review video and hope to finish it soon.


This dress is office-appropriate when paired with a blazer, and transitions easily into a sultry piece for after-work drinks or dinner. It may be a little low-cut for some, but an advantage to having a smaller chest is that such necklines can still look acceptable versus too sexy. Above: adding a taupe jacket from H&M; for work:


DIY Alterations

This dress fit decently off the rack but was slightly boxy on me. Thankfully, it took about 10 minutes to alter at home. The quality is very good for an outlet item and it was even double-lined. I merely turned the dress inside out, pushed up the innermost lining, and took in the torso from the pre-existing darts on both the front and the back. This effectively nipped the waist in more and contoured the overall torso for a closer fit.


(Darkest stitch is the line I added to the pre-existing dart)


On a separate note, last Tuesday was a big day for me and I’m touched by the kind words from you guys. I was on the train going to work when Level 3 CFA exam scores came out. The program took a mental and physical toll on me while working, and I was so relieved to be done in three years. My apologies to fellow commuters who had to endure the girl in happy tears so early in the morning.

When I got off the subway, I passed by a woman stopped on the sidewalk, scrolling frantically on her phone before jumping up and down with joy. “CFA?” I asked. She nodded with a smile from ear-to-ear and pulled me into a warm hug. I went on with my commute, happy as a clam.


Came home this weekend to a sweet surprise from Nick’s parents, and books ready to go into storage!

Later that day, I received a message from none other than the woman outside the subway, saying that while caught up in the moment she forgot to mention she was a reader! I am continuously amazed to meet so many hard-working and driven (in various aspects) women who enjoy reading this blog, and sometimes we cross paths in the most random ways.


126 thoughts on “Navy lace dress + burgundy accents (& a big day)

  • Reply chocolatefashioncoffee August 13, 2012 at 1:19 am
  • Reply Tam August 13, 2012 at 1:39 am

    Congratulations, Jean! I'm so happy for you. I was the same excited/crying girl when I found out I passed the bar. It's so nice to see the results of one's hard work!

    The dress looks lovely and fits wonderfully after your alterations. I love it with the blazer and burgundy accents for work!

  • Reply Phoebe August 13, 2012 at 2:24 am

    Congrats, Jean! I passed my Level 3 too! No more studying for us! To celebrate my legit CFA status, I've started my own blog on splurging within a budget. Thanks for all the fashion inspirations!


  • Reply Nico Saich August 13, 2012 at 2:56 am

    loving this pairing of caramel black and red! Im starting to get excited for fall colors too!


  • Reply Katie August 13, 2012 at 2:57 am

    congrats on your CFA!! (i completed my ACA in london last year, which i think is something similar..) I find it hugely inspirational that you combine a strong working life with your creative passions on your blog 🙂

    LOVE the navy lace dress, esp with the red soles of the louboutins!

    katie x

  • Reply Jessica @ Here(and)Now August 13, 2012 at 3:17 am

    congrats on successfully passing your CFA… what a relief! You are a beautiful and intelligent woman, and someone that I definitely look to for inspiration (currently pursing my PhD!)

  • Reply Felicia Tan August 13, 2012 at 3:39 am

    love the outfit and colour combination x
    and congratulations on the CFA, excellent 🙂 x

  • Reply Frmcoasttocoast August 13, 2012 at 4:01 am

    congratulations! you are truly an inspiration, especially to recent college graduates like myself. eat well and rest well because you deserve it <3

  • Reply wisblos August 13, 2012 at 4:08 am

    Many many congratulations! Your story, blog and personality inspires me.

  • Reply gigiofca August 13, 2012 at 4:43 am

    Congratulations!!! That's so cool. Enjoy it all and pat yourself on the back some more ;).

  • Reply jen August 13, 2012 at 5:05 am

    Congratulations! You deserve it! 😀

  • Reply Bela Anzu August 13, 2012 at 5:07 am

    Congratulations again Jean! That's a wonderful story about meeting a reader who also passed her CFA exam. I'm glad you've finished and are now able to relax and move onto a different phase in your life.

    Those CL burgundy pumps look beautiful every time you feature it in your blog.

  • Reply audrinajulia August 13, 2012 at 6:40 am

    Congrats to you! Hope we could came across somewhere too one time.:)Love your Ann Taylor dress it looks so elegant on you.The overall outfit is gorgeous!

  • Reply Angie August 13, 2012 at 7:46 am

    first off, congrats! this is such a cute story <3

    secondly, the dress looks gorgeous on you!


  • Reply sophié August 13, 2012 at 8:52 am

    Hi ! this outfit looks upmarket. Much more so than anything else posted so far. Not sure if it the quality bag & shoes or the sophisticated colour combo… what do you think did it?

  • Reply Tien August 13, 2012 at 9:24 am

    Congratulations! I heard the CFA is hard – I can't believe you manage CFA and a blog at the same time – that is truly amazing !

    Love the outfit – I have the same H&M; blazer in black and it's great!


  • Reply Jane August 13, 2012 at 10:04 am


    You are obviously a woman of many talents! Congratulations on passing the exam. I hope you celebrated big time!

    LOVE those burgundy shoes.

  • Reply Always Maylee August 13, 2012 at 10:12 am

    Congrats, it must feel wonderful to have all your hard work pay off! You look gorgeous in this dress, I love the navy color.

    xo, Yi-chia

  • Reply Mlinh August 13, 2012 at 11:06 am

    Congrats Jean! I had to laugh at your small chest lets you get away with lower cut tops without looking scandalous. I have been saying that for years! one of the few upsides to not being well endowed in that area!

  • Reply Gia August 13, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Congratulations Jean! You really are inspiring. I am about halfway through the CPA exam process, which I'm doing while working full-time, and these exams really take their toll.

  • Reply Tiffany August 13, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    Yay! Congratulations Jean! So happy for you! And you look fabulous as always. I love the bag on you. I'm a little sad that I didn't end up getting it but I think I'll still keep it on my wishlist 🙂

  • Reply theglitterlife August 13, 2012 at 12:52 pm



  • Reply Tang August 13, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    The best little story. I love those kinds! Congrats on everything!

  • Reply The Petite Edition August 13, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    Congratulations on passing – that certainly makes a commute much more enjoyable! Great outfit – navy/burgundy is such a wonderful, classic work combination.

  • Reply this is lemonade August 13, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    Awww how wonderful for the both of you – such an uplifting story. Congratulations on overcoming the long hard slog to success! The dress (and the beautiful wine red shoes) is just the business for celebrating. You look gorgeous in it 🙂

  • Reply Our Wired Lives August 13, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    aww.. so sweet! congratulations!

  • Reply Janki August 13, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    A hearty congratulations on passing! I'm not sure how you are, but it's been a while since I've been out of school and getting back into the full study mode has been hard whenever I'd had to take these career related exams.
    I LOVE the story you shared. Your blog is the best! I love how you share these tips, talk about your life, and also are so responsive to our questions (esp on FB). All while studying and working full time.
    I saw a parishoner wearing this dress yesterday after church and inside said "That's Jean's Ann Taylor factory dress!".
    Can't wait to see more with that fantastic bag.

  • Reply The Little Dust Princess August 13, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    Congratulations, Jean! All of your hard work definitely paid off. : ) I love the v-back of this dress. The front is one of the more low-cut things I've seen on you in a while, but you still manage to pull it off in a classy way. Great look!

  • Reply Princess Martha August 13, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    Love this look…the dress is a classic as are your accessories…
    congratulations on finishing everything!!
    And it must be so wonderful to feel the love and support of your readers 🙂

  • Reply With Each Passing Day August 13, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    Congratulations to you and your reader. All your hard work paid off. I'm glad you decided to keep both dresses. You have created so many wonderful outfit with the ivory dress. I can't wait to see what you outfit you'll come up with the navy dress.

  • Reply Anonymous August 13, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    congrats jean! i love how you styled the dress, and your new bag is a great addition!

  • Reply RedRover August 13, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    Congrats! I love the dress and how it looks on you. I still can never get my belt to sit as well as yours does on your dress. 🙂

  • Reply Kay August 13, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    Congratulations on such a momentous accomplishment! The CFA is SUCH a challenging program – so you deserve all the congratulations and accolades 🙂

  • Reply Anonymous August 13, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    Congratulations! I love your blog! I am also petite and reading your tips really helps me out. Your hair is awesome too. Do you ever share your hair styling tips? If not, can you? I would love to know what products you use and how you style for "everyday hair".

  • Reply Monica Angel August 13, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    You always have the cutest outfits! I love it! So creative and such a great look! Question for you, where do you typically start looking for shoes in your size? One of my favorite spots is but they are redoing their site right now.

  • Reply Anonymous August 13, 2012 at 11:59 pm

    Thanks for such an excellent post! I've been reading all your blog entries and love them.

    I read your how to look older blog post, and it definitely helps a lot…I was hoping that you could write a post about dressing fashionably while in college. A lot of your posts are geared towards work-suitable outfits but I would love one where you talked about fall semester class appropriate outfit if that were possible.

    I typically wear J. Crew cardigans, J. Crew chino shorts, Lilly Pulitzer skirts with cute prints on them paired with t-shirts, and have some sundresses. I'm having trouble finding suitable tops and also outfits for when the weather gets chillier.


  • Reply Rainy Days and Lattes August 14, 2012 at 12:23 am

    CONGRATS!!!!!!! I am really happy for you. It's the highest honor for studying so hard and you deserve it.

    And you look amazingly flawless, happy as a clam and all. Great story! Something you can remember for the rest of your life!

  • Reply Anonymous August 14, 2012 at 12:35 am

    Congrats Jean!! This means we get to see more posts, right? 🙂

    On a completely separate note – I'm new to the professional world, and was wondering if you could do a post on personal investing/saving, etc.? Or perhaps recommend some personal favorite finance bloggers? Thanks!

  • Reply Anthro Blogger August 14, 2012 at 1:28 am

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  • Reply Anthro Blogger August 14, 2012 at 1:30 am

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Reply Jen August 14, 2012 at 1:47 am

    Eep! Sooo happy and excited for you for passing such a difficult exam. Congrats and if I were there I'd give you the biggest hug too! <33333

  • Reply misslylorraine August 14, 2012 at 4:43 am

    Congratulations!!!! =)

  • Reply Anonymous August 14, 2012 at 5:05 am

    Jean, i LOVE your Prada bag. perfect match with your Hermes belt (brown/togo). love love love!!!


  • Reply Mere M. August 14, 2012 at 5:13 am

    Congratulations to you and your reader! I love this look, too. : ) I have a 3/4-sleeved navy lace sheath dress and have been wondering how to style it without looking like a shabby Kate Middleton clone. I will probably be stealing this navy-dress/burgundy-belt combo in the future. 😉

  • Reply Madalina Tita August 14, 2012 at 6:12 am

    congrats on meeting another reader, i am so happy for you…love the outfit and what you did with the dress…


  • Reply Rachael August 14, 2012 at 10:51 am

    Congrats on passing CFA Level 3! I'm a huge fan of your blog & style but am usually not one to post. My husband received news that he passed Level 3 as well last week!

  • Reply Eli August 14, 2012 at 11:05 am

    Hi jean, I know you have reviewed gap kids jeans in the past. I was wondering if you could review these gap kids ponte pants sometime?;=1&pid;=911730&scid;=911730012

  • Reply KTR August 14, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    Congrats Jean!!! I know it's hard work and everything will pay off! You're at the beginning of a new venture. How exciting for you and your love ones! 🙂

    P.S. That lace dress looks amazing on you!

  • Reply MonochromeMagpie August 14, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    Congratulations to you both! I've been a reader for over a year now, maybe even two(!) and I have always admired your work/blog balance. I will be starting my graduate job in September as a trainee accountant so the next three years will be a similar challenge for me with the ACA.
    I hope I can keep blogging on the side though, without it affecting my studies. Thanks for being such an inspiration 🙂 x

    Monochrome Magpie

  • Reply Anonymous August 14, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    Congrats on passing!! You are truly an inspiration. I think it is wonderful that you were able to work and study at the same time. Hopefully in the future I can do the same. Once again, congratulations! The hard work definitely paid off. 🙂

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