Dress Reviews: Gap Floral A-Line & J.Crew Origami (in petite)

Sale alert: Express is having 40% off everything (plus extra 15% off w/ code 9076 – thank you, Chloe!). If you need work pants, they offer a wide selection starting in size 00 short (runs a little big). I just loved this high-waisted ponte skirt on Kelly, and have been waiting for a sale to order it in colorblock and stripe to try. Based on how it fits her, I’m pretty sure it’ll be a winner!
gap floral dress
Gap sateen floral dress (30% off w/ GAPEGG) H&M; sandals, old (similar in “citron patent”)

Haven’t done one of these in a while, but wanted to share quick thoughts on two dresses I tried on. I’ve been a fan of Gap since my teenage years, and only wish that they’d carry petite sizing in-stores too. They do offer free shipping & return shipping on all orders over $50, but my orders never come with a return label (need to go online, fill out your address, and print).

Style: I love the silhouette of this dress and details like waistband and on-seam pockets. The skirt is fuller but not overwhelming, and I can see this being flattering on ladies both with or without natural curves. My only qualm with the cut is that the armholes cut inward a bit, possibly exposing armpit flab and bra straps. In-person, the sateen material is white and smooth and the orange and yellow flowers were more fluorescent than I expected.

Material is a comfortable, slightly stretchy 97% cotton, 3% spandex and is lined in the torso only. Care tag says machine wash cold.
gap floral dress1
Fit: I ordered a 0P to try on, and would say it runs small for Gap and fits similarly to a 00P at AT/LOFT. I can pinch about an inch of extra material at the waist, but not necessarily enough to require alterations (a belt also helps). Measurements of a 0P: 15″ across the bust, 13″ across the waist, 13″ from top to the top of the waistband, 1.25″ wide waistband, 32.75″ total length, 14.5″ wide across the bottom hem of the skirt.

Verdict: Unfortunately, most of my time is spent at work and I had trouble coming up with conservative pairings given the colors in this dress. It looked nice with a bright yellow blazer, but I couldn’t find much else in my current closet to wear with it as a cover-up. The fit was flattering and the price with coupon is fair – no keep for this one, if Gap makes the same dress again in navy stripes or a more versatile print, I’ll be all over it.

Next up is a J.Crew dress that I tried on a few times over the years….

jcrew origami1

J.Crew Origami Dress (pink on sale, plus 25% off $150+ w/ LOVEJCREW), Louboutin pumps

Style: If you can fit J.Crew sizing, they have some good work basics in lightweight, lined 100% wool. I have enough basics, but was drawn to the folding detail on the torso of this dress. It was underwhelming on me in-person, but would probably look better on someone who can fill it out.
jcrew origami
Fit: Trying on a 00 petite, which was loose throughout especially in the chest and hips (waist measures the same as the Gap dress in 0P). I’ve tried on several dresses from J.Crew’s petite line over the years and they tend to fit similarly. I did keep one a while back and alterations were $40-50, so it could be worth it if you buy during a sale.

With this particular design, the biggest problem for me was the chest gapping that exposed everything within to taller passerbys, and would not be easy to alter given the fold design and sleeves. The length was also short for work when sitting down. This is odd, because I am already on the shorter end of the spectrum that petite lines are designed for (technically women 5’4″ and under), and this dress looks to be knee-length on the model (which I like). I used to always go for 2″ above the knees and have come to realize that a longer length can be more elegant and elongating – I sadly regret getting some pieces hemmed so hastily in the past.

Measurements of a 00p: 16″ across chest, 13″ across the waist, 18″ across the hips, approximately 31″ total length.

Verdict: Got this for a sizable discount, but returned due to the fit issues mentioned.

Readers – Have you tried either of these dresses, or other items from Gap or J.Crew’s petite line? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

46 thoughts on “Dress Reviews: Gap Floral A-Line & J.Crew Origami (in petite)

  • Reply Cassandra Westfall March 27, 2013 at 1:20 am

    I love the first dress. I would tone it down for the office with a khaki, navy, or camel blazer and matching pumps. It looks great on you!


  • Reply Michelle March 27, 2013 at 1:44 am

    My office isn't as formal as yours and I could totally rock that dress! Sadly they are sold out online in the 0P. I will wait for your popback ;-D

  • Reply SewPetiteGal March 27, 2013 at 1:57 am

    I've been fascinated by the origami sheath for what seems like ages. Every time I see it, I keep thinking I should try and DIY one, but then my attention gets caught elsewhere (usually a small person climbs on me 🙂 ) and I forget about it. One of these days! The Gap dress looks so pretty on you with the belt! I feel like the proportions look so flattering – I'm so very partial to fit and flare silhouettes! How was the torso length? I can't tell if it's hitting you at high or natural waist?

  • Reply Carolines Day March 27, 2013 at 2:05 am

    It may not work for the office, but definitely a keeper for weekends/weddings/bridal showers!

  • Reply CoastWithMe March 27, 2013 at 2:20 am

    Too bad…I ordered that dress too, but haven't received it yet! I do love the style with the full skirt! It looks very pretty on you!

  • Reply Carla Krae March 27, 2013 at 3:34 am

    The floral dress can work with a simple slim-fit cardigan, one that ends at the waist so it isn't too long. Looks great on you, so a shame you didn't keep it.

  • Reply Lana @ baby shower decorations March 27, 2013 at 7:51 am

    Love that first picture dress <3, This dress would be something fun like fuchsia flats you in party.

  • Reply Professionally Petite March 27, 2013 at 8:15 am

    Just this weekend I tried on the origami dress in navy in-store in 00. It was way too big on me and I was hoping a 00P would fit better, but I'm about 3 inches taller than you so I'm disappointed that this dress would be too short on me for work. OH WELL!

  • Reply Tiffany H. March 27, 2013 at 9:26 am

    Love the gap dress on you, its perfect for spring prancing in Boston (well for the week where spring transitions into hot sweaty summer). thank you for your reviews, i really enjoy and appreciate them. i have spent so many hours combing through your old entries and realize i miss your fitting room reviews greatly! please keep up the awesome blogging!

  • Reply Anonymous March 27, 2013 at 10:07 am

    Hmmm. . . just tried the Gap code and it said it wasn't valid — the fine print says it won't work on dresses.

  • Reply PetiteAsianGirl March 27, 2013 at 10:10 am

    Darn…sneaky of them. Thanks for the heads up and I'll have to read the detailed print next time.

  • Reply PetiteAsianGirl March 27, 2013 at 10:11 am

    I believe it hit at my natural waist…took down measurements too but forgot to post that one! Will check : ) And I'm pretty sure your DIY skills can trump that origami design, whenever you get a moment to yourself!

  • Reply PetiteAsianGirl March 27, 2013 at 10:12 am

    Thank you, Tiffany! I haven't had the chance to do fitting room reviews lately but do miss sharing them!

  • Reply pretty little things March 27, 2013 at 10:31 am

    love the pretty print on that dress! xo


  • Reply Daniela Pirraglia March 27, 2013 at 10:58 am

    My sister tried the Gap dress on last weekend, in regular sizes (although she could probably be a petite, she's 5'1" and about 115 lbs). It looked really cute but the zero had a bit too much armpit flab, like Jean said, and the 2 was too big. She did not purchase.

  • Reply SincerelySammie March 27, 2013 at 11:14 am

    Love that dress with those shoes! I'm loving the neon trend right now. 🙂

  • Reply QueenLina March 27, 2013 at 12:20 pm
  • Reply Totes Adorb March 27, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    I own the J. Crew origami in a beautiful jade green. I agree though, you do need some curves to fill it out, so for once I'm glad of being a little bit chubs. Maybe you could try a push up bra and a darker, sleeker color?

  • Reply Anonymous March 27, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    p0 of the first dress is sold out online. It looks very nice on you with the blue belt.

  • Reply Petite-ish March 27, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    I've come to hate jcrew sizing and quality. Their petite line is always too short and wide on me (it doesn't feel like it's adjusted for petite proportions, just made shorter). Their wool always pills and their silk always stretches/thins out. And the prices are really steep compared to competitors like BR. Plus what's with not having online reviews??! You probably shouldn't have gotten me started… On the other hand, I've really come to appreciate BR and gap quality and their sizing usually works for me
    As for your origami dress, I just got a similar black one from BR called the "black lightweight wool pleat-neck dress" for ~$53, which is an amazing deal. See elle's recent sale alert!

  • Reply petitephd March 27, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    the gap dress is so adorable on you! if it were me, i would keep it, but it's good to see that you have practicality and self-control 😉

    j. crew designs are strange! i recently went a little crazy because of the sales that have been happening and am regretting a couple of my purchases. the one thing i do like is the length of their items…sometimes even non-petite clothes hit me where i want them to! but then it makes me wonder how tall(er) girls wear j. crew…

  • Reply Candice March 27, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    The gap dress looked great on you, Jean! It's ashame you had to return it.

  • Reply Joanna Le March 27, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    I usually wear petite sizing as well, so I was really surprised that this GAP dress in 0R fit on the smaller side. I agree with you about the armholes though — they do expose arm/underarm flab! It really forces you to stand up straight. I loved the fit and the pockets, so I picked it up. The pattern would make it a really great spring/summer dress for play — too bad you couldn't incorporate it in to your work wardrobe!


  • Reply Shira March 27, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    love the print of that first Gap dress!

  • Reply Anonymous March 27, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    Hi Jean, your review on the jcrew dress is helpful. I have been wanting to try on some of their pieces. I don't have a store close by and would need to order online. It's difficult since I am not sure about their sizes. How does it compare to the loft and banana republic sizing? Have you tried on the jcrew memo dress before? I am intrigued by the style but am not sure about the v neck. Just wondering if it will be appropriate for work without layering with a blouse underneath.

  • Reply Lili March 27, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    I absolutely love the flower print gap dress and am resisting not to buy it right for the same reasons you are not keeping it!…but! If I ever find it on a huge sale, I'll definitely take it!

  • Reply andrea March 27, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    Love the print on the Gap dress! Not a huge fan of the J. Crew dress (namely the cut)…but I have to say their 00P fits great on me! I can wear it with no alterations 🙂



  • Reply Suzie Q March 27, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    I love both the dresses, too bad they didn't work out. I'm not sure how conservative your work place is, but maybe the Gap dress paired with a more basic item like a black blazer,could possibly work, toning down the bright floral accents? Otherwise, it's also a nice summer dress to wear on the weekend. Also, thanks for the heads up on the sales right now!

    Suzie Q

  • Reply Jane March 27, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    Sooooooo glad you didn't keep the J. Crew dress. The top looks like you broke something and are wearing several Ace bandages.

  • Reply Vivian March 27, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    I love when you provide the measurements of dresses–so helpful! (It also helps that we're basically the same size!) I have had the same fit problems with J Crew dresses. In all dresses, my biggest problem is the chest gaping/extra material in the upper back. Do you have any suggestions on how to alter this problem away?

  • Reply Jen March 28, 2013 at 1:33 am

    thankyou so much for sharing the express skirt find jean 🙂 EXACTLY what i have been searching for, and an awesome price to boot! so glad i can rely on you petite girls to help me filter through what fits us and what doesn't!

  • Reply cristalglace March 28, 2013 at 1:35 am

    Love the Gap floral dress. Hopefully i can find it in Gap Singapore

  • Reply Kathleen Lisson March 28, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    Thank for these photos and fit report.

  • Reply tina March 28, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    I agree about the at the knee length is more elongating and elegant. I was so sad about some of your previous alterations too, but no more! Onward!

  • Reply Life in Petite March 28, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    I love that second dress with the unique neckline, but had the same problems with fit too 🙁 I haven't bought dresses from Ann Taylor or GAP lately, but have noticed that the newest BR dresses tend to run a bit smaller than they used to (or maybe I've just put on more weight)!

    You will love the Express skirts! I had purchased the colorblock one based on Alterations Needed's post as well and did a simple pairing here: http://www.lifeinpetite.blogspot.com/2013/03/fashion-simple-colorblock-pearls.html Also had tried on the striped skirt – it was a bit tighter in the waist than the colorblock, in my opinion, and also was much more flared so it looked almost too short on me (5'2). That being said, I re-ordered it in a size bigger, so hopefully the skirt will be a bit less flared 🙂 Can't wait to see your reviews on them!



  • Reply Chica-Esperta March 28, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    Where I am from there is no JCrew or Gap. I'm 4ft11 and I've found quite some luck in department store brands such as El Corte Ingles (similar to Neiman Marcus) and some brands actually feature a petite collection. Those that don't go down to very small sizes and run small. Brands like Liz Clairborne and Lion of Porshes tend to fit me well as do local brands like Lanidor and Globe (Lanidor ships to the US and runs very small and odd, I've been an M and an XS in different items, but the fit is great)
    I'm assuming you are american, does this also happen in your department stores

  • Reply Chica-Esperta March 28, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    I think you'll like Lanidor, the style ranges from classic to mod with some tailored boho in between but I've seen lots of things I'd imagine you'd wear

  • Reply Claud March 28, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    Hi Jean,

    I love the gap dress on you but not a fan of the Jcrew dress. 🙂

    I also ordered the gap floral dress and still undecided whether to keep or return? I really like it but I am with you not sure if I'll wear enough to justify the purchase. Now, I really recommend the express skirt, the color block one, and the 00 fits slightly tight at the waist that I might exchange for the 0. The striped skirt I tried and did not like it on me; has too much fabric and felt heavy. Also per your recommendation bought the old navy maxi dress– orange print dress. I just received it and love it. The only con is the v-neck cut is too low for my taste. So I'll need to fix that. I can’t wait for your review on this one.

  • Reply Anonymous March 29, 2013 at 2:07 am

    Hi Jean,
    You're so beautiful. How tall are you, and how much do you weight? I love all your style.

  • Reply Nicole March 29, 2013 at 6:25 am

    The first dress is amazing! Love it!

  • Reply Anonymous March 29, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    more sale alert and personal reviews please! youve been posting so much less than before. i miss it. : (

  • Reply Anonymous March 29, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    i second this! i miss your helpful reviews but i know life in finance is hard.

  • Reply Anonymous March 29, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    I triple that! I like dyi jean but I miss shopping jean! Hehe.

  • Reply PetiteMeeDee March 29, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    Long time reader, first time commenting 🙂

    You are bad for my pocket book! haha. I went to the Gap website and ended up getting a couple of different sizes of the Stretch split-neck dress and Printed sateen sweetheart dress to try on. They look well-made, and the reviews are positive regarding quality.

  • Reply Anonymous March 31, 2013 at 3:11 am

    I was really psyched for the same J crew dress but was also disappointed. You're right, the petite sizing was really odd and on the short side, not in a good way. The drape and seaming were also really weird on the dress, it just didn't lay properly in my opinion, and the color was worse in person. I am going to give one last shot to the factory version… their regular sizes seem to be decently well-proportioned in the smallest sizes. Plus it comes in a pretty purple, which is different.

  • Reply Dee April 11, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    I would take both in a heartbeat. First for the weekend and the other for a workday.


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