From work to weekend: striped sweater dress

sweater dress

Old Navy sweater dress (altered, in 2 colors and regular/petite/tall) – 25% off w/ SAVE
Weekend: ASOS scarf c/o (sold out – similar for $13!), BP boots, Coach bag (buy new)

I’m not sure how I’ve gone so many fall/winters without the ultimate cozy piece – the sweater dress – but I made it my job this season to try a few. On frigid mornings when I can’t bear to crawl out from under the covers, the thought of slipping into a soft knit dress does mitigate the pain a bit.stripe sweater dress boots1

This cute sweater dress from Old Navy is a recent keeper, but needed alterations. I got petite XS online, and the fit of the torso (see original fit photo below) is roomy and straight cut with no waist definition. Normally I’d be tempted to throw it into a machine washer/dryer to shrink it down, but the sleeves were comfortably fitted in contrast to the torso, and I didn’t want them to get more snug. I thought the torso-slimming alteration was easy enough to do at home in about 15 minutes. Even factoring in professional alteration costs, I thought the adorable overall style + softness of this was a keep.
sweater dress
Here’s the original fit of size petite xs off the rack. For alterations, I turned this inside-out and put it on, then marked with fabric chalk on both sides how much to take in all the way down to the bottom leg opening. I did one stitch down each side and didn’t make the fit too snug, in order to layer tees underneath. I did leave the excess material on both sides untrimmed on the interior to keep it from fraying or unraveling (since I don’t have a serger machine).

Please note that the petite length on me hits about an inch above the knees, which was perfect for work. For casualwear I folded a little fabric over the belt (similar to what I did with this shift dress) which shortened the length, creating a more balanced look against tall boots. 
stripe sweater dress boots2

^ Closeup of the ribbing on the bottom. The weight of this knit is on the thinner / light side. I haven’t washed this yet so can’t speak to how it’d hold up over time. With sweaters and knit pieces, I try to always wear an under layer to prolong the number of wears between washing in hopes of slowing down any pilling or fading. Here I wore a long sleeve tee shirt + slip skirt, also to manage any potential sheerness at the legs.

stripe sweater dress boots petite fashion2
With the current ON sale going on, I also ordered the dot print sweater dress to try but am fully expecting it to be similarly roomy in the torso. I also noticed that one is 100% cotton which may be a little thinner, given past experiences with the brand. Will report back on that once it arrives. I hope you guys have a fabulous weekend!


75 thoughts on “From work to weekend: striped sweater dress

  • Reply Ria Manyari November 9, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    Hi Jean, love your blog and style! my best friend who always had a hard time on finding petite shoes and clothing recommended me your blog. I would love to send you a pair of shoes so you can give us your feedback… We will carry shoes starting in size 4, so you can have a better idea on how they look, please check We look forward to hearing from you! 🙂

  • Reply Jean November 10, 2014 at 1:45 am

    Hello! We used a Canon 6 D : )

  • Reply Jean November 10, 2014 at 1:48 am

    Hi there – tricky question since there is no "proper" way because most professionals would advise against shrinking anything since it's altering the material fibers. Usually for items with cotton content, I wash on a gentle cycle and then simply dry on medium or high heat, checking the item every 10 minutes or so because sometimes materials can shrink aggressively then become too small. Please note though that machine drying items that are not labeled machine dryable will ALWAYS come with a chance of the item become mis-shapen, faded, and ovelry shrunken so please do so at your own risk!

  • Reply Jean November 10, 2014 at 1:49 am

    Hi there – yes I bought them online, and they do have an ashy gray tint which I think my photos reflect. I liked that a lot since it gives it a 'weathered' look, but yes I would not suggest purchasing online if you didn't like it in-store because it is the same color!

  • Reply Jean November 10, 2014 at 1:50 am

    Hi Danielle! So glad you liked it! I try to avoid buying duplicates unless I really love both color options. The black seems nice but I love the blue and white a lot more : )

  • Reply rodelma lopez November 10, 2014 at 7:24 pm

    wow I might as well try that this alterations on other sweater dress… thanks jean

  • Reply abrow54 November 10, 2014 at 11:41 pm

    Hi Jean! Just bought the BP boots, and I absolutely love them! You were spot on… the perfect boot fit for petites! I had question though: what kind of socks are you wearing with the boots in your weekend look? Thanks!

  • Reply Jean November 10, 2014 at 11:57 pm

    ** I actually JUST noticed these boots come in 3 colors online. Black, chocolate brown, and grey. I wonder whether you tried on grey or brown in-store…

  • Reply Anonymous November 13, 2014 at 10:28 am

    I ordered this dress and it fits great! I also ordered this one and it is also great.;=3&pid;=257346002

    I'm 5 ft tall and 100 lbs and ordered XSP in both!

  • Reply searchingforsubstance November 15, 2014 at 2:58 am

    wow, you really transform this sweater dress! i rarely buy anything from old navy, but i may browse more regularly after seeing how you styled this! love your style, very elegant and sophisticated. =)

  • Reply Anonymous November 16, 2014 at 11:14 pm

    I love your pearl necklace!!! It completely changes the outfit to so chic!! Love it! Can you tell me where I can find one?

  • Reply Anonymous November 17, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    I adore your chunky plaid scarf, perfect for Christmas and looks so warm!

  • Reply Elisha Kelly November 18, 2014 at 6:00 am

    You look gorgeous with your striped sweater dress. Find accessories that will add beauty to your outfit.

  • Reply Princess Elisha November 19, 2014 at 7:58 am

    I like your striped dress. You look beautiful!!

    New FASHION post on

  • Reply Jean November 21, 2014 at 12:50 am

    It looks super comfy! thanks for sharing the recommendation : )

  • Reply Jean November 21, 2014 at 12:51 am

    Hi there – I'm wearing "legwarmers" that I cut out of old sweater tights! So glad to hear that you love the BP boots as well!

  • Reply Jean November 21, 2014 at 12:53 am

    Sorry for the late reply, but here's photos of the interior with a close up of the waist area:

  • Reply Anonymous November 21, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    Thank you so much Jean for finding this one for me!!! You are so nice! I want to purchase it but I'm a little hesitant because I haven't heard of this retailer before. Have you had any experience ordering from them before?

  • Reply Anonymous November 21, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    I also found this good looking one ( Do you think it will also work?

  • Reply Anonymous November 21, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    Thank you Jean for doing such an educational post! I learned a lot from you! I also got the same old navy sweater dress and I have the same loose torso problem as you did. So I want to take it in myself like you. Did you take it all the way from armpit to the bottom? And I don't understand what "I did one stitch down each side" mean… I am totally new at doing alternations myself at home! But your blog inspired me to start doing it.

  • Reply Jill Kohnke November 23, 2014 at 9:38 am

    If you were to style this with tights, what color would you opt for? Thank you!

  • Reply Jean November 28, 2014 at 3:59 am

    Hello – I think I've seen that one in-person at the factory store before and it's unfortunately on the yellowish side…

  • Reply Jean November 28, 2014 at 4:00 am

    Hi there – I posted some photos for others who asked…I did take it in from the armpit down to the bottom. Turned it inside-out first and put it on, and then used fabric chalk to mark where to sew.

  • Reply Jean November 28, 2014 at 4:00 am

    Dark navy or gray!

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