Petite-friendly Swell paisley dress / beach cover up

paisley swimsuit cover up dress

Talbots sandals, Goyard St. Louis PM tote, BR sunglasses

Hello again finally! We decided to spend the last leg of our time off with friends in NYC this weekend. I’m a little nervous to return to Boston as I had been getting daily disgruntled texts from friends about snow snow and more snow ever since we left town. We’ve accepted our car’s icy buried fate, but have fingers crossed for no frozen pipes or collapsed roof!

Last summer I got lots of requests for coverup and swim suggestions but rarely made it to the water (and when I did, resorted to college spring break garb that is well past its prime). So although beach/pool wear is probably the last thing on your minds now, I figured posting ideas earlier is better than never! And I actually think this particular dress can be re-styled with tights, booties and either a vest or sweater for winter.
paisley beach cover up dress2
I randomly came across Swell which was a beachwear jackpot for my last-minute packing scramble. They have cute items from a range of brands, and also their own line which is pretty affordable and mostly made in the USA. What sealed the deal for my first order was free 2-day express shipping + returns for orders over $99 (and free standard shipping for orders over $39). I had two keepers (also got this off-shoulder dress which I’ll upload pics of tomorrow) that worked nicely for transitioning from pool/beachside to resort restaurants.

paisley swimsuit cover up dress1
I had wondered how winter vacationers go from negative 2 to 80 degree weather, and noticed fellow passengers simply changing on the plane. I followed suit and chose this long sleeve chiffon-y paisley dress that is very lightweight and comfy. It’s not petite sizing so the sleeves were about an inch longer than I typically wear em. I actually think the fit of a Small was perfectly fine off the rack for a casual dress, similar to an H&M; sz 4. Since I am a little nit-picky, as a temporary fix, I used a safety pin on each side of the interior shoulder seams to take in about 1″, as shown below:
paisley dress pinned

*you can also wear this reversed for a V-neck in the front! It’s not too low even as a regular dress

This effectively raised the sleeve length and the hemline a tad too. It created little gathered pleats visible from the outside which weren’t too conspicuous due to the dark print. The dress is fully lined in the torso and slightly sheer in the flowy sleeves. Material is poly which felt lightweight, traveled really well and didn’t wrinkle on me. Care tags say hand wash cold and line dry, with dry cleaning as a suggested alternative (no thanks for me…not for beach wear!).
punta cana vaca
Whenever we were snapping blog photos, kind passersby would insist on helping us take a photo together. We figured by the end of the trip we’d have a plethora of good shots, but no such luck! PS – I just realized the blurry print on Nick’s swim trunks looks like…erm, male genitalia, but they’re actually cute little lobsters, I swear! I picked them up (Sperry sold at Nordstrom) to replace his tattered pair and they were a hit.

Leave a Comment


  1. Adorable dress, perfect design and print for a summer days.

    Posted 3.31.15 Reply
  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    Posted 2.25.15 Reply
  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    Posted 2.25.15 Reply
  4. Very cute dress but I'm more drawn to your luggage! 😛


    Posted 2.24.15 Reply
  5. The lobster print…HAHA! Really cute dress. Thank you for the sizing info. It's so helpful!

    Posted 2.19.15 Reply
  6. Jean wrote:

    Good to know about Bric's! I only discovered them this year but have been very happy with this one bag so far, and am happy to know that it's survived serious wear from you. Yes we made it back to Boston but unfortunately our home suffered a bit of damage from the accumulated ice and snow…alas, such is life in new england.

    Posted 2.19.15 Reply
  7. Jean wrote:

    I LOVE the BR glasses and wear them more than my Chanels and Pradas. Recently I actually tried on a large variety of designer sunglasses as I was interested in a new pair for my collection, but most ended up resting on my cheeks instead of sitting on my nose bridge. So it was back to the BRs for their good fit. Since everyone's face and nose shape is different, it may or may not work for you but I've been happy with them.

    Posted 2.19.15 Reply
  8. Jean wrote:

    Hi Helena! Lulus has such cute stuff. Thank you for sharing from the other side of the world : )

    Posted 2.19.15 Reply
  9. Jean wrote:

    Hi Mariel! Yes, good eye! You live in such a beautiful country.

    Posted 2.19.15 Reply
  10. Jean wrote:

    Hi LeShawna – oh no! What a bummer as I really like that bag. I will try to ask again and see if they have a different response.

    Posted 2.19.15 Reply
  11. Jean wrote:

    Ah, thank you but you won't really see any more pics of hair down after these initial arrival shots! I struggle with the same frizzy battle and the product I brought along was of no use. I ask for long layers at the hair salon and have them thin out everything from the underside.

    Posted 2.19.15 Reply
  12. Jean wrote:

    I've had the tote for a while…funny as Nick got it for me as a gift years ago and I didn't love it and even returned it! Later on I kept thinking about the style and have found it to be very easy to use on a day-to-day basis : )

    Posted 2.19.15 Reply
  13. very cute vacation dress! i thought the lobsters looked like wrenches but that wouldn't make any sense on board shorts. ha!
    love, liz

    Posted 2.19.15 Reply
  14. C wrote:

    (have to re post because something got messed up…)

    I knew they were lobsters! Just wanted to say that I have a BRICS tote that I take to work every day and and maltreat- overstuff, squish into a locking cabinet, throw around…..and it wears so well, it always looks new, stays dry inside in bad weather; the leather handles and metal parts look new too.

    Checked here to see if you survived a return to Boston….but no post, so good luck….last week was a good week to not be there…

    Posted 2.18.15 Reply
  15. C wrote:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

    Posted 2.18.15 Reply
  16. Anonymous wrote:

    How do the Banana Republic sunglasses fit? I have a small face and always have a difficult time finding sunglasses that don't look HUGE on me! I've had some success with BR sunglasses in the past and those are cute. I was just wondering before I purchase them.

    Posted 2.18.15 Reply
  17. Really nice choice. This gives me an idea of what to wear when I travel to Miami next month. Thanks!

    Posted 2.18.15 Reply
  18. jessydust wrote:

    I love this, Jean! The dress is so cute on you and I love that it sort of matches your Goyard. : ) I'm going to the Bahamas for a friend's bachelorette this year… can't WAIT to get some sun!

    Posted 2.17.15 Reply
  19. Gigi Katz wrote:

    oh wow love it! perfect thing for a beach day. must have it. thanks for inspiring me as usual! xx. gigi.

    Posted 2.17.15 Reply
  20. Elizebeth wrote:

    You are so chic! I want your suitcase!


    Posted 2.17.15 Reply
  21. Helena A. wrote:

    I like your dress, is cute!
    As you I am "petite" too, so I am always looking for clothes and shoes that fit me.
    Today I came across this web site that as beautiful clothes X-Small and shoes from 5 up!!!!
    AND it has affordable prices, especially on Sale!
    So I came here to give you this tip!
    The site is:
    Hope you like it!
    kisses from Portugal!

    Posted 2.17.15 Reply
  22. Anonymous wrote:

    that's a pretty dress Jean!


    Posted 2.16.15 Reply
  23. Chloe Yang wrote:
    Posted 2.16.15 Reply
  24. mariellm wrote:

    That cover up is so cute! Which is perfect for me because I live in the Dominican Republic. So the website is great for me. You were in Punta Cana right? I recognice that hotel. I'm a new fan of your blog. I love it!

    Mariel in Santo Domingo

    Posted 2.16.15 Reply
  25. So cute! I'm so jealous of your vacation, it looked amazing!! giggling at Nick's shorts, I didn't notice either!

    Karen in London

    Posted 2.16.15 Reply
  26. Lovely photos! I cannot wait for warmth and wish I could escape the freezing temps… Also, thanks you for the review!
    Congratulations to making it into RewardStyle Top 25 Publishers! You so deserve it

    Posted 2.16.15 Reply
  27. Such an elegant outfit <3

    XoXo One Stiletto At A Time

    Posted 2.16.15 Reply
  28. Cassie wrote:

    LOL! I didn't even notice the print on Nick's shorts until you pointed it out. That's too funny!

    Posted 2.16.15 Reply
  29. LeShawna wrote:


    You mentioned that Sole Society may restock the Cassidy in March. According to them and their FAQ, they don't have plans to restock it. Do you know if that;s their standard response or what?

    Posted 2.16.15 Reply
  30. mybeautrip wrote:

    Beautiful dress and lovely style!

    Posted 2.16.15 Reply
  31. Jane wrote:

    That's hilarious about kind strangers helping take a photo – but you just end up with blurry shots. Happens to me all the time! I end up asking a million strangers for help!


    Posted 2.16.15 Reply
  32. Beautiful dress! And the lobster print comment made me almost spit out my yogurt. LOL!

    Easy, Frugal Style

    Posted 2.16.15 Reply
  33. How can you always wear such nice dresses?
    Loving your style so much! <3

    Helô, from Vestido do dia

    Posted 2.16.15 Reply
  34. Suzie Q wrote:

    Your comments are so funny at the end! lol. I absolutely love your paisley dress, such a great transitional piece that can easily be worn as a beach cover up. I adore the carry-on luggage design with its nautical look. Hope you're enjoying your time in NY!! I'm not sure if the current weather with the minus degree windchill is any much better than Boston right now though!

    xo, Suzie Q

    Posted 2.16.15 Reply
  35. Paola wrote:

    Your dress is really nice!

    Posted 2.16.15 Reply
  36. Vicky O wrote:

    I just LOL'ed at the shorts print comment. Hilarious!

    Very cute dress/cover up 🙂

    Posted 2.16.15 Reply
  37. The dress is very cute!

    Posted 2.16.15 Reply
  38. Jeanne wrote:

    Love the print of dress!

    Posted 2.16.15 Reply
  39. Merrie K. wrote:

    that is a darling tunic dress and it looks great on you!

    Merrie K.

    Posted 2.16.15 Reply
  40. Love the chic flare sleeves design of the dress and the paisley prints are very pretty too! This makes such a great holiday outfit!


    Posted 2.16.15 Reply
  41. Anonymous wrote:

    Your hair always looks so polished! On vacation mine always turns into a dry frizzy mess, haha. Would you mind telling me what you ask for at the hair salon?

    Posted 2.16.15 Reply
  42. Jen wrote:

    Ah, I can't wait for warmer weather. And that last photo/caption, so funny!

    Posted 2.16.15 Reply
  43. Mandy Huey wrote:

    LOL at the little lobsters! This dress/cover-up is so lovely!

    Mandy | mandydacandy

    Posted 2.16.15 Reply
  44. Diana wrote:

    Beautiful dress!! You look fab.

    || D I A N A ||

    Posted 2.16.15 Reply
  45. Lol – too funny about the lobster print – thanks for clearing that up, he he! We got the same blurry pics when hubby was trying to take blog pics for me on our last vacation – its sweet of people to offer but also awkward if you're in a hurry to get a quick outfit shot LOL!

    Love the goyard tote – is it a new purchase?

    MY BLOG: ♥♥♥ Ella Pretty ♥♥♥

    Posted 2.16.15 Reply
  46. Sasa Zoe wrote:

    Beautiful dress! Your luggage is cute too:P

    Shall We Sasa

    Posted 2.16.15 Reply

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