Dress, Asos; shoes, J. Crew; necklace, J. Crew
Dress, Asos; shoes, J. Crew; necklace, J. Crew

A while back, I somehow ended up on the Asos website, which is bad news bears … in the sense that there are a bazillion cute things listed there, and at least a half dozen that will seriously test your willpower. I make a concerted effort to avoid buying clothes at retail, but apparently my willpower has limits. This dress was my downfall; I love faux wrap, vaguely tulip-shaped skirts (I know that is hyper-specific preference, but there you have it) and I also love dresses that look like separates. The combination proved irresistible. I ordered the dress, and immediately prepared to regret it.

cold shoulder or not?
cold shoulder or not?

And did I?

A little, perhaps. Let me explain. I love the aesthetic of the dress, and the item I received looked exactly as advertised. I have a couple of small quibbles with the design, which I’ll address in a minute. The quality … ah, therein lies the rub. First, some quick background: the dress was around $70CDN (less in US$), and the shipping was free. As I recall, the site did not charge me taxes on my purchase, and I was not required to pay customs even though the dress was shipped from the UK. I’m not sure how that worked, but I am certainly happy that it did. The quality is on par with the price, based on my experience with comparable price-point brands such as Zara. Which is to say … it’s not great, but $70 doesn’t buy you much these days at retail. I think my disappointment in this regard lies in the fact that I am now used to better quality and lower prices thanks to thrifting.

The dress is polyester, and doesn’t feel like the expensive kind of polyester either. It wrinkles very easily, which makes it un-packable as far as I’m concerned (I can’t be bothered with ironing when I’m traveling), but it also doesn’t hold the wrinkle, if you know what I mean. Some materials are impossible to smooth out without practically burning, but this one ironed out no problem. The bodice is somewhat sheer, so I would definitely recommend wearing a camisole or tank underneath. I can’t speak to how easily it launders. The instructions have it marked as machine-washable, but I am somewhat reluctant to test that. I will probably either hand wash it, or dry clean it at home.

non-scandalous side view
non-scandalous side view
degree of exposure risk (after adding a safety pin)
degree of exposure risk (after adding a safety pin)

Back to the design. I have 3 quibbles. One, the slit in the skirt becomes somewhat scandalous from the side (especially for professional settings); we’re talking visible mid-thigh. This is not an insurmountable issue; I pinned the opening closed with a safety pic so that, from the side, you could only see a few inches above the knee. On the flip side, the wrap neckline does not gape AT ALL, and is in fact very modest and work-appropriate. I have a small bust, so that may account for it, but this was a feature I was concerned about and I was pleasantly surprised to find it a non-issue. (It also helps to conceal my camisole, which is a different, clashing shade of pink.)

Two, there is an exposed zipper down the back. This doesn’t bother me a great deal, but it does make the dress look less “luxe”.

Three, there are no pockets. I keep trying to put my hands in the pockets, only to realize — time and again — that there aren’t any. This is perhaps unsurprising given the price point, but it’s kind of annoying nonetheless. Add pockets to your dresses, designers!

with accessory (bag, Chanel)
with accessory (bag, Chanel)

Finally, a word on sizing. The site was sold out of my “safe” dress size (US 6), and I was left to choose between the next smallest and next largest sizes. In most cases (with the exception of Ralph Lauren and DVF dresses), I am a size 4-6, usually the former; thankfully, in this case, I checked the Asos size chart and went with the 8 rather than the 4. Good thing. While the 6 would have probably fit, it would have been much more form-fitting and, hence, probably too “sexy” for the office. I’m thinking, in particular, of the fit across the bust and the hips (which would have made the skirt opening that much wider and harder to pin close).The size 4 would have certainly been too small, even at the waist where I have the most “wiggle” room in this dress. So, my advice is to size up — possibly by as much as 2 sizes — particularly if you have a larger bust and/or hips. Use the Asos size chart for reference.

Last word: I would like to buy the (quality) upgraded version of this dress. The end.


14 Comments on A New Wrap

  1. Ah I love your little photobomber! Felix does that to me all the time bless him πŸ™‚

    I never ever look at ASOS these days, partly because the quality is pants (that means rubbish, ha ha, came back to add this as I wasn’t sure if you’d be familiar with it, like you are with numpty now πŸ˜‰ ) but also because once I start looking I start wanting to add things to my shopping bag!! Slippery slope only to be disappointed much of the time. At least returns are easy here though….

    • Oh I know! For some reason, both the kids are obsessed with going to the basement now (where I take my OOTD photos). I think they just like playing with all the random crap down there. Like barbells. I don’t even know …

      I figured that ASOS would be like H&M in terms of quality, but I was so tempted by the style. Eh. It’s not the worst $70 I’ve ever spent πŸ˜‰

  2. What a sweet photobomb!

    I LOVE this outfit on you, but can’t see myself pulling it off.

    I too am pretty spoiled to thrift prices/quality. It keeps me from making a lot of retail purchases that I shouldn’t, so I count it as a blessing.

  3. Such a cute photobomb! I think that this looks really amazing on you and I’m impressed that you can totally pull off that light shade of peach. Jealous! For me, that slit in the skirt would probably drive me crazy. I’m more of a knee-length skirt kinda girl, so any slit that can open and show off more makes me uncomfortable.

    • It’s actually more blush pink than peach (blame the lighting, sorry!) but it is definitely a “nude to me” colour. Luckily, it doesn’t look like I’m going topless. I love blush pink and do wear it, whether or not it suits, haha!

      The slit is only somewhat problematic when I sit (I have to be very careful), so it’s a dress for a sit-at-your-desk-or-walk-around kind of work day. No client meetings!

  4. Your photobomber is as stylish as you are! I particularly love the boots she’s wearing (adorable) and the fact that they match her dress. Start them young…

    • Oh, haha! She only has the one pair of snow boots, and she wears them all the time (in winter, obvs). The basement is partially unfinished, hence the outdoor shoes. You would have loved her indoor/daycare shoes — they’re iridescent Hello Kitty πŸ˜‰

  5. That dress looks awesome on you though, maybe you’ll get a few wears out of it. The design is very pretty, it doesn’t have any superfluous details. I like the flared sleeves a lot.

    It’s true that thrifting definitely spoils you in terms of getting quality for a cheap price. But even when thrifting, Zara and Asos nearly get me every time, because their clothes look really pretty, even on relatively low-quality consignment website photos. But getting pre-owned fast fashion is a majorly bad idea (and I can’t afford it new anyway). It’s not even a question of natural fabrics either, those tend to be if anything even flimsier (to cut down production costs but still put “100% linen” on the label ?) so you’re usually best off with viscose or polyester. I sometimes go into Zara to take a look at the clothes up close, just to remind myself that if it’s full of pulled threads and the stitching is slap-dash when it’s new, then it’s not getting any better in “used – very good” condition.

    • I get where you are coming from, and that is often the case … but some “fast fashion” can be decent quality, at least at thrift prices. It’s just very hit and miss, and you need to be able to hold the item in your hands to make the assessment. I rarely buy fast fashion in thrift stores, but I do make exceptions from time to time.

      I definitely took a risk with ASOS (no prior experience, ordering online, etc.) that I probably won’t take again. Still, it could have gone worse πŸ˜‰

      • I own an Asos linen skirt which is pretty decent quality, but I noticed the same as you with the sizing. Normally I wear a small or a medium, so anything with a waistband I get in medium. That skirt’s a medium, and it fits, just about, but it’s definitely not for trips to the restaurant.

        • I do appreciate that the Asos sizing chart is at least fairly accurate. I find some UK brands tend to be cut smaller regardless of size, so I now know to always check actual measurements. But buying online is SUCH a crapshoot unless you know the brand well.