Tales From The Dressing Room: Old Navy

Shopping in San Francisco has been a bit of an experience, actually. Despite the amount of online shopping that I do I’m actually a very tactile browser: I like to be able to touch fabrics and look at the construction of different garments, so being able to walk in the doors of shops I’ve previously only been able to visit virtually is very exciting.

There’s a couple of things that they do here in the US that are a bit different from Australia – For one thing, all the prices are listed sans tax, so it never ends up being quite as cheap as you think it is (though it still leaves Australian prices in the dust). For another, almost all the places I’ve been to have had this system where the dressing rooms have little whiteboards on the doors so the sales assistants can write your name and how many items you’re trying on. Being asked solicitously “How are you doing in there, Lilli?” is much more fun than having the door rapped on when you’re halfway in or out of a too-tight bandage dress.

One of the things I’m most enjoying about shopping in the US is that I can walk into most stores and I’ll fit the clothing. I might not even be the top size. Coming from a country where I can only shop in a tiny percentage of “regular” stores this idea that maybe the top size doesn’t have to be a size 14 (or a US 12) is a revelation. Sizes are pretty whacky between shops though, so that at least is familiar.

I’m on the road now, driving cross country to our next destination, so I thought I’d do little spot reviews of the stores I visited during the last few days in San Francisco.

First up, Old Navy.

I’d heard a lot about Old Navy, but as it previously never offered international shipping I’d never really bothered to spend much time on the site. It looks like it does now, but like a lot of US-based stores the shipping costs are pretty ridiculous, so maybe look into going through a shipping service if you’re one of my Aussie readers, and you spot something you just HAVE to have.

For what it’s worth, shipping might be astronomical, but at Old Navy you get a lot of bang for your buck. Here’s some of what I tried on:

Skirt $20

T-Shirt $7.50

The skirt was wool, and fully lined. I decided it was too short for my own comfort so I ended up giving it a miss, though at $20 it was a close thing & if I wasn’t so worried about my return flight weight limit I’d’ve probably bought it!

Skirt $29.50

Blouse: $24.50

This skirt was fabulous, and I ended up buying it for the hot pink colour alone, the blouse was good too, and I’ll probably regret not buying it but I’m trying so hard to be “good”, and I’m already in possession of more than one polkadot blouse.

Skirt $29.50

Top $8

$8?! $8?! I don’t remember this top being $8 yesterday when I saw it in the shop! I didn’t buy it, and if it had been $8 I can’t imagine why not! A sunny yellow sailor top for $8? *googles Old Navy locations*

Jacket $60

I actually loved this jacket, but coming home to an Australian summer I dimply couldn’t rationalise the purchase. Coupled with the fact I’d seen a divine leather Calvin Klein Jacket in Nordstrom that I’d fallen in love with but was annoyingly lost (not out of stock, just “missing”) in my size left me feeling like maybe there were better jackets out there for me. Probably another missed shopping opportunity, and I’ll be kicking myself come winter, but oh well.


There’s one of two things from Old Navy I bought but haven’t photographed, and lots that I tried on that didn’t make the grade. Overall I was pretty impressed with the store. I can imagine it would be a regular spot for me if I lived in the States, but considering the shipping charges and the slightly skewy sizing, I’m not sure it’s somewhere I’d frequent on an online basis.


30 thoughts on “Tales From The Dressing Room: Old Navy

  1. You look so gorgeous. I love the skirt and I think you should go back and get that yellow top! The blue jacket is so beautiful. I love the ruffle. Big blinkin’ sigh. Damn luggage.
    So happy you are having a wonderful holiday!
    ps – I am saying this as a boob lady (meaning I am busty) and lady – you have great boobs and what is that bra you have on? I am always looking for a good bra and I would love the brand. Only if you have time.

  2. Go back and get that jacket. Now. Go and get it NOW! (and the yellow top and spotted blouse). go go go! So cute. Sigh. I can never find clothes that fit like that here in Australia.

  3. Speaking as someone who shops at Old Navy a lot, you have to be careful with their clothes. Things tend to fall apart pretty quickly, unfortunately. And sadly, it’s only in the past 5 years or so that they’ve gotten so shabby. I have a few pair of work trousers that have been with me for 10 years now– and they still look fabulous. But lately, the things I’ve bought have gotten pilled quickly or shrunk unbelievably in the wash.

    I’ll bet you passed on that shirt because it was so thin. I was SO excited to see those in the store, then realized I could see my hand through it when I picked it up.

    Anyway, I’m glad you’re enjoying the shopping!! 😀 And may I also suggest you stop by a TJ Maxx or Marshalls? They are FABULOUS.

    1. Yeah, I’ve heard that. It’s sad isn’t it? Same thing happened to one of my favourite shops in Australia and eventually I just stopped shopping there because it was all just dud quality. I knew about the pilling issue, which is why I didn’t end up buying any of the sweaters (there were a few cute ones, too)
      The shirt WAS thin, wasn’t it! The t-shirts were too, actually, but I figured if all fails at least they’re a nice soft cotton to wear to bed 🙂
      TJ Maxx & Marshalls? I’ll check ’em out if I spot them! Thanks for that!

      1. Along the same lines as TJ Maxx, is Ross Dress for Less, if you haven’t heard of it already.

        I love them.

        I can’t wait to see what you come back with. I would like to get back to the States once a year, but I don’t think it’s going to happen this year, so I am living vicariously through you. 😀

  4. I totally agree that you should go back and get that yellow top! So cute. I think I might go pick up one for myself.

  5. I live in SF and I regular the Old Navy. I am a 10/12 and I enjoy the fact that I am not the largest size there either (There are a lot of stores in the US where 12 is the largest size, and “12” means different things to different manufactures). One thing about it though is that if you are a US 8 or above they also assume you are 6 feet tall, I am more like 5 feet tall so this is a problem. Old Navy is one of the few places that offer a petite pant that actually I don’t need to hem myself. I like it and I hope they open one near you so you can enjoy it too.

  6. I regularly shop at Old Navy, but their stuff is always such a random gamble. 🙂

    I live in the US and I’ve never seen white boards on the dressing room doors!

    I have no idea if they have them where you are, but you should go to Ross. It’s similar to TJ Maxx and Marshall’s, but I tend to do better there, personally, and they have the best dresses. Also, check out Burlington Coat Factory, another similar store and they don’t have just coats.

  7. I live stateside myself, and I manage a store called White House Black Market. I’ve gotten too big to wear our clothes (CRY!), and the prices aren’t exactly Old Navy, but if you see one of our stores you should def go in! We love to play “dress up” with our customers, and you could so totally rock our clothes!!! I live in Alabama, so I doubt you will be near my store, but you will have fun regardless of which store you go to. I’ve been reading your blog for several months now, and I always enjoy it! 🙂

  8. I’m voting for the blue coat. One thing we really struggle with here in Australia is divine coatage and that’s the shizz. Dorothy Perkins does some lovely woolen coats though… But at $60 that’s a massive bargain…

    Can’t you steal some of the Sophisticate’s luggage allowance??

  9. Oh…I think you are so going to regret leaving that wool skirt behind! Especially since it fits you so beautifully! And the blue coat? I’m in love!! It fits you like it was made for you! It’s great to share in your adventure! Thanks for allowing us to be a part of your experience!

  10. OLÁ




  11. If you will be in the US until at least next Thursday (the 11th) or later, and have shopping time then, I have a 30% off coupon for ON/Gap/BR that might tempt you into some of the pieces you passed up! I would be happy to pass it along if you could use it.

  12. There are Old Navy stores EVERYWHERE. You’ll probably be sick of them by the time you leave the U.S. 🙂 And that yellow top may not have been $8 in the store – the sale pricing on the site vs. in-store are not always the same. Usually it’s a much better deal in-store, though – seems like this summer, every time I went they were doing an additional 50% off all clearance merchandise, which is how I ended up with a lovely peach-colored cardigan for 74 cents. I mean, I had to alter it. But it was less than a vending machine snack – how could I not buy it?? I also bought a pair of white jeans for $4, which is why I now own white jeans. Surprisingly, pretty flattering on this U.S. size 16 gal!

  13. I actually have the blue jacket you tried on but I got it in red… I adore it! I had bought it a couple of weeks ago and was elated when the temps finally started dropping so I could wear it. I’m glad you had fun shopping at Old Navy and I can’t wait to see what you get into next!

  14. I’m a forever lurker (love you page!) but I had to say something today since you are in my FAVORITE store! Yes, the quality is not as good as it used to be, but you can’t beat the selection, the prices and the range of sizes. The way they sell t-shirts, sweaters, polos, etc really gives you the ability to stock up on the basics for a season. I actually love shopping ON online! 92% of the time, it works out!!

    And blue jacket is too good to pass up! Enjoy the States!

  15. What I really love about outlet and chain store shopping in the US is that the retail staff leave you alone to blissfully try on stacks of clothing. I had no idea you were off to the US!

  16. I went a little crazy when I went to San Fran and Old Navy seemed just so exciting (I’m somewhere between a 20-22-24 in Australia). As someone else suggested their fabric is small, but I bought a coat there last winter which has survived lots of trips to the drycleaners and snow and all of that. My coat is beautifully lined.
    But, really, you get what you pay for and their three dollar t shirts are going to be thin.
    A suggestion for SF of the top of my head: Francis Ford Coppola owns a place called Cafe Zoetrope, where you can go and try his wines and eat his food. It’s actually just nice good Italian too. It’s at Columbus and Kearney.
    Enjoy my favourite city in the world!

  17. Now the blazer is indeed divine, but you can buy something similar in Australia, methinks.
    Now, how many ruffly royal blue jackets does australia have, hmmm?
    And the ruffly blouse. Perfection.
    Could you do a post with Anthropologie stuff? Pwetty pwease?
    And bugger being good. How many times do you get to go to the US?
    Send stuff back by post if you must. Have fun.

  18. Lilly,
    quick question, can you tell me what size the blue coat you tried on is? It looks stunning on you and while I was able to check it out online, the size chart is not very helpful. Thanks!

    1. Hey Bella – I’m wearing the “L” and it fit perfectly over a thin top, but it would probably strain the buttons to be done up over a chunky sweater. I’m an F-cup though, so I’m pretty generous up top!

  19. I’m glad someone else has discovered Old Navy, one of the best clothing stores ever! My siblings and I would browse all day in the shop near Union Square. Was that the one you visited? Its huge! I can always find something nice to buy there and nothing beats their clothing size range.

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