Jessica’s Gorgeous Gown

This past month we had the pleasure of designing an art nouveau inspired wedding dress for our bride Jessica of the amazing SoCal Band Never Easy (if you’re in the area don’t miss a chance to hear them play – you won’t regret it!). You may recognize this picture from our Instagram or Facebook feed (if you’re not following us please do – it’s a great way to see all the fabulous custom work we do!).

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We had a wonderful time working with Jess and were thrilled when she invited us to her wedding – what an honor! Her wedding was absolutely beautiful and we were so honored to be a part of it!

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How to Live Like a Princess on a Jester’s Budget

Preparing for prom, homecoming or your wedding day can be hard on a budget, but never fear! Here are seven easy tips to live like a princess on the budget of a jester: Ella

1) Save Money on Alterations By Having Your Dress Custom Made

Many people assume custom made dresses are more expensive, but with Virtuous Prom custom made dresses starting at just $160, you’re almost guaranteed to save money in alterations. After all, even cheap alterations like hemming your dress can be $20-30 dollars. 2) When you can, DIY! With so many great tips on Pinterest and Youtube it’s easy to save money on having your nails, hair and make-up professionally done. When in doubt, enlist the help of your talented best friend, sister or mom! Local cosmetology schools are also a great way to be pampered on a budget! 3) Make Some One of a Kind Accessories! Punch up a simple formal by getting crafty with your accessories. You can glue some rhinestones on a hair comb, or buy some beads from a craft store and string them together to make a necklace. Better yet, throw a craft party for you and your friends and you can all make your own jewelry. 4) Shop Smart Take extra time to shop around for good deals. If you don’t see a deal, create your own! Many small business owners are happy to give group discounts when asked. It’s a simple and easy way to score a deal on things like boutineers or a group of bridesmaids’ dresses! 5) Steam Your Dress Yourself Making sure your dress is perfect and wrinkle free usual takes a steamer, but did you know you can simply hang your gown while you take a hot shower and (literally) steam it that way? It’s just as effective and (even better) it saves time too! 6) Have a Prom Picnic The weather is generally very nice during prom season, and it’s a great time for a romantic picnic! Consider doing a prom picnic or potluck, and enjoy the nice weather before going inside to dance. It’s a great way to spend some good one on one time with your date or quality time with your friends as well! 7) Avoid Official Prom Pictures Official Prom Pictures can be expensive and you usually only get one take! Skip the official shots and ask a friend to take your picture. Having shots reprinted can be as little as $0.39 at places like Target and Walgreen’s. 8) Above All – Have a Great Time! There’s no better way to shine on your big day than by having confidence in who you are and having a great time!

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When Should I Order My Wedding Dress?

We get asked this question a lot at Virtuous Prom. Truth be told, there isn’t an easy or simple answer that is right for everyone. Some people want their dress a year in advance, others are racing against the calendar to lose some weight before the big day. It’s a complicated question and one that can get a little sensitive. After all, ultimately, it is a combination of monumental wedding stress and issues of body image.

Our philosophy is that earlier is usually better. Many brides (including myself) have found great comfort in trying on their wedding dress months beforehand, admiring it in the closet and being able to think, If anything else goes wrong, at least I have the dress!

Traditionally, wedding dresses had alterations at six months out, two months, one month, two weeks and then a few days before. Personally, we think this overkill. After all, when you’re buying a wedding dress from Virtuous Prom, you’re buying a size you anyway, so the only reason you’d need alterations is if you’re planning on toning up or losing weight.

This leads to the most complicated question in deciding when to submit measurements and order your dress. How much (if any) weight are you hoping to lose? We always cringe when we hear brides say they’re hoping to lose a lot of weight. After all, your future husband fell in love with you at this weight. He loves you this way. However, we do understand the pressure our society heaps upon women to be thin and we know that you’ll want to look at your wedding pictures with pride and joy for years to come.

If you’re hoping to lose a bit of weight, we do suggest you wait until you are least halfway to your goal to order or no longer than two and a half months out from your wedding date, whichever is longer.

We will always suggest ordering your dress sooner rather than later. No one needs more stress around their wedding than absolutely necessary and our stress levels go up when we’re mailing off a wedding dress with the wedding day right around the corner.

In sum, if you’re at the size you’d like to be (or quite close) and know what you want, order as soon as you can. If you’re hoping to slim down, wait until you’re closer to your goal, but don’t wait more than two and a half months out to order. After all, wedding dresses take 6-8 weeks to ship from the time they are ordered and nobody wants to receive their dress the week of the wedding!

Whatever your situation, we wish you the very best of luck in planning your big day!

A Quick Buyer’s Guide to Avoid Scamming

One of the saddest aspects of Virtuous Prom is hearing horror stories from our customers about online dress scams they have fallen victim to. Often times, young girls are shopping for a great deal and they see a beautiful dress for an amazing (suspiciously low) price that can be custom made to their measurements.

It seems like a dream come true, a deal they can’t refuse, and they do what most of us would do – buy it!

What these girls don’t know is that 99% of the time, the item they’re purchasing is not the item shown in the photo.

What do I mean? Well, in the past five years or so and especially since the rapid globalization of AliExpress, the use of pirated images and the production of forgeries based on those images has sky rocketed.

Many Americans find themselves being defrauded because they don’t understand the subtle but sinister reality at play. When we shop online with western companies like The Gap, we never think twice about whether or not we’ll receive what we are shown in the photo, because we’re looking at Gap’s photo of Gap’s product. Additionally, if we don’t like the item or if there’s an issue, there are channels set up for returns and complaints.

Because the western world was first introduced to online shopping through western companies, we have an inherent sense of trust, but do not be deceived – this mode of presentation and selling is not inherent to all companies. In fact, there seems to be a strikingly different sense of ethics and sensibilities found abroad, especially in China.

From the data available at present, it seems that it is a standard and acceptable procedure for clothing retailers to use images from another company to advertise styles that they think they are capable of reproducing. There is absolutely no way for the consumer to tell whether or not the product they are purchasing will look anything like the stock photograph they based their purchase off of.

For example, a quick search of Amazon pulls up this item:

Pirated Image

To the untrained eye, it might register as odd that the model is missing a head, but here’s what you’re not seeing:

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That’s right, folks. This image belongs to Bella Formals. The vendor on Amazon has absolutely no legal right to use this image and has taken pains to obscure the image’s origins.

I guarantee you 100% percent that if you were to purchase this item, at least one element would be strikingly different. I also guarantee you that if you were to complain about the sizing or any other aspect you would not find a satisfactory resolution. From what we have heard, the very best overseas companies offer is to refund you your money once you have paid for the item to be returned internationally. This is the best resolution. The worst is to pay good money for a garment or item that is completely unlike what you wanted and completely unusable.

How big of a problem is this? Well, according to the American Bridal and Prom Industry Association in 2013 over 700,000 counterfeit wedding and prom dresses were purchased in the US alone, making it roughly a $70,000,000 industry annually.

There’s so much more that could be said on the subject, but for the sake of brevity I will leave you with this very informative link to the ABPIA’s website: http://www.abpia.org/category/counterfeit-wedding-dresses/ and this striking visual from the same page that illustrates our renewed need to live the words “Buyer Beware!”:

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Lisa’s Wedding Dress – A Tale of the Perfect Wedding Gown

I first met Lisa the morning of the Arizona Bridal Expo. Things had not gone to plan at all that morning. My business partner overslept, the other one was running late, my roommate suddenly had no idea how to tie up my corseted dress (I tried, it’s virtually impossible to do on your own!).

Things were a mess and my stress level was through the roof and somewhere in the stratosphere.

That day we were running late and just about everything that could have gone wrong had. I was setting up our booth and had the brilliant idea to put up our banner by myself. As I stepped onto my wobbly chair I thought to myself, “This is stupid.”

Yes, yes it was stupid, as I had time to reflect on during the next few seconds whilst falling off my perch directly onto my left kneecap. Thankfully, reinforcements showed up just in time and they were able to help complete the set up of our booth as I clutched my knee in pain, praying it wasn’t fractured.

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I was still sitting on the floor trying to look graceful (I couldn’t put any weight on my left leg and was therefore was confined to the floor), when a voice appeared over my head. I looked, and there was a bride to be who looked as worried as worried could be.

There was Lisa, who had been drawn over to our booth by the sample dress of Fiona we had on display.

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Call it kismet, but Lisa and I instantly clicked. She later told me that we were the first dress booth she had stopped by and that she immediately knew Virtuous Prom was the company for her. She didn’t look at any other retailers. Like her soul mate that she married this past weekend, we were it for her.

I vividly remember how worried Lisa was about her dress. She said it was the only thing she was worried about when it came to wedding planning, but boy was she worried. I’m not an overly physically affectionate person, but she was so worried after a minute or two I just reached out and held her hand and told her, “Everything is going to be OK. Let’s get together and talk about what you want in a dress, no pressure. You don’t have to buy your dress from us, but I know I can help you. You don’t need to worry.”

I meant every word of it and was ecstatic when Lisa gave me a call about a week later.

In the coming months we worked on the design for her wedding dress. Initially, Lisa was so overwhelmed we literally went through each decision step by step. What kind of neckline do you like? Square? Rounded? Sweetheart? We went through every facet of the dress baby step by baby step until Lisa had the confidence to say, “This is the design. Let’s make it.”

When Lisa’s dress was finished, it was overwhelmingly beautiful. She had asked for “bling” and we delivered on that in spades. The pictures I took really don’t begin to do it justice.

I drove over to Lisa’s place for the “reveal.” As I unzipped the garment bag and Lisa looked at her dress for the first time she audibly gasped. It was perfect. It was exactly what she had dreamed of.

There was an electricity in the air as I lovingly took the dress out and she ran her fingers over the hand beading and lace. There was a sort of magic in the air. This was her dress. The dress.

When she went to try it on, there was a twinge of nervousness – would it fit? Would the zipper make that awful sound everyone woman has heard at least once in her life when her zipper doesn’t want to zip?

The dress fit perfectly. It didn’t need to be hemmed, altered, taken in or let out. It was exactly Lisa’s size.

When I saw Lisa walk down the aisle this past weekend, I’ll freely admit I teared up, not only to see my friend marry the love of her life, but because, in my own small way, I had helped her along in her fairy tale romance.

Throughout the night I was complimented on Lisa’s dress. It was all Lisa, I told them. All I did was help. “Oh, no…” her friends and family said kindly, “you really did a great job.” I smiled and thanked them, not wanting to argue over the compliment.

But it was true. It really was all Lisa. All I did was help.
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To Customize or Not to Customize – The Pros and Cons of Having a Dress Bespoke

Back before the Industrial Revolution made it possible to manufacture things like clothing on a mass scale everything was bespoke, as in “it was bespoken” and then made exactly to the client’s wishes.

Very quickly people realized that buying something mass produced was a lot cheaper and the tradition of bespoke largely died out.

Well, we’re bringing bespoken back! Yah!

You ladies don’t know where fab is at! Yah!

(Sorry, Justin Timberlake… I just couldn’t resist!).

But in all seriousness, having a dress customized can be a truly wonderful and amazing experience!

Here’s why:

1) You get to control the design. Whether it’s showing us a picture or giving us a jump off point for inspiration, this dress is your design and NOBODY else’s. It’s exclusively yours! One of a kind couture, some might even say!

2) It will fit you without needing to be tailored extensively.

One of the reasons we got started at Virtuous Prom is a good friend had recently helped his niece “hem” her dress by using double sided sticky tape. The niece and her family had made a special journey, traveling hundreds of miles to the nearest big city to purchase a prom dress, only to be greatly disappointment. They didn’t find anything there that was modest enough or that began to fit properly. Crushed, they selected the least of all evils for her to wear to the prom, went home and “hemmed” it with an office supply.

Hearing about this debacle made me want to help out women everywhere. Very quickly I realized that tall girls have problems finding longer dresses, shorter girls need them hemmed (which can be quite costly) and 99% of girls don’t have their bust, waist and hips all sharing the same size. One of our models has a 10/12 size bust, a size 6 waist and size 8 hips. When a pre-made dress fits her bust, it hangs down the rest of her like a potato sack!

Retailers do their best, but they just can’t account for the unique and beautiful diversity we all possess. Having your dress custom made, however, makes all those issues a breeze.

3) We will help you with every step of your design!

Most of the gals I work with have a really clear idea of what they’d like, but not everybody does. One bride, Lila, that I worked with was so nervous and overwhelmed that we literally went through every aspect of the dress step by step: Do you like lace? Ivory or white? A scoop neck? No sleeves? Long sleeves? And so on. She very quickly gained confidence and her dress turned out AMAZING. When I saw the finished product in all its glory all I could say was, “Wow, wow, wow…. about twenty times in a row”

Next on “To Customize or Not to Customize,” we’ll talk more about Lila’s dress, the in depth side of collaboration, the electricity in the air when she first saw her wedding dress and of course pictures of her on her big day!

In the meantime, here’s a selection of some of the custom work we’ve done recently:

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We were commissioned to make a dress based on a a $1300 gown from Latter-day Bride in Salt Lake City. We ended up saving the bride over $1,000 and we matched the pattern, cut and even the lace to perfection!

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Why Virtuous Prom and Not Modest Prom?

I once read a Rabbi call modesty an adornment for life – what a wonderful truth! Modesty is an adornment for life. It is the outward sign of virtue as it is expressed in a woman’s culture – whether that means covering her hair, her collarbone, her shoulders, her knees or even her face.

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There are almost as many definitions for modesty as there women in the world, and all of them are important and have their place. Modesty is an instant (though not foolproof) way to identify what sort of person a woman is in her culture and community. But let’s not confuse the outward expression (modesty) with inner virtue.

A woman can – and unfortunately some often are – modest without being virtuous. You can have all the outer trappings of virtue (modesty), but as a wise man once said, all it makes us is whited sepluchres.  We may look good, moral or righteous on the outside, but if the inner virtue – the light and radiance behind modesty – is missing, all we have something that looks right but isn’t

When it came time for us to decide on a name for a company, we knew that modesty would instantly convey exactly what we were about – modest dresses! But we felt that this fell short of the real mark. What we really wanted to do was encourage virtuous women to express their inner virtue through modesty. Even though it made Google a lot harder to find us (it took almost a year for our page to even come up in search engines for modest dresses!), we are so glad we stuck with our instincts and became Virtuous Prom.

Anyone can be modest. All it is the right amount of fabric in the right places. It takes a woman of true value to be virtuous, and out of that virtue will always spring modesty, no matter how exactly that modesty may look.

Virtuous women of the world, we salute you, we respect you and we honor you! We hope to make your journey towards finding fashionable and modest clothing easier and more affordable and we very much look forward to meeting you and serving you along all our journeys.

Who We Are & What We Do!

We at Virtuous Prom are pleased to offer a wide selection of modest dresses, from casual dresses that transition from day to night, to formals and prom dresses to wedding dresses.

At Virtuous Prom, we are firmly committed to providing fashionable, beautiful dresses that never compromise style, scheduling or your budget. We’re constantly researching trends and styles around the globe to bring you unique, gorgeous, beautifully handmade dresses that are just as special as you are! Many of our dresses feature hand beading and our other materials range from organza to tulle to sequins to chiffon – and so much more!

We believe that dressing modestly shouldn’t be inconvenient. Most of our dresses are available 50% more quickly than most other modest dresses on the market. Most of our dresses are available within 3-5 weeks, instead of the industry standard 8-10! We also never, ever charge rush shipping. If you have a deadline, we simply do our best to ensure your dress gets to you in plenty of time at no extra cost to you! At Virtuous Prom, excellent customer service is free with every order!

We firmly believe that dressing modestly shouldn’t break the bank. Unfortunately, some companies take advantage of the fact that modest dresses are harder to find and charge much more than is reasonable for a dress. $450 for a prom dress? Not at Virtuous Prom!

Virtuous Prom was founded to make modesty easier in every way imaginable. One of the biggest hurdle for ladies nowadays is finding something fashionable and reasonably priced. We realize that less modest dresses are a dime a dozen and don’t cost much more. We constantly strive to offer our dresses at the lowest prices we can to make your life easier and reward your conviction that dressing modestly is worth it!

We are especially pleased to offer modest wedding dresses at a reasonable price point. You may notice that our wedding dresses are a lot more inexpensive than other retailers. In fact, we often have people asking if something is wrong with them. Not at all! We simply believe in passing the savings along to you!

At Virtuous Prom, we embrace women of all cultures and faiths and applaude your decision to dress modestly in a world that so often doesn’t value the virtue of women. Virtuous Prom ships globally to over forty countries including Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, Brazil, Canada, the US, the UK, the Republic of Ireland, Germany, France and Italy. Whether modesty to you is a cap sleeve, short ­slee­ve or wrist-length sleeves, we honor your quest for beautifully modest dresses!

We love our customers and there’s no better feeling than knowing you’ll have the perfect dress for your special day. We love doing custom work and are so pleased to offer custom wedding dresses starting at $400 and custom prom dresses starting at $150. There’s absolutely no additional fees for custom dress consultations – we just love making your dreams come true!

In addition to providing complete flexibility in terms of design, we are also happy to research any and all historical and aesthetic periods and trends in great detail. So whether you’re looking for a 16th century Renaissance gown or a 1920′s dress reminiscent of Downton Abby, we are happy to help. Our designer, Evie I., has a master’s degree in archaeology, a strong background in ancient civilizations and art history and is a fourth generation antique collector.

So whether you have a picture, a pinterest board or just an idea, drop us a line at virtuousprom@gmail.com. We’d love to hear from you!

For all your special days you deserve the perfect dress.