Avoiding Dress Stress

It’s that time of year where around the country, down every school hall, girls nervously await being asked to homecoming.

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Rumors fly, expectations are set and then the waiting begins… and goes on… and on… and on….

For most teenage boys, asking out their crush is a daunting task. It takes a lot of courage to ask a girl you consider amazing and beautiful to spend time with you – especially a whole evening when expectations are unavoidably high.

I was never a teenage boy, so I can’t fully attest to their struggle, but I do remember asking out my crush to my school’s dance. Nate was home schooled, sweet and incredibly good looking. We knew each other casually from church, but as I picked up the phone to call to ask him to the dance, I felt my stomach drop out and my heart beat like a jackhammer. Nate fortunately said yes, but ladies, let me tell you – the experience was traumatic nonetheless!

As you’re waiting to be asked, just remember how hard it is for all of us to put ourselves out on the line and risk rejection. Be patient. And in the meantime, set yourself up for success by avoiding what I’ve lovingly termed “dress stress.”

Dress Stress/ [dres] [stres]/noun

Definition:

  1. Waiting until the last moment for your crush to ask you to the dance, only to discover finding an appropriate dress is nearly impossible due to shortness of time.

Around this time of year, I get quite a few clients experiencing “dress stress.” They’ve just been asked to the dance (hooray!) but the lack of time to find a dress in addition to the struggle of finding modest formals in general leads to severe “dress stress.”

How does one avoid this? Get your dress early of course! I know traditionally most girls want to go with a date, but most of my high school dance experiences were with a group of my girlfriends and we had a blast! In fact, I think in some ways we had more fun – we could fully be ourselves, didn’t have to stress about the question of a good night kiss and we just had a good time.

6 - Crystal, Joli, Knox, Le Fleur

Going with a date, especially your crush can be amazing. But going with a group of friends can be just as fun. So get your dress early and if Mr. Perfect plucks up his courage, hooray! You’re already ready. If not, you have a gorgeous dress hanging in your closet and a great night already planned with your besties, which, in my book beats staying at home dejected the night of the dance any day of the week!

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Katniss, Behind the Scenes

It all began with a forgotten red dress. We had ordered a sample dress last year, but when the time to came to shoot the collection it would be a part of we had lost the light and the photos were unusable.

So a lone, red dress lay forgotten in our closet for almost a year, until we began to put together our photo spread for Shine Magazine. I took the dress out, having forgotten how beautiful it was. We had just finished shooing our dress Ella, and those pictures were our new golden standard: they showed the dress beautifully and told a story at the same time.

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By comparison, organizing and story boarding the shoot for Ella was easy. We were paying tribute to a Disney classic and recreating those iconic moments.

But what about this red dress? I found myself completely stumped. I stared at it long and hard and then finally decided just to hang it up in the house where I could walk by and see it daily. A few days later the thought crossed my mind, Didn’t the skirt remind me of Katniss Everdeen’s red dress from The Hunger Games? Immediately I jumped on YouTube and watched the clip with the red dress. Sure enough, they looked similar.

And so, the kernel of the idea for our Katniss shoot was born. I watched and rewatched that clip from the movie over and over and over some more. Once I felt I had a handle on the look of the dress (minus flames of course). I began my search for a model and a location. The location proved challenging. Should we go for the place Katniss is most herself, the woods; give a nod to the neo-classical architecture of the Capitol; or just try and show the character of Katniss as she’s thrown into a cruel game and becomes the strong heroine we adore?

We decided on the latter and once we had only one piece remained: the perfect model. We were trying to decide between a few models we’d worked with before when the perfect model dropped into our laps. She looked a little bit like Jennifer Lawrence, but more importantly, she was beautiful on the inside. At Virtuous Prom, we’re looking for girls who are beautiful inside and out. They’re not easy to come by, but they are well worth the wait.

And so preparation for the shoot commenced in earnest. We arranged a time and place for all of us to meet up and start the shoot. We analyzed Katniss’ hair and make up, her mannerism and got everything ready for the big day.

Then, less than two hours before the shoot, our photographer cancelled on us. At this moment I knew I had been in this field long enough, because my stress level didn’t shoot sky high. I simply picked up the phone and called Ted from TED Photography. Like the proverbial knight in shining armor, Ted came to our rescue. I’ll let Ted’s photos speak for themselves, but what his photos don’t show is what a kindhearted, patient, wonderful person and professional he is to work with. We simply can’t say enough nice things about Ted. Thank you Ted, for saving the day!

And with that, ladies and gentlemen, I’ll leave you with a few fun behind the scenes photos and then the finished product.

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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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