Be-You-Ti-Ful – A Different Way of Looking at Sizing

Ever hate going into a store, finding that perfect “must have,” grabbing your normal size and heading off to the fitting room only to find it’s too small? I think most women have felt that sense of dismay, quickly followed by a vicious onslaught of self-criticism. If you haven’t, count your blessings and brace yourself because – get this- clothing manufacturers DESIGN this situation to happen.

Shortly after World War Two, with consumerism reaching dizzying heights in the US, marketing analysts quickly found that the more time someone spent in a store, the more likely they were to purchase something. The underlying psychology goes something like this: the more time we spend in a store, the more likely we are to want to buy something to justify the time expended in the hunt. It makes sense, right? Who wants to feverishly shop for hours and leave empty handed?

Armed with this knowledge, retailers did all they could to ensure that we spent as much time as possible shopping. One of their tricks was to deliberately change the sizing on women’s clothing so that it was no longer standardized. A size 10 was no longer a size 10 across the board – it might be an 8 in one brand, a 12 in another and so forth. And, so, women were forced to hunt out their correct size, thereby spending more time shopping and achieving the end goal of the retailer – more sales.

What was good for the retailer is inevitably bad for our self-esteem. Companies know the effect this wide variance in size has on how we view ourselves and they capitalize on it. Old Navy, for example tends to run quite large, so women can wear a size or two smaller than normal and feel a bit more confident and cheerful – something that’s very much in line with Old Navy’s branding.

Companies like Abercrombie & Fitch take a much different approach. They purposely skew their sizes to be very small thereby adding to their brand’s exclusivity. As if $88 sweatshirts didn’t make them exclusive enough; but I digress.

No industry is more notorious for their skewed size charts than the wedding and formal industry. Habitually, stores like David’s Bridal run two sizes smaller than normal clothing, quickly leaving brides-to-be and bridesmaids in full freak out mode. And who could blame them? Who wants to buy a dress that makes you feel like a cow merely because of the number on the tag?

Well, we for one don’t – and we don’t want our customers to feel that way either. So, we are happy to announce that all of Virtuous Prom’s dresses, save a few, are now only available to order with custom measurements. That’s right, for no extra charge your dress will no longer be a size number – it will be a size you! Because you are be-you-ti-ful and we hope you never let anyone make you feel otherwise!


Behind the Scenes of Odile

Behind the scenes photos brought you by Megan’s iPhone!



The minute the wind picked up it was like magic!


K & M were such a darling couple to work with!
imageimageimageimageTired feet after a long day!


Like the ice votives? Stay tuned for our DIY article!
imageimageThe photographer’s choice from the evening. Stay tuned for the edited pictures of our gorgeous dress, Odile!

A behind the scenes glimpse would not be complete without a time lapse video of part of the evening!

A time lapse of part of our shoot!

What’s in This Season

Last week I got asked the question, “What’s in this season?”

It’s a question I get asked asked from time to time, and while I usually know the “right” answer, the longer we are in business the more apparent it becomes that most women and young ladies aren’t interested in looking and dressing like everyone else. They’re interested in being themselves and expressing who they are.

I’m endlessly amazed by the creativity of our customers. It’s a wonderful feeling to see someone respond to one of our designs, but it’s even more exciting to see them use that design as a jumping off point for creating a dress that perfectly expresses their own tastes.

I recently had a darling customer come in to see our dress Bailey in person.


While she liked the style, the conversation quickly turned towards another dress she spotted, Valerie.


Eyes all alight, my customer (and now friend) asked if it was possible to make the skirt out of chiffon. Her mom shot her a look of warning as if to say, “Don’t push your luck!” But it was really fine – it was more than fine, it was exciting! Here was a girl who knew what she wanted and instead of pulling a dress off the rack, she was designing what would go on the rack herself. She wasn’t confining herself to the fashion dictates of another. She wasn’t boxing herself into being a cookie-cutter size. She was getting something custom made for her.

It was so exciting to see the finished product, and even more exciting when she reported that it fit like a glove. Getting this picture, however, made our week.


So what’s in this season? Being yourself. It’s timeless, effortless, elegant and always in fashion.

Quick Tips for Planning Prom

Planning for prom can be stressful –  the dress, the accessories, the boutonniere and oh yeah, the date! When you have special modesty requirements for your dress stress levels can go through the roof. What should be a fun shopping experience turns into frenzy to find something suitably modest, often whether you love it or not.

Prom should be fun and finding a gorgeous dress that suits your style, budget and modesty requirements should be one of the best parts! Here are some quick tips to help make sure your prom is the blast it’s supposed to be!

  •  Plan Ahead

If you have specific modesty requirements and know there’s not a lot of dresses out there that meet your standards, be sure to allow plenty of time to find the right dress. There are approximately seven vendors in the  modest prom industry and finding a modest formal at your local mall can be like finding a needle in a haystack. Most wait times for modest formals are 8-10 weeks if they’re not currently in stock. Our wait times vary between 1-6 weeks, depending on the dress and time of year. Unfortunately, as prom approaches our wait times go up because our workload increases exponentially. Keep in mind that if you live in an area with more conservative modesty standards there’s also a real risk of having another girl show up wearing your same dress. That’s just one reason we love making custom prom dresses! Lastly, take time to find out what looks good on you – not just what’s trendy. After all, it’s your time to shine!

  • Don’t Forget Your Shoes

It may seem trivial, but deciding which shoes (or at least what heel height) to wear for your big night is important.  Depending on your height and the shoes you wear you may need to have your dress hemmed, or worse, your dress could end up too short! Knowing what heel height to take into account when purchasing your dress can save so much stress later on!


  • Foundation

When you go to try on your dress or order it online, make sure you take your bust measurement with the same foundation (or a similar style) you’ll be wearing day of. Some bras can alter your bust measurement by an inch or two; so, for a perfect fit, be sure to measure yourself or go shopping with the same foundation you’ll wear the night of the prom.

  • Trust Your Instincts!

Lastly, trust your instincts. If you question whether or not a dress is modest enough or whether or not you’ll feel comfortable, take a pass on it. There’s nothing worse than tugging at your dress or feeling self-conscious at the prom!

Finally, don’t forget to…Have a Great Time!