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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What to do When Virtue Doesn’t Seem to Pay off

For those of you who love Jane Austen, I have found my Mr. Darcy (at least as he’s presented the first half of the book. For those of you who haven’t read Pride & Prejudice (or seen the movie), Mr. Darcy is the BOMB. He is the MAN of the early 19th century. Almost two centuries later, women still swoon when they think of having their paths cross with a real life, dreamy Mr. Darcy.

In Pride and Prejudice, Darcy is moneyed; cultured; dark, tall and handsome; provides stimulating (if not almost always abrupt) conversation, is rather lacking in common politeness, and does his best to stay away from promptings of what he fears to be a foolish heart.

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In those final exhilarating pages of the book, the reader finally understands that Mr. Darcy’s inner struggle has been with a heart so deeply capable of love and passion it’s staggering. He is in love with his darling beyond words, beyond reason, beyond that common love that so many believe is the real thing. He loves her completely – for her mind, body and soul; and his love is so overpowering he cannot begin to act rationally – he confesses his love and proposes, in the rain no less!

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So, recently, I met the most lovely creature. Unbelievably handsome, a fellow baseball fan, smart, sensitive, a great listener and, it’s hard to describe, but his character and personality were just perfection. I felt completely safe with him and was attracted to him like a magnet, but objectively I don’t think he would be considered charismatic.

When our paths crossed, as they did frequently (sometimes due to some choreography on my part!), I of course wanted to look stunning. I wanted to turn his head and have him see me as a woman, not just a friend

I knew the quickest way make his head turn would be to raise my hem line, leave a few more buttons on the top of my buttoned down shirt open… you know really show myself off.

I decided against this and went about my days and weeks cute but without compromising my standards.

Nothing happened. Wait a second, I’m being virtuous, a good girl in my choice of dress and I’m not being showered with blessings (i.e. Mr. Darcy)?

My thoughts crept back to how easy it would be to turn his head by dressing more provocatively. With all transparency, I played the idea back in forth in my head more than I ought.

As my ideas and emotions pinged back and forth like so many tennis balls, I realized more and more that being provocative would work.

As l realized this, though, I knew I wouldn’t want things to start any relationship with only inflamed sexual passion as the main motivator. Yes, of course, I want my future husband to find me beautiful and be attracted to me, but I want so much more! I want to be a Mrs. Darcy someday. I want to be loved for my loyalty, bravery, deep love of others and everything else good that makes me me!

So my Mr. Would Be Darcy, I adore you, but I respect myself more than attract you at any price. And, if you really are Mr. Darcy, I know you would respect that deeply in me. Until then, my true Mr. Darcy, I stay patiently and virtuously yours.

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 Modest ISN’T Hottest – Part 2

Why Modest ISN’T Hottest – Part 2

A Frank Commentary on Why I Hate The Term

We left off in Part 1 of Why Modest ISN’T Hottest having established that in all practicality, modesty isn’t hottest (which is just fine!). Modesty can be the outward sign of virtue, it can be a vehicle for fabulous fashion or a way to identify oneself as part of a religious or ethnic group, but it is definitely not the “hottest” when it comes to being sexually provocative.

In fact, being sexually provocative should be the last thing on a virtuous woman’s mind. While it is not our responsibility as women to prevent men’s minds from wandering, we should be helpful in their quest to keep their thoughts pure.

So where’s the balance between inner and outer beauty, and where are safe parameters for embracing our beauty and modesty whilst disregarding the faulty notion that modest is hottest?

The first question is the easier to answer. Both our inner and outer selves need basic, daily attendance, such as brushing our teeth, combing our hair, praying, reading the scriptures, journaling or meditation. My advice would be that any surplus energy we have should be at least evenly split between who we are on the outside and who we are on the inside, with preference paid to our inner selves.

In other words, if you have enough time to give yourself that pedicure, take the time reflect on your character, uplift your spirit with music or stop and enjoy that gorgeous sunset.

Our second question posed was, where are safe parameters for embracing our beauty and modesty, having let go of the idea that modest is “hottest?” Well first, ladies, we really have to let go of the idea that we’re going to be showing ourselves off. Really let go. We have to ignore what the media says about how women should be hyper-sexualized and picture perfect 24/7.

Next, if you feel uncomfortable wearing it, don’t. Even if an item of clothing passes your “checklist” for modesty, if you don’t feel comfortable wearing it, don’t! It is possible for certain items of clothing to cover up what needs to be covered while at the same time doing it in such a way that it is still incredibly provocative. Embrace the spirit of modesty, not simply the do’s and do not’s.

Lastly ladies, don’t feel shame in the natural beauty God has blessed you with. Just because you choose to keep certain parts of your body covered up doesn’t mean they’re bad or evil or wicked – it just means they’re not for everyone to see. Seeking to cultivate our natural beauty doesn’t make us vain, it makes us good stewards of gifts from our Heavenly Father. Just be sure you’re also being good stewards of your inner beauty as well. ❤

In the words of Grace Kelly, “Your dress should be tight enough to show you’re a woman, and loose enough to show you’re a lady.”

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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.