Modest Clothing Stores, you're getting warmer..

Wednesday, November 09, 2011
Warning:  This post is all MY opinion....and advanced apologies if my sarcasm is too great.

I have a prejudice when it comes to Utah's take on modest fashion:  over-the-top frills and ruffles, fabric flowers, tacky fabrics, gem-encrusted flared denim, beehive blonde hair, spider mascara, and the over-use of undertees. I'm determined that amidst this fashion faux pas epidemic there IS some fashion sense somewhere in Utah!!! With the upsurge of Mormon modest fashion bloggers, I'm going to assume you guys know at least some of us have a style unmediated by the Mormon capital and its residents. (Me.)

Despite what I consider a faux pas, Utah modest clothing stores (and their fashion) are on the rise. Some better than others. Since this is a modest fashion blog, I'm going to review and showcase some of the best modest clothes from these stores. Please note:  I'm not getting paid for this. I wish. My opinions are free and you can't set a price on that. (Yes, you can. Contact me for more info.)

The first store I want to review is modbod. Not a fan of the store name, not a fan of the site, not a fan of the pictures, not a fan of the models. Everything about it screams "catalog" and "Utah." ....except this Mandarin top. Maybe the little ounce of fashion in me has been dulled by the rest of the mediocre items so this top stuck out to me like a diamond in the rough. Perhaps it is the styling? (Love everything except the stilettos.) Either way, I applaud modbod for providing ONE good item. What do you think (about this product and my new mission)? Let's discuss.

Mandarin top, $32

56 comments :

  1. I totally agree, you say modesty and people instantly think Quaker.  My husband and I are campus ministers in a non-denominational church and I definitely preach modesty to the women, come on these guys need to have a safe spot AND you could really do without flaunting yourself everywhere.  Anyway.  It's nice to show people that you can dress well and be modest.  Shoot, you can dress fashionably and still be modest. 

    You do a great job and I love this top too and I too, dislike the stilettos, with jeans? mmmm, no.  A nice wedge would be cute.  maybe the jeans should just go and we could conserve the top.  yes, I think that's it.

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  2. Ashley of flats to flip flopsNovember 9, 2011 at 7:02 AM

    So glad you are posting about this..not to mention that you show up to church and everyone is in the same dress from said modest clothing store!
    Ashley
    www.flatstoflipflops.blogspot.com

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  3. When we moved to Virginia someone at church asked if we were from Utah- I  immediately asked my husband, "Do I look like I'm from Utah?!" I was relieved to find out that most of the students who were in the ward were from Utah, hence the assumption. Sigh of relief. I think 'the over use of undertees' is what makes me cringe the most. It's sleeveless? Add a t-shirt. It's a halter top? Add a t-shirt. Yikes. Having just moved to Arizona this is unfortunately a very common sight (and don't get me started on the hair). Here's to helping Mormons have a better fashion reputation! {p.s.- Was that Michelle Money on the modbod website? Because she is the epitome of modesty...}

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  4. Too true, too true. All of it. PS Me and you should open a modest clothing store. Yeah, I said it.

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  5. I grew up in an area with a lot of Mormon families, and yes, the over-use of the undertees drove me (and still drives me) bonkers. I dress modestly for my own personal choices (comfort, professionalism, etc.), and will never understand the undertee when there are so many cute cardigans and button-ups out there - or hey, even shirts and dresses that are NOT spaghetti straps. 


    You go girl. Take a stand against that undertee.

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  6. I like the stilletos but maybe that is because I can't really see them. I am not sure on the top. and those jeans! Could they be any tighter? they obviuosly dont fit with all that pleating in the front!

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  7. i want that shirt. i actually might order it. i've wanted a white blouse for a while but all the ones i find are see-through. i'm assuming since this is a modest store that it won't be transparent, right??! thanks for sharing!

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  8. I think it is the sameness that gets me, too. If we just had more variety, even if the looks were a miss, just something different. Some girls emailed me a link to their new store lately, and I'm not Jewish, but I LOVED their suits. Been looking everywhere for professional suits with long skirts. These are so long you'd have to hem them up. Zeena.com, under suits. Still appreciate your blog, Elaine. Putting the Fashion Belle site up on a new platform and have you listed. New launch sometime later this week. That's why I'm over here today, checking out blogs I list on the site. Appreciate your fashion sense and your diligence with regular posts. You're one of the very top modest fashion blogs, you know. - Fashion Belle Editor

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  9. Sorry, it was Simply Zeena dot com, http://www.simplyzeena.com/collections/suits/products/signature-2-button-skirt-suit

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  10. Sorry, it was Simply Zeena dot com under suits. My apologies.

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  11. You speak the truth, Elaine! mormons already stick out like a sore thumb.. they gotta have their tacky modest wear on top of everything else, not the mention the utah HAIR. 

    p.s. it's faux pas ;)

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  12. Noooooo!!!!! I'm so embarrassed. Thanks for pointing that out and I'm sorry!

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  13. Amen! I don't even remember the last time I browsed all those stores except for tanks and under tees cause everything is so bad. Nice find though! I love that top!

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  14. I think that the shirt is very pretty and modest too!

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  15. nothing wrong with being modest :)
    xx

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  16. Hear hear! I completely agree with this. There is definitely a certain style that all of the 40 year old mom's that are trying to look 20 subscribe to and it trickles down to infect all.

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  17. Is there sarcasm here? Or are these all your actual opinions? I hope you aren't judging an entire population of women based on the catalogs of a handful of local "modest is hottest" companies. I can't speak for anywhere else, but at my weekly congregation which is young, single, professional and 85% female there is nary a white undertee in sight. I understand (and even agree with) your sentiment, but I think it's unfair to lump any Mormons who are in Utah and not you in this frumpy category.

    xox

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  18. The Girlie BloggerNovember 9, 2011 at 9:18 AM

    I like this modest look. I'm sure ther are plenty of fashionable people in Utah.

    http://www.geekettegazette.com
    http://www.thegirlieblog.com

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  19. I think she's talking about the clothing store options, not the people of Utah.  In fact, I don't see anything in her post disparaging Utah Mormons fashion sense at all.

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  20. I looked at their site; it's not terrible, just... slightly boring?  I think it's mostly basics, but nothing that pops.  I like that top, though.  And those stilettos need to become wedges.

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  21. im laughing :) i agree with you but somehow i still find joy in discovering a modest undertee that is made of super-soft modal. weird i know. 

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  22. Amen sista'!  We want to look modest like a lady (ie Audrey Hepburn or Jackie O) not like a barbie or like our Mom still dresses us.  We don't want to be "cute" we want to be classy! 

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  23. I like the top.
    I understand how you feel. I feel the same way about "modest" Christians. They aren't modest at all. It's really sad when you see a gospel singer on TV and she's dressed just as hoochie as the R&B girl standing next to her. If I get started on the "modest" Christian fashion blogs out there I'll be here for a while. So can I get in on that clothing store with you and Kristine ? Just saying that all ^_^

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  24. I fully agree with your opinion of 'Utah fashion'.  You described it to a "t"!  You can be modest and cute without wearing three undershirts and, my favorite, those bedazzled jeans.  (shudder)  And I agree with modbod. Keep it up!!

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  25. add some cleavage, a little more fake bake, and swap the blondes for brunettes and you got New Jersey.

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  26. When I didn't live in Utah I loved those under Tee's. But they are so overused here. I'm not a huge fan of their stuff. But you know me, I like thrift stores and consignment stores. You can find things that are much more unique. 

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  27. this is awesome. you are awesome. i don't really like the top but i LOVE what you have to say :)

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  28. Thanks! And thanks for being honest!

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  29. I come from california...and I wear a camisole everyday...one because I'm not skinny and it helps keep everything in check, and it makes every shirt modest, so I would consider them a huge plus! I think modbods fashion is incredibly stylish, all depends on how you wear them. I just looked at the website and a lot of your outfits have the same pieces or style. I think we should be grateful people produce modest clothes, not bash them.

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  30. Hahaha, good to know there are people there who feel that way.  I lived in UT for about 7 years and was really confused how hardly anyone seemed to have their own style.  Everyone was dressing the same!  Plus I thought it was odd that women thought just because their skin was covered they were being modest even when the clothes they were wearing looked like they were shrink-wrapped. 

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  31. the pants, the shoes, the makeup... all awful! I would wear the shirt. You are right on about look alike Utah girls.  When somebody moves from UT it is soooo obvious! I'm glad you so eloquently put what I often think into words. Yay for individuality and modesty.

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  32. I love your new mission.  Looking forward to many more of these posts.  

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  33. It bothers me when any particular set of people get trashed for their look and style. I could be really annoyed by all hipster Mormons living in New York (but I'm not). I really like reading about your opinions on clothes and fashion, and I enjoy seeing your style and what you put together for your looks. Some of the things I wouldn't wear because they don't fit my personal style, but it doesn't change my appreciation of what makes you, you. I am a blonde Utah girl, who shops at a lot of those stores, and some stuff I like, some I don't. Sometimes I like a little bling on my jeans, but a lot of  the ruffles and frills are just too much for me.  And I will never be caught dead wearing a flower anything on my head - just not my thing, but I don't feel the need to get catty about a gal who does. So my main point is that some of your thoughts felt a little more like personal slights of an entire group of people than criticisms of clothes. Love what your doing with the reviews of the modesty stores and definitely interested in your opinions on the clothes. But (and with this I'm referring more to a lot of the other comments already on here) I find the general snarkiness toward an entire group of people for their own tastes and style pretty unattractive, no matter who the people are. Live and let live. 

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  34. Honestly, with the amount of mediocre clothing, accessories, and shoes out there, it's hard to find those items that are special or catch your eye in a particular way - be it a modest clothing catalog or Forever XXI. I sometimes walk through Ross, pawing through all these ugly dresses and think, how could someone even produce something that ugly and hide some woman's beauty through such bad clothing?

    And I for one will look forward to this series and your honest, sometimes sarcastic, opinions :)

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  35. Posts like this just make me sad. We're all out there trying our best to present ourselves well and wear what we like and what reflects our beliefs. I don't think it's right to dismiss an entire group's style with terms like "tacky," "faux pas epidemic," etc. I know you preface your post with a disclaimer about sarcasm, but just because you're being sarcastic doesn't mean you're not being mean or catty.

    Unfortunately, Utah Mormons are an easy group to pick on. I just left Utah after 8 years there, and I think this post is waaaaaay too general. There are people whose style I like and people whose style isn't my cup of (herbal) tea. Anywhere you go, there are people with different styles and different tastes. That's how it's supposed to be! We don't have to put others down because their taste is different than ours. Like Torrie said, Live and let live

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  36. Melissa | I Still Love YouNovember 9, 2011 at 7:31 PM

    If you get past some of their blah fashion, you have some incredibly high quality clothing. I reviewed some clothing (two shirts, a jacket, cardigan & skirt) for ModBod two years ago & nothing has pilled, faded, stretched or sprouted holes. OMG. 

    Also - their basic perfect tee has the perfect length sleeve & the best stretch ever. EVER! I wish they had better colors, though. They also run small. I hate the gross barely there cap sleeve. 

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  37. I really, really want to wash that poor girl's face. And take down her hair. Boom, instant makeover (makeunder?)! Anyway, I have been looking like a shirt just like that forever, but everything I've found has been see through, and sometimes you just don't want to add another layer, ya know? I wonder what the fabric/sheerness factor of this shirt is like.

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  38. You, me, and kelsey williams! I'm wondering if anyone out there has bought this shirt that could tell us?!?

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  39. YES. I was talking to Jess about this. I haven't bought anything from a real store because nothing excites me anymore. Either all the fashions are the same, too expensive, or too bland.

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  40. 1 - The top is cute and totally practical, modest, and stylish.  I won't really say anything about Utah fashion since I seriously have no idea about it.  
    What I DO know is that you and some other Mormon fashion bloggers are definitely some of my favorites all around.  I'm not a "modest" dresser myself, and I don't ever see you (and the others) as "Mormon" or "modest".  I just see some classy, stylish ladies, whose styles I love!  

    P.S. I am a bit sad to see some of the negative comments. Your sarcasm and wit is something I dearly love about your blog and writing.  Your true followers should get that about you.

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  41. Thank you. I really appreciate it!

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  42. Hello ladies! I own modbod clothing and wanted to put a little comment on here. 

    I love people's opinions and expressions of who they are, not only in clothes, but in writing as well. So I appreciate your opinions. For me, my personal style does not fit your description at all of the "Utah modest fashion". I grew up in Utah, have lived out of the state and country for several years, and have come back. (No I did not serve an LDS mission). I am who I am, and I love current fashion! You should check out Blend Fashions (another fashion company of mine) in University Mall if your looking for refreshing in Utah County. Just don't check out the website! It's really out of date! Anyway, I digress... The point I want to make is this, owning a sizable fashion company in Utah is not easy. We do our best, and we try to appeal to any women and we have done a great job. But of course I am not going to appeal to everyone.I love Torrie Young's post, "live and let live". As women we can get so catty and are quick to pick people apart. At the end of the day, we are all trying our best. At modbod our goal is to make a women feel good, if it's in our clothes great! If not, go find what makes you feel like you. 

    Fashion truly is a reflection to who we all are. It's what makes us unique! I wish you all the best!

    Amanda

    If you want to see a little more about me, and owning/running a fashion company in Utah we will have videos up soon on our twitter account, @modbod  and on our blog. 

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  43. Wow. Stereotypes exist because the majority of a group has that "something" in common. We're all old enough to grasp that. Utah Mormon fashion is what it is, some people here are taking it way to personal. Also, I would like to get in on this Kristine and Elaine modest fashion clothing store as well. Haha. It would amazing.

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  44. Yes, yes, yes! As per usual, you're saying everything we all think about. I've been VERY dissappointed by the quality of the clothing the top modest stores produce. They're like glorified pac sun stuff - aka won't last one wash cycle.

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  45. Hi Elaine.  I love your blog and I love your fashion sense and style.  I was a bit saddened by some of your comments in this post.  I've seen those "Utah" girls you are talking about but guess what?  You can find that look no matter where you go, not just here in good ol' Utah.  I have lived here in Utah, since coming here to school by way of California, for the last 18 years and I have seen plenty of "Utah" girls who have great style, class, and individuality.  I wouldn't be caught dead in your description of Utah's modest take on fashion.  Please just be careful about generalizing and creating stereotypes of what Utah Mormon Fashion is.  I know you weren't trying to be catty but it came off a little bit "Mean Girl".  

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  46. I agree with the frumpy, boringness that some Mormons wear. I live in a northern state and lots of florals and just bad style. It makes me shudder. I know What not to Wear did a spot with a Mormon woman and it was great to see a style that was fun and not frumpy. You ball do a great job. I think it gets too easy to all look alike no matter where we live. That is why I like thrift as it changes fashion up a bit. Completely agree with you on J.C.Penney. They have gone downhill. I returned a necklace that broke before I wore it! Keep up the great work. I referred a friend to your site. She needed some help.

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  47. Ok, let's discuss the new mission:  You applauded Modbe's ability to advertize one good item, but didn't even say anything about why you liked that item and what made it stand out to you (aside from your disparaging remark that your vision was so blurred by the hideousness of the rest of the clothes that this one sparkled in comparison). Perhaps if you are going to begin reviewing local stores and their clothing you could make the reviews a little more broad. I'm sure you have a diverse reader population that appreciate your style but also have their own, so would also value more positive feedback about other looks that you might not necessarily purchase, but may work well on other body types, styles, etc. Not being a fan of the mandarin top myself, Modbe's nod to popular fall trends like the Dolman, Aztec print, and the poncho should be acknowledged, I think.

    As for the rest of the post: Ouch. Maybe a more positive take next time? This post just started out a little hurtful with a hint of meanness. Some who commented seemed to feed off your criticism by posting similarly judgmental comments. I'm sure we're all a little critical of others from time to time but let's not turn this blog into one that is an outlet for bashing the less fashion conscious. I am a mom of 4 in my 30s and it takes a lot of time and effort to keep up on the latest fashions, especially when I don't have the time to shop second hand or the money to order what's fashionably acceptable. Sometimes I just have to make do with what I've had for 5-10 years and when I leave my house I hope no one is as critical of me as the first paragraph was. Sometimes people dress the way they do because they're insecure, received hand-me-downs, don't know any better, are a victim of circumstance, etc. Someone commented that you were criticizing the stores rather than the people of Utah, but "Beehive hair" and "spider eyes" seemed to focus on the women wearing the clothes rather than the stores that sell them. I love your individuality and your honesty, but it's bordering on meanness. And don't forget that labeling yourself as a "Mormon Fashion Blogger" sets you apart and with that comes some responsibility to be a representative of a group of young female Mormons. I would hate to think that being young, female, fashionable and Mormon will become synonymous with critical, catty and thinking we're better than others.

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  48. I started reading Mormon fashion blogs because oh my gosh, what I'm seeing out there for examples of Jewish frum fashion is (imo) simply NOT fashionable, hip or fun. So I've adapted a lot of your looks and others you've linked to, and it's fabulous. I should qualify that I'm not the frummiest ever and I do wear pants and I'll wear a shirt that shows my collarbones or has a vee neck which is a little scandalous in some neighborhoods. But MOST of the standards I adhere to and you've given me so many great ideas.

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  49. I never really thought about it before, but now that you mention it it's so true what you said about the modest fashion stores.  Love the humor in this post too--one of my favorites! 

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  50. "Over-the-top frills and ruffles, fabric flowers, tacky fabrics, gem-encrusted flared denim, beehive blonde hair, spider mascara, and the over-use of undertees." You NAILED it! Spot on.. spot on.

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  51. O-M-Gosh! That was hilarious. You are a spot on rock star! Cutie blog!

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  52. Lol, sad...I love fabric flowers!!! Not any of the other things you mentioned (except LDS)...but love that trend.

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  53. I enjoyed this post although I've never been to Utah, I'm just looking at blogs for some ideas re inexpensive professional clothes - modesty not such an issue for me, but honestly professional wear in a cold climate is nearly by definition not revealing (except in Quebec, but they are made of stronger stuff than me).

    That said, I've been surprised/appalled by some of the layering ideas (not on your blog), there are so many good options that don't involve wearing a sundress over a t-shirt. It looks ridiculous and sloppy - maybe okay on a child, but not on a grown woman. Better to add a cardigan or a bolero or a jacket, or buy something with sleeves. Your blog provides some professional looking options - I appreciate that.

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