Wednesday, December 26, 2012

How Do You Make Fashion Modest?

So, this morning we were on a local morning talk show called "Good Things Utah."  It is a great local interest talk show that showcases not only happenings and products of Utah, but things that fit culturally with the population of Utah.  The hosts are moms, totally beautiful moms, but they try to be down to earth and just talk to the audience as if you the viewer are just one of the girls, or maybe a neighbor.  It was a fun experience, and I hope that we get the chance to do it again.  Click here to see our segment.

The reason for this blog post is that the hosts asked me a really great question today on air, and I don't think I completely answered it.  Here it is:

Niesha (host):  "I think it's tough though these days to look fashionable, and be covered up at the same time."
Me:  "You know, It totally is."
Niesha:  "So how do you do that with what you carry there..."

There wasn't enough time in the segment for us to talk more about how we do what we do, so I decided it would be a great topic for a blog post!  So, here goes!

The main three things we do to keep our fashion fresh and relevant is to do these three main things:

1.  Watch trends and build some of these trends into a more modest version.

2.  Stay current with popular colors and fabrics, but do them in versions that are more opaque, washable, durable, and affordable.

3.  Always fill in our styles with new cuts of classic basic pieces that will stand the test of time.

So, I'd like to address each one of these individually.

1.  Watch trends and build some of these trends into a more modest version.

We will watch what is very popular in fashion magazines, in big box retailers and boutiques, and also as fashion forecasts.   We even attend fashion shows, and trend watcher seminars from time to time to try and stay current.  What we find is that the biggest change we can make is to lengthen a garment to make it appropriate for our customer.  

(Ironically, this isn't always because our customer wears a religious undergarment that must be covered--we just have an average customer that is taller than most, and there aren't enough affordable places that cater to taller people.  Our average customer is about 5' 7" and that is almost two inches taller than normal.  So it affects how we build our pieces, which we often proportionally lengthen.)

An example of this would be doing a pencil skirt, but changing the length.  Most of the current pencil skirts skim the knee, but we did a version of it that extends past the knee to a more modest, wearable length.  Look at these two skirts.  The one on the top is from a higher end department store, and ours is underneath it.  (We do need to take a better picture of this skirt with a model in it, not just a dress form.  However, this is the skirt worn by one of the models in our segment above.)

Skirt from unnamed big box retailer. 
It measures 19", and is made of Poly/rayon/spandex just like ours.
Sells for $69.50

Our Edyn pencil skirt.
It measures 27" (and can be
altered for a shorter customer).
It is also made of Poly/
rayon/spandex.  It sells for $32.

Another example would be the Peter Pan collar. We have seen so many of these blouses on the market, but most of them are sheer and sleeveless, or have such a short cap sleeve that many women can't wear them.  We did a version with the trendy collar, but in a blouse that includes sleeves and can be more easily worn alone.  The one on top is in a trend forecast, and the one beneath it is what we carry in our store.

Blouse with the trendy Peter Pan collar.
The sheer yoke, sleeveless style,
and very tight fit in the body
body make this  top not only
inappropriate for a modesty
conscious person, it isn't very flattering on
most figures (unless you are tall and skinny : ).

Our version of the blouse.
It is in an opaque fabric,
has a sleeve, and is a more modest
cut in the body of the blouse.
It also looks good on a
variety of figures of "real" women.

2.  Stay current with popular colors and fabrics, but do them in versions that are more opaque, washable, durable, and affordable.

We try and plan our tops, and a fashion color or two of skirts, to reflect the popular colors of the season.  We favor solids over prints, but even with our incarnations of blouses and skirts we will include a print that reflects the color trends of the day.  Often there will be a style of blouse that we love, but it is very sheer.  Even though we carry sheer products from time to time, we try to always carry layering tees to wear under them for modesty--or even better, if we can put our own version of a blouse into production under our own label, we try to find new fabrics that are opaque enough they can be worn alone.  Often, what makes something inappropriate is the sheerness of the fabric, not the cut of the blouse.  

Sometimes designers make a beautiful garment that would even be opaque enough to be modest, but their pieces would go for $300 to $1000.  This is not just because of the design work, but because their beautiful fashion is made of real, delicate silk and hand sewn.  It really isn't practical for everyday folks to wear things like that, and the cost is absolutely prohibitive for most average consumers.  Changing the components, and making for a mass market changes the price quite a bit.  Ex: take a $300 beaded cashmere cardigan, and make a version in nylon/bamboo inspired by the original for about $45.  The feel of the fabric will be similar, but one is machine or at least hand washable and much more wearable and affordable.  

3.  Always fill in our styles with new cuts of classic basic pieces that will stand the test of time.  

Another way to keep things fashionable but classic is to produce basics.  This would be where really traditional skirt styles done in updated cuts would come in.  An example of this is our knee-length aline skirt.  The aline skirt in general has been a great skirt for women because it flatters a variety of figures.  However previous to 2000 it was more common to wear things on your natural waist.  In time, women have discovered that often it is more comfortable to let things simply rest on your high hip.  It elongates the look of the torso (sometimes) and you don't have something binding you in the middle.  So, the classic, traditional aline that sat upon the waist would no longer feel relevant to a customer used to wearing things lower.  Simple.  We redesigned our aline skirt to have a waistband cut on the bias so it stretches for the customer to wear high or low, and voila!  You have a classic, basic that has been updated and made relevant for new customers.

We also will always carry the basics in our skirts.  Black, brown, navy, taupe, wine, gray, charcoal...  These are the basics that will always be relevant.  We can add a couple of colors for variation, but the classic neutrals will always be popular and round out a wardrobe.

It is easy to re-dress a basic, old skirt from your closet with a new brightly colored top, scarf, or sweater.  So, the skirt doesn't need to be re-done, you just style it again with something new.  

So, how do we keep current, but stay covered up?  Bottom line, when we can't find something that works, we make up our own.

That is a little of what we do.  As always, we try to have something for everyone.  Come in and check out our new line today, or better yet, check us out online 24 hours a day! 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

"Change in Missionary Age Inspired, Life Changing"

On October 6th, 2012, a ground breaking announcement rocked the homes of Zion.  During the of General Conference, it was announced that sisters will now be able to serve a mission at age 19, instead of 21.  In our home, there was great rejoicing.  As we cried tears of joy, offered prayers of thanks, and nodded our heads in support of the new announcement--it opened up all new possibilities to women that previously were not as available.

Honestly, I can say that I gained little by waiting until I was 21.  The one thing I did learn was patience, and doing things on the Lord's timetable--not mine.  Even still, I have to say that I am thrilled about this new announcement.  There are so many amazing youth out there just waiting to serve, and this will give them the opportunity to just get out there.

The one thing that I would comment on (and you must view the video to see this) is the reaction of those in attendance to General Conference at the Conference Center.  It seemed that when it was announced that the young men could serve earlier, there were some young men that looked a bit shocked and terrified.  However, when they announced that sisters could now serve at age 19, the young women rejoiced.  The difference in reaction made me chuckle a little.

Let me just comment a bit on sisters in the mission field.

First of all, as a sister missionary I was able to get into doors that the men never were. I remember one significant baptism we had as missionaries.  This was a head of household man who was very intelligent, educated, and spiritual.  He was trying to lead his family in righteousness, but was unsure of where to go for spiritual guidance.  He was a member referral that had been previously visited by Elders many years before.  In the course of teaching him, he remarked several times that he was so grateful that sister missionaries were there because he felt he could trust us more.  He had been very nervous with the elders, thinking they were "CIA agents" from the USA or something.  When he saw two young women that came and were inviting him to change his life, he said that he was more willing to listen.  His experience was not uncommon for us.

Secondly, sister missionaries bring with them a little bit of maturity that really goes far in the mission field.  The elders in our districts always were a little better behaved when we were around.  I don't think this was because of the age difference.  I think it is because of the phenomenon of the male/female relationship in general!  Think about scout campouts and how young men behave there vs. in their own homes with their moms around...  I'm just sayin'..

Thirdly, sisters bring the heart to the mission field.  Just like women are the "heart" in the home, sisters have a unique ability to bring that feeling to wards and stakes in which they serve.  We don't often talk about this, but women soften life around them if they are in tune with the spirit.  This is the same in the mission field.

Finally, the number one thing that prepared me for marriage and motherhood was being a missionary.  If I could advocate for every worthy young woman to serve, just like the elders, I would.  The truth is that not every woman is required or encouraged to serve like the young men--but if they do and are able, great blessings come to their future family.  I will have to do another blog post about why my mission was such a positive influence--but until then just know that it was probably the most significant thing I did to prepare me.

Well known LDS educators, Richard and Linda Eyre served as mission presidents in England.  They recently wrote an article about how much they love sister missionaries.  My favorite quote in their article was this, "We wanted our daughters to be returned missionaries who would marry returned missionaries and increase their chances of a mutually respectful partnership. "  They not only loved having those sisters in their mission, they have loved having them in their family.  Logistically, it is now easier for sisters to handle full time missionary service in the logistics of their lives.

At any rate, we are thrilled here at SisterMissionaryMall, and also MissionaryMall about the amount of youth that are serving.  As the ranks of missionaries swell, we have seen our business pick up--which is always a cause for rejoicing--but at the end of the day, the truth is that we just love missionaries.

We love who they are.

We love what they do.

We love the example they are to our own children.

We love who they become through selfless service as missionaries.

Most importantly, we love the impact they have on the world.

Best wishes to all of you younger missionaries--and older missionaries too.  May your efforts be magnified and blessed.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Swing of the Pendulum

Fashion is a constantly swinging pendulum.  

Often we even allow it's swinging to torture us.

Let me explain.

Designers seem to go from one extreme to the other, in order to levy the most shock value.  Often, the trends are ridiculous, and most people can't pull them off, but yet when that is all there is to be had in stores, we find ourselves wooed and convinced that what we are wearing looks nice.  It really is a pendulum that swings from one extreme to another.

The nice trends are the ones that come in between.  

These are the trends that most of us find we can wear, and that are the constant basics of our lives.  The good news is that while the pendulum has been in flux over the past few years of "anything goes" the runways are now touting more of the "moderate" styles!  We are catching that silly pendulum midstream, and we at SisterMissionaryMall, love it!

Exhibit A--the Micromini
To illustrate this, I call your attention to exhibit A--the micro mini.  Was this ever a good idea?
Obviously, the designer who came up with this one really hates women.  Either that, or the designer was a tiny Asian woman who loves her thighs.

Exhibit B--The Maxi
Soon after this tiny skirt length swam its way off the tennis court and into the fashion current, it was swallowed up by a bigger trend that is still current among the masses.  That is the Maxi length!  Take a look at exhibit B--the maxi.  But please focus on the hemline, not the neckline.  We won't go there in our discussion yet, so save that for yet another day.  (Apparently in fashion math you can add to the bottom but only if you subtract from the me old fashioned, but I like it when people talk to my face--not my chest...)

The "maxi" as it is currently known is not a new thing.  As a matter of fact, this was the only skirt length, or acceptable clothing for women in the modern world for as far back as anyone can remember.  Everything you could wear as an adult woman was a "maxi" up until about the 1920's.  It just became cool again in the 1970's.

So, here comes the good news.  Are you sitting down?  Okay, remember the wonderful "knee-length" and "tea-length" dresses and skirts we wore two decades ago--and then two decades before that?  Well, they are really back!  On the runways this fall, expect to see some of the skirt lengths that you could even wear to church and not feel guilty!  They are not only SisterMissionary worthy, they are once again fashionable!  You don't have to push the envelope, and wear a skirt that may or may not cover you when you sit down!  You can wear a sensible, comfortable skirt of a reasonable length, and not be over 65!  (no offense to the active grannies that are out there these days!)

Here are some of the fun things we have seen on the runway for this fall, and in designer lines coming up for spring.  Don't be too surprised if some of these fashions "inspire" more affordable versions in our store over the coming months!

This darling beauty is not only long enough, it has a great neckline, appropriate sleeves for real people, and actually sits on the natural waist.  Wear this and you are unmistakably a woman!  Hooray for that!  We do need to get this poor gal a slip, though.

This little black and cream beauty features some beautiful border detail that really makes the dress. I just was in awe of the fact that the ballet neckline on this dress is actually do-able for the average gal!  I wish I knew what to call this lacy detail.  It's almost a cutout, applique.  At any rate, does it matter?  The sleeve is amazing. I can even envision this one with a 3/4 sleeve without losing any of its beauty.

Why is this gal looking so glum?  Because her skirt covers her bum?  Maybe it is because she is now taking her life seriously, and her clothes reflect that she is a respectable gal.  Grandma would be so proud!  The style of this dress really is so 1930's, and we love it.  The print is a fun retro floral too.  Classy.  Now if we can just get her to smile a little...and maybe put on some red shoes?

A vision in green!  This isn't a yellow green, or a sage green.  This is just pure, good old green--almost a kelly, and maybe a little jaded.  The length on this skirt is perfect, and there is enough fullness that she won't get caught showing off anything she doesn't want to.   Furthermore, the genius that put pockets in this posh frock really outdid themselves.   Pockets in a skirt are often a thing of the past.  We love the swing of this pendulum...even if we have caught it midstream.  Of course, we must mention that this gal is eyeing your sandwich, and she is hungry!

The last new look that caught our eye was the flowing, feminine silk chiffon of this dress.  Although I wish were completely lined (and you could do that without losing the charm) this dress is still so classic.   These lines are so flattering on almost anyone.  You don't need to rely on a super curvy form to pull off this look.  You just need to be you.  From the self belt, to covered buttons, this dress was made for a stylish woman.  The hemline on this dress is perfect.  Not too short, not too long.  Just perfect.  (unlike those three sentence fragments that my junior high English teacher would find anything but perfect...along with my prolific use of ellipses...but I digress...)  Redheads everywhere are rejoicing that "rust" has finally come back into the limelight.

So, back to our little pendulum--swinging from one extreme to the other.  Well, I guess that right now we are "mid-swing" and there are great things coming around that are the right length for us "real gals."  So, take advantage of this opportunity to update your style a little and go for the classy.

As always, we stock current colors--in your size--in a variety of styles of great skirts and dresses to fit your individual taste.  We hem to suit, and are ready and willing to outfit you for your mission--or even update your "Sunday Best" with a new skirt or blouse.  Come in and see us today!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Feeling Great to Be Girlie!

Gunne Sax dresses were all the rage.
It was cool to be pretty.
In the 90's a funny thing happened.  The whole grunge movement reared is unkempt head and drove fashion to develop some bad, unfeminine habits.  Basically, the 80's were a decade that championed what it meant to be a girl.  We primped and painted ourselves up and dressed in lace and puffy "Anne of Green Gables" sleeves.  We wore pearls around our necks, and our waistbands around our waists.  It was a lovely time.  We didn't have to fight with the image of strung out, skinny girls with flat tummies and ample bosoms.  It was a time where we could be comfortable, but beautiful and girlie.

Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love
The nineties lowered waistbands, in keeping with the grunge movement of fashion that looked like it was salvaged from a dumpster.  We lowered the rise on our pants as women, making our body shapes look more like men and trying to streamline our torsos.  We wore ugly, worn out things and hoped we looked cool.

We didn't look cool. We just looked neglected.

In real life, the truth is that most women have a little belly because it is part of our anatomy and our heritage.  We are women who become mothers and nurturers, and it is a beautiful and divine thing.  Even looking back over the years, women constantly were worried about their waistlines, but accepted that by having a waistline you are curvy, feminine, and beautiful.

We like to look nice, and to feel beautiful.  It is time to embrace the feminine again--and to stop saying that it is for grandmas and old ladies.  The truth is, grandmas and old ladies never abandoned their femininity--and now it is time for us to embrace it too!

The good news is that Girlie is back.  

It is in fashion to be feminine again.  (Thank you Marc Jacobs, Mad Men, and Monique L'huilller to name a few...) We are finally moving away from the harsh, heroine addict fashion and austere, corporate man-like fashions.  What is on the horizon?  Here it is.  Actually, it has been coming on for at least 4-5 years now.  So, love it, and live it, and hope it doesn't go away again!

Beautiful curvy shapes with skirts that fall on the natural waistline, and fun retro prints (like polka-dots).

Floral prints are also back.  This includes even the typical "granny florals" of the past.

Feminine accessories, such as scarves and belts are back.  Belts are even worn on the actual waist, and jewelry is feminine and includes details like roses, cameos, pearls, and lockets.

Lace is not just for underwear or trim.  We are seeing many pieces made entirely of lace, such as t-shirts, dresses, skirts, even pants.

Pretty pastels are back too.  We are seeing peach, mauve, rose, baby blue, and even sage green.  All of them are back--and they brought their friend "cream" back too!

So, revel in being a girl.  Cherish being a woman.  Seek the soft and the beautiful--with just the slightest touch of sassy...Feel great to be a girl!

All of the items pictured here are available at SisterMissionaryMall--it's not just for sisters!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The blouse is back!

Pirates, Peasants, and Poets
Anyone who grew up in the 70's and 80's remembers the blouse.    Even though this item of clothing has its roots in menswear (think pirates, peasants, and poets...) they are primarily womenswear now.

With its updated 1970's fashion, the blouse was the quintessential clothing piece for a polished woman in the corporate world.  The 70's and 80's were the "dress for success" era, where if you "dressed" like you were upper management, you were more trusted and could move up in the company.

1970's pattern
(Which, by the way, is still how perceptions of success are perceived today...and also the reason that it matters how sister missionaries dress!)

The blouse basically became a woman's version of a men's dress shirt.  We wore them in silkier fabrics, with feminine details (like lace collars, and bows) and they were cut to flatter and drape on our shapelier figures.  They were so popular and durable, that for years, every DI, Salvation Army store, and Saver's was full of these polyester blouses.

Well, guess what!  The blouse is back!  It has actually been back for a couple of years now, but we are finally seeing the trend here in the conservative west.  (What that means is that we are finally gutsy enough to wear them even though our eyes have been telling us we are wearing what our moms wore...)  Anyhow, there are a lot of advantages to the blouse that make it very popular again today.

Here is a list of why the Blouse is a great addition to your wardrobe:

1.  Many of the fabulous styles can be found in washable fabrics that are easy to wear, and easy to care for.  So, the runways feature the blouses done in silk, while we can find them done in polyester.  Polyester has become so well done these days that it is hard to tell often if it is silk or not!  The fibres actually have to be tested with a "fire test" to see if the burn or melt--burning meaning it it is silk, and melting being polyester.  So, wear that polyester with pride!  You look fabulous!

2.  The cut of the blouse is more appropriate for real women.  Going the way of the Dodo bird are the fashions that highlight the "yoga" body that most of us don't have.  (that is of course, unless you are actually on your way to yoga, which apparently I am all day everyday when I'm at home in my yoga pants...) The blouse is not as fitted as the tailored "mens" style clothing we have been packing ourselves in for the past 15 years.  We have lumps and bumps as women, and the blouse drapes more comfortably over them.  You can actually look and feel thinner because you aren't wearing some little knit ditty that makes you look like...well, a stuffed sausage.

3.  No more busting buttons!  One of the best things about a blouse is that often the style doesn't button up front.  It is hard to have a great fitting blouse that buttons over the "bumps" of the bust!  Nothing like playing peek-a-boo with your top because you can't keep your placate closed on your shirt.  Unless a shirt is tailored just for you, it can be tough to keep things "locked and loaded."  A blouse solves this, and all the while letting you enjoy the cool comfort of a woven fabric.

4.  The fashion trend now allows us to dress down our nice blouses by pairing them with jeans.  This is a nice departure from the buttoned up, corporate, Sunday best version of the blouse that makes them fun to wear.   For Sister Missionaries, of course the fashion choice is clear.  However, that means that the blouses you take on your mission can be repurposed a little while later at home!  (and believe me, these blouses will survive, despite your best efforts!)

Here are some great blouses we are carrying right this minute at our store!  

We designed these babies ourselves, and carefully chose the fabric and construction to make them comfortable and durable for Sister Missionaries.  They fit well, are easily altered, and built to last.

This top comes in a nice Rose, Sky Turquoise (pictured), Smoky Taupe, and Berry Red.
If the elastic in the sleeves bothers you, we can take it out.  

This blouse has coordinating cuffs on the short sleeve under the blazer.
Currently this blouse is only available in Cream with black trim.  

Here is that same bow blouse under one of our favorite blazers.

There are more to come!  Just keep in mind that "The Blouse is Back!" We are so glad!  You will not only feel better in a blouse, you will look better too.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Tooele Teen Tossed out of School for Modesty...

In national news, a Tooele, UT teen was tossed out of school because her skirt was "1/2" too short" for the dress standard of the school.  As shocking as this is to everyone else in the country, to us in Utah, the theme is all too common.

Hemlines are a subject that has come up often in LDS circles.  It is so funny how things have changed over the years.  I was actually  looking at pictures of my Mom in the 60's and seeing her dress patterns that she sewed dresses from in High School and was shocked to see many sleeveless and shorter skirts that would not have been acceptable in the current culture of modesty.

So, as this has been niggling at me for a while because I really think that modesty is more than just hemlines and necklines.  So, this post is basically about modesty.  We have built a business on modesty, so it is important.  However, I have often had to contend with customers that come in and say "that is too bright" or "that is too fashionable for missionaries."  We disagree.  Missionaries can be fashionable, and colorful--and still be modest.  This brings up the question, "what is modesty?"

I could quote LDS church leaders, and pamphlets all day long about how important modesty is etc, but I have to say that at the end of the day it is more than just the length of your skirt or how high the neck of your blouse goes.  It is also your intent in wearing what you are wearing.

If you mean to call inappropriate attention to yourself, then you are not modest.  If you hope to excite the men around you by what you are wearing, then you are being immodest.  If you are trying to make an inappropriate statement about your morals or standards by what you are wearing, or trying to "walk the line" then you are simply not modest.

Just being covered isn't enough.
That is the main reason people often try to spell out specifically what modesty is and isn't because it is harder to explain intent than to just say "a skirt that is no more than 2" above the knee."  For this reason, the explanation of what modesty truly is becomes reduced to how little someone is wearing--but it has everything to do with why you are wearing what you are wearing as well.

I would even go so far to say that often something that is immodest on one person is not immodest on another.  For example, women with very curvaceous figures often look more provocative in an article of clothing than another would because the clothing--while the right length--fits differently on one person or another.  I have even heard it explained that so long as you are covered, you are modest.  To that, I also disagree.  Just because you are covered does not make something modest. If it is too tight, or  sheer you are still not modest.

When making fashion decisions, I follow the rule of thumb that is "if you wonder, don't wear it."  If there is question in your own mind about the appropriateness of something, then just steer clear of it.  For you, you are probably right.

This always brings to mind the scripture in Mosiah 4:29-30  (yes, I'm taking some liberties in the language, so please see the original text...)

"...I cannot tell you all the things whereby you may [dress immodestly]; for there are divers ways and means, and even so many that I cannot number them...but this much I can tell you, that if ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts [and intent], and your words, and [how you dress and act], and observe the commandments of must perish.  And now, O [daughters of God] remember and perish not..."  

There really is so much discussion we could have about modesty--but at the end of the day what you wear says so much about who you are that it merits some thought!

As always, we carry a large selection of modest skirts, dresses, and tops.  We range in sizes from XS to 3X and sometimes even carry skirts up to 6X.  We also have trained sales staff that can help you navigate good fit, fashion, and function for you and your individual  needs.  

Come and see what we have to offer.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

"Altered Consciousness"

So, with the title of this blog, you might think I'm talking about substance abuse--on the contrary! Today we are talking about alterations!  

When we talk about alterations, we are talking about changing a ready made garment to fit your body more specifically.  Most off the rack garments (meaning things you buy everyday in a store) are made according to the metric or measure of whatever the designer determined was the best body shape and measurements.  We don't often think about altering garments to fit these days because of the glut of knit fabrics and items we wear these days.

However, the truth is that we are all different and have our quirks, lumps, and bumps.  So, if you go into a shop and something doesn't quite fit you right, but you are crazy about it--then consider getting it altered!

It sounds like a labor intensive process, but it is really simple.
Some alterations you can even do yourself if you sew, so long as you have a friend to help you mark the garment for alteration or a similar piece of clothing to use as a reference.

Here are the tools you will need:
1.  A good pair of scissors (preferably sharp, and not used to cut paper)
2.  A sewing measuring tape
3.  Pins--and a pincushion really helps
4.  Measuring chalk, dressmaker chalk, tailor's chalk or something of that ilk

All of these tools are found at your local fabric store, or Walmart.  There are even many grocery stores that carry these items, so they are very affordable.  Many of them are even in basic sewing kits.

There are 3 basic types of easy alterations that can have a dramatic effect on how a garment fits you.  These are the ones you could probably do yourself, or are inexpensive to have done.

1.  Lengthening and shortening hems and/or sleeves
2.  Taking in or letting out the sides of a top or bottom
3.  Removing or adding embellishment on a garment

As a missionary, these alterations will make sure that your clothing fits you well, and helps you to look polished.  If your clothing doesn't fit you well, it will not only change how you feel about what you are wearing, it will change how you are perceived in what you are wearing.  So, fit does matter.

We are so accustomed to not thinking about how a garment can be altered, that we just suffer with poorly fitting, off the rack clothing.  So, next time you are in a shop, and you just love a blouse--but it needs a little tweaking--think of your local alterations shop and don't be scared to invest in something you are going to love!

We have a full service alterations shop at our store, and turn around times are very fast.  Basic sleeve shortening and hemming is always free.  Other alterations we offer for a minimal charge.  
Come see what a difference fit makes!

Monday, May 14, 2012

"wear calf-length skirts, flat shoes and an indefatigable air of energized piety."

The title of this blog comes from a quote from a very misinformed article written by Maureen Callahan for the New York Times.  I tried to find the article, but was unable.  I can only assume that they have either pulled it, or I don't have access because I don't subscribe to the NY Post.  Even though I can make a value judgment on Maureen Callahan's writing based on what I did read by her,  I'll keep those feelings private for now.  Here is the link to a response by the Deseret News.  I will say this, she just didn't really check her facts.  However, her description of Sister Missionaries --well that was almost spot on!  I wish that she could see the beauty in the sisters serving--because cleary that was lost on her.  However, calling them women who "wear calf-length skirts, flat shoes and an indefatigable air of energized piety" was not necessarily an insult.

Let us dissect this, as it gives us a chance to talk openly about some of the things that we at Sister Missionary Mall see everyday.  Let's face it, we outfit more sister missionaries on the whole than any other single retailer worldwide.  We were the first, and are still the only store dedicated specifically to sister missionaries.  We were also the first ones to be online (but that is a discussion for another day!)  Anyhow, we have a thing or two to say about how Sister Missionaries are perceived based on their appearance.  So, here is our take on the "criticisms" given by Ms. Callahan--which may or may not be criticisms...depending on if you took it personally or not!

Some of the skirts that hit runways back in 2010
1.  Calf-length skirts--basically this means any skirt that is below the knee.  Your calf muscle extends from  behind the knee-cap down to the ankle, so mid-calf would basically be anywhere between there.  Usually, mid-calf is about the middle of the thickest part of your calf muscle, and is sometimes called "tea-length."

Truthfully, someone wearing a skirt longer than their knee is just concerned with being appropriate.  A skirt that covers your knee says that you are classy, put together, conscientious enough to seek out appropriate styles, and a woman of faith.  I do not know who came up with the silly idea of wearing leggings with a skirt that is too short.  Just because you are covered does not necessarily make you modest.  Did you just come from working out at Ballet?  No!  That is why Sister Missionaries don't do it!  (and really no one else should for that matter either...)  By the way, Sister Missionaries do not have the corner on calf-length skirts--they just wear them with more style and panache!

Shameless pitch for our store:  On another note, we wrote the book on calf-length skirts.  We have been carrying them for years, and will continue to carry them in cute solids, prints, styles, fabrics, and cuts.  So we can fit just about anyone.  We also have a full alterations shop--and most of the simple alterations are free--or very affordable.  (Basic hems are always free.)  If you haven't been in to see our selection, or if we did not impress you the last time you were in--come on over!  We have our own "energized piety" about skirts, and our selections vary by week as we sell out so quickly.  If anything, you can make friends with the girls at the shop. 

Cute, sassy, and comfortable.
2.  Flat shoes--well, you all know our take on that one.  Of course sensible shoes are your saving grace as a missionary.  Your feet work harder than any other part of you as a missionary--save maybe your knees from praying so much!

Who could wear these all day?

Furthermore, If  you are going to be on your feet all day, regardless of the height of the shoe, you need good support.  I can only assume that Miss Callahan mentioned this because she is a "clacker"--meaning someone who "clacks" around in silly stilettos all day.  

However, Sister Missionaries are wiser than your average fashionista.  They know that if they are in pain, and their feet have given out--they are useless.  After all, the stats say that a woman in a stiletto or even a kitten heel is more PSI (pound-force per square inch) than an elephant when walking along.  We don't care about the PSI,  just the money she will spend on a hip replacement at age 65.

3.  Indefatigable air of energized piety--Okay, this one actually made me smile.  Yes, Sister Missionaries are indefatigable--which is a very fancy way to say, "Anxiously engaged in a good cause" or "tireless effort"  both of which can also be used to describe the likes of President Monson and the brethren.  As for piety?  We don't often use that description of ourselves, as we have seen it in the church to have a more pejorative meaning, such as the word "over-zealous."  However, the word itself usually does refer to great devotion, and being consumed by our faith.  And, well, that describes Sister Missionaries like nothing else.  No other group of missionaries makes quite the same sacrifice to be in the field as Sister Missionaries.   So, insult?  I think not!  Maybe she meant it that way, but any sister who knows--in the way that Sister Beck describes women who know--will take that as a very good compliment.

A sister with both a calf-length skirt, flat shoes, and an indefatigable air of energized piety!
In April 2012, Elder Bednar said, "We have the obligation of becoming actively and anxiously engaged in promoting the cause of righteousness."  That is what sisters do.  How they dress reflects that.  The outer wrapping should be an indicator of the inner commitment.  We not only need sisters to match our message, we need them to look like they match our message.  

We at Sister MissionaryMall are pleased to be a part of the great transformation that is becoming a Sister Missionary, and we invite all women of faith to come and see what we have to offer.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Flats much?

So, we have a quite a few things to thank Aubrey Hepburn for...skinny jeans, the pixie haircut, and finally, Ballet Flats.
Since the skinny jean resurfaced a few years ago, we have all turned our attention to ballet flats (known as "skimmers" in shoe talk).

For the most part, we have left behind the chunky heeled shoes we had been wearing a few years ago.

This is a great swing of the mighty fashion pendulum from one extreme to the other, and usually isn't a huge deal--unless you are a missionary!

These skimmers are darling, and let's face it! We love to wear them! There really is little to them, and they usually come with a great price so we can have several pairs that we can use to accessorize and add color to our outfits.

So why, then, are they the absolute worst shoes for a missionary? 

That discussion is easy. However, first of all, let's talk about what missionaries are doing on their feet.

If they are proselyting, then they are at one time or another knocking on doors and contacting people in the street.

If they are serving somewhere foreign, chances are they walk everywhere.

If they are serving domestically, then even if they have a car, their miles are limited and they still walk quite a bit.

If they are serving in a visitor's center, then they are giving tours or standing on their feet carrying out their duties.

If they are super effective missionaries and have help from their recent baptisms and supportive ward members, then they are following up on referrals--and still on their feet more than the average woman.

Missionary service is time served on your feet.  Even when you are doing weekly service, you are usually on your feet.  If you are on your feet so much as a missionary, then you should have supportive shoes that will make your feet feel great.

 Think for a moment about other professionals that spend a lot of time on their feet.
This includes dental assistants, nurses, hairdressers, chefs, and even moms. How many of them (think of the practical ones) do you see wearing little ballet flat skimmers? That's right. Go to any hospital, salon, or restaurant, and chances are you will either see them wearing super ugly orthopedic shoes, tennis shoes (which usually have great support), some form of crocs, or a great supportive clog of some sort.

For this reason, even though we LOVE ballet flats and shoes of their ilk, we encourage young women in the mission field to have shoes with real support. Take the time to make sure you understand the technology behind the shoes you are buying, and be willing to invest in a shoe that will make the difference for your foot health. Your feet--and actually your hips and lower back too--will thank you!

We just got in a new shipment of our latest and favorite Dansko--the Dansko Abby! This shoe has much of the same DNA as the professional clog in the stapled collection, but includes much of the "pretty" that we love about feminine ballet flats.
Serving soon? Come in today and be professionally fit by our specially trained staff. This and other styles are waiting for you to see the difference a good shoe can make.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Dansko "Sam"

Just in time for spring!  Dansko does it again with this perfectly comfortable transitional shoe. Come check them out at 210 East University Parkway Orem UT, 84058..

Monday, March 5, 2012

Oh..the possibilities!

Just in time for spring: New Skirt Sets in Coral and Aqua!  We love the polka dots, the colors and all of the fun ways to wear these pieces (as demonstrated by our lovely live and stationary models)!  Together or separate they the perfect way to update your spring wardrobe.  And just in case you forgot our 'Spring Cleaning Clearance' sale is still going on while supplies last!  Come check out all this and more only at Sister Missionary Mall, 210 East University Parkway in Orem.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Craving Pleats?

One of our FAVORITE pleated skirts is back!  Pleats are one of 2012's hottest trends and we are spreading the love in three colors (navy, gray, and chocolate) for only $25.99.  Come pick yours up today only at Sister Missionary Mall located at 210 East University Parkway in Orem!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Looking for LoVe?

Did you know that Sister Missionary Mall has been around for 6 years?!  And throughout our entire existence we have always loved a few things in skirts: length, pleats and color!  Which is why we LoVe this new skirt made just for us by one of our favorite manufacturers.
We loVe you Matt!
And what's not to love right?  The color is gorgeous, the pleats are set into the skirt with heat, making them permanent. So they last and last, no ironing! The fit is modest for EVERYONE!  We are just happy that fashion is finally recognizing the things that we have been loving for the past 6 years.  Come pick one up today only at Sister Missionary Mall, 210 East University Parkway in Orem.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Winter Hours

Monday through Saturday our store will open at 10 AM and close at 7 PM.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

It's not about what you wear....

But HOW you wear it!
 For example:
Take our most basic outfit.  We love this blouse!  It's a wrinkle resistant 'wash and wear' dream for any wardrobe.  The skirt is a fully lined poly-wool blend that is machine washable (which is a combination really hard to find), these two basic are durable, classic, wear well and are a must have!  We feel that they've been a bit over looked because they may be viewed as dated.

However with a little work this look can be taken from drab to fab with a few stylish accessories!
Here is our after:
The difference between the two looks?  The blouse was tailored to fit Christin, layered with a plaid blouse and tied in the front.  She also added a fashion belt, chunky necklace, fun earrings, red lipstick tousled curls to  make this look her own!

Fun right?  Looking for your own style make over?  Every member of our sales staff have been specially trained in fashion, fit and modesty to help our customers meet their clothing needs.  Come visit us today at 210 East University Parkway in Orem, we love assisting women in their fashionable modest clothing quests!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Fit your Body not your Size

Hello Sisters! We haven't blogged in a while because we have been so busy it was easier to just post to facebook. Check us out for great pictures of current product, and to see what we have been up to.

To start out this new year, we are doing a series of posts about making over your wardrobe so that it better suits you and your life. Obviously, we specialize in Sister Missionaries, because they are a group that really need to make the right impression. That right impression starts with what people first see when they see you.

Today, I'd just like to say a bit about sizing. First of all, let me give you the inside scoop on a dirty little secret of the fashion industry. Ready to wear clothing is made for people in the middle--so the average size for a given height and weight. For years, they have been doing something called vanity sizing. Some call vanity sizing a myth, because they argue that clothing just isn't made well anymore or we are getting fatter as a population. Call it what you will, but clothing off the rack won't fit everyone perfectly, and if we are sizing up our patterns, regardless of the reason behind it, it still presents a problem when we go to clothe ourselves off the racks. How a pattern is graded and then the garment cut from that pattern has everything to do with how it fits.

So, before our discussion on vanity sizing or "why this or that size doesn't fit me" ensues, here is a bit of info on sizing in general:

First of all, sizes are relative. The company who cuts and sews the clothing chooses how they want it to fit. The company chooses the "body" that their ready made garments are meant to fit--and one size rarely fits all. So, your size can vary from company to company.

Secondly, most of our clothing these days is made from stretchy, knit fabrics that are easier to fit a wide range of people. A knit stretches and is more comfortable than a constructed, woven fabric. Usually they are also more wrinkle free--because we all have this aversion to using an iron these days.

Thirdly, because fashions change so much from season to season, it is easier to size with "average sizes" (like XS, S, M, L, XL etc.) and they don't fit everyone. It is quite possible for you to be between an average size. It is also possible that not all size "S" are the same. There are some brands where size "S" means size "6-8" and others where it means "2-4." You never know until you try it on.

Finally, the sizing system in the US is based on...well, who knows. It is a random set of numbers that has lost its correlation to actual sizes. In European sizes, it refers to measurements in centimeters--which is very helpful. However, with our aversion to true numbers in sizing, we simply can't handle the truth! So over the years the industry has randomly adopted numbers that refer to someone's set of measurements that don't even correlate to the population at large.

Here is an example: One of the things most said about Marilyn Monroe was that "she was a size 14 and look how beautiful we considered her." Consider this, in 1962 when she died, the dress measurements for a size 14 were more or less as follows: bust-36", waist-28", hip-38". If she was a dress size 14 then, Marilyn Monroe would probably be a size 8 now. Incidentally, the measurements for a size 14 now are as follows: bust-40", waist-33", hip-43", so back in the day that would have been about a size 22. This idea that there are no actual fixed points on which our clothing sizing is based brings us to the idea of VANITY SIZING!

The nitty gritty of the whole issue is that people will buy more clothing if they feel like they are buying a smaller size than what they expected to buy. To be completely honest, this is a tactic that has often worked with me personally too. I was usually a size 10 at the Gap. I had been a size 10 for years, and then a few years back I went in to finally buy a new pair of jeans. I tried the size 10s on, and to my delight, they were way too big. So I went for the size 8s. They were too big too! So, I bounced over to the size 6s, and found a pair that fit perfectly well! I was so thrilled by the idea that I could wear a size 6, I bought 3 pairs instead of just 1! The funny part is, when I got home, the pair I had purchased 7 years earlier is the same size when they are laid on top of each other. So, what happened? I weigh the same, and actually even have the same measurements--but the size on the tag is different! This is what we mean by vanity sizing!

The sad flip side of this scenario is that if we shop regularly at places like Old Navy, Gap, or Walmart, you will encounter vanity sized products. So if you try to shop at a boutique, you may not encounter the same fit if you are only shopping for size. So often I see customer discouraged by this fact. We need to be realistic and push past the label! An article a few months ago in a major fashion magazine talked about the psychology of it all. Vanity sizing works to sell more products, and that keeps retailers in business. So, you just need to shop for what fits and flatters, and be above the label.

So, shop to fit your body--not your "size."

In our shop, we carry a variety of brands from fashion houses the world over, as well as some clothing we make ourselves. That is why our sizing is not always consistent. It isn't us, it is because of the boutique nature of what we are doing. We are currently working on our own system of sizing to help customers navigate the difficulties they face when shopping and not knowing what is going to fit, so stay posted for that.

In the meantime, don't get discouraged! Shop for what fits you and not what you think should fit you. No one ever sees the label, but they will see you squished into clothing that doesn't fit, or swimming in something that is too big. Fit matters, sizes don't.

It's not you, it's them.