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.