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!