Friday, December 9, 2011

Best Modest Bridal & Formal, Part 2

There's no need to sacrifice modesty for style when you can have it all in one gorgeous gown!

The difficulty, of course, is finding that gown.

Boutique Narelle hasn't done a formal/prom/wedding dress promotion for a while, so in the Spring I went in search of up-to-date gorgeous gowns to usher modest ladies toward their glamour moment.

Our new discovery was Margene's Bridal, which Boutique Narelle explores here: Best Modest Bridal & Formal, Part 1.
I remember when I first discovered the prom sections of these Latter Day Saints modest fashion stores:
I was speechless with awe and delight. I experienced this all over again as I explored Margene's Bridal. I could easily say (once my speech faculties returned) that the modest gowns from Margene's Bridal are stunningly beautiful with nothing to detract (or distract) from their sweetness.
You can find more modest and beautiful gowns at these LDS stores:
*See comment at end of post.

That being said, if you're Downunder as I am, you may yet feel frustration, because the featured stores in this post are located in the USA. Both the above stores ship internationally (a refreshing option to find at an American store), but I suggest you use this currency calculator [click here] to help you figure out whether it's worth it.

I took a hopeful spin through and was utterly disappointed. Two to three years ago this Australian designer offered several fabulous, modest designs, but no longer. Every single design in their current catalogue is seriously (dangerously!) strapless.

Most of us don't have the cash to buy a designer gown for our special event. Boutique Narelle suggests that you browse the Formal and Bridal sections on the "Labels" section of the sidebar to find helpful tips on how to find a dress that's adorable and modest.

A number of these BN posts feature gowns and links from Modest By Design which is now closed . These links will still allow you to windowshop for inspiration, but their front door won't open. Designer images courtesy of deceased stores are still useful, however, serving as inspiration for you and your seamstress.
Once upon a time at Modest By Design

Learning of the sad demise of Modest By Design spurred me to check the other links we've recommended here since Boutique Narelle opened four years ago. There have been quite a few shop deaths. I'm happy to report that the following stores and designers are still swishing with a few modest options.
Most of the modest options at David's Bridal are jacket dresses (an utterly charming range that I would feature here except that this post is long enough). The store also offers a Personalize Your Look sleeves/coverage option for adapting standard dress designs.

Venus Bridal offers Temple Bridal and Temple Maids, available only in the USA, and associated brand, a catalogue which can be ordered through bridal stores anywhere in the world.

Venus Bridal's Temple collections offer the greatest variety of necklines of any of the modest formal stores BN has seen, but just one sleeve style.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Best Modest Bridal & Formal, Part 1

Pretty dresses make me smile. How about you?

Early in the Spring, I started work on updating Boutique Narelle's wedding/formal promotions. Blissfully have I wallowed in images of gorgeous fabrics and dainty trims.

Are you ready to wallow? Come with me to the amazing
Margene's Bridal, an American store with two outlets in the state of Idaho.

Not every bride has the luxury of 6-12 months to plan her wedding and shop for the perfect details (personally I'm in favour of short engagements), so do you know what colours and styles allow you to look your best? When the bridegroom comes, you want to be ready. Knowing where to get a modest wedding gown or how to make one will be significantly helpful!

I don't expect to be a bride any time soon, but I do know of other occasions when an elegant gown might be required. When I browse formal fashion websites, I love studying the styles and accent details of the prom gowns, and I tend to be distracted by vibrant colours, but I'm learning, from my prowls, to be more discerning in what will work for me. This will simplify future shopping/sewing experiences.


BN's Top Shopping Tips for Formal Occasions

  1. Know what suits your figure and complexion.
  2. Know what you want. Impulse buys are rarely successful.
  3. Know what your modesty standard is and don't compromise.
  4. Know your budget, but don't view this as limiting.
Allow yourself to be creative in finding ways to stick to your budget. 'Good old Kiwi ingenuity' is the think-outside-the-square factor in my heritage that has taught me to say, "Now how else could we achieve this?"

Next week we'll explore how else you might achieve your goal of a modest and gorgeous gown.

Yay! More wallowing!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Vogue Special: Adorable Modest Wedding or Formal Dress

We're posting early this week because the following is a limited-time special deal.
This is a screenshot of an email that arrived in my mailbox this morning. If you love this dress style and you've got a formal event coming soon, this week is the time to grab the pattern.

Here's where you can view more details about the pattern: This link will probably expire once the sale is over, but if you type the pattern number 8766 in the search box at, you'll be able to view the details at leisure. There's also a button where you can sign up to get such emails in your own mailbox. (Note: the discounts will be most applicable to those living on the American continent, but pictorial inspiration works on every continent and island.)

Boutique Narelle has been working to update recommendations on where to find ready-made modest and gorgeous wedding or formal occasion dresses, and we're excited about what we've found to share with you! Here's Part 1:

Is it a piano or is it a sewing machine?

I'm a fashion journalist. I'm also a singer/songwriter [visit Songuine here]. I looked at this sewing machine and saw a piano. =) Just had to share.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Great Shirt Hunt, Chapter 7

The 2011 warm-season brochure that RD1 kindly sent to my mailbox featured these modest top styles.

RD1 shops are in most rural centres around the North Island of New Zealand.  If you're a South Island shopper, pop into CRT and ask for a copy of their catalogue "Clobber".

My sister Sarah sent me a Clobber (kind-hearted gal) and I was impressed with the practical garments available for women through this farm supplies chain. Sarah said that the Rangiora branch had many more options than hinted at in the catalogue, which sounds promising provided you can get to a store or you have a sister/chum who can shop for you.

CRT stocks R. M. Williams ladies shirts, a brand which Boutique Narelle explored in chapters five and six of The Great Shirt Hunt [click here]. I promised a wearability update of my R.M. Williams Ashville shirt, coloured vibrant lime-green.

I can report it's my favourite shirt for everyday feel-good pleasure. For 100% cotton, it launders like a dream, and appears to be fade-resistant. I'm certain this shirt will live forever and that my purchase was utterly worthwhile.

Friday, November 11, 2011

FREE Swimsuit Giveaway!

Would you like a new swimsuit for the holidays...FREE?

Simply Modest Swimwear has announced this week that they are giving away 1 ready-made swimsuit!

To enter:
1. "Like" Simply Modest Swimwear's Facebook page:
2. "Share" the Swimsuit Giveaway post on your wall, and
3. Write a "comment" below the post telling SMS which swimsuit (from their website) you would like for Christmas!

You must do all 3 things to be entered into the contest. Ends Christmas Eve 2011. Winning entry will be drawn at random from those who have completed all 3 things. Swimsuit of your choice will be shipped out completely free of charge to the winner (to anywhere in the world)! Their selection of swimsuits does change frequently, so if the swimsuit you chose becomes unavailable before then, or you change your mind, the winner can choose another ready-made swimsuit from the website after the contest ends.

Boutique Narelle TV* provides a video summary of what Simply Modest Swimwear offers you.

*For more Boutique Narelle videos, click "BNTV" on the navigation bar below the BN title banner.

Have you viewed the other modest swimwear stores recommended by Boutique Narelle? We'd love to know which is your favourite style and why! You don't have to be a blogger to use Blogger's comment feature, and we really appreciate hearing from our readers.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Misleading our Girls about Beauty

"Never Too Young? Misleading our Girls about Beauty" by Dr. Albert Mohler

The New York Times reports that even the youngest of girls are being targeted as consumers of cosmetics and beauty treatments. The elementary [primary school] set is showing up in trendy salons for pedicures and manicures.

The intense self-focus that many young women display and their attention to how they present themselves is affecting 6- to 9-year-olds. “We live in a culture of insta-celebrity,” Ms. Skey said. “Our little girls now grow up thinking they need to be ready for their close-up, lest the paparazzi arrive.”

You can read the article by Dr. Albert Mohler here, or listen to or download the audio version here.

Are you training yourself in True Beauty? Are you sharing what you've learned with your daughters, nieces,  younger sisters or friends? Or, are you and they, through neglect, wide open to the destructive influences of the pagan culture in which we live?

Girls are never too young to start learning, and if wise women do not take up the mantle of instruction, they will automatically assume the prevalent characteristics of their environment which flood insidiously from television, movies, the internet, books, magazines, and urban graphics, and are cultivated as attentively in churches as they are in the world. Suicides, eating disorders, and early promiscuity are just some of the tragic results. Now that you're warned, what are you going to do about it?

The illustrations in this post are of my niece Elizabeth on her 2nd birthday. In the second picture, she is singing Happy Birthday to herself along with everyone else. =)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Modelling Modesty: Lisa's Antique-Rose Suit

You may remember that at the end of Charmagne's Wedding - The Guests I mentioned a young lady with "the thickest cascade of straight blonde ponytail I've ever seen." I wanted to know the story of the suit she was wearing. I was delighted to receive a response from her mother, and now here is the suit for you to see. The suit and its wearer looked even better in real life.

Lisa's suit is a Frederick A design made of 100% polyester. Frederick A was a branch of Ambler and Company (Summit & Aertex), but the label has been discontinued.

Lisa and her mother found her suit at SaveMart, a huge discount store in Wanganui. There's a SaveMart Recycled Clothing Centre in every main city in New Zealand. I've encountered Frederick A before, a garment memorable enough for me to recognize the label when Lisa's mother mentioned it, so there's a chance that you could find something similarly delicious. SaveMart turnover includes thousands of garments per day, so if you had a look last month, it's worth having another look this month.

All the best, and let us know if you find something you love!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Links We Like: V-Neck Quick Fix

Atlanta Shannon shares a quick fix for those cute tops that don't quite cover what they oughta.
View her tutorial here at Feelin' Feminine.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Modest Swimwear: a Wealth of Choice!

Summer is on its way to the southern hemisphere and we're turning our thoughts to warm-weather clothing. The most challenging of summer wardrobe quandaries is modest swimwear, but fear not! we have an encyclopedia of gorgeous solutions for you!

I recently visited the swimwear links BN has supplied in the past and was saddened to discover several of those modest swimwear stores have closed. On your behalf, I surfed the cyber waves for new resources and am happy to announce the range is exciting.

If you haven't already seen it, check out BNTV's 3-minute video, an in-depth promotion (pardon the pun) of Simply Modest Swimwear, our top recommendation for modest swimwear because of the flexibility of the style and unparalleled fabric choice.
This poster is a sample selection of the fantastic variety in attractive and functional modest swimwear that's available from online stores. Click on image to enlarge.

We have discovered other modest swimwear stores providing many creative options. Isn't it wonderful to have a choice in styles? Some of the websites are a little confusing or tedious to navigate, but if you have the patience to explore, you'll find a wealth of style and colour choices.
MODEST SWIMWEAR STORES the burqini; raglan sleeve, optional hood similar to burqini large range of active-wear separates; skirts with built-in leggings 3-piece outfits that look like street wear boho to simple sporty styles in prints and plains rash vests and leggings modest 'haute couture' makes its show on the beach! love this range 2-piece skirted suit; BN favourite! unparalleled flexibility and fabric choice above-knee tropical-print sarong one-piece; softcup option spandex/taslon swimmer dresses, 3 styles

These stores are also listed in the Modest Clothing Stores tab beneath the BN header banner.

Let us know how you get on with your shopping!
We wish you happy summer splashing!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Links We Like: Jeans-to-Skirt Tutorial

A glimpse of Suzannah Rowntree's jean skirt on the day of Charmagne Smith's wedding prompted me to inquire its origin. Delighted with what I heard, we met a week later for photo shoot and details.
Suzannah wanted a long skirt that was low-cost and warm enough for Australia's Victorian winters. Concerned that long skirts simply weren't economical, Suzannah retreated to her thinking spot to ponder. The result was an idea to buy two pairs of denim jeans and with the aid of a seam ripper and stitch maker, join the two into a skirt. She loves the result and has made several this year.

You can view Suzannah's tutorial here:

If you need a practical, hard-wearing skirt, or you're keen to get that trendy denim look, if you shop secondhand (thrift), and are comfortable with a little sewing, this is an ideal solution for you. Make sure you check Suzannah's tips for what style jeans will work best.

One piece of advice from me: beware of distressed denim. Watch out for the artificially faded patches because the designers carefully set them to draw the eye to thighs and buttocks. That is not what a modest lady aims for in her dressing habits, so take care in your choice of fabric and its placement. If in doubt, ask someone to view you modelling the jeans across the room. Check both front and rear views.

While chatting with Suzannah, I noticed the charm of the buttons on her hand-knitted wool cardigan. They're called Dorset Buttons and are created using a ring (Suzannah used a flat metal washer disk), yarn, and a yarn needle.

Blogger/designer Mags Kandis says, "How many times have you had a cardi sit for weeks...months...years while hunting down the PERfect buttons. By using the same yarn as your project or complimenting yarn from your stash, you always have designer buttons at your fingertips." Print your free pattern now! Click this link: 

Friday, September 30, 2011

Charmagne's Wedding: The Guests

Part 4 in September's Modest Wedding Series
Waiting for the Bride

The eldest and the youngest ladies in this pew caught my attention for their celebratory colours amid a sea of black and grey. I encountered the elder lady twice in the course of Charmagne's wedding week and both times her hair was carefully styled in a French coronet braid with a pink camelia peeking over her brow.

One day that could be me.

Demonstrating the ease of turning an ordinary outfit into something special: feminine colours, a layer of dainty fabric, and simple accessories (see her hair and footwear).

What makes a wedding the social event of the season? Girls get to natter, or girls get to dress up, or girls get to see and natter about how other girls dress up?

Suzannah Rowntree's ethnic-style shawl immediately captured my attention. When I asked for its story, she said that it came from her favourite Asian shop in Victoria, Australia. It makes an attractive modesty-layer for her white crewneck tee. If it is her denim skirt that has captured your attention, I can tell you that she made it herself from two pairs of jeans, and next week's post will explain exactly how she did it.

Clare and Samalah looked distinctly individual and made it look easy to achieve their casual elegance.  Both chose velveteen skirt fabric topped with a tailored jacket, but their combinations of texture, trims, and accessories produced very different effects.

How to dress warmly for a special event and still look adorable

Further Hair Flair. Check out Genevieve's basket weave.
The bride's niece and nephew
Masculine Promenade
[Above and below] Photographer Steven Sandbrook of with his sister Clare and other family members provided a wonderful example of a family content to work together.

Little princesses at the feast watch the cutting of the bridal cake.
See the bride and the cake here.

My mother commented on the unusual number of children present at this wedding. It was charming to have them there, and to realize that they were watching and learning from the culture-leading, modest proceedings just as I was.
You've seen the faux-leather jacket before [MM Love Those Leathers], you've seen the mermaid skirt before [MM Christmas Carol], but you might like the above combination better than in the "Love Those Leathers" Modelling Modesty post. A reader protested that the jacket just didn't go with the black skirt! What do you think?

The melon cotton knit cardigan has three-quarter sleeves. The shoes are synthetic oxfords, made extra comfortable by inserting leather insoles from another pair of shoes. Top and shoes were both purchased from The Warehouse.
So you know who was taking the photos =)

I'm glad to say that the standard of male dress (and posture) was not generally what you see behind me.

As always at functions like this, there were many interesting people I didn't get to talk with or photograph. One photo I very much wish I could share with you would be of a young lady diligently serving the guests. She had the thickest cascade of straight blonde ponytail I've ever seen, and she wore an antique rose/lavender skirt suit of what looked like embroidered silk. I would love to know the story of that outfit. Where did she get it? Perhaps if she or her mother read this post, they will be willing to share those details with us.
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