Friday, February 24, 2012

When Closet Calamity Overwhelms

Did you ever come across a fashion journalist whose own wardrobe was in a state of calamity? Narelle comments drily, "At least you can be sure that journalist understands your need for practical solutions."

Narelle has a serious clothing problem. She makes more than half of what she wears, but she's too sick to sew. She hasn't been able to find suitable ready-to-wear options for purchase, and last winter's closet selection of one wool skirt (the one with the split lining) has yet to be resuscitated. A solution must be found before the frosts arrive.

Something's got to give, and for the moment, that includes Boutique Narelle's regular Friday posting. Once she and her wardrobe are on the way to recovery, she plans to resume with random posting.

All the HELP features are still available here on Boutique Narelle. Comments are open and Narelle will respond personally. If you don't want to keep checking for a new post, we recommend you sign up for automatic email notification (see sidebar). The emails don't look the same as the website, but one click will get you online for full benefits.

If Boutique Narelle's service is useful to you or has encouraged you in some way, please leave a comment!

Narelle on modesty and femininity:

"Know what you believe, understand its relevance to your life, then keep that conviction fresh in your heart that you may from thenceforth stand strong and courageous without wavering, a woman of honour and dignity who will draw others by her inner radiance and outward grace.
May God bless you as you seek to represent His beauty."
Narelle Worboys

Conquering the Modesty Monsters

As a fashion entrepreneur and journalist of four years, I have observed that the greatest challenges to dressing modestly are:

  • swimwear that looks like clothing
  • formal/bridal wear providing beauty without enticement
  • cleavage-covering, non-transparent, non-clingy tops
  • ankle-length skirts
  • drapey maternity options in colours other than black

  • other girls and women who have the courage to model modesty as a lifestyle and will support me as I seek to do likewise

The purpose of Boutique Narelle is to help you resolve these challenges. There are hundreds of articles and videos on this website. We have worked hard to find solutions for your needs.

Let us know if you can't find the answers you need, but please do look first. It may be that the post you need is logged some way back in Boutique Narelle's history. Use the topical Labels on the sidebar to help you.

Our quick-stop best shop list of Recommended Stores is in the upper navigation bar.

If you need super-cheap, do-it-yourself solutions, check out the side-bar labels Sewing Tips and Shopping Tips.

If you have or know of solutions to any of the above-listed challenges, please post a comment below, especially if you or they are in Australasia!

Friday, February 17, 2012

You're an adventure in true femininity

If you're a woman, it's likely that you think about beauty, worth, fulfillment, and purpose. It's also likely that if you're seeking to be modest and feminine in this present world, you need inspiration and encouragement.

Check out this setapartgirl conference which you can participate in from anywhere in the world.

Are you tired of the counterfeit pattern of the world? Take a journey to unearth the lost art of Christ-built feminine beauty. During this conference, best selling author Leslie Ludy will lead an exploration of what it means to be truly set apart for Jesus Christ, showcasing His pattern for honour, hospitality, purity, feminine grace, vibrant prayer, and victory over sin, as well as practical workshops on writing, photography, orphan advocacy, and setapart style.

God has a plan for your femininity, a path that is beautiful and fulfilling. Do you know what that is?

One way to find out is to register to be part of the setapartgirl conference on 25-27 May 2012 or host a live simulcast in your home town.

Here at Boutique Narelle we delight in stories of lives transformed by true femininity. We'd love to hear yours!

Friday, February 10, 2012

David's Bridal: Gorgeous Jacket Dresses

When Fashion says shoulders are bare
And bodices scantily there,
Modest ladies cry, "What shall I wear?"
And Boutique Narelle says, "Have you heard of a charming little number called the Jacket Dress?"

David's Bridal has the best selection I've seen since the Jacket Dress made a comeback in the spring of 2008 at Chadwicks [you can view that feature here]. David's Bridal also offer a Personalize Your Look sleeves/coverage option for adapting standard dress designs.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Shopper's Guide: Why Shop Recycled [Thrift]?

 Recycled clothing. Is this a phrase that turns you off or fills you with joy?

I grew up in a home that often didn't know where the next meal was coming from, but we did not shop at secondhand clothing stores. We were dressed from gift bundles or my mother sewed what we needed.

There were two secondhand clothing shops in my small town, and in my teenage opinion, only desperate people shopped there. The selection was small and the quality was poor. Just how desperate people could be was demonstrated to me by a friend who excitedly modelled her 'bargains' for me. She had found two tee shirts for 50 cents each. They were so thin that she had to wear both of them at once. To my mind, they were still too thin.

I was therefore of the opinion that ladies couldn't shop at secondhand clothing stores. However, I began to doubt this theory on my 21st birthday when my aunt came up from the capital with a navy blue wool suit for me. It was beautiful, expensive-looking, tailored, modest, in fact everything that a lady would delight to wear. My aunt had been given first pick of a new shipment at a secondhand store, and this is what she found. It cost about NZ$10.

Happy Take-Homes: 3 knit tops, 1 blouse, 1 pair trews, 1 skirt
About 3 years later, I took a trip to Mount Maunganui with a friend to meet up with my sister for a long weekend. We explored this fairly exclusive beach destination, and my friend pointed out a chain store I didn't know about: SaveMart Recycled Clothing. I was dubious about wasting time in such a barn, but her enthusiasm convinced me to give it a chance.

An hour later, I was converted. I came out with several dresses which became closet staples. One in particular has been a consistent, adaptable favourite, my Red Roses Dress (worn below at an English Country Dance) which has drawn many admiring comments and has continued to adapt to my shape without complaint. Carrying the label American Weekender, it cost me just NZ$8.99, even though prices on the Mount were higher than at any other SaveMart I visited in the couple of years following.
Following our Mt. Maunganui adventure, I explored SaveMarts in Wanganui (huge and excellent), Nelson (wasn't impressed with the selection available that day), and Palmerston North (closest to where I live). I hadn't been for several years, so took my camera along to see what I could see.

The Plastic Bag Says It All...except for the website:

Although I always keep an eye out for modest tops and skirts, my specific wish list was short: warm corduroy or moleskin jeans (not tight between hip and knee).

Did you laugh? Yes, these are few and hard to come by. Once or twice a fortnight, trousers are required apparel, but I've lost weight in the past year and the trousers I've been wearing don't have belt loops. I've been using a pink plastic clothes peg to keep them up.

I figured I could improve on this solution, but the cost of new jeans from mail order companies like Victoria Hill (NZ$70) and Ezibuy (NZ$50) was more than I felt was justified. The local Postie store has corduroy jeans but they are low riders and have that peculiar bleached wash that draws attention to butt and thighs.

What's the difference between these 2 Ezibuy styles: Capture bootleg corduroy jeans (above) and Emerge bootleg corduroy jeans (below)?
Notice the leg width at the thigh and knee. If you need to wear trousers but are worried about modesty, choose a style that doesn't hug your upper legs. Try before you buy and CHECK YOUR REAR VIEW!

Ogden Nash wrote, and my dad frequently quotes this quatrain:

Sure, deck your limbs in pants.
Yours are the limbs, my sweeting.
You look divine as you advance.
Have you seen yourself retreating?

My haul from that trip was six garments. Lessons learned were twice that number. For Boutique Narelle's Top 12 Tips for Thrift Store Shopping, click here:

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