When You’re Looking for a Modest Prom Dress?? Ask a Mormon.

2014 December 11

A friend sent me a private message recently to complement my daughters. She was impressed with their modesty in clothing choices and especially their willingness to wear modest prom dresses.

 

I’m happy about that same thing. Proud of my daughters and their choices.

When you're looking for a modest prom dress?? Ask a Mormon Mom!

But FINDING
a modest prom dress
is not easy!

When I was a teen, we had at least 7 or 8 dances each year. And for each we needed a dress. Not always a formal floor length dress but a more dressy dress than we usually wore to church.

With 6 sisters I was VERY grateful for hand-me-down dresses. Plus friends often shared and borrowed each other’s dresses too. And having a mother who could sew like the wind on 3 Amigos was also a built-in blessing. We looked for a pattern with sleeves and no plunging neck or back lines then found the perfect color of fabric and my mom went to work. {Lucky me, my mom sewed my wedding dress!}

Can I sew? Yes. Kind of.
But alas I stopped sewing dresses once my girls grew out of matching Easter Dresses. In other words… by the time they were NINE. And besides, my skills do not include sequins, lace or gazillions of yards of satin ruffles! Yeah. No.

Off to the stores and the interwebs we go.

Except. Yeah… good luck with that.
Honestly it is nearly impossible to find a modest prom dress today.

Most prom dresses are short.
I’m talking above the knee.
And if your daughter happens to be as tall as you are?
Short means mid-thigh. NO. Oh. Just. NO.

Most prom dresses have no sleeves. Scratch that. Most have no STRAPS, much less sleeves.
Let’s say your daughter has no ahem.. bosoms. Or… Maybe your daughter is blessed with ample upstairs. Either way, a tight fitting, heart shaped, strapless, mini-skirted prom dress doesn’t look good on a teen girl. (I mean, seriously?) Worse, most dresses make her look like a hussy.

Let’s look at it from the Boy’s Point of View:

A friend of mine with teen boys once described how awful it is for her sons to pick up their date and realize her dress has NO BACK. Where is he supposed to place his hand while helping her in and out of the car for example? Let’s not even talk about while dancing? When the girl is dressed in a skimpy prom dress she puts her date in a bad place as well.

I know I’m on a soapbox here, but I’m hoping if you’re reading this you feel at least a little bit like I do. Finding a modest prom dress is YOUR JOB as a mom.

As a Mormon mom I’m committed to helping my daughters dress as modestly as possible. Bikinis are out. Short shorts don’t exist. And ZERO strapless in their wardrobe. We have found strappy dresses before but then we search for a shrug, jacket or pretty scarf to cover her shoulders. Short dresses aren’t an option, and besides we’re talking about actual Prom here so floor length is more appropriate anyway.

 

So Where Can You Find Modest Prom Dresses?

modest prom dress ideas

Like I said. Ask a Mormon mom in your local circles. She’ll know!

We began searching last year as early as February for modest prom dresses. And failing on a grand scale at the local ‘department’ stores, (I’m looking at you: Macy’s, Dillard’s, Nordstrom, Belk and all the rest—Why is it so hard to stock a few modest options? JUST A FEW? REALLY?) we then had to dig deeper.

Online when you search for Modest Prom Dresses a surprising amount of sites show up. But how do you get the right size?? We were delighted to find a few lists of ACTUAL brick and mortar stores that specialized in modest prom dresses OUTSIDE of Utah? To our shock and amazement, there was one RIGHT HERE in our backyard! {I think I heard angels singing that day?}

We zipped straight down there, tried on several, decided on a fit and a style we liked and ordered one straightaway! Yay for us. Only…

It turns out February is too late if you have a dance in mid or late March. You can’t get one ordered in time. We were okay for the actual Prom which was in early May, but we also had a Church Prom in March! In the end we scrambled and found a dress to borrow and all worked out well for Cinderella at the ball.

{TIP: Start looking for Modest Prom Dresses as early as December and January before your actual prom!}

Taking that advice—on a whim one afternoon this December we went into our (SoLuckyWeFoundAModestPromStoreInOurTown!) local modest prom store to look around and see what we liked this year. And it hit us! Our little store is closing in a month! The Horror!

PEOPLE: If you live in the Charlotte area, the Simply Elegant For You store is closing in January and all the dresses in stock are a crazy 75% or more OFF. I’m very sad about it, but when we realized the dresses IN STOCK were on sale, we decided to be MUCH more serious about our whimsical afternoon shopping trip.

My daughter tried on several dresses and we came home with TWO dresses for the price of LESS than we paid for one last year! Yay for us. But now what will we do in the coming years for the little sister?! Can you say ALTERATION costs? She is very petite compared to her older sister.

I haven’t found a new local modest prom dress store yet. But there are promising options less than 90 minutes drive from us. So there’s that at least. The main thing is to be able to try ON a dress before you custom order something!

The most interesting options I’ve seen so far online for Modest Prom Dress Shopping:

Rent a Modest Prom Dress + Accessories?!
Who knew?

Here’s a website {ModestPromRentals.com} that is about renting modest dresses but on a local level. However they DO have a small line of dresses they will ship as a rental option. With elastic backs and included shrugs. You pay the shipping back as well.

 

Affordable Modest Prom Dresses

grey modest prom dress under $200 onlineI’m still worried about being sure the dress will fit, but there are several dresses on TotallyModest.com for under $200. Trust me anything under $200 is a deal. Most dresses are in the $3-400 range.

fushia prom dress under $200 online

 

 

 

 

 

Find a List of REAL STORES selling Modest Prom Dresses:

Several sites make a good effort to list the brick and morter shops selling modest dresses. But after clicking through a few of them a lot of the stores were closed or the link was wrong. Here’s one that had a good handfull of stores listed: http://www.modestclothes.com/LDS/modest-prom-dresses.html.

Another option is to Google the words: “Modest Prom Dress –INSERT YOUR CITY”. Atlanta isn’t too far from us and when I search for “Modest Prom Dress Atlanta”, several shops show up. Who’s up for a day trip to Atlanta, anyone?

YES Amazon Sells Modest Prom Dresses as well. BUT shop early in case you have to return it for the right fit/size!

Once you find a dress manufacturer you like (and you know fits well) you can also go directly to the company’s site and search for providers where you can purchase dresses in the future. This is why trying on the dresses in a REAL shop is so valuable.

WOW! Gorgeous AND Modest IS possible

modest-prom-dress-bree-alternate3I found a few dresses we like a lot on a site called LatterDay Bride. Anything with the words LDS or Latter Day Saint will be a site by or for Mormons and likely will have a lot of modest dress options. These dresses were in the $300 range. Not cheap.

Something Borrowed?

looking for a modest prom dress? Ask a Mormon! As I’ve mentioned above you might be able to ask around to see if you can create a modest prom dress exchange group in your local area.

I especially like the back of these dresses. The lace up look is gorgeous.

 

 

 

 *Not sponsored or affiliated with any brands mentioned.

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17 Responses
  1. December 11, 2014

    I would also recommend vintage dresses from the 50’s and 60’s. There’s a lot of choices on Etsy. I recently purchased a vintage dress for a Christmas party and it worked out great!

  2. December 12, 2014

    Thrift shops are also a great place to find good buys on prom and bridesmaid’s dresses. The store manager may have a handle on when these dresses typically show up on the racks. If you find a brand that is a good fit, then it may be possible to find more of the same on EBay. You can even set up a search alert when the item becomes available. The dresses in your post are beautiful!

  3. Margaret permalink
    December 15, 2014

    Eshakti is a good website to order from. You send your measurements and they custom-make your dress. In most styles you can customize the sleeves. You can always customize the length. All for about what you’d pay for a Sunday dress off the rack at Belk.

    • December 15, 2014

      You are the second person to suggest eShakti??
      I need to figure out WHO they are?!

      THANKS!

      • Lindsey permalink
        March 23, 2016

        We ordered from eshaktI and had a very bad experience. We paid for the custom fitting option and it was all wrong. The length was completely wrong and it had a high choker neck that looked like a vampire cloak. I had to pay to have it altered in several spots. It was not worth it.

  4. February 14, 2016

    We hope this makes it easier –> 514 modest prom dresses!!! (and counting!) tinyurl.com/jg7kfau

  5. April 16, 2016

    You’re absolutely right that you can dress modestly and still look gorgeous! I remember back to my prom days and, yea, it was difficult finding one that wasn’t too revealing!

  6. Megan permalink
    August 26, 2016

    http://www.virtuousprom.com has a great selection of modest prom dresses. Most of them are under $200 and most are custom made. I had a friend who was 4’11 and they made a dress for her that she didn’t need hemmed!

    I’ve also heard they can do tight turn around times sometimes as, your right, it’s super hard to find a modest prom dress last minute!

    • Debbie permalink
      September 15, 2016

      I’ve also heard good things about Virtuous Prom. I originally found them on Etsy, where they have a great reputation, but they do have their own url (virtuousprom.com) where they have exclusive specials.

      From what I hear, they love to do custom work most of all and I also hear their customer service is exceptional.

    • Debbie permalink
      September 15, 2016

      I’ve also heard good things about Virtuous Prom. I originally found them on Etsy, where they have a great reputation, but they do have their own url (www.virtuousprom.com) where they have exclusive specials.

      From what I hear, they love to do custom work most of all and I also hear their customer service is exceptional.

  7. D'Lyn permalink
    March 18, 2017

    Thank you for the information. Mormons aren’t the only ones looking for modest prom dresses. We’re Southern Baptists and after looking in some local stores – even those specializing in prom dresses – I’m floored anyone would let their daughter wear many of these dresses. Low cut backs, low cut front, slits up to the thigh. Good gracious! Not happening with my precious girl. I’m going to try the sites several of you have listed here. Thank you so much for your help. Best of luck to the rest of you searching for modest prom dresses. Here’s to persistent Mamas. 🙂

  8. April 3, 2017

    Thanks for posting!

    We’ve done a lot of thinking about just how hard it is to find formal dresses that live up to modest standards. The struggle is real!

    We started http://www.borrowbeautiful.com to provide modest dresses that aren’t frumpy to girls in the Washington, DC area at an affordable price. We hope to start shipping to other areas soon!

    Please take a look at our site and let us know what you think!

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