Your Comprehensive Guide to Buying Modest Formal Attire

General Shopping Tips

Before we explore the difference between prom, bridesmaids, and wedding dresses, it would probably be wise to review a few shopping tips that apply when you are looking for any kind of formal wear.

The right fabric

Budget for the purchase

Formalwear is usually more expensive than every-day clothing for many reasons. First of all, the material is usually higher quality and more attractive than your typical cotton, denim, and linen. For example, fabrics like satin, silk, and velvet are all common materials found in many kinds of formal attire. In addition to being softer, shiner, and more expensive, many of these materials are also fine and slippery which makes them harder to work. This leads to the second reason that formalwear is usually more expensive. It simply takes greater skill to create such beautiful and delicate creations.

Occasionally, shoppers can find amazing dresses for a hundred dollars or less. These are usually on sale or clearance though. Consequently, women should plan on spending anywhere from $150-$300 on a nice formal dress but, depending on the craftsmanship, material and brand of the gown, the price can be even higher than that. For wedding gowns, which often use more yards of material and beaded embellishments, prices can easily be anywhere from $600 to $1200. Fortunately, formal occasions don't crop up very often, but when they do, you need to plan ahead for the expense and decide which price range you are willing to deal with.

Start Shopping Early

One of the most stressful things in the world is trying to find a formal dress for a special occasion in a short amount of time. After all, when you spend that much money on a piece of clothing, you want it to be as beautiful and well-fitting as possible. Starting early allows you to wait for dresses that you like to go on sale, make alterations if needed, and search a larger selection of clothing. The only thing you might need to be careful of when you buy a dress weeks or even months in advance is keeping your weight the same so that you fit into it comfortably.

Take Advantage of Online Stores

Whether you live in a small town that is hours away from the stores you need or you simply want to save on gas money and time, the internet is a wonderful tool for buying attractive and affordable formal dresses. In addition to expanding the market you can choose from, the internet will make it a lot easier to find dresses with the characteristics you value, like modesty.

If you are looking for modest prom dresses, bridesmaids dresses and wedding dresses, one of the best keywords you can use in conjunction with "dresses," "formal," or "wedding" is the word "Utah." It may seem strange that the name of a state can lead to a large selection of modest dresses, but Utah is a goldmine for modest formal apparel for several reasons. First, the predominant religion in the area, stresses modesty in all forms of apparel, and second, there are more weddings performed in Utah every year than in any other state in the country. As such, Utah is home to many wedding stores that are stocked with modest bridesmaids dress, wedding gowns, and mother-of-the-bride attire.

Be Mindful of your Body Type

Another thing to remember as you search for the perfect dress is that different body types look better in different styles. For example, A-line, princess, mermaid, empire waist, drop-waist, long and short dresses are just a few of the common styles you'll find as you shop for formal apparel. And, different body types are better suited for some of those styles than others.

In general, an empire waist is a good choice for most body types, but a cinched waist or a sash tie style definitely makes the most of hourglass frames. And, for girls with a slender and straight build, bubble hems and princes styles can be a good way to add a couple curves to your figure. On the other hand, shorter women often look better in simple dresses that flow closer to their body than the poufy full skirts of ball gowns that can overwhelm their figure. These are a few guidelines to help you shop for a dress that compliments your body, but there is not stringent law that makes it necessary to follow these recommendations either.

Body type diagram

Modest means beautiful
Modest means beautiful

Modest Prom Dress Basics

Since prom dresses are designed for young women of high school age, they are usually a bit more flashy and loud than other formal dresses. For example, rhinestones, vibrant colors, and generous portions of material are all common attributes of many prom dresses. If this image doesn't meet the ideal you're searching for, you be happy to know that there are also usually many other styles to choose from as well. Unfortunately, prom dresses are usually expensive accessories. Even making one from scratch can cost more than one hundred dollars in material in addition to several hours of work with a sewing machine. Consequently, it shouldn't be surprising that many store-bought prom dresses cost two hundred dollars or more. If you buy one with a lot of material, it can even cost as much as $600. That's as much as some wedding dresses!

Bridesmaid dresses should complement, not compete with, the bride
Bridesmaid dresses should complement, not compete with, the bride

Modest Bridesmaids Dress Basics

Brides, rather than the bridesmaids, are usually the ones shopping for bridesmaids dresses. Consequently, it would be wise for the bride to know the dress size of all her bridesmaids before she even begin shopping for the perfect dresses. Once she is equipped with the dress sizes, it is time for the bride to start sorting through the options. One of the quickest ways to narrow your choices is to choose the bridesmaid dress color. Although brighter, playful colors like bright orange, pink and green are becoming more common in wedding color schemes, traditional weddings lean more towards deeper jewel tones or lighter pastels.

Since the bridesmaids are meant to compliment the brides rather than overwhelm her, bridesmaids, dresses also tend to be simpler than other formal attire like prom dresses. With less ornamentation and material going into each bridesmaids dress, manufacturers can afford to reduce the price tag a little too. This is an important factor since brides are also the ones who usually buy the bridesmaids dresses. Unlike prom dresses, many bridesmaids dresses can be found for $140 or less.

Wedding dresses are meant to show purity and beauty
Wedding dresses are meant to show purity and beauty

Modest Wedding Dress Basics

If there is one dress that should be as perfect as possible, it's your wedding dress. Years of waiting, dreaming, and dating all culminate in your engagement and your wedding day. Whether you wear your dress once, twice, thrice or more, it should definitely be the most beautiful gown you own during your life. Whether you prefer bright white, cream, ivory or champagne, there are hundreds of styles to choose from.

If you see something you like even a little, my recommendation would be to try it on. After all, you'll probably takes some friends or family along as you shop and it's kind of fun to try on a bunch of these sweeping, expensive dresses and put on a little bit of your own fashion show. More important than the fun though, is that you never know what that dress actually looks like until you try it on. You may be surprised at which ones make your list of favorites and which ones don't. Another piece of advice I would offer is that it is more important to shop early for your wedding dress than for any other formalwear. After all, if you need any alterations they will take some time to complete and many brides wear their dress before the wedding for bridal pictures as well. Shopping early is also wise because some dress shops don't even carry the dress you want in the store. Instead, you try on a model, order the dress you like, and then wait several weeks for it to be made from scratch.

With the slip, the train, several layers of material and embellishments, modest wedding dresses can definitely be expensive but they should be considering all the work that goes into making them. And, unless you have a simpler dress made out of feather-light material, they also tend to be heavy. In fact, I felt a little sorry for my husband when he had to pick me up for pictures because the dress probably added at least ten pounds to my weight. Weather it is heavy or not, your wedding dress should fulfill all your hopes and dreams. If you are on a small budget, some brides buy used wedding dresses that are just as beautiful as new ones even though they cost half of what they originally would. The material you choose will also make a huge difference in price. For example, two dresses that were made with exactly the same pattern but different materials can differ in price by hundreds of dollars.

As you follow the advice given in this article, I hope that you are able to find beautiful and modest dresses that suit your taste with ease. Enjoy shopping!

Comments 2 comments

midnightbliss profile image

midnightbliss 7 years ago from Hermosa Beach

I love this hub and the information you've presented.

Modest Bridesmaids 6 years ago

I think it's very important to understand what your body shape is. That has a lot to do with picking the right dress!

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