Worth It: Stylish Work Dresses From A Mormon Modesty Site


Much unlike many a magazine editor who recommends you buy all sorts of crap that they most likely got for free, your Jezebel staff doesn’t get jack shit (other than books, unsolicited). And that’s how it should be. But on our own time, in our personal lives, we still buy stuff. So this is Worth It, our daily recommendation of random things that we’ve actually spent our own money on. These are the things we buy regularly or really like, things we’d actually tell our friends about. And now we’re telling you.

I count myself lucky to have rarely worked in an office environment that demanded that I buy a whole other set of clothing. I like a blazer now and then, but the very idea of business casual depresses me, and I don’t even really know what business formal is. But a good friend of mine works in such a place, where a conservative office culture dictates that she dress pretty differently than she would on her own time.

We both love dresses and 1960s silhouettes, though, so when she started appearing with the most gorgeous specimens, I noticed. And so did lots of other people, many of them strangers, who wildly complimented her.

It turns out she’d found, through Pinterest, a site called Shabby Apple. And that site, though it doesn’t say so outright, turns out to be driven by Mormon women who want to look good while still looking modest. They do say, “After years of not being able to find stylish dresses that covered enough skin to make you really feel comfortable (without wearing a tank top, cardigan or long slip), owners Emily and CK decided to do something about it.” Everybody wins!

The dresses aren’t cheap, but the price ranges are comparable to upper-middle retailers like J. Crew or Banana Republic. In my experience, they often look better in real life (though this may be specific to my friend’s keen eye for what works for her), possibly because the models are constantly running or jumping or twisted in weird poses. On the other hand, you do get to see how the dresses hang in action as opposed to on mannequins or floating bodyless. I do find it annoying that you have to click through each “collection” and can’t see all of the dresses at once, but that’s a minor quibble. And some had complained of poor quality for the price, although my friend hasn’t had that experience with her two dresses. (They could also stand to hire some more non-white models — the few they do hire seem relegated to “ethnic” themes like here and here. )

The site also offers a fitting widget — after you answer three questions, it suggests dresses for your shape and explains why they work. I just ordered one of the dresses it recommended for me (hey Jessica, it was work!), so we’ll see how it goes.

Shabby Apple

Worth It only features things we paid for ourselves and actually like. Don’t send us stuff.

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