Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Disconnect that Fosters Our Vision

Online only retailer Shopbop

Nordstrom showcasing ways to wear white

We have big dreams at Mode-sty. At the core of that dream is addressing a disconnect that is illustrated in the two ads above. The ads are from major online retailers Shopbop and Nordstrom showcasing what to wear for different occasions, with Nordstrom focusing on how to wear white. Looking at the ads several things stand out:

  1. They are virtually the *same* woman 
  2. All the dresses are above the knee 
  3. In both ads the "work look" begs the question: where does this woman work?  
These ads might very well be showcasing seasonal trends (white, lace, etc.) but, more importantly, they are indicative of the kind of woman these major retailers are targeting and what they think she wears.

The sad reality is that major retailer are targeting the same type of woman and leaving out any women who are looking for more than a low level of coverage from her outfits. Those of us who dress conservatively have always known that we are not the target customer, since it is so hard to find anything that doesn't require layering or alterations. However, what we find so interesting about this ad is what retailers do think about the women they are targeting

Besides the work look we'll agree that there are many women who like and want to wear the featured styles and we'd say that there is a match between the suggestions and the target customer. However, when we focus in on the "work" look, we think both retailers have missed the mark. By all accounts the work look in the Shopbop ad, regardless of your beliefs or how you feel about modesty, is simply inappropriate in a whole slew of work environments (school teacher, lawyer, real estate agent, administrative assistant, corporate office, financial, doctor, therapist, government employee, researcher, scientist, journalist, etc.) However, of the thousands of items Shopbop sells, this dress was chosen to represent what a women should wear for a summer working lunch. This clearly demonstrates the disconnect between major retailers and the majority of working women. Even if their target customer is wearing the other suggestions for other occasions, she most certainly is not wearing the suggested work look at work! Did they think that that a button-up collar would make up for the fact that it is mid-thigh and sheer trim? Maybe such a decoy would work in the fashion industry, but not for the vast majority of working women.

This brings us back to Mode-sty's vision. We believe that many retailers and brands are out of touch with how women actually dress. We want to build a place that takes the latest trends and fashions and pairs it with the lifestyle and values of real women. We believe that the market and demand for stylish clothing with more coverage is substantial and we want to show the strength of this market. We plan to work with all major brands to take their styles and add more coverage. If you are tired of being ignored and want to demand more affordable stylish modest options sign up here and spread the word about our vision and Mode-sty. We're on FacebookPinterestInstagram, Twitter @ModestyFashion and Tumblr and you can visit our store here

We also love to hear from you about how we can improve your shopping experience email us or leave a comment!


  1. I've gotten so frustrated with mainstream ads, that I've unsubscribed from the major retailer emails I used to subscribe to. I know that I'm not their target customer for more reasons than one, so I appreciate your vision and your mission. I applaud you for what you're doing and look forward to making my first Mode-sty purchase.

    More Modern Modesty

    1. Thank you Chandra! We appreciate and need your support!

  2. Thank you! Thank you! Thank YOU! I'm excited that you are taking on the sadly now avant garde position of modest dressing. May your values and integrity never be compromised as you grow and succeed. God bless.

  3. Thank you for this editorial! Teen and early 20s young women newly entering the workforce are often the most frequently reprimanded for their clothing choices, though older women push the boundaries on occasion, also. Women see these types of outfits in media exemplifying the "working" look, and they resist reading and understanding the written dress codes at their places of work that spell out much more conservative boundaries. This chasm between media influence and workplace standards creates a constant challenge for supervisors charged with enforcing dress codes. Thank you for your work to provide modest clothing. -- Editor of Fashion Belle

    1. Thats exactly it! The working look see in media and advertising is so off what is actually acceptable in most workplaces it's frustrating and maddening.

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