Each year in the Utah Valley, LDS residents visit clothing retail shops to update their wardrobes or prepare for a special event, but many of those customers seek clothing that is stylish, yet not too revealing.
That’s where modest clothing retailers like Mikarose come into play.
Kayla Wood, the assistant store manager at Mikarose, located in the University Mall in Orem, said the clothing store was started 10 years ago by a married LDS couple after the two found it difficult to find retailers that offered a selection of modest women’s apparel.
“We have an extensive line of modest clothing without sacrificing style,” she said.
Wood said a large portion of the businesses’ customers are sister missionaries getting ready to head out into the field. LDS bridesmaids are also a frequent shoppers.
“They [bridesmaids] usually come in with a color scheme or style of dress that they are looking for,” she said. “Even though we have been around for about 10 years, many women don’t know about us,” she said. “Our clothing is modest. The clothing has sleeves and the skirts are knee length.”
Wood said that the store does not sell pants or jeans.
“There are plenty of other places that sells pants or jeans and we want to offer a unique shopping experience,” she said.
According to the Utah Department of Health, the Utah marriage rate in 2015 was 17.4 higher in comparison to the rest of the U.S., at about 8.1 per thousand. LDS women in Utah Valley who are gearing up for their big day, but want to find a stylish, yet modest wedding dress look to many shops like Allyse’s Bridal and Formal.
“Allyse’s Bridal and Formal began by a woman named Rose Marie,” said owner Janelle Carlson. “It started as a women’s sweater store and evolved into a bridal store. It was named after her (Rose’s) daughter Allyse.”
Carlson said after being in business for more than a decade with several different owners, the store found itself teetering on the brink of extinction.
“Because I had worked at Allyse’s for 12 years providing alterations and managing the alterations department, I didn’t want to see the business close,” she said. “I took a leap of faith.
With the support of my husband and family, we purchased the assets of the company and courageously ventured out on our own.”
Carlson said she is passionate about providing styles that LDS residents in the Utah Valley look for.
“We wanted to continue the business that had served so many in the past,” she said. “We live in an area where religious beliefs are strong and modest clothing is the norm.”
Allyse’s Bridal and Formal offers modest bridal and formal wear including bridal gowns and accessories, bridesmaid dresses, Carlson said.
“We have had the opportunity to dress women for special events including weddings, military balls, school dances and even the Governor’s Gala,” she said.
Carlson said modesty is extremely important to Allyse’s Bridal and Formal and that the business believes that a woman is beautiful for her character and should be able to express her personality through modest fashion.
“Because our dresses begin with modest designs, we only have to alter dresses to fit specific heights or body types,” she said.
Alysse’s Bridal and Formal stands out in the Utah Valley, Carlson said, because they offer free layaway and then suggest alterations to help achieve the perfect fit.
“At Allyse’s we design and produce our own modest gowns with the help of all employees. We also offer in-house alterations by trained and skilled seamstresses who care about the fit, design, and care of the dresses,” she said. “This allows some customizing to be done for each client.
Before a dress leaves the store to be worn on special occasion, each is cleaned, steamed and checked thoroughly to ensure the highest quality, Carlson said.