I had thought of burying, er, posting this only over on my personal blog, but then I thought that I could put a W4 spin on it by billing it as something right with the world. Which it is.
Most of my audience members here are guys, and I realize that. But I also know that several of you have daughters, some even young daughters, and lots of you have wives. So...
Are you looking for beautiful, classic-style, modest dresses? Are you willing to pay a bit more than Wal-Mart prices? Have we got a show for you.
Lilies Apparel is a family-run, mail-order business in Kansas that makes girls' and women's dresses. I infer that the proprietors, the Millers, are Mennonite from the fact that they offer women's prayer veils as one of their products.
The dresses are lovely. I have bought several for my daughters and am about to order a couple more. They take several weeks to arrive but are worth the wait. The prices are a bit steep; the girls' dresses are usually somewhere in the $40 range plus S & H, and there are various $2 surcharges for some of the fabrics, for long sleeves, and so forth. Some styles are more. The sizes run a little large. Generally I treat a Lilies girl size as being the next size up in a store-bought dress. As many of the fabrics are 100% cotton, this may be deliberate in order to allow room for shrinkage, but if you are careful about washing and drying them or if you order a poly-cotton or polyester fabric, you should definitely take into account the larger sizes. If your daughters (like mine) are not chunky, you may need to add length to a size that is perfect in shoulder width but is meant for a younger child and hence would be too short. The Lilies people will talk to you on the phone and take your order for extra length for a small surcharge.
You pick the style and then, for most of the styles, you can choose from any of their fabrics, so each dress is custom-made to your order as far as the combination of style and color. After you've ordered from them once, you get a printed catalogue, which I prefer to the on-line version.
As your wives (or my female readers with daughters) will probably agree, finding good dresses for girls older than teeny-tiny can be very hard. Along about size 7 and up, suddenly all the summer dresses are sleeveless or halter-style, quite immodest, and either deliberately short or just abouuut long enough so that within six months and certainly by next year--poof!--they're suddenly very short. At Easter time the stores suddenly come out with over-fancy dresses that the child will want to wear to a party or occasionally to church, but not on a regular basis, made of strange-looking layers of filmy, fluffy, material that pretend to cover things up and don't and that are often shaped oddly. And then there are the dresses that are just plain ugly. Terribly ugly. Incredibly ugly. The latest ploy of the children's clothing manufacturers is to make a dress that looks nice until you try it on the girl and discover that it is a "peasant style," which means that it is falling off her shoulders and showing much of her chest. I've very nearly given up shopping for girls' dresses in the store for any child older than 5, and it's even getting hard for a five-year-old. Meijer made one style of girl's dress this year that I was willing to buy, and I was surprised at that.
The thing about the Lilies dresses, besides their modesty, is that they come in a sufficient variety of classic styles that you can go either quite dressy or only moderately dressy. Nothing looks overdone. They're just nice clothes. Ladies, check them out. Gentlemen, you're welcome to check them out, too, or pass the link and info. on to your wives.