Virtual Voices

FLDS gals sell fashion

Religion

Women from the busted polygamist sect in Texas are turning their publicity to profit. They've started a website selling "quality, handmade, modest, affordable" clothing in their own Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints (FLDS) style. They report "a flood of interest."

Their clothing choices ---- pompadour hair, long dresses in pastel colors, capacious sleeves --- attracted fascination earlier this year. Project Runway's Tim Gunn demanded, "Who's talking about their crimes against fashion?" The Associated Press called their clothes a fashion statement for modesty, conformity, unity and femininity.

Oddly, some of their choices (in a … slightly more modern silhouette) are actually trendy. The floor-length maxi dress is in, along with puffed sleeves and pastels last spring. The AP article says, "It's not outlandish to imagine the prairie look influencing today's styles, given that trends can come from unexpected places. … You can already find blouses with high necks and ruffles in stores, and puffed shoulders on short and long-sleeved shirts."

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FLDS competition includes sites like modestclothing.com, www.tznius.com (which even boasts a Hollywood collection), www.hannahlise.com and www.justdenimskirts.com. If FLDS ladies want to beat out the competition and "make a living" on this, they might want to lower their prices, which run about the same as a pricey Brooklyn children's clothing boutique I stepped into day -- sixty bucks for a newborn baby's jumpsuit. (Modestclothing.com's bungee skirt is a far more affordable $29.95.)

They also might want to listen to Gunn's tactful suggestions on how to make the prairie dress chic: chop off the sleeves, lower the neckline to show some cleavage, shorten it by a foot and accesorize with a wide patent leather belt and metallic ballet flats. "It's not gonna say high fashion," Gunn admitted. "Who knows? Next year on Marc Jacob's runway? You never know!"

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