Modest Formal Dress Guide: How to find Modest Formal Dresses & How to Alter An Immodest Dress

Whether its for Homecoming, Prom, a pageant, awards ceremony, work party, holiday party, bridesmaid dress, gala, or anniversary date night, your formal dress can be both modest and absolutely stunning for your big night!

The choice to wear a modest dress to an event is an outward expression of an inward decision. I want to keep my personal standard of modest dress no matter the occasion. It takes courage to choose the modest dress off a rack seemingly overflowing with less-conservative “cooler” choices. You may even feel like trying to dress modestly will automatically make you seem behind or old fashioned. I promise this is not the case! There are plenty of trends in dress styles today that we can incorporate modestly and feel just as on point on the dance floor, runway, stage, or red carpet!

Girls of many faiths want to wear modest homecoming dresses and modest prom dresses that align with their modest standards. Similarly, women of many faiths are looking for modest formal dresses for events like award nights, pageants, galas, weddings, and holiday or office parties. I am LDS, (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints) we try to dress modestly out of respect for our bodies which we consider sacred. LDS girls, Pentecostal girls, Apostolic girls, Jewish girls, Catholic girls, Baptist girls, and Muslim girls, and also many girls who don’t affiliate themselves with a particular religion hold to personal beliefs regarding a standard of modesty in how they dress and are all striving to dress modestly. If you are looking for a formal dress on the conservative side, don’t ever feel like you’re alone in your search!

Modest formal dresses can be difficult to find but they are so worth the search! I put this blog post together to help you either

  1. Find the modest formal dress of your dreams.
  2. Come up with ideas for how to alter a dress you already love to fit your standards of modesty.
  3. Find ways to accessorize your look with modern trends from the runway



Shopping for a Modest Formal Dress

I know how hard it can be to find a modest dress for an upcoming event! So… I’ve collected this list of modest formal dress companies that offer various styles of modest dresses!

Remember you don’t always have to buy a new dress either! I was a pro at dress-swapping in high school with other girls my size! (free!) and there are also many rental places (I’ve listed a few below!)

My sister Tori is also an amazing example of thrifting her dance dresses! She usually makes a day of it and shops at Decades (our local high-end thrift store) and picks out a perfect dress from the 80’s, has a neighbor alter it as needed, and wows everyone in school with her stunning and unique choice! Thrifting is also an excellent idea as of late because today’s dress trends are inspired by the 1920s and 1980s. (just search “1920s inspired dresses” and you’ll see how similar they are!) So going with an actual 1920s dress is never a bad idea! (make sure you scroll down and read the “Accessories Ideas” section of this post for more 1920’s inspired bling!)

The following stores/websites SELL NEW modest formal dresses:

The following stores/websites RENT a variety of modest formal dresses:

The following stores/websites SELL THRIFTED modest formal dresses:

The following dress websites offer custom dress creation (where you can choose the dress length, neckline, and sleeve length to fit your needs!

I’ve also collected the following dresses that I love! Some need some modesty hacks (see the next section to learn how you can alter) but most are ready to go!

2015 Homecoming Dresses Under $100

2015 Homecoming Dresses Over $100

I’ve also curated a Modest Formal Dresses pinterest board of some of my favorite modest formal dresses fit for any occasion!

How to Alter an Immodest Formal Dress to be Modest

I’ve definitely been there when you find the dress, fall in love with it, but it doesn’t fit your modesty standards! Ahh what’s a girl to do! Lucky with a little creativity, there is always something you can do to make your dream dress come true if you’re willing to work a little for it! Brainstorm! What is it about your dress that needs a modesty-hack to make it work? I have a whole Pinterest Board dedicated to formal dress alteration ideas if you want to browse and I’ve listed my favorite ideas below covering strapless solutions, sleeveless solutions, transparent solutions, hemline solutions, slit solutions, cleavage solutions, asymmetrical solutions, and backless solutions too!14 modesty hacks for homecoming dresses I do not own any of the images in the above graphic. I found them all via pinterest and you can find their direct links on this Dress Alteration Ideas Pinterest board where I’ve collected them all as well as many other ideas!

Many of these ideas are perfectly do-able without any sewing skills! My favorite hacks are wearing a dress with transparent rhinestone detailing with a nude colored layering tee from Downeast Basics or Modbod underneath making it no longer transparent and perfectly modest! Also adding a rhinestoned or sequined crop top over a sleeveless dress with or without a metal belt! (metal belts are all over the red carpet right now!) And voila, your dress is done and modest!

To accomplish the rest of these looks, you might need to find yourself a “Fairy God Mother” aka Sewing Pro to help you. Ask around! Post on facebook, ask around your neighborhood or church group to find someone who has the skills you need to accomplish your vision and get her on your team! (offer her a case of Diet Coke, babysitting, dinner, or cookies for her troubles too!)

Trending Accessories to add to your Formal Look this Fall

There are so many fun accessories trends right now that you can add to your homecoming or gala look this fall! I’ve collected this Homecoming Accessories Ideas Pinterest Board full of ideas! Basically favorite ideas are:

  •  Adding Rhinestone Appliques to anything and everything! You can add them to your shoes on the back of your heels, to your dress around your shoulders, waistline, back, or bustline!
  • Ankle Strap Heels / T-Strap Heels / Lace-up Heels (you can’t go wrong with sparkly, metallic, or nude!)
  • Chain Headpieces / Bling Headbands (Tip! If you’re running low on time for shipping or on resources you can also just buy strings of rhinestones at a craft store and weave them into your braids like Emma’s Parlor did on me! (scroll down to the bottom of this post for the pictures of my hair!)
  • Braids on Braids on Braids! (Braids are ALWAYS a good idea!)


Take a look at the formal dress I picked as my modest anniversary dress!

Modest Fashion Blogger Lovely Deseret Styles a modest formal dress, a rose gold dress, fit as a modest homecoming dress, modest prom dress, a modest formal dress for a gala, a modest bridesmaid dress, a modest anniversary date night dress, a modest gala dress, or a modest pageant dress.

Thanks for reading! <3