I had just come out of the hotel’s elevator with my date. It was my high school senior prom—the day I had been looking forward to for months. The dinner and accompanying dance were held on the top floor of a local hotel in my hometown in upstate New York. Balloon arches and a long, red carpet led the way into the ballroom where the dance was being held.
“Excuse me?” I asked, looking around for the source of the voice. It was my science teacher, Mr. Keenan.
“You win,” he repeated.
Laughing, I asked him what it was I had won.
“You have the most beautiful dress I have ever seen,” he responded. “I want that dress for my daughters when they go to prom.”
“Oh, I’m sure he tells every girl that,” I thought, smiling.
Continuing, he said, “I don’t know if you’ve noticed yet, but not many of the dresses I’ve seen so far tonight cover very much.”
I was a little taken aback by his comment. It was obvious that my dress was modest, but I didn’t think that others would care. I thanked him and continued into the dance.
Later in the evening, my date and I went to the photographer for pictures. When it was our turn to pose, the photographer looked at me and said, “Wow, what a gorgeous dress.”
“I’m sure you tell every girl that her dress is gorgeous,” I said, voicing my earlier thoughts.
“Oh no,” his voice was serious. “I rarely tell a girl her dress is gorgeous.”
Rewind eight months to the previous fall. I knew my senior prom was going to be at the end of that school year, and in my excitement I started searching for a prom dress in September.
My friends and I spent several Saturdays shopping at local stores and trying on their selection of formal dresses. But in my hometown, finding a formal dress that went to at least the knees, wasn’t cut too low in the front or back, had sleeves, and was cute was like trying to find a needle in a haystack.
I could have rationalized wearing an immodest dress—it was just one night, only immodest dresses were available, and all of my friends would be wearing them. But I felt uncomfortable just trying them on, and I knew I would be uncomfortable the whole night of prom if I did wear one.
I started looking harder. I knew it would be difficult to find something in local stores, so I turned to the Internet. It took a bit of searching, but after a while, I found the dress of my dreams.
It was a little more expensive than the immodest dresses I had tried on, and I had to get a job to pay for it. But when I received it in the mail and tried it on, it fit perfectly and I felt comfortable. I knew I had made the right decision.
When I walked into prom that night, I never once felt uncomfortable. And I was grateful that I had chosen to stay modest. As my teacher said, I had won.
Making It Modest
See how other young women found a creative way to wear modest prom dresses in the Mormon Messages for Youth video “195 Dresses” at lds.org/go/324.
Show Respect by Dressing Modestly
“Styles in clothing change; fads come and go; but if the dress styles are immodest, it is important that our young women avoid them. When you dress modestly, you show respect for your Heavenly Father and for yourself. At this time, when dress fashions are styled after the skimpy clothing some of the current movie and music idols are wearing, it may be difficult to find modest apparel in clothing stores. However, it is possible, and it is important. The Apostle Paul declared: ‘Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? … The temple of God is holy, which temple ye are’ (1 Corinthians 3:16–17). You know the truth; live it.”
President Thomas S. Monson, “Be Thou an Example,” Ensign, May 2005, 114–15.