The COVID-19 outbreak has been challenging for everyone. As everyone is adapting to a new daily lifestyle, White Elegance is doing everything we can to help. While we closed our retail locations, except for burial dress appointments, our employees are hard at work manufacturing hospital caps and gowns for healthcare facilities in Utah and around the country.
Fox 13 News at Nine recently met up with our team discussing how our shops are lending a hand right now. You can watch the entire feature below.
The change of pace came quickly after learning details of the virus and how it would affect people around the world. Once we realized the extent of the situation, our leadership team started thinking of ways we could lend a hand.
We quickly closed down our retail stores in an effort to keep our customers and staff safe and healthy. But we didn’t know what to do for our employees. We wanted to keep our employees working in a safe environment, but knew that business would most likely slow down.
That’s when our leadership team thought of a way White Elegance could step up to the plate.
Reporters caught up with White Elegance co-owner Anna Barbieri learning more about our product change-up. She explained, “The light bulb went on and went, ‘Hey– this is something we can do. And we can do it pretty darn quickly.”
Now, most of our staff are spending working hours cutting blue fabric instead of white as we prepare, cut, and hospital caps and gowns for healthcare workers in Utah and throughout the country.
Those employees that typically work in our retail stores help pin fabric to patterns, while the rest of our teams do what they do best—sew.
Anna also detailed how our efforts are helping by telling Fox 13 News at Nine reporters, “It was easy for us to be able to see the need for hospitals, and skilled nursing centers, and clinics,” Barbieri continued. “And to be able to come up quickly with a gown that would work for them, and because we already have sources for fabric– we were able to do that pretty quickly.”
We hope that by lending a hand, healthcare workers get some of the supplies they need right now. As of last week, White Elegance plans on making 25,000 hospital gowns and 1,500 caps. Our South Salt Lake warehouse will focus its efforts on producing hospital caps, and our Texas facility will make the gowns.
Melissa Salimbene, who manages our Centerville location and is involved in our current manufacturing plans told Fox 13 News at Nine, “It’s nice to be able to be doing something physically that I know is going to help our healthcare workers, and keep people safe, and slow down the spread of this virus.”
We appreciate all of our employees who are sticking by us and continuing their work during these hard times. It wouldn’t be possible without them. White Elegance is also incredibly grateful for those on the frontlines, fighting for the health and safety of people everywhere. We can get through this together as we play our part.
In addition to hospital caps and gowns, our online store is open. You can also get pickup your online order by opting for our curbside pickup services.
Read more about White Elegance’s coronavirus efforts on the Fox 13 website.
Are you planning to go on an LDS trek this year? If so, now is the time to prepare.
Pioneer treks provide an opportunity to travel back in time and experience the challenges pioneers faced in search of religious freedom during the 1800’s. The comforts of modern life are left behind during trek. Cars, cell phones, and modern homes are replaced with handcarts, hard work, and the great outdoors.
A large part of making the LDS trek experience authentic is through proper pioneer clothing. However, it can be difficult to find clothing that is both accurate and comfortable. Luckily for you, the experts at White Elegance have the perfect guide to buying pioneer clothes. Here are their top 5 things to consider when shopping for trek clothing.
Find Appropriate Clothing
Before you start shopping, it’s best to know exactly what you are expected to wear while on a pioneer trek. Women should wear a dress or skirt and top, an apron, bonnet, hiking boots, and a bandana during trek. Men should wear pants, a buttoned shirt, suspenders, boots, a hat and a bandana.
Modern clothing such as baseball caps, jeans, tank tops, and t-shirts are not allowed on trek. Appropriate clothing is not only intended to make you look like a pioneer, it’s to help you appreciate the challenges and sacrifices the pioneers faced.
Consider the Weather
Trek generally takes place during the summer, which means temperatures are likely to be high. Because of this, it’s best to choose clothing that will breathe and keep you cool. Avoid heavy, thick materials for your pioneer clothing. We recommend finding clothes that are 100% cotton or mostly cotton.
The sun is also a major concern for most treks. Sunburns and heatstroke are all too possible if you don’t take the proper precautions. Make sure you have a bonnet or a hat to cover your head. While it may seem counterintuitive to wear long sleeves during trek, they protect you from the sun much more than short sleeves.
Make Comfort a Priority
During your pioneer trek, you may walk up to 13 miles per day while pulling a handcart. Being comfortable isn’t just a recommendation, it’s a necessity. Ensure your comfort by choosing clothing that isn’t itchy, tight, or restricting. While the terrain on trek can be flat, it can also be rough terrain. Finding clothing that enables full mobility will make a big difference on your experience.
It’s also important to find proper footwear for the many miles you may walk while on trek. Opt for high-quality hiking boots and make sure to break them in well before trek. That way you’ll avoid the many woes of blistered feet.
Find Something Fun
Trek clothing should reflect the clothing the pioneers wore, but it shouldn’t be boring! Make sure to find clothing options that are appropriate but reflect your personality at the same time. We love these colorful options. Not only are they great for trek, the skirts and dresses can be worn at church and other activities later on.
Go for High-Quality
When it comes to LDS trek clothing, quality is much more important than quantity. The pioneers didn’t have an entire wardrobe to choose from while trekking across the plains. In fact, they often had to wear a single outfit all the way through. Follow in the pioneers’ footsteps by choosing one or two high-quality outfits to last the whole week.
Don’t cut corners when it comes to your trek clothing. It’s not just something you’ll wear for one week. You can use the clothes for years to come. From future pioneer treks to a variety of church activities, your pioneer clothing can be mixed and matched to fit many occasions.
Consider purchasing trek clothes rather than sewing your own. It will save you time, headaches, and may save more money than you think. Some fabrics are expensive and difficult to sew. Purchasing your own alleviates that risk altogether.
If you’re looking for the perfect, highest-quality clothing for your pioneer trek, look no further than White Elegance. We have a large selection of everything from women’s dresses and bonnets to men’s hats and suspenders. Shop our pioneer trek clothing today to find items that will make your trek experience impactful, authentic, and spiritual.
Since White Elegance began making LDS Temple Dresses and accessories over 25 years ago, our customers have been our number one priority. Occasionally we like to take time to address questions you may have about our business. Recently, we had a patron express concern about the price point of our temple dresses, so our co-founders, Tamera and Anna, took the time to sit down and share some particulars about White Elegance and our day to day operations.
Our stores are successful because of our outstanding sales associates. They believe every White Elegance customer should have a memorable experience picking out and trying on Temple clothing, Blessing outfits and Baptism dresses. They often invite moms to take pictures of their daughter trying on Baptism dresses, turning it from “just a shopping trip” into a special event. We are happy to pay our employees good wages and treat them with the greatest respect while providing a family friendly environment. Most of our associates have been with White Elegance for over 10 years.
We don’t collect Temple dress designs from other sources. All White Elegance Temple dresses are designed in house. Our first designer, Elizabeth Grand, had 45 years of experience creating designs for some of the most famous names and brands. Our current design team has a combined experience of 80 years in bridal, prom and Temple clothing design, pattern making, fabrication, sizing and production. We’re honored to pay our team well to create unique apparel to fit differing shapes in sizes XXS to 5XL. At great expense, we carry most of our Temple dresses, skirts and tops in varying lengths to cater to all heights, from our most petite to our most statuesque clientele. We keep all sizes and lengths in stock and ready to ship, and have often, at our own expense, created items for those with special needs.
We currently are using over 28 different fabrics to create our Temple dresses, skirts, tops and jackets. Nearly all of our textiles are made specifically for White Elegance and must be ordered in lots of 3000 yards. We only accept truly white and high quality fabrics and notions so when you buy from White Elegance you know your clothing will last a long time and is going to wear and wash wonderfully.
Our Manufacturing and Production
80% of our Temple apparel is produced domestically, paying fair wages and supporting American workers.
White Elegance currently has three brick and mortar stores, an office and an 8000 square foot warehouse. We regularly employ local businesses for services including information technology, accounting, window/carpet cleaning, advertising, utilities, signage, and repairs. For over 25 years we have supported the communities of which we are a part and, whenever possible, utilize our fellow small businesses. We also pay all local, state and federal taxes and stand by our ethical business and advertising standards.
Our Young Women Classes
White Elegance regularly opens our Utah stores after hours to provide engaging and inspiring classes for Young Women organizations of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. To date, White Elegance has taught over 5000 of these classes, which are offered completely free of charge. These programs are led by outstanding, talented women that we pay for their valuable time.
Our Charitable Works
We believe in mourning with those that mourn and have put this into practice by occasionally providing, free of charge, burial clothing to families with loved ones who have died in horrific or tragic circumstances. We financially support the good works of The Salvation Army, Days For Girls International, and Operation Underground Railroad, among others. This year we also donated 3000 kits to Days for Girls International.
Our Personal Values
We hold callings in our church, city and community. We don’t live lavish lives and are proud to provide excellent products and services at a fair price. At the end of the day it’s hard to believe White Elegance can accomplish all of this and keep our average dress price point at a mere $85…worth every penny!
The beauty of blogging, as opposed to journalistic writing, is that rather than suppressing emotion you can actually pour it directly into your posts. I’m grateful for that, because today I am writing about an extraordinarily talented woman that I’ve had the pleasure of calling my friend for over thirty years. Let me introduce you to the Head Designer for White Elegance, Lisa Raty.
I wanted to share a bit about the woman I know before telling the story of her career and what brought her to White Elegance. First and foremost, Lisa is a remarkably dedicated mother and friend who remains loyal through thick and thin. She is passionate about creativity in all of its forms, whether it is sketching a new silhouette on whatever scratch paper she has handy or listening to her children play Rachmaninoff. She infuses everything she does with a sense of purpose and carries it out with deliberateness…characteristics that definitely show in all of her designs.
She is also a faithful, intelligent, spiritually minded deep thinker. She relentlessly pursues understanding in her gospel study, as well as in all other aspects of her life. I often receive texts from her including references to some new and interesting topic she is exploring, and I love having her share her insights with me.
Lisa is one of the most down to earth people I know; firmly grounded and always ready to share her honest opinion. Like all of us, she has had her share of difficult days, but has remained hopeful, determined and resilient. In fact, of all the admirable qualities she possesses, it is her underlying strength that I appreciate most. A mutual friend described her as “an extraordinary fusion of ferocity and grace,” a sentiment I wholeheartedly agree with.
As for her career as a designer at White Elegance, that began during a shopping trip around 2009. Her local temple had announced that they would not have rental clothing available when they opened, so Lisa headed out to find a new temple dress. While she was at White Elegance, purchasing a few items, the salesperson handed her a comment card on which she wrote, “I’d be happy to help with some new designs if you’re ever interested.” Co-owner, Tamera Perkins, got in touch with her right away and, knowing a good thing when she saw it, hired Lisa within the month. The rest, as they say, is history.
Lisa’s experience with and love of design and fashion has spanned a lifetime. I recently sat down with her for a brief interview.
Q: When did you first know that you wanted to pursue a career in design?
A: My earliest memory of being in church is drawing clothes and shoes on the back of the program. That’s what I remember. I eventually went to BYU and my mother told me I should be in communications. I went to Communications 101, and it was completely uninspiring to me. I was talking to my mom on the phone and I’m drawing a dress, and I’m having that moment where I am remembering, “You’ve been doing this …as long as you can remember…sitting around drawing dresses.” And it just hit me, that’s all I want to do.
Q: How do you define fashion?
A: I don’t know if I can define it, and I think that’s because every person has a different reason for their clothing choices. Sometimes it’s to project an image, but what I find for most people is that it is more complicated than that. It’s “how do I feel comfortable?” I have to feel equal parts attractive and comfortable…and it has to be easy to put on.
Q: What is your favorite piece in your personal wardrobe?
A: I do have a jacket that I absolutely adore. I love it inside and out. I love the way it makes me look and feel. It’s a black jacket with a high collar and it has these cool buttons on it. The inside is lined in pink, so every seam is covered in hot pink. I think it is really beautiful.
Q: What is your favorite aspect of design?
A: I think one of the most fun things I do is picking out fabric. I love every different kind of fabric. I love how it smells and how it feels when you run it through your fingers, how it feels against your body, how it floats. I went to the Jordan River temple recently and I was walking up the stairs and I saw a woman in the original Boho dress coming down the staircase and the back of the dress was floating down the stairs behind her and I teared up because it was so beautiful.
If you are asking about the process, it’s drawing fifteen different dresses and finally saying, “That’s it! That ticks all the boxes.” The fun part is thinking, “This is the customer and I think they are going to be happy with this dress.” I read all of the customer cards…every one…and look for all the things they wish we had.
Q: If you could collaborate with any one designer, living or dead, who would it be and why?
A: Alexander McQueen. He was a pattern making genius, and that’s what I wish I was. That man could make fabric lay against a body like butter. That’s what I wish I could do. I want to collaborate with someone who can teach me something like that.
Q: Which is your favorite White Elegance temple dress and why?
A: We are decommissioning the Starburst, but that was my favorite dress. I think it was because I was given free rein. They didn’t ask what I was designing, they just let me do it. I thought it was something my mom would have worn. I thought, “My mom would be proud of this dress.” I feel like these dresses are kind of like my children and I worry about them like the toys on the island of misfit toys…are they all going to find a home and be loved and be worn by someone who loves them.
Q: How do you want women to feel when they are wearing your designs?
A: I want them to feel like they don’t have to think about their clothes; they are so comfortable that it’s no longer an issue in the temple. They feel like themselves. Nothing is binding or bothering them, they can just focus…their clothes are taken care of.
Q: What is the difference between designing the temple wear line and the new Ava Raquel everyday wear?
A: Color! There is so much more involved with the new line…things that I haven’t had to think about [with the temple dresses] like hem length and sleeve length. Again, decisions are always driven by the customer, just like in our temple line. But picking out colored buttons was really fun!
Q: What was your inspiration for the new line?
A: My inspiration is always the customer. It’s getting to know them, their needs. It’s almost always how to help them hide what they want to hide and show what they want to show and make them look and feel beautiful.
So, there you have it. As a White Elegance customer, you are a part of the process from inception to completion. You are at the forefront of every design. And behind that design you will find the immensely talented, Lisa Raty.
While White Elegance partners with several different charitable projects, this is one of our very favorites. All of our baptismal and blessing jewelry is produced in the Philippines by a group of resourceful and amazing Young Women.
They meet twice a week, either at the meetinghouse or their instructor’s home, to practice the different jewelry designs. “I am enjoying my time with these girls and I am inspired to help them reach their goals,” said their advisor, Chandra.
Making a Difference
Most of the Young Women have taken on this project in order to help contribute to their family income. When asked about what she will use her earnings for, Kyle (14) said, “I will spend [mine] for my schooling and I will not ask money anymore from my parents.” Herlyn (12) said, “I will save for the temple trip, missionary fund, clothes and family needs.”
According to Chandra, most of the girls have only one or two outfits at home, so paying for their own clothes gives them a real sense of independence and accomplishment. Many of them will use some of their funds to help pay for school fees and projects. Each of them enjoys the satisfaction of contributing to help support their families.
Jackie (age 21) was serving as the First Counselor in the Young Women’s program when she joined in the jewelry making. Chandra welcomed her to the group after Jackie received her mission call. “I’ll save my earnings for my mission…and give some to my mother for our daily expenses,” she said.
Why We Do It
Every time you purchase a baptism necklace or a blessing bracelet you directly impact the lives of these Young Women and their families. This is why White Elegance created this charitable partnership. The Young Women are blessed by their efforts, and we, in turn, are blessed by them.