Are you someone who enjoys clothes shopping? It tends to be a polarizing topic, with some people loving it and others dreading it every time they realize they need to replace a few pieces. There are plenty of reasons why someone might dislike clothes shopping, with many of them having to do with self-esteem issues.
That's what inspired one woman to open a boutique catering to those who often struggle to shop for clothes, and now that boutique is changing lives, including the life of one teenage girl who needed a dress for prom.
If you've ever struggled with self-esteem issues, you know how terrible shopping for clothes can be, especially formal clothes. Now's the time to leave that life behind, as there are tools out there that will help you grow your confidence within minutes.
The Big Night
If we look back to our high school days, we can all remember just how stressful prom was. Whether you went or not, there was tension in the air, everyone concerned with who they were bringing and what they'd be wearing. That same stress still lives on today in modern proms, though it hits some students much harder than others.
Like one girl, Elyse Monroe, who was struggling to find a dress before she decided to take quite the journey to secure one.
Elyse's story went viral recently, having been posted in a TikTok that's been viewed over 16 million times.
It begins with her struggle to find a store that could help her in her hometown. Elyse is a plus-sized girl, and many of the dress stores in her area didn't carry a size that would fit her while also staying within her budget. It was proving to be a real struggle, so she and her mom went on a road trip.
The Perfect Store
They, along with two of Elyse's aunts and her grandmother, drove 6 hours away to a boutique store that Elyse had found on TikTok. Named Juicy Body Goddess, they cater to "curvy & plus size" clientele who might struggle to find dresses (and other fashion) that fit them elsewhere.
Elyse knew this would be the place that could help her find a prom dress, and so her journey began. Little did she know just how much this trip would pay off.
In the viral video, Elyse tries on three different dresses, all met with love and compliments from her family as well as the store's owner, Summer Lucille. It isn't until she tries on the third dress, a beautiful, purple, shimmery gown, that everyone knows they've found the winner.
Elyse was in love with this dress and knew she had to have it. When she informed Summer that this was the one she wanted, she was met with a surprise.
Creating moments like this has been Summer's goal all along. In an interview with TODAY, she explained that she makes sure to carry tons of plus-size options in her store because, "I know what it's like to be a fat girl in a fatphobic world."
She reminisced on what it was like to grow up in the '90s where even fewer stores carried plus-size clothing. "If you weren't skinny, there weren’t many options, and it was devastating for me because I’ve always loved fashion. It was a very sad period in my life."
Now, she helps ensure every plus-size girl gets to feel beautiful. "[Prom dress shopping] was horrific for me...dressing these dolls is healing me."
An Unexpected Gift
Summer informed her of the price, saying, "This dress is $700." At Elyse's shocked face, she continued. "But it's free."
Elyse, now shocked for a different reason, asked, "What do you mean it's free?" Summer replied, "We're giving it to you."
The Monroe family was blown away by the store owner's kindness, all hugging each other as tears flowed. It was a beautiful scene that left everybody feeling absolutely amazing about themselves, then went on to touch the hearts of millions when Summer uploaded the video to her store's TikTok account.
Joy In Person
Elyse also spoke to TODAY, sharing how she would avoid clothes shopping as much as possible thanks to how bad it made her feel. "Shopping is usually pretty stressful for me, which is why I mostly shop online."
At Summer's store, it was a totally different experience. "[...] we were laughing the whole time. It was actually fun."
Not only that, but she left feeling good about herself. "Not only does [the dress] fit — but it makes me feel good about myself," she said. "Prom is a night where you want to feel beautiful. And I feel beautiful in that dress.”
Beauty For Everyone
Summer's store has provided so much joy to so many people who would otherwise struggle to find clothing that makes them feel confident about themselves. Their TikTok is full of videos of women being fitted in outfits that have them smiling, crying, or just appreciating how they look for the first time in a while.
She's legitimately changing lives, reminding her guests that they are beautiful at any size. Clients will remember their experience there forever, and she can confidently say she's creating a safe, comfortable space for plus-size women to feel their best.