Rose Marie Reid: Advocating Modesty
Rose Marie Reid exemplified being a strong and devout member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints despite the glamour of Hollywood and celebrity life. As a result, she succeeded in the fashion world without straying from her beliefs about modesty.
The daughter of Elvie and Marie Yancey, Rose Marie Reid was born September 12, 1906, in Cardston, Alberta, Canada. Rose Marie learned many of her designing and sewing skills from her mother.
Rose Marie moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, and began taking swimming lessons from Jack C. Reid; she soon fell in love with him, and they planned to marry. Jack, who spent many hours at the swimming pool, was not happy with the swimsuits of the day. They were made of wool, and when soaked in water became heavy and uncomfortable. Rose Marie decided to make a new swimsuit for Jack; she cut a pair of swim trunks from an old duck-fabric coat and laced the sides for a snug fit. Jack loved the suit and wanted Rose Marie to design similar suits for the Hudson Bay Department Store to sell.
Leery of selling swimsuits, Rose Marie turned to the Lord, kneeling in prayer and asking if God wanted her to make bathing suits. The day after she received an affirmative answer, Rose Marie found some beautiful fabric with which to make a woman’s swimsuit with laces up the sides. Seeing the design, the Hudson Bay buyers ordered ten dozen men’s and six dozen ladies’ suits—and Reid Holiday Togs, Ltd., began.
In the 1960s, Rose Marie’s business started to decline with the popularity of the bikini. She refused to design a bikini, advocating modest one-piece swimsuits. She left her company in 1962, claiming that the bikini was its “ultimate demise.”
After leaving her company to other designers, Rose Marie was asked by President David O. McKay to redesign the temple garments so women would feel more comfortable and beautiful while wearing them. Rose Marie discovered while working on the garments that she was related to Elizabeth Warner Allred, who helped design the very first garments in this dispensation. Rose Marie wondered if the Lord “[kept] that privilege in our family.”
Image from Mormonwiki.com
To learn more about these and other inspiring Mormon women, check out Women of Character: Profiles of 100 Prominent LDS Women by Susan Easton Black and Mary Jane Woodger.
This book celebrates noble women in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with one hundred inspiring biographies of Latter-day Saint women who have accomplished the extraordinary, leaving an indelible mark on history. These are stories about life, love, and a remarkable determination to do one's best — messages that reveal to the reader that neither happiness nor greatness is found in compromising self, but instead is found in reaching to a higher source. By reaching up, these women have reached out to make a valuable difference.