Images are from Women's Wear Daily, September 5, 2006, with print and online subscriptions available. Fashion Belle recommends this publication for anyone working in the apparel industry in the USA.
Most women who care about modesty are not interested in strapless dresses, even when alterations can be done to raise the necklines and cover the shoulders. The bodice fit is generally too tight for true modesty, and the illusion of the strapless silhouette may be visible, even after alterations, to lead onlookers to imagine how the wearer might appear in the original. However, some women exist, usually in the teen age range, who prefer modesty yet are distressed over not being able to wear the strapless styles that cover the floors of juniors' stores and bridal salons. For these girls, offering options for modesty with strapless dresses is better than leaving them succumb to an occasional decision of choosing a strapless dress worn with no alterations to conform to society's concept of style rather than the value of modesty.
One of the easiest ways to convert a strapless dress to something more modest is to slip a knit layering shirt on underneath the dress, as these photos from Women's Wear Daily beautifully demonstrate. The caption on the second photo reads, "Silk, nylon and rayon dress from Carmen Marc Valvo Couture and Juicy Couture's cotton T-shirt and shoes." Modesty is possible with almost any style. The question is, will you choose the modest options? If you will, your style will attract an admiration, especially from men who earn our respect, unknown to the women who won't.