And while no one would accuse the women of making a fashion statement, the pioneer-style outfits are a rare example of how in an age of overexposure, modesty, too, can give pause.
The puff-sleeved, pastel dresses worn by the women in the sect are a combination of original 19th-century wear and 1950s clothing that was adopted when the church took a conservative turn, according to Janet Bennion, an anthropologist who studies polygamist women.
The dresses are meant to show modesty and conformity: They go down to the ankles and wrists, and are often worn over garments or pants, making sure every possibly provocative inch of skin is covered.
John Llewellyn, a polygamy expert and retired Salt Lake County sheriff's lieutenant, says the women cover themselves "so that they're unattractive to the outside world or other men."
The appearance of unity through uniform dress, however, can belie the jealousy that often arises when the women -- who might all look alike to an outsider -- find themselves in competition with one another over the affections of the same man, Llewellyn says.
The clothing is also stitched with special markings "to protect the body and to remind you of you commitment," Bennion says. She declined to go into detail about the stitchings because she said it would be an infraction against the fundamentalist Mormon community to talk about their sacred symbols.
Pastel colors evoke femininity and don't come across as bold or strong, says Bennion, a professor at Lyndon State College in Vermont.
Then there's the question of the elaborate hairdos.
The women never cut their hair because they believe they will use it to wash Christ's feet during the Second Coming, Bennion says. A biblical quote says a woman's hair should be her crowning glory.
The bangs are grown out and rolled (but usually not using a curling iron, because that would be too modern). There are sausage curls on the sides and often braids down the back.
The exact history of the hairstyle is unclear, but it is reminiscent of the Gibson Girl image of the 1800s. It's a pre-World War II look, exaggerated with the pompadour, Llewellyn says. Chloe Sevigny's character in the HBO show "Big Love," about modern polygamist Mormons, has mastered the 'do.
Celebrity stylist and salon owner Ted Gibson thinks it gives off a "homely" impression.
"It says 'I don't really care very much. I really don't have time to worry about the way that I look, because I have 20 children,'" Gibson said. "He's going from wife to wife to wife, so why should I look any better than the other ones?"
It's not outlandish to imagine the prairie look influencing today's styles, given that trends can come from unexpected places, and Sevigny is known as a style-setter. You can already find blouses with high necks and ruffles in stores, and puffed shoulders on short and long-sleeved shirts.
Prairie skirts are in fashion this season, while dusty pastels and neutrals are being introduced to offset trendy bold colors and patterns.
Long hair is also on its way back in, preparing to replace the currently fashionable bobs, Gibson says. Buns never go completely out of style, according to Gibson -- he often gives celebrities a half-up-half-down 'do, essentially what we're seeing in the photographs coming out of Texas.
But for the most part, the looks that arise from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are likely to stay there.
On her blog, the fashion editor of glam.com wondered if the spotlight on the Texas raid would make otherwise innocuous pastels unsavory, given their dubious association with polygamists.
"Unexpected perversion? Right-wing fads?" Susan Cernek wrote. "Sounds like a good Halloween costume ... or Marc Jacobs Spring '09."
Allison Berlin, founder of Style Made Simple, doesn't expect Mormon-inspired fashion to go mainstream.
"Women don't actually want to look like that," she says. "I can see the Brooklyn hipsters rocking a French braid, but not in a serious way. Maybe ironically."
These women make thier own fashion statement!
To the outside world, women from the Texas polygamous compound present a startling image. They wear ankle-length dresses, use no makeup and sport uniform hairstyles. The outfits are meant to show modesty and conformity, experts say.
Female members of Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints wear sleeves that go down to their wrists and dresses that go to their ankles. The dresses are often worn over long undergarments, so that no skin shows. They cover themselves "so that they're unattractive to the outside world or other men," said polygamy expert John Llewellyn.
Celebrity stylist Ted Gibson said the women's unique hairdo gives off a "homely" impression. "It says 'I don't really care very much. I really don't have time to worry about the way that I look, because I have 20 children,'" he said. "He's going from wife to wife to wife, so why should I look any better than the other ones?"
With their uniform hairstyle and almost identical dresses, the women look alike to outsiders. But that doesn't mean they don't feel jealous when they are competing over the same man, said Llewellyn.
FLDS women favor pastel shades, which are meant to evoke feminity and don't come across as strong or bold, said anthropologist Janet Bennion, who studies polygamist women.
The polygamists' fashions owe a lot to 19th-century pioneer wear, Bennion said. The similarities are clear in this image from TV's 'Little House on the Prairie.' Actresses Karen Grassle, holding Lindsay Greenbush, Melissa Sue Anderson and Melissa Gilbert play members of the 19th-century Ingalls family.
The FLDS women's look also owes something to 1950s clothing, said Bennion. Here, Robert Young and Jane Wyatt star as the wise dad and supportive mom of the idealized Anderson family in the 1950s television series 'Father Knows Best.'
HBO's show 'Big Love' is about modern polygamists. Actresses Jeanne Tripplehorn, Ginnifer Goodwin and Chloe Sevigny, who play Bill Paxton's three wives, don't wear the ultra-conservative long dresses of the FLDS women. Indeed, they look like any other suburban wives.
Will polygamist fashions have any influence on mainstream style? Prairie skirts are in fashion this season, while dusty pastels and neutrals are being introduced to offset trendy bold colors and patterns.
Okay, I realize that the second part is basically the same as the first one. But the reason I put it there is because it is shortened. So it's like a summary. So if you don't feel like reading the original article, you can just read the revised bits and pieces.
And can you believe it? They dress like pilgrims! Those women have been so brainwashed in this whole experience. Can you imagine what will happen to them when the enter the real world? They will be blown away. Mostly because they will have to go to a thrift store to find items to keep up with their style. I was freaked out when I saw pictures of dozens of these women standing together, and they all looked the same. The women who are in thier twenties dress like the women who are in their seventies. It is just so out of this world. But they have been living such a sheltered life. They will need all the help they can get when they are thrown into reality.