Don’t look for any miniskirts in this fashion show.
Bare midriffs are out. Necklines don’t plunge, cleavage is kept under wraps and underwear is never used as outerwear.
The goal of the Pure Fashion show, which will be held from 1 to 4:30 p.m. April 1 at the Rochester Institute of Technology Inn and Conference Center, is to show teenage girls how to dress fashionably, but not provocatively. In a word, its aim is modesty.
Carmen Ana Klosterman, one of the organizers of the fashion show and a parishioner of Church of the Holy Spirit in Penfield, said it can be difficult to find clothing at some stores that isn’t too skimpy. The models, who range in age from 12 to 19, have had success in part by layering clothes, she said.
“It’s still hard, but the point of Pure Fashion is to go to the store and come up with a cute outfit that’s still modest,” Klosterman said.
The show is expected to draw 400 attendees and will include a live auction with Carol Ritter Wright, tea, a parade of fashions modeled by 17 young women and guests including Lidia Goldsmith, Mrs. New York America 2006; Christian musician Marie Miller; and Joanne Cercone, executive director and producer of the Mrs. New York America Pageant and the fashion show’s emcee. Fashions are provided by Fashion Bug, David’s Bridal and Deb’s. Last year’s fashion show at McQuaid Jesuit High School sold out, so this year the show moved to the larger venue, organizers said.
The show is part of a national Pure Fashion program, which is affiliated with the Catholic movement Regnum Christi, but participants hail from several denominations. During the training program for models, participants were taught etiquette, public speaking, makeup application and modeling. The program is being run in partnership with the Mrs. New York America Pageant.
“It helps to give them tools to develop into young women who will have morals, values and self-esteem, and who will be able to share that with others,” said Cercone, who is part of the fashion show’s leadership and executive committee. “I’m teaching them and giving them tools to be the very best from the inside out.”
Cercone said it’s challenging, but not impossible, to dress fashionably and modestly in today’s society, which she said promotes female sexuality and promiscuity at all ages. As a Christian, Cercone said she believes the fashion show gives her a chance to use her God-given talents to help promote self-respect in young women.
“They learned a great deal about who they were, and it helped them become more who they want to be and how they fit in,” Cercone said of last year’s participants.
Several Atlanta mothers fed up with the skimpy fashions they saw teens wearing started Pure Fashion in a church hall in 1999. The group’s Web site (www.purefashion.com) lists guidelines of modest dress, including making sure that clothes don’t expose added skin when a girl walks or sits.
Although young women are the focus of the fashion show, Klosterman said she thinks it may set a positive example for young men, too.
“How many times do you hear, ‘Can you please pull up your pants?’” Klosterman said. “That’s one of the things I tell the girls. You are the ones that set the standard.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: For details on Pure Fashion, call 585/225-5759.