The fashions at all
of the major international shows took a noticeable turn toward
covering up this season.
Regnum Christi members and their friends, especially the mothers
and daughters involved in Challenge Clubs, spring is the
season for Pure Fashion Shows. In cities throughout the
US and Canada, hundreds of attendees are learning how to
be fashionable while being modest. The news media often gravitate
to these events as they reflect a counter-cultural movement with
widespread appeal. A news search on a major search engine
such as Google turns up a healthy number of stories
about Pure Fashion Shows. The account below is from Canada’s
National Post (May 03, 2006).
How some girls are turning
to less racy clothes
By Anne Marie Owens
models stroll down the catwalk at Calgary´s Spruce Meadows Congress
Hall this weekend, there will be no plunging necklines, no
exposed thongs or teddies, no skintight pants or barely-there skirts.
models, all of them young women between the ages of
12 and 18, will instead be adhering to the dictates
of an alternative fashion movement that espouses these kinds of
counter-cultural beliefs: Undergarments should not become outer-garments; clothing should not
reveal what should be concealed; and it´s possible to be
pretty without being provocative.
This is the Pure Fashion movement, gaining
popularity among churchgoing families as an antidote to the Britney-Spears-induced
realm of sexualized attire for girls at ever-younger ages.
what´s going on in Calgary this weekend and in the
handful of U.S. cities also involved in this program may
be a fringe movement, there are hints that its new
modesty ethos may be gaining ground.
The fashions at all of
the major international shows took a noticeable turn toward covering
up this season, with longer hemlines, higher necklines and more
voluminous clothing on the runways in Paris, Milan, New York
Even the world of cheerleading is beginning to
eschew its sexualized dress and demeanour: The British Cheerleading Association
recently adopted new modesty rules that prohibit any midriff-baring fashions;
and the House of Representatives in Texas -- home state
of the original pom-pom-toting sex symbols, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders
-- voted to ban "overtly sexually suggestive" routines for school
A controversial window display in the Oakville lululemon outlet encapsulates
the competing choices for its young, affluent clientele this way:
On one side is Yoga Girl in the stylish but
comfortable attire that has made the retailer popular; on the
other, Stupid Girl identifies the crass-looking fashion of mannequins surrounded
by trashy celebrity magazines.
|Never underestimate the power of youth.|
"There´s such a big push from the
entertainment media and from Hollywood that these girls just get
sucked into thinking they have to dress provocatively to be
in fashion. We´re teaching them they can be fashionable and
pure," says Jodie Britton, the Calgary woman who has brought
Pure Fashion to Calgary, the only Canadian city to officially
join the organization, although there´s been interest in hosting similar
events in Toronto, Edmonton, Vancouver and Halifax.
In the United States,
where Pure Fashion began as a spin-off from the Catholic
girls-empowerment Challenge Girl Clubs, there are shows scheduled most spring
weekends in Dallas, Louisiana, Washington, D.C., Seattle and Chicago. In
Atlanta, where the first Pure Fashion show was held seven
years ago in a church basement, the slick production last
weekend drew a crowd of 2,200 and featured Canadian crooner
David Foster among its entertainers.
"This is such a counter-cultural message
that we have to wrap it beautifully so people see
why you don´t have to look promiscuous to be glamourous,"
says Brenda Sharman, the Atlanta-based national director of Pure Fashion.
We´re trying to show why a young woman should choose
to be modest. There is so much in our culture
that has desensitized us to being modest. Everything is so
out there.... We live in a very racy culture."
sessions and workshops leading up to the fashion shows cover
everything from hair and makeup tips and modern etiquette to
the virtues of chastity.
Despite Pure Fashion´s assertion that it´s possible
to be "trendy but tasteful," some of its clothing guidelines
sound decidedly retro for modern-day fashion: "Layer your tops so
that your private parts remain private;" "If it is summer
and you are wearing lightweight clothing, make sure that your
undergarments are doing their job protecting your modesty;" and "Choose
a bra that has a little padding to help disguise
when you are cold."
The list of Pure Fashion beliefs includes:
"That our private parts should remain private;" "That our bodies
are holy and sacred and our clothing should not reveal
what should be concealed;" and "That virtue is the most
important ´must have´ for every season."
Another core belief is that
it is possible to change the world "by changing our
hearts, our minds and our clothes."
Accordingly, the clothing guidelines for
the fashion shows are strict: Shirt necklines should be no
lower than four fingers below the collarbone, no thin or
sheer material, no strappy backs or halters, and no tank
tops without overlaid shirt or jacket; pants should not be
too tight, and the appropriate length for shorts is determined
by putting arms straight at the side and measuring no
higher than your longest finger; skirts should be no shorter
than four fingers above the kneecap; and no exposed bra
Bob Christianson, a Calgary father of six, four of them
girls, says reinforcing these kinds of standards is a significant
step in turning around prevailing societal attitudes that dictate teenage
Virtue is the most important ´must have´ for
His 15-year-old daughter, Eve,
is participating in this weekend´s show, but he remembers trolling
around all the malls of Calgary when the low-rise pants
style was extreme, desperate to find appropriate attire for another
"In this day and age where sex is in
everybody´s face, I think it´s great to get another image
out there that says to girls, ´You can turn boys´
heads, but there´s a way to do it with dignity.´
Samantha Tomiak, another 15-year-old participating in this weekend´s show, says
she´s happy to explore some fashion options that don´t require
"You watch TV and movies and you see the
girls in the mall dressed provocatively and the boys are
all over them. This is teaching us how to get
the attention without wearing those kinds of clothes."