By Susan Shinn
Modest is hottest.
That was the theme of a workshop and fashion show aimed at sixth- through twelfth-grade girls held Sept. 13 at the J.F. Hurley Family YMCA.
The event was sponsored by First Baptist Church of China Grove.
More than 200 girls — both members of church youth groups and individuals — signed up for the afternoon, which featured speaker Shari Braendel of Proverbs 31 ministries.
She spoke to the girls — some of whom attended with their moms — about what to wear ... and what not to wear.
Organizer Wendy Fontenot quoted part of Braendel's remarks: If you dress lovely, you attract love. If you dress sexy, you attract sex.
A pretty compelling message for young women who are constantly bombarded with images on inappropriately dressed young celebrities and models alike.
The girls also learned about accessories and what colors looked best on them, Fontenot said. "Hopefully, they can take this home and apply it. It's been fun. It's a workshop where everyone has learned quite a bit."
Braendel had spoken at the church's mother-daughter banquet. That's when the church's women learned about this workshop.
"Being a teacher, I face this issue every day at school," Fontenot said of young women's attire. "We thought this would be something the girls could benefit from."
"I've learned I can look good in different colors," said sixth-grader Brianna Caraccio, who typically likes reds and blues.
The workshop, she said, gave her a lot to think about.
"I wanted to come to learn that you can look good and you need to feel good about yourself," said her friend, fellow sixth-grader Chapel Dixon.
"People wear gobs of makeup and they're only in seventh grade," Brianna pointed out.
Chapel has a strong sense of identity.
"I really dress like myself," Chapel said. "I like to set my own trend. I like to wear casual stuff. Young girls look at models and think that's how popular girls dress."
It doesn't have to be the case at all, she said.
Debbie Teeter brought her daughter Michaela, another sixth grader, and members of their church's youth group from First Methodist Church in China Grove attended as well.
"They're all very impressionable these days where they're looking for role models," Teeter said. "I want to get those good impressions made now. I liked the message."
Models were: Leslie Freeze, Hannah Gagnier, Stacey Gagnier, Madison Goodman, Harley Graham, Megan Honeycutt, Leanna Payton, Elizabeth Simmons, Amber Strickland, Kristina Trexler, Lydia Vanhoy, Stephanie Wright.
"I thought the workshop was very good," said Megan, 16. "It was very interesting and helpful."
She added that a video about what high school guys thought about purity and modesty really hit home. A Carson High School senior, Megan said she loved modeling the fashions, all of which came from Dillard's.
"Of course I was nervous. It was so much fun back stage and stuff. I bought one of my outfits."
All of the girls, she said, got to pick out the clothes they wore.