Local Parishes Youth & young adult

Pretty, not provocative

Pure Fashion makes its Kansas City debut

by Joyce Mitchell

PRAIRIE VILLAGE — Modesty doesn’t have to be synonymous with frumpy.

But with the skimpy wardrobes of today’s celebrities setting the bar, modest teens can easily feel out of step with the latest fashions.

Seventeen-year-old Olivia Mavec of Leawood, for example, admits she likes reading Teen Vogue. But she doesn’t like the seductive overtones of the magazine’s clothing ads.

“These don’t speak to me as a teenaged Catholic,” said Olivia, who is a member of St. Ann Parish in Prairie Village and is a student at Notre Dame de Sion High School, Kansas City, Mo.

Fortunately, Olivia and 18 other teens in the Kansas City area have been introduced to Pure Fashion, a faith-based program that encourages girls to live, act and dress in ways that reflect their status as children of God. The group meets monthly for a total of seven sessions — each is led by college-age women who serve as mentors to the younger girls.

The program teaches dignity, explained 15-year-old St. James Academy student Kayla Nguyen, and how “to carry yourself in a way that respects yourself.” This young member of Prince of Peace Parish in Olathe usually prefers T-shirts and blue jeans, but she realizes that her casual attire won’t work in all situations. Pure Fashion has boosted Kayla’s self-confidence and caused her to consider the importance of first impressions.

“Dressing provocatively doesn’t help you” attract the right kind of attention, she concluded.

St. Ann parishioner Linda Brossard and her eighth-grader Jessica have had a hard time in shopping malls of late: The latest styles often show more skin than either of them feel comfortable with. But Jessica, who likes singing and acting, is looking forward now to being on stage in a new capacity — as a runway model at the culminating event of the seven sessions: a fashion show later this spring.

Pure Fashion’s clothing guidelines (available at www.purefashion.com) remind girls to avoid tight clothing and to pay attention to how clothes hang on the body. Fashions that don’t meet the standards can be incorporated with a bit of creativity, the site advises. For example, a favorite shirt that on its own would be too revealing could be layered with a tank top.

Olivia’s mother is co-chair of this debut of the Pure Fashion movement in Kansas City.

Christine Mavec first learned of the program through Regnum Christi, its sponsor, and contacted area Catholic high schools seeking participants. The Atlanta-based program is now up and running in more than 20 cities in the United States.

Because fashion also applies to hair and makeup, the girls spent their January session at Sopra Salon in Prairie Village. Sopra is normally closed on Sundays, but owner Cindy Johnston agreed to open her salon at no cost for the good cause. Nor did she have any trouble rounding up stylists and makeup artists willing to give up a Sunday afternoon.

“We want to help [the girls] feel beautiful with what God gave them,” said Johnston.

“We’re trying to show girls how makeup can be used modestly and demurely,” added Jennifer Hiss, who handles media relations for Kansas City Pure Fashion.

The fashion show is scheduled for April 26 at Mission Hills Country Club and will feature clothes from local boutiques. Details regarding the event can be found on the organization’s Web site at: www.purefashion.com; a link for tickets to the Kansas City show will be available by March 1.

About the author

The Leaven

The Leaven is the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.

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