“Virtue en Vogue” Revisited

IMG_3572Yesterday, the Challenge Club of Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church in Edmond, Okla., hosted “Virtue en Vogue,” a fashion show to demonstrate to young girls that modesty can also be modish.

More than 100 mothers and daughters — and a few dads, too — gathered to watch 11 high school Challenge team leaders model fashions graciously donated by Dillard’s, Francesca’s, The Buckle, Hip and Swanky, and Old Navy.

Sweet Potato is as yet much too small to attend this sort of thing, but, as I emceed the event alongside my dear friend Lorryn McGarry, I had what was arguably the best seat in the house, and I couldn’t have been more impressed with the excellent production values, the confidence and elegance of the models, and the awe-inspired expressions of the middle-school girls who oohed and aahed at one outfit after another (but particularly at a pink, Cinderella-style prom gown).

Selfie with my sweet co-emcee before the show.
Selfie with my sweet co-emcee before the show.

The program began with a bit of free time to mill about a cupcake-crowned dessert bar sumptuously spread on Tiffany-blue-linen-covered bistro tables, and continued with a series of speakers.

Bishop McGuinness senior Chris Allen parlayed popular music lyrics to deliver a positive message about modesty and the Lord’s unconditional love for each of His children.

“Bruno Mars says, ‘Girl, you’re amazing just the way you are,’ and Ne-Yo sings, ‘Girl, let me love you, and I will love you, until you learn to love yourself.’ Now, imagine God saying those words to you,” Allen said.

The kid had me rolling. Never will I hear those songs in the same way again!

Catholic Charities Oklahoma City executive director Patrick Raglow provided a father’s perspective on the importance of modesty.

“I want my daughters to be known for their hearts, not just their parts,” he said to emphatic nods. The Oilman and I couldn’t agree more!

Lorryn and I keynoted, even though I’m still not quite sure how I qualified for so prime a slot in the line-up.

Lorryn very eloquently outlined the two lies the profane world tells us about our bodies and explained how modesty stands in the middle of those two lies.

On the one hand, the secular culture suggests that our bodies should be a source of embarrassment if they do not meet certain arbitrary standards of perfection. This lie tempts us to believe our imperfect bodies are somehow “bad.”

On the other, as a reaction to this lie, some popular voices suggest that we can and should do whatever we like with our bodies and should never be embarrassed in any way when we do.

“Backstage” — a.k.a. a children’s classroom — before the show!

Modesty, Lorryn emphasized, teaches us that we need neither cower in embarrassment of our bodies nor flaunt them unduly without any regard at all for the effect that flaunting might have on the minds and hearts of those who behold us.

And I? I said this (and also ad-libbed a bit more).

A few of the cutie-petutie models wait backstage before the show begins.
A few of the cutie-petutie models wait backstage before the show begins.

A brief intermission followed before the fashion show itself capped the afternoon. After the event had concluded and the house lights shone brightly, the middle-school attendees gave their own impromptu fashion show. Gleefully ascending the stage, they sassily and sweetly sailed down the runway, pausing strategically to smile this way and that. It was adorable.

Here’s to the devoted adult and team leaders of Challenge who made such a stellar and inspiring afternoon possible! It was a pleasure and a privilege to be a part of it.

After the show ended and the crowd dispersed, we got a table.
After the show ended and the crowd dispersed, we got a table.

Oh — and P.S. — Like the models themselves, Lorryn and I wore attire generously provided by Dillard’s, but, as it turned out, the sweet mamas who planned the event actually purchased our ensembles as keepsakes! We were both so surprised and touched by their generosity.

This gift meant I’m able to extend my #WhatIWoreSunday streak because, of course, I was so excited to have a new dress that I just had to wear it two days in a row. (Given my current shape, I have precisely two dresses that fit me at the moment — and you’ve already seen both of those!) I wore my new orange A-line dress with plain black peep-toe pumps and covered my shoulders with a basic black cardigan for Mass this morning. Obviously, I didn’t wear the sunglasses to Mass, but the afternoon was so shiningly lovely that it called for an outdoor photo!

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