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January 24, 2006



Ha! Finally all my immodest experience goes to good use! I have appeared in and directed many fashion shows, and I think virtually all of this would be applicable to a modesty fashion show. Okay, here goes.

For a local production, 6-8 models usually works out about right. Usually they do at least one outfit change, so two outfits per model is 12-16 outfits. Some models might walk more than others -- for instance, if you only have one plus-size model, she might go three times and someone else might only go once. This is okay. You just work out ahead of time who walks, in what order, wearing what, and post the list on a wall riiiight in the place that the models see before they walk down the "runway." For instance:

Melissa - red dress
Megan - blue tunic w/suede skirt
etc., etc. (so make sure nobody's name is repeated without enough time for that person to change)

Arrange things so that the hardest outfits to get into come early in the show, so that a model's switch from first to second outfit can be done very quickly.

You don't need a real "runway" or anything on the floor. Just practice with the models where they should walk so everyone sees every angle of their outfits. For instance, one might walk from a back room, down an imaginary aisle -- pausing halfway to do a little (modest!) pose with hand on hip, smiling -- walk to the end, pause and smile, turn halfway around, pause and smile, turn and walk back. The difficult thing is always getting the models to walk SLOWLY enough, or the whole show is over in five minutes. Get them to practice, and tell them that they need to WALK slowly, and also, when they stop to pose, they need to stay there a minute -- imagine they have to get their pictures taken two or three different times on each walk down the runway. (And you might have an actual photographer at the end of the "runway" -- each model walks to the end of the runway and everyone watches as a photographer catches a few shots -- this looks kind of official and glamorous, and of course everyone will want photos).

The second before each model steps backstage, the next model starts (like a very slow relay race).

Music could be anything; just put someone in charge of it so that there's no uncomfortable "moment of silence" in between songs when someone's on the runway. For a modesty show in a church, personally I think something like a little Doris Day or Edith Piaf -- a retro, 1940s feel -- would be both fashionable and acceptable for a church.

As for the outfits, you could ask the models to bring any modest outfits they are especially fond of (someone with a modest wedding or formal dress might enjoy a chance to show it off again), but, yes, a store can let you borrow outfits. Ideally, the person from the store (if it's an independent local store) would also BRING the outfits and decide what goes on which model, etc. (that is, serve as a stylist). You would offer all kinds of publicity, including on any announcements/advertisements, and verbally while the models walk.

Make the models bring their own shoes -- generally we'd ask a model to bring black heels (no chunk heels) and something neutral (usually strappy heeled sandals that are inconspicuous and could go with anything).

There should be an announcer -- that person says something like "Melissa is wearing a cowl-neck wool winter dress from NAME OF STORE, with round-toed pumps from STORE and Melissa's own vintage earrings." The announcer should be someone who can ad-lib a bit, so maybe later while the model's walking, the announcer might say "Wool is a great winter fabric..." or "This style of dress looks great with or without a belt," etc. The idea is to sloooow each model down (what seems like an eternity to her is generally about ten seconds in reality, so the more talking is happening, the more reminder she has that she has to stay out there).

Sometimes professional makeup artists and hair stylists will do fashion shows for free to get credits and photos for their portfolios, but that's more in a big city where there is a fashion industry. You might try the people at salons who do hair and makeup for weddings; they might want publicity. But, honestly, I think that those people might go a bit overboard -- for a modesty fashion show, you could get my just fine with the models doing their own hair and makeup (and bringing a friend or mother into the back area to help).

Have a staging/changing area set up, with mirrors and electrical outlets (and a clear marker somewhere of "no men beyond this point!") and make everybody get there a solid four hours ahead of time.

So, here's how the overall show might go:

An announcer at a microphone says some opening words, thanks everyone, etc. Someone else starts the music. Announcer announces each outfit as each model comes out and does a slow walk through the runway area and back. When all the models are done, you can bring all the models back out to be seen at once, which everyone always likes (and which is great for photos).

Doing a fashion show brunch is very fabulous -- after the show everyone could have something to eat and mingle.

It's usually very easy to get volunteers for a fashion show (lots of women want a chance to be a model for a day), so put your volunteers to work. You can get everything but food for free, so your costs should be pretty minimal and incidental.


Formerly barely-clothed model,

Marci Ferrell

Mary - we have read a book in our youth group called "Secret Keepers-The Delicate Power of Modesty" by Dannah Gresh and she has other materials available to help do exactly what you are looking at doing. She has a new book and DVD available to help put on a modesty fashion show. Hope this helps. God Bless!


This is a great idea that has been successful in past attempts. While I didn't actually run one of these myself, I remember a few details that may help you:

1) Enlist children's clothing stores and major department stores for clothing to model. They are usually happy to have someone showcase their products for no cost. Make sure you let them know about how many people you think will attend.

2) You can use the same approach for the hair and makeup, but I think we just had everyone help each other, here. You may just ask the models to make sure they look great by getting a cut/style that day or the day before.

3) Themes are great. This time of year, you may do an 'Easter Parade' of spring fashions, for example. You should probably have an index card describing each outfit and where it comes from, and who's modeling it. Time yourself in the reading of the cards to get an idea of how long it will take. You can have a brunch or other food at the beginning, then do even a 15 minute show to showcase 20 or so outfits, and it will be lots of fun.

4) If you have risers for choir or school events, you can use them for the runway. They can also be rented (or may be donated for a church event.) If you can, keep the height the same as your stage and they can just walk out into the middle of the room like they do for beauty pageants.

5) You will need to teach the girls how to walk properly so they don't trip in front of everyone. Also helps to make sure the timing is right.

6) Music should fit the theme, doesn't have to be a different piece for each outfit. Instrumental is probably best, and keep the tempo so the girls can walk with the beat.

7) Don't forget mother/daughter or brother/sister combos, as well.

8) Check with your church to make sure you don't violate any rules on promoting businesses or making purchases.

9) Since people will be looking up at them, don't forget SHOES! A great outfit can be ruined by dirty or worn-out shoes.

10) You will need lots of help. Divide into specific tasks and delegate. Make sure you have someone assigned to follow-up so no one drops the ball, too. A post-show event to thank the organizers lets them know you care.

11) Invite other churches, women's groups, PTAs, etc. There are a lot more people interested than the 'activist' types like us.

Good luck!


I think it would be awesome if you announce where the clothing was purchased as each model walks down the runway. This gives the stores free advertising which will make them more likely to help. It also lets parents and teens know where to shop.

Good Luck!


I have no wisdom to share but just wanted to tell you how great I think it is that you are doing this. I know SO many mothers who struggle with finding modest clothes for their girls and I imagine your turnout will be fantastic. I think clothing stores would really jump at the opportunity to get some free advertising too. I will keep this in my prayers!

Jeannine Kellogg

Anon's comment is a huge neon sign with dollar signs all over it. There is a huge underserved consumer market niche out there-- providing classy clothing for girls. We've had several blogs on this subject, and the desire keeps repeating itself; girls and mom's would like somewhere to buy classier clothes. Some entrepreneur is going to snatch that up and be impressively profitable.

Thank you Penelope for your offering your experience, and taking the time to share your expertise. That is great!

Mary O'Hayes

Thank you, everyone, for your comments. Penelope and Spudmom, you two have practically written out my "work plan" and to-do list for the event! I'll let you all know how things proceed. Thanks very much!

Mary O'Hayes

One more question: should we charge money or keep it free? My sense is that having a small fee will attract more people than a free event. What do you folks think?


How about a compromise of a suggested donation of any amount to a women's shelter or to a place for troubled teens to be used for appropriate clothing? That way, people can decide how much they would like to give and it will go to a good cause.

brook witt

i think that this site needs more fashion tips and more pictures. maybe of celebrites..
maybe you could e-mail me some fashion tip?? thanx

I am in charge of a fashion show at an assisted living home. I am a fashion diva and have no problem putting things together, but,would like some advice on what to say as the announcer. Thank you.


I am announcing a fashion show at my church soon and these are great suggestions! Thanks so much!! I would love to work with someone to design and produce a line of modest clothing...as the mother of a teenager who can rarely find things to fit that are stylish, and as someone who also loves fashion. Wish I knew where to start!

Mary Hill

Hi Everyone! I will be doing a fashion show for my church soon as a funraiser for the church, since we are just one year old. I am truly enjoying putting this together, and people love to be asked to participate, lots of Diva's out there. Hey church ladies want to have fun too! Store's have turned me down for their apparel, so we will have a dress rehearsal so we won't be surprised, because our church name is out there. I have a question, what to serve that maybe easy and quick as a appetizer and inexpensive of course! Our fashion show will include women, men and children. I will teach them quick steps so that everyone can get seen and have fun , but not too fast! Timing is important!


my sister and I are doing a fashion show for church to... but we have a some problems in the way... some of the girls dress immotest cause they think it atracts guys and they think its ok... but they dont know it only actracts guy that would use them... and we also have a teenager who is gonna have a baby... how do you go about it without affending anyone... and what would you do in this setuation

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