Metro-East Living

Belleville Optimists’ fashion show features clothing from Dillard’s and Peace by Piece

Wyatt Dahm, 5, and Cora Sinn, 9, will be in the March 5 style show and luncheon sponsored by Optimist Club of Belleville. They are among 15 models who range from 6 months to their 60s. They are wearing clothes from Dillard’s.
Wyatt Dahm, 5, and Cora Sinn, 9, will be in the March 5 style show and luncheon sponsored by Optimist Club of Belleville. They are among 15 models who range from 6 months to their 60s. They are wearing clothes from Dillard’s. mhouston@bnd.com

Nine-year-old Cora Sinn looked ready for spring in a sleeveless white lace dress.

It’s what she chose to wear in the Optimist Style Show and Luncheon March 5 at Bellecourt Manor in Belleville.

“I wanted a sparkly one,” said the blue-eyed third-grader who attends Zion Lutheran School, “but I like the designs on the lace, and it brings out my eyes.”

Cora figures the dress will be just right for a dressy occasion such as Easter.

“Maybe a prom if I was older,” she said.

She and 14 other models, who range in age from 6 months to their 60s, will show styles from Dillard’s and Belleville’s Peace by Piece Co. during the Optimist Club of Belleville fundraiser.

“I’m really excited because I have never been in a fashion show,” said Cora. “I will smile and look my best.”

“The Optimists are all about kids,” said Judy Belleville, publicity chairman for the event.

Funds raised support childhood cancer research, provide dictionaries to Belleville third-graders, pay for a school backpack event and to sponsor high school essay and oratorical contests and scholarships. The club owns and staffs Belleville’s Santa House and sponsors the annual Santa Claus parade.

Until 1988, the club was all male. This style show and luncheon is a first.

“I kind of came up with the idea,” said Afton Shambro, show chairman. “We were looking for a larger project, and we are hoping to build on this fashion show. A bunch of us sat around, talked about it and decided to go with it. It’s been a lot of fun. I’ve gotten to know the people a little better than just going to meetings.”

Afton was the Optimists’ Rookie of the Year last fall.

“I had retired and was looking for something to do,” said the former hairstylist who had been in business 51 years. “They are very active. They have projects, and they are busy and successful. They actually accomplish something.”

Which is what she hopes the fashion show does.

Guests will have a chance to bid on silent auction items, check out vendors and see the latest styles.

You can bet there will be a lot of denim in the mix.

No matter what the age, denim is hot. I haven’t seen this much since the early ’90s. Denim jackets, denim tops, denim jeans.

Brenda Nemecek on spring fashion

“No matter what the age, denim is hot,” said Brenda Nemecek, Nygard selling specialist at Dillard’s. “I haven’t seen this much since the early ’90s. Denim jackets, denim tops, denim jeans.”

Doug and Sharon Dahm, retired educators and Optimist Club models, went in that direction.

Doug, a former Belleville West administrator, paired dark denim jeans ($69.50) with a yellow checked shirt ($59.50) and khaki-colored Cremieux jacket ($195).

“My wife liked it, and the sales clerk sort of helped us choose,” said Doug. “We were trying to get a yellow and blue mix.”

Sharon also liked the stretchiness of the denim Jeggings ($59) she chose. The tight-fitting women’s stretch pants are styled to resemble a pair of denim jeans.

“The jeans are very comfortable and fit really good,” she said, showing the fabric’s give.

She paired the jeans with a Peter Nygard light blue, dark blue and lime green paisley print long-sleeve tie-front top ($59).

“I like the bright colors,” she said.

Their 5-year-old grandson, Wyatt Dahm, coordinated with Grandpa. He looked smart in a blue-checked long-sleeve oxford ($26) over a royal blue crew-neck T-shirt ($18). He — with help from mom Bethany — added canary yellow shorts with a navy belt ($24) to complete his look.

“I wanted to match his eye color,” said Bethany. “I liked the blue. I thought yellow would go with the blue.”

Wyatt attends kindergarten at Millstadt Primary Center. When he is not dressing up, he likes to wear sporty Nike and Under Armour clothes like his 12-year-old brother, Will.

They were right on with their choices.

“Bright colors are big this year,” said Brenda. “Orange is a big color. So are yellows and bright blues.”

Victoria Ford, 19, shopped at women’s boutique Peace by Piece Co., for her fashion show dress. She chose a Jude Connally bright pink print with white and black. Stylish slits on the sleeves and hemline add pizzazz to the classic tunic ($198).

“I liked the colors,” she said, “the way that it fit.”

Christina Keck, owner of Peace by Piece, echoed the thought.

“They fit great and do not wrinkle,” she said. “They’re good for traveling. We get new prints and styles from her every month. ... Tunic dresses are incredibly strong for the season.”

You can’t go wrong with pink.

“Pink — rose quartz is the color of the season,” said Christina. “We have a lot of pink in the store right now.”

To give an outfit a fresh look, she suggests a new scarf or cardigan.

We have string scarves for the scarf-impaired. They’re like a scarf necklace. They’re made out of remnants from clothing manufacturers.

Christina Keck on a Peace by Piece accessory

“We have string scarves for the scarf-impaired. They’re like a scarf necklace. They’re made out of remnants from clothing manufacturers.”

Among the cardigan styles is one that has a big opening in back, showing the top underneath. It comes in black and gray.

Model Victoria, a general studies student at SWIC, hasn’t shopped much for spring, but likes variety.

“I go everywhere. If I see cute clothes, I will go in and look.”

The 2015 Collinsville High grad likes playing soccer — she’s a midfielder — hanging out with friends and sharing clothes with sisters Abby, 20, and Emily, 16.

On a late February afternoon, she paired the springy dress with black boots — but not for long.

“I will probably wear sandals with it in the summer.”

Other spring trends

▪ Victorian everything, said Brenda. Ruffles, puffed sleeves, high-collared necklines.

▪ Boho-chic and hippie-inspired designs, a style of fashion drawing on various bohemian and hippie influences.

▪ Anything with lace.

▪ Lots of flower prints and geometric prints.

▪ Leggings are still big this year.

▪ Embellishments. “Bling is still in,” said Brenda.

▪ For young girls: lace and a Victorian look, floral prints and ruffles.

▪ For young boys: Average-length shorts and bright colors.

▪ For all: denim, denim, denim

Optimist Style Show and Luncheon

No matter what the age, denim is hot. I haven’t seen this much since the early ’90s. Denim jackets, denim tops, denim jeans.

Brenda Nemecek on spring fashion

  • When: 10 a.m. March 5 (Silent auction, vendors, cash bar from 10 a.m. to noon; lunch at noon; style show at 1 p.m.)
  • Where: Bellecourt Manor, 225 E. A St., Belleville
  • Fashion: Provided by Dillard’s and Peace by Piece Co.
  • Benefits: Optimist projects
  • Honorary chairwoman: Darleen Jones, executive director of the Violence Prevention Center of Southwestern Illinois
  • Cost: $30 per person; $240 for table of eight
  • Information: 618-726-7847 or www.bellevilleoptimists.org
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