©Joy Dunlap https://joydunlap.com
The “Store Closing” sign at Sears triggered the rewind button in my mind taking me back decades to my Sears Charm School days. Recently, I saw the Sears School for Young Charmers binder advertised online as a vintage item. That says a lot right there.
Dispensed through the book and classes were tips on hair, skin, makeup, manners and more. All designed to help young ladies develop charm and class. Unfortunately, my tabbed binder probably ended up in a pile of dusty books in an antique store or being hawked online. Perhaps recycled into some new creation? Maybe a paper plate. Wouldn’t that be ironic?
Sure, it sounds unusual for a charm school to be conducted at a place selling appliances, but Sears was more than a place for washers, dryers, refrigerators and tools. Like Wayfair today, Sears invited shoppers to dream about the perfect home, the perfect kitchen, the perfect backyard. By wandering the aisles or flipping through the Sears catalog, one could imagine what life could be like… if you had a particular item. The precursor to internet shopping, the Sears catalog opened minds to possibilities.
Through Sears Charm School, they engaged younger – and future – shoppers. Started at one California store in 1963, the retail store’s charm school claimed more than 100,000 graduates from 250 stores by 1966. Some locations offered the classes even into the 1980s.
In charm school, we were encouraged to camouflage our flaws and accentuate our assets. And, that’s all I’m going to say about that! No secrets revealed.
We did learn how to cross our legs appropriately at the ankles, conduct proper introductions, and perform a model turn. The first two have proved helpful at times, the latter only useful when I miss my gate at the airport and need a quick flip around.
At one point, we got to be mannequin models which was actually quite fun. We struck a pose and stayed there for several minutes – trying not to blink – or visibly breathe. Some shoppers stopped and stared or tried to make me laugh or break concentration. Others rushed by, not realizing I was a living, breathing girl.
That may have been the last time I was ever completely silent with other people for 20 minutes or more.
Although I enjoyed the program, I can’t remember many specifics. Even so, lessons learned in charm school no doubt helped me. I do know advice dispensed from my mom, dad, grandmothers and friends impacted me for a lifetime. So, too, has the guidance found in a much older instruction book – the Bible.
We can learn ways to camouflage our hair, face and body flaws with flattering cuts, makeup or certain clothing, but we can’t consistently camouflage our hearts to others – and never to God. Yet, when we trust and accept the redemption offered by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and through His resurrection, He covers over our failings and we become new in Him. We become clothed in inner beauty.
Since we’re on the runway of life, what do others see us modeling?
After my charm school reflections, I reexamined the Proverbs 31 woman’s example and identified 12 different personality traits that all start with “C.” What attributes do we most want to develop and accentuate?
She is clothed with strength and dignity. Proverbs 31: 25a NIV
She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. Proverbs 31:26 NIV
She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. Proverbs 31: 20 NIV
She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. Proverbs 31:15 NIV
She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. Proverbs 31:16 NIV
She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. Proverbs 31:17 NIV
She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. Proverbs 31:18 NIV
She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. Proverbs 31:13 NIV
She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple…She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. Proverbs 31: 22, 24 NIV
When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. Proverbs 31:21 NIV
She can laugh at the days to come. Proverbs 31:25b NIV
She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Proverbs 31:27 NIV\
One interesting observation – most verses in Proverbs 31 focus on actions the woman takes, but only one focuses on what she says.
Mmmm…maybe there was more to mannequin modeling in charm school than I thought.
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Proverbs 31:30 NIV
- Did you attend charm school or another etiquette-type program? What do you remember learning?
- What aspect of your personal features do you try to camouflage? What part of your character do you attempt to camouflage? Accentuate?
- Which 3 of the “C” character words above do you think most people would use to describe you? Why?
Remember…Life Is Better When It’s Full – Joy-full, Thank-full, Purpose-full and Friend-full! ™