In addition to the worship, singing, and companionship, one of the most important rituals at Mount Zion First Baptist Church on Lankford Avenue is showing up in snappy attire. Showing up in Sunday’s best is an act of self-care that is an integral part in worship. At Mount Zion it is all about the colors, patterns, and a pulled togetherness that is hard to find elsewhere around town these days.
Beverly hand sewed her church outfit from a chocolate taffeta material she found at Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Store. To top it off she paired two matching and softening accessories—a draped scarf and a pheasant feather hat found at a trunk show in Georgia.
“When I go to church, I like to dress nicely. I feel better,” Beverly said. “I think of dressing as a way of saying ‘Thank you, God.’ For me, it is also a sign of respect.”
I noticed Patricia, with the eye-catching bright colors and divine swinging earrings, in the pew in front of me. She acquired her Frank Lyman dress in Virginia Beach, her soft orange blazer from Talbots, and her patent leather kitten heels—which pull the whole ensemble together—at one of my personal favorites, Scarpa. The one item Patricia never leaves home without?
“Earrings,” she said. “They give me confidence. I always feel dressed with them on.”
Not that it’s a competition, but Cleo was the most dapper man at church last Sunday. When I asked about his fashion I found out he is king of the one stop shop. Cleo has been going to the Men & Boys Shop on the Downtown Mall for all his Sunday best, just as his father—who was a Deacon at Mount Zion for more than 40 years—did before him. Men & Boys Shop owner Mike Kidd knows just what Cleo wants when he walks in: everything on the manikin.