Seniors strut their stuff at Valentine fashion show

Feb. 14, 2013 @ 11:39 AM

Durham senior citizens know how to party.

At the Seasons of Love Dance and Fashion Show on Wednesday afternoon at the Durham Center for Senior Life, it was applause and cheers and a good bit of getting down to the music.

The main event was the fashion show featuring more than a dozen women and a few men showing off clothes ranging from their Sunday best to business casual to Mardi Gras parade attire. As the audience waited, the fashion plates gathered in a nearby room.

Len Stanley, 67, wore the purple, green and gold dress plus the mask and hat she had worn Tuesday night for the downtown Mardi Gras parade. She brought her Mardi Gras umbrella, too.

“I love to play dress up,” Stanley said. “Almost all girls, no matter what their age, love to dress up.”

Bonnie Burden, known as Bonnie B., wore a traffic-stopping fringed purple dress with matching cowgirl hat, boots and sunglasses. She bought the dress 35 years ago when she lived in Baltimore and weighed 100 pounds more. The stretchy fabric still fits. She’s worn it to parties and has a yellow dress and a red dress just like it.

Burden, 83, has modeled before as a volunteer. Her advice was to “just be yourself.”

As show time drew closer, the women talked a bit about how they would walk and complimented each other’s clothes. Barbara Dorsey, 63, wore a patterned dress she bought at Macy’s because “I just liked it.”

Doris Thomas, 75, wore a two-toned brown dress and shoes with a crystal-encrusted dressy hat and matching purse. She bought the outfit in recent months and has worn it to church.

Luna Brown, 83, was arguably the finest dressed, wearing a silver suit, matching dressy hat, purse and sparkly heels that she wore to her daughter’s wedding.

Brown was first on the runway when the music started. She arrived, arms out, taking in the applause. After her trip up and back, she bowed to more cheers.

Other fashionistas displayed an array of outfits including red suits and dressy hats, a fur hat, casual clothes and a cane or two. Two men also took the stage, one with a tennis racquet and another in a suit – Kenneth Brockington, 55, who strutted out with a cell phone to his ear, then stroked his chin, then went back out for another run. The crowd loved him.

The crowd loved all of it, just as the models did, whether they strutted out quickly or took slow, deliberate steps. At the end, they all came out for a group walk up the runway. Spectator Fred Hall helped women step down from the catwalk.

“It was a great show,” he said. “I enjoyed it. I’m 69, so I love seeing seniors get out and have a great time, because I’m one of them,” Hall said.

After the fashion show, some seniors lined up for heart-shaped cookies, strawberries and punch while other headed over to the dance floor.

Mary Jones Elliott, 93, danced to Salt-N-Pepa.

“I love it. It’s what keeps me going, honey,” Elliott said. “I’m very active.”

Soon the hip-hop line dance by V.I.C., “Wobble,” brought out a larger group to the floor. They didn’t need a tutorial – these seniors know how to dance.