Residents at Kempton of Hermitage show off their outfits from Chico’s. (Photos courtesy of Kempton of Hermitage.)

Kempton of Hermitage’s fashion show, originating in spring 2019, might be the most stylish tradition in senior living. This year, residents not only modeled various items from the collection at Chico’s in Mt. Juliet, TN; they also got a chance to strut the catwalk. 

“[The clothes] gives them a sense of confidence. When you have dressier clothes, you tend to feel better about the way you look,” Kempton of Hermitage Activities Director Rachel Thomas said. “Then, having the attention on you when you walk out in front of your friends and family when you are walking down the runway? It gives them not just a sense of confidence but a little bit of ownership.”

The assisted living and memory care community is located in Hermitage, TN.

After returning from a COVID-19 hiatus from 2020-2021, the show made its triumphant return in 2022, and the 2023 edition was another great success. Seven models each showcased two different outfits loaned by Chico’s for the show. Upon conclusion of the show, the store gives residents the chance to purchase the outfits at a discount.

But first, one can’t have a fashion show without a runway. In this case, it’s a modified dining room. 

“They have a main walkway. We provide the music, and we have a whole dressing area that’s covered with paper on the windows so that nobody can see in,” Thomas said. “[Models] get to eat early for lunch. They get to have their hair done by our beautician, and so then they walk out first.”

A crowd of approximately 57 family members and staff took in the festivities and got quite a show. Because of the show’s success, Thomas is considering adding another one in the fall. As this year’s show demonstrated, it will bring out the characters. 

“We have one resident [who] loves everything sparkly, and she’s very much extroverted and kind of showy,” Thomas said. “She had a hoot going down the center of the dining room, waving and blowing kisses. They can really get into it. They just have so much fun with it.”

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