Fashion and charity go hand in hand for the women who are part of Pearls, Pumps and Pinups.
The band members, who like to wear retro-style clothes, are on a mission to help the community, said Debby Geary of De Soto, one of the founding members.
She said the group has 14 members, many from Jefferson County, and they are currently collecting coats, hats, gloves, backpacks and toiletries for Mind the Gap, a nonprofit organization. non-profit that helps the homeless in St. Louis.
The Pearls, Pumps and Pinups group placed collection boxes in the lobby of the Arnold Branch of the Jefferson County Library, 1701 Missouri State Road, and the De Soto Public Library, 712 S. Main St.
Mind the Gap member Joe Richardson, 71, formerly of Arnold, said he appreciated the women’s efforts to help collect homeless people.
“It’s a social group that has taken it upon itself to do good work for others,” he said. “It’s a wonderful gesture of humanity from these ladies.”
Richardson, also board treasurer for Feed My People, which has offices in High Ridge and St. Louis, said he was impressed with the women’s group.
“They’re a lot of fun and it’s (women’s attire) is really cool to see, but they also have a mission, which is to help other people,” he said. “I commend them for this because there is a need.”
The women’s group enjoys attending fundraising events and helping other groups raise money for charitable causes, Geary said.
In May, the group participated in a Make-A-Wish car show in Cadet, helping that organization raise $18,000, Geary said.
Pearls, Pumps and Pinups have also worked with Wreaths Across America, Nurses for Newborns, Lydia’s House, Little Patriots Embraced, Blessings in a Bag and Gateway Defenders.
Debbie Sammelman of Chesterfield, president and founding member of Pearls, Pumps and Pinups, said the group tries to meet and work with a charity at least once a month.
“There’s so much hurt out there, we just want to give back,” Sammelman said.
She said the group formed in 2019 after several women left a similar group that disbanded.
“We were in a different group that was more focused on pinup contests, photos and a bit of drama,” she said. “We are drama-free and love giving back to the community.”
The group welcomes new members
The group is open to new members.
Sammelman said that while vintage outfits aren’t mandatory, members are encouraged to wear them.
Geary said she and other band members would help new members find clothes.
“Most of our clothes come from thrift stores, so it’s cheap,” she said. “We swap and share clothes. Everyone’s wardrobe is everyone’s wardrobe.
Sammelman said wearing retro fashion is easier than people think.
“When you dress retro, you can wear jeans and an oversized oxford shirt, and you’ll look 50s. So new members can start very simple,” she said.
Geary said she likes to dress up for meetings and fundraising events.
“I raised my kids, I worked, I took care of my husband, and it’s time for me to do something for myself, to be stupid,” she said.
Sammelman said everyone in the group had a different reason for joining.
“We have widows in our group, so it’s a way for them to go out once a month with other ladies,” she says. “Some people join us because they love vintage clothing, and some people join because they love helping charities. Debby and I love everything.
Geary said the band members are close.
“We are all connected for the same purpose, to share and give, to have a good time and to help others,” she said.
Geary said the band’s name was chosen because its logo features a red pump and band members are referred to as pearls.
“A pearl necklace can keep growing and growing,” she said.
While the group meets once a month, usually the second Saturday of each month, each member must attend at least one meeting per quarter.
“We have very few rules. The main rule is not a drama,” Sammelman said. “And, you have to come to one meeting per quarter and you have to do one service event per year.”
The drama rule is enforced, Sammelman said.
“If we are here for brotherhood and camaraderie, who has time for (drama)? A lot of people appreciate the lack of drama,” she said.
Geary said part of the reason she liked the band was because there was no drama.
“If we want to fight someone, we’ll stay home with our husbands,” she joked.
To join the group, a woman must attend at least three meetings and announce her intention to join.
“It gives (a potential member) time to see our personalities,” she said.
Sammelman said when a member is officially inducted into the group, she receives a tag, a pearl necklace and a nickname.
Sammelman’s nickname is Dazzling Divine, and Geary is Glam Mama.
They said the nickname can be based on your dress, hobbies or personality.
Geary said women interested in joining the group can message the Pearls, Pumps & Pinups Facebook page.