Forget white collars, the black and gray sweaters, pants and blazers. The Rev. Emily Carson is into color and the latest clothing trends -- not your typical clergy garb.

She's combined her love of faith and all things fashion in her blog, The Lady Pastor (, where she links to photos of herself modeling outfits and reflects on a "life of faith and fashion."

"When we get dressed every day, I do think it's a way to express who we are," said Carson, 28, who serves as associate pastor at Zion Lutheran Church in Stewartville, Minn. "For some people, that's their creative moment for the day."

Since starting her blog in 2008, Carson says she's discovered the topic of fashion can be a way to connect with her flock.

"Sometimes on Sunday mornings, the elderly ladies as they're coming through the line at the end of the service, they'll say, 'Hey, look at my shoes today,'" Carson said. "Sometimes that's the entry point into a much deeper level of conversation. Sometimes you need something a little more surface level to get people's guard down."

In recent weeks, Carson says she's revised the blog, where she also reflects on music, food and some of her other interests. She also links to the weekly "Lady Pastor" column she writes in Rochester's Post-Bulletin.

Carson said she got the idea to blog more about fashion after a friend encouraged her to be more "authentic."

"When I first got into ministry, I think I felt a pressure to be a certain kind of pastor, and I thought my personal hobbies and interests need to be separate from my pastoral life. And then I had a great friend just talk to me about being authentic, and I realized it's OK to like fashion. That's one part of who I am. I just love fashion, and I love fashion blogs so I thought, 'Why not experiment?' I think that self-expression is ... part of faith.

"I'm genuinely hoping this can be empowering for people."

Rose French • 612-673-4352