Here are 6 tips to looking like a titleholder without breaking the bank:
1. Invest in a classic wardrobe that you can get a lot of wear out of.
You do not have to spend a million dollars to look like a million dollars. Invest in a great blazer or great dress and wear it to different events. Who cares if you wore it before? At least you look amazing in it.
2. Tailor everything!
Find a good seamstress or tailor and fix that hem in your favorite pants or gown. Make it look like the clothes were created just for you! When things fit better, you feel better, and you will wear them more.
3. Accessories can make or break you.
If you think you have too many accessories on, you do. Ease up on the accessories and do one key statement necklace or earrings. You do not need to overdo it because you are the main attraction, not that 10 inch necklace taking over your body. Go for a simple set of post earrings if you can and let your outfit do the talking. If you must include a necklace OR bracelet, choose wisely and let it compliment you, not be the main attraction.
Money saving tip: But don't forget that you can repeat your simple accessories - choose classic pieces that will go with many outfits vs. one outfit. Those rhinestone post earrings or faux-pearl posts will go a long way!
4. Wear heels.
They even make 'little girl heels' so there really is no excuse for flats in the interview room. Have you ever seen your national titleholder interviewing or representing her title in flats? Probably not. It is an image thing...and a posture thing! Be age appropriate though - little girls should be in no more than 2" heels and junior teens and up can get away with 3"- 4" heels. Oh, and when in question, always choose a round toe over a pointy toe.
Money saving tip: go neutral with your heels and classic. You don't need a different shoe for every outfit you have. Pageant "rules" dictate that a simple pair of round toe + closed toe taupe heels goes with pretty much everything. You can always have a simple pair of black round toe + closed toe heels too. That's it, two pairs...this is will save you from packing an entire suitcase just for shoes too!
IF you really hate heels for during the day at the pageant, go for power flats. Nothing boring. You are making a statement from head to toe!
5. Get enough sleep!
This one sounds funny, but you will save money on energy drinks, eye de-puff creams etc by getting enough sleep. I know that I myself do not need a boat load of sleep, but I know I look better when I am well-rested. Plus, enough sleep helps you get ready to tackle the day - you have a different energy when well-rested and who wouldn't want to look energized and charismatic while around the competition!?
6. Be aware of your style choices.
Just like a brand of coffee has become a style statement, so can your personal style. Make sure your style AND the style of those surrounding you during pageant weekend is consistent with the image you want to portray to the judges. There is no reason that people in your party/entourage should be in their PJs, have rollers in their hair, etc at an event/outside of their hotel room because YOU would never look this way. Your personal style is who you are - be consistent with the image you are portraying so there is no question about who they are crowning.
BONUS TIPS (added 1.21.16):
- Do not forget about facebook resale groups! You can sometimes find great deals in these groups!
- If the price is too good to be true, it is probably not an authentic dress. AVOID such sites. Even if you are trying to save money, find another seller - the poor stitching will not be worth it!