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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

How to choose the right competition gown

One of the key components to any pageant is the evening gown/formal wear. If you're competing in a modern day pageant, like NAM/IJM/USA Ambassador/USA/MAO/International/MAC etc, the rules for gowns tend to be about the same:

  • Length: Floor length gowns are best. One or two of the pageants say that you do not necessarily need a 'floor length gown' to win, but when was the last time you saw a cocktail dress win a national pageant? My point exactly. 
    • Rule of thumb: a quarter inch off of the ground is long enough. Seriously, have someone get down on the ground and assess this - can we see your shoes when you walk? If so, the dress is too short.
    • Some pageants do NOT allow trains on gowns. If they do, rule of thumb is 16-22 inches.
      • Preteens and younger should avoid trains at all costs.
        • Notice: the designer does NOT include a train in the younger girl dress design.
  • Age-Appropriateness: did you know that you could be docked points (lose points) if the gown is not age-appropriate? 
    • Pre-teens and younger should have straps - spaghetti or halter are ok (make sure straps are wide enough)
    • Junior teens and older do not necessarily need straps, but they are welcome
    • Preteens and younger should NOT have tight, form-fitting, mermaid/trumpet style gowns
    • Junior teens and older can have form-fitting styles (many junior teens are still in ballgowns, check the trend within your system)
    • Pre-teens and younger should not expose their chest at all (avoid nude illusion as well)
    • Junior teens and older can have more of a sweetheart neckline, exposing a bit of the chest area
    • Nude illusion fabric is an entirely different fabric - this will depend on the pageant system and style of the gown.
  • Color: choose a color that best reflects your personality and overall sense of style. For example, red is much more bold than baby pink. Your gown should reflect who you are, not who you are trying to be. 
  • Glitz/Rhinestones: do not overdo it with the rhinestones/bling. You want to be the main attraction in your gown, not the rhinestones.
  • Jewelry: 
    • Pre-teens and under are most safe with post style earrings (again, check the trend within your system to be sure)
      • Example: 
    • Junior teens and older can wear dangle earrings
      • Example: 

If you are unsure of your gown choice, you should be able to check with your pageant coach. Let me be honest and say that the staff in the bridal stores or pageant stores are not necessarily the best help because they do not know YOU personally - remember, this is your personal presentation in formal wear. The gown should reflect the best you and you should feel that you are at your personal best while in the gown. And, hopefully, your pageant coach has had experience competing in various pageant systems and can help you chose what that system is looking for as well. 

And I am always available to advise you! Send me a text message or an email before you go shopping so I know you are headed out and then send me pics as you try things on. I want to help you make the best choices!

With your success in mind,
Victory and Team BV

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