Tips for Choosing a Winning Pageant Dress

Jonah Levine

Posted on August 29 2019

Winning a pageant is the natural consequence of a series of right decisions and great choices. Nothing maximizes your chances like choosing a figure-flattering gown that expresses your personality. This article has everything you need to know about choosing the winning dress, including statistics, facts, figures, and tips on choosing a design based on your body type. 

Choosing the Right Dress

There is no success formula, which isn’t really a surprise. If winning were so easy, there would be no pageants. However, it is possible to determine what judges like about gowns by examining trends, styles, and patterns of winning dresses in different pageants across the world. There is no specific color or style of gown that will land you the crown, but in some situations, panels tend to respond to a given trend, style, or color very positively.

It all begins with your body type. Of the six body types – slender, hourglass, busty, apple-shaped, petite, and pear-shaped – the first naturally dominates pageants. Fitted gowns in the style of Taylor Swift outline slender bodies breathtakingly. Symmetrical designs or gowns with belted waists are very flattering to this body type as well.

What Say the Statistics?

You should always study the history of the pageant you’re planning to take part in. More specifically, look at what kind of dresses have won in the past. You will see a specific trend emerge. Stick to your budget and take your comfort into consideration. The type of pageant is important too. If you’re about to participate in a Miss competition, you can go for a sexier, figure-hugging number. On the other hand, Missis dresses are a bit more conservative because these pageants typically feature older women.  

Winning Colors

Statistics show that white is the winning color across the board. 25 pageant winners have worn white in the last ten years. With the exception of Miss Earth 11 years ago, all the winning gowns were a solid color. The second-most popular color is blue with 12 winners, followed by yellow with 7 and redpink, and silver with 6 winners. Judges tend to react positively to embellishments like rhinestones and handcrafted beadwork.

Winning Styles

When it comes to style, things aren’t as clear-cut as they are with color. There doesn’t seem to be a specific style that has won the most often. Pageant gown styles have changed a great deal over the past decade because trends are succeeding each other faster than ever. Indeed, trends and tendencies are the primary factor to be taken into account when choosing a gown for your upcoming pageant.

In the late 2000s, winning pageant dresses featured spaghetti straps, form-fitting silhouettes, or strapless bodices. More recently, winning dresses have not been as figure-hugging. Last year’s Miss America winner wore a black mermaid gown in a style NewYorkDress is proud to carry. This year, contestants are overwhelmingly favoring augmentations like billowing trains, truly a far cry from the slender silhouettes of 2018.

You have to look trendy if you want to win – it’s that simple. Decade-old styles aren’t recommended even though they were very pretty. Yet, the natural questions arise: Won’t I look just like everyone else? How will my personality shine? Isn’t that what a pageant is all about?

It is. This leads us to our next and most important section – how to choose the perfect dress.

Tips for Choosing the Perfect Dress

To maximize your chances of winning, don’t let anyone sway you from your preferences as far as color goes. Color trends change as often as every few months, so just go with a color you like and want. Do you want to exude confidence? Own the space in a bold red or turquoise full-length gown. To create a sensation of serendipity, go for a down-to-earth pastel hue. A contestant can never go wrong with classics like black, white, and navy.

Flattering Pageant Dress Designs and Fabrics

Go for simple designs and patterns that don’t distract. A single fabric is best so you don’t have many different elements fighting for the judges’ attention and confusing them. Lace, satin, and velvet are all excellent choices. These fabrics also help conceal figure flaws. Elaborate details at the hem or waistline can halt a judge’s gaze before they get to your face. You should be at focus, not your gown. The gown should help you shine.   

The Most Becoming Lines and Colors

Lines and colors are the easiest ways to draw attention to your best points. Brighter colors will fill a slender frame out, while darker tones will make you look slimmer. You can use the dress’ lines to conceal or accentuate different areas. Vertical or diagonal stripes add the illusion of height and slenderize the frame. On the other hand, horizontal lines lend stockier figures gentle curves.

To appear taller, go for a solid color or color scheme stretching from the bodice to the hem. Off-the-shoulder gowns help create this effect as well. Dresses featuring contrasting shades will make you look a bit shorter because they “cut” the figure.

How to Play Up Your Best Features

Make sure your gown brings attention to your best areas and your face. The gown’s details will draw gazes naturally, so these should center on an area that you want to be noticed. Don’t choose dresses with embellishments in areas that are problematic for you. To choose the best design, you also need to take the type of pageant into consideration. Competitions like Miss America favor subdued tones and more modest styles, while for-profit pageants like Miss USA welcome tighter, brighter, flashier pieces. Cleavage or thigh-high slits would not necessary be inappropriate at the latter.

It always helps to research the designers and styles you like. It’s a good idea to make a list of styles, colors, and embellishments before you start looking for your pageant gown. Set a budget by all means. Having a list will make sure you don’t end up with a less than perfect choice. 

Get Your Winning Pageant Gown from New York Dress

In its history, New York Dress has dressed quite a few pageant winners. It is no coincidence that our many designers’ formal gowns are popular with contestants around the world. Shop for your next pageant dress now!

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