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When I say beauty pageant, the first thing that pops into everyone’s mind is a poised, young woman in a long, beautiful gown on stage. As one of pageantry’s oldest and most common areas of competition, the formal wear (aka evening gown) competition is a true classic; pageantry wouldn’t be the same without it! This article will break down this common competition and teach you how to master it in a few easy steps.
Step One: Buying a Gown
Let’s face it: pageantry is expensive, but it doesn’t have to be as costly as you think! Gowns can cost anywhere from $25 to $5,000; it all depends on what you’re looking for and where you’re buying from.
When looking for a gown, the main thing you should focus on is the fit and style. Make sure the dress looks great on you! The best way to do this is buy a color that flatters your complexion and hair and eye colors. Many new pageant girls may not know it, but there’s a huge difference between prom and pageant dresses (Dani Walker’s Prom v. Pageant Dresses), so make sure you’re buying the right kind. Don’t forget to be age appropriate!
There are many places you can go to buy a pageant gown, either online or at a boutique. Being from New York, I’m not surrounded by many gown boutiques, so I often buy from New York Dress and Prom Girl.
A great way to save money is to buy from pageant resale sites and Facebook groups (my favorite is the Glass Slipper)! You can often get gowns for 25-60% less than the retail price!
No matter what kind of dress you buy, make sure you get it tailored to fit you! This makes a huge difference on stage.
Last of all, make sure you love the dress you buy! If you feel beautiful, you’ll look beautiful.
Step Two: Perfecting Poise
Now that you have a gown, it’s time to make sure you’re able to wear it well! When on stage (and practicing in your living room), be sure to stand up straight with your shoulders down. The best way to make sure you’re standing straight is to lean against a wall and line up your hips, shoulders, and back.
When you’re gracing the stage, make sure you’re taking your time. It’s your moment! Make lots of eye contact with each of the judges and smile wide. This will show them how confident and beautiful you feel.
Step Three: Practice Makes Perfect!
Practice, practice, practice! Practice walking in your heels: either around your home or outside on the sidewalk. Don’t forget to add no-slip pads if you need them! Once you feel comfortable in your gown shoes, practice walking in the pattern in an open space. If you don’t know the pattern, you can always practice pivot turns, circle turns, and walking around in general.
When it gets closer to my pageant or when I get a new gown, I always like to practice walking in my gown. This helps me get a feel for how heavy it is, how I should sway my arms, and how large my steps should be. The more I practice, the more prepared I feel to take on the stage.
Step Four: Radiating Confidence
The final thing you need to do is be confident! The judges can definitely tell whether or not you’re confident and comfortable, no matter how big you smile. That is why it is so important to buy a gown you love and practice until you feel comfortable. Start sooner rather than later, and you’ll be great! Good luck!