Pageant Contestant Crowned in Pageant Evening GownChristina Stratton, Miss Kansas City’s Outstanding Teen 2016, made a smart choice when selecting her pageant evening gown and it clearly paid off!

We all know that every contestant wants to look and feel like a queen at her pageant.  But I see the same pageant evening gown mistakes being made over and over by both beginning and experienced contestants.  Here are the most common wardrobe mistakes I see as a pageant coach and how to avoid them:

1. You Buy It Just Because It’s Expensive.  Contrary to popular belief, more money does not mean more “style.”  Dropping big bucks on a pageant evening gown does not guarantee it will look fabulous on you and that you’ll get a winning score.  Take time to evaluate the color, fit, and style of the gown, not just the price tag.  And if you’re on a budget, don’t be embarrassed to discuss your budget with the salesperson. Any reputable pageant stylist is going to try to work within your budget.  Big bucks don’t necessarily translate to a big score, but real style wins out every time!

2. You Buy It Because Last Year’s Winner Wore Something Similar.  Last year’s winner won because she projected a beautiful image that expressed who she is as a person. You want to project your own personal image – not a carbon copy of last year’s winner.  While it’s good to notice trends, you want to wear something that reflects your own personality and sense of style.  If you try to win by imitating previous winners, you’ll just end up looking like a weak version of someone else.

3. You Buy It Because Someone Else Likes It. Clearly, everyone has an opinion when it comes to fashion, and the people in your fantourage will be no different.  If your pageant director, Mom, or make-up artist happen to love the gown and you don’t, then don’t buy it!  Politely stand your ground and make sure only you purchase a gown that makes you feel like a winner!

4. You Didn’t Check Out How It’s Made. Any dress can look great on the hanger. But you need to know how it’s going to hold up during multiple fittings and the rigors of pageant competition. Many designers design beautiful gowns, but be aware that inexpensive materials or sloppy construction techniques can impact your gown score. Check the inside of the garment and look for even seams, the use of interfacing, boning, and quality linings.  By doing a little homework in the fitting room you’ll leave the shop with a gown that’s able to keep up with you during every phase of your competition!

5. You Buy It Because You Love How It Looks On The Mannequin.  We’ve all had that moment when we saw something on a mannequin and just loved it. But unless you have the exact same body type and measurements as the mannequin, it’s not going to look exactly the same on you. Your body type is going to dictate which fashion styles and design lines look best on you. By learning what your body type is and being honest about which silhouettes enhance your figure, you’ll easily be able to pick out the best choices to show off that cute little figure you’ve been working so hard to get!

Have fun shopping and keep me posted on all your pageant success!