We all know that there’s a lot that goes into preparing for a beauty pageant. You (or your child) are judged on personality, talent, answers to questions, attire and pageant dress choice. While all of these other things can be practiced, choosing a stunning girls pageant dress cannot. You only have one chance to make a first impression, and choosing a dress that captures the judges’ attention is necessary. We’ve dressed many young women – from toddlers to teens - for girl beauty pageants so we have the inside scoop on what the judges look for, and have included some things to consider before beginning your dress search. Always remember to check the pageant rules first to get an idea of pageant dress limitations.
Body Type: Choosing a pageant dress that works for your or your child’s body type should be at the top of your priority list. Whether you’re plus sized, on the slender side, or somewhere in between, you need to choose one that best complements your figure. These recommendations are mainly for older girls, but mothers choosing a girls pageant dress for their little one can take away some information from it too.
• Plus size - A-line dresses are ideal for those that are plus sized as they accentuate the waistline and cover the lower half of your body, creating a flattering silhouette.
• Slender - Women who are skinny may want to emphasize their curves. In order to create a feminine shape, ruffles, ruching, and lots of gathered fabric works best to enhance curves and draw attention to that specific part of the body. Layered and hi-low dresses are ideal for this body type.
• Small bust – Similar to the dresses recommended for slender women, ruching and ruffles that emphasize the bust line provide excellent padding. Halter top dresses can also be used to make you appear a bit bustier.
• Large bust – Looking too top heavy in a pageant is usually a big no-no as it will detract from the rest of your figure. Even things out with a dress that’s busier on the bottom and make sure the neckline of your dress provides adequate coverage.
Color: Choosing a dress color that works well with your or your daughter’s skin tone is an excellent way prom to start. Darker complexions usually pair better with cooler shades like blues, purples, and blacks, while those that are lighter skinned should opt for warmer colors like yellows, oranges, and pinks. However, you may find that a certain color looks good even if it doesn't follow the rules. If this is the case, trust your instincts and go for it!
Neckline: Necklines can make or break a dress because each one looks different on every contender. Always remember that a neckline that is too low (on any age) is inappropriate and can draw attention to the wrong areas. For older girls who are smaller up top, halter tops can even your chest out with the rest of your body. However, if you’re top heavy, it’s best to leave more to the imagination and go for something with a bit more coverage. These rules can apply for the younger girls as well; however, a toddler or younger girl may feel the most comfortable in a dress with thick straps or sleeves to prevent the dress from shifting or falling down. Whatever you decide on, we have a wide array to choose from – from sleeveless and sweetheart necklines to strapless and cap-sleeved dresses. If you’re worried about the neckline or sleeves not fitting correctly, a tailor can alter the dress to fit your body better.
Material: A pageant dress’s material can completely alter the look of any dress – no matter the shape or the style. It’s best to think carefully about the material before proceeding with your purchase. Depending on which type of pageant you’re entering, there will be rules regarding the materials and embellishments. Toddlers and young girls pageant dresses are best suited for lots of tulle and more Cinderella-type styles. They need to feel like a princess in order to act like one, so something that is layered and frilly usually works best. Dresses that are elegant, tasteful, and form-fitting are ideal for older girls. The dress is definitely dependent on the type of look you are going for. For example, if you desire a ballroom look, a dress with a layered, tulle bottom that flares is appropriate, while a glamorous movie star look requires something more sleek and curve-hugging. Just remember to choose a fabric that you or your daughter is comfortable in because a lot of time will be spent in front of the judges and confidence (or lack thereof) will show through.
Length: It's definitely necessary for little girls pageant dresses to be tea length or knee length in order to prevent her from tripping when on stage. Young ladies most always wear floor-length dresses especially for the evening gown portion of an event. You will want something you can easily and confidently walk in without tripping. When ordering or trying on the dress, also make sure you wear heels and test it out before altering it or wearing it in the pageant.
Wearing the right pageant dress can make you feel like a winner and it will show through. Impress the judges and onlookers with a girl's pageant dress that looks elegant, feels exquisite, and fits comfortably. All you’re missing is the crown!
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