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Pageant Dress Guide

At TBC Occasions, formalwear is our passion. That's why we want to find your crown-worthy look as much as you do! We understand the importance of selecting the perfect pageant dress — after all, it could be the gown that changes your life. But, how do you know how to pick THE dress?

It's no secret in the pageant industry that pageant judges are highly encouraged to judge the contestant before they judge the dress. This means that you must stand out (for the right reasons) by showcasing your personality and fashion sense through your mannerisms and your gown selection. From colors and silhouettes to fabric and unique details, there are several factors to consider when shopping for a pageant gown.

What to Look for in a Pageant Dress

#1: Colors

Historically, there have been more pageant winners that have worn white dresses than any other color in the past 10 years; however, other winners have also worn black, gold, red, purple, yellow, blue, and pink. It is typically suggested to stick to more neutral tones such as blush, gold, black, navy, and white. If you’re feeling especially confident, show off your personality with a bold gem colored dress such as ruby or emerald.

Sherri Hill 51750 in Nude/White

Jovani 63405 in Emerald 

#2: Silhouettes

Every woman has a different figure and every dress lays a little different on each one so finding a silhouette that shows you off is essential to finding the perfect pageant dress.

Top-heavy: avoid strapless gowns that accentuate your bust and gravitate towards an A-line that balance your frame.

Pear: avoid ball gowns and full skirts that could make your bottom section look wider than it so go for a dress that has a detailed neckline to help draw attention to your upper body.

Apple: avoid belted and fitted dresses as they will highlight the area you are looking to mask and look more towards strapless and empire waisted dresses, solid colors are also great for your figure and fuller skirts such as A-line silhouettes will help take the emphasis off your midsection.

Plus Size: avoid dresses that lack any kind of fit since too much fabric will look bulky and and lean towards a dress that has a balance between flowiness and shape and cap sleeves are amazing at making arms look more slender.

Rectangular: avoid dresses that are shimmery or shiny as these will emphasize your bones and limbs and instead reach for a fitted dress that shows your natural shape or a cinched waist to create your own curves, you can also add dimension by wearing a one-shoulder dress or a dress with a high slit.

Petite: avoid ball gowns and full length dresses that appear to “swallow” you and instead give an asymmetric hemline a try to give you a longer appearance.

Hourglass: avoid empire waists that can hide your natural curves and slip into a fitted or a mermaid silhouette to showcase your shape, definitely go with something that is fitted at the top and through the hips.

    #3: Fabrics and Detailing

    The best fabrics that help hide flaws are velvet, chiffon, satin, lace, and tulle; however, it’s important to ensure these fabrics don’t have an excess of patterns and to keep it simple. Avoid detailing at the hem to prevent the judges’ eyes from getting stuck at the bottom rather than looking at your beautiful face. Look for dresses that help guide the eye up to your face and frame your face nicely. Some great necklines that frame your face include sweetheart, v-neck, and off-the-shoulder.

    Jovani 67304 in Light Blue

    Sherri Hill 51571 in Gold





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