Can You Copy a Past Winner's Pageant Gown?
No, Don't Copy a Previous Pageant Gown...
We are often asked if it is safe to copy a past pageant winner's gown. Because what
pageant judges will go for is unpredictable, many contestants try to
improve their odds of winning by copying the gown worn by the reigning queen or
a recent titleholder. “Very often people think that a dress is what wins the
pageant,” observes Elliott-Bear. “They come in knowing all these different
gowns the winners have worn. I’ll hear, ‘Oh yeah, that’s Susan Akin’s dress,’ or
‘That’s Debra Maffett’s dress.’ They see it on TV and they think, ‘They’re
winners, they’ve been there and won, so maybe the same dress will work for me.’
They have it in their mind that this is the dress that wins.”
Dare to Be Different – Beautifully
Judges tire of seeing so many lookalikes and often will select a young woman wearing a completely different look. Consider Miss USAs Michelle Royer, Shannon Marketic, and Lu Parker. In the midst of the string of winners in strapless gowns, these three women won wearing strikingly different styles - still the right image for Miss USA, but individual.
There are other examples of women who dared to be different and won.
Successful pageant gowns range widely! Miss Universe 1984 Yvonne Ryding won the crown wearing a highly unusual evening gown - a flowing white lace caftan.
Debra Carthy-Deu, Miss Puerto Rico, won the 1985 Miss Universe Pageant wearing an ankle-length evening gown that demonstrated her individuality and willingness to wear something significantly different from other contestants.
Nothing even remotely like these styles had won before, but the young ladies
made their gowns winners.
But, unlike winners, who dare to stand out from the crowd, most contestants lack the confidence to be original. Instead, they copy. What they fail to understand is that a true winner does not copy another woman. She has confidence in her own taste and dares to wear what truly flatters her. “A winner doesn’t wear something just because somebody says that’s what wins,” says Kathleen Munson, author of several modeling videos and books. “She is an individualist who goes with what works for her. A winner is not a copy.” Dare to be different.
Yes, Copying Past Winners' Pageant Gowns Can Work
On the other hand, sometimes carefully and strategically copying previous pageant winners' gowns can work beautifully. There are certain classic designs and colors that national and international pageant winners have worn with consistent success. Studying those gown styles and color combinations and emulating them can help you select a gown that is unique to you, but possesses the proven traits of previous winners' gowns.
While we generally advise contestants to avoid wearing a gown that closely resembles the immediate past winner in her pageant system. Obviously, such blatant copying just makes you look like a copycat and will backfire. However, if a successful gown style was worn several years back or by a winner in a different pageant system, it can most often be worn without risk of looking like a copycat.
For example, the following pageant gown styles are highly successful in pageant evening gown competitions and have been recycled with great success by other contestants...
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