What pageant gown color should you wear in pageants? When selecting your pageant gown, understand the psychology of color. “Sixty percent of a person’s reaction to any situation is based on color,” claims Carlton Wagner, director of the Wagner Institute for Color Research.’ A contestant can use her pageant gown colors to control how judges react to her during the evening gown competition. (Note: Information here can also be applied to choosing pageant interview suits).
Every pageant gown color has a distinct image that sends a message about the wearer. Although that message is silent, it is so predictable that television and film wardrobe specialists use wardrobe colors to silently telegraph an actress’s character to viewers. “If the actress is playing a virginal scene of honesty I am certainly not going to have her in red,” explained “Dallas” costumer Bill Trayell during a Miami Herald interview. “I’ll put her in a clear, lovely color to create an aura of honesty, like shell pink. And if you know she is telling a lie, I can help her in her dialogue by putting her in an olive green or another shady, muddy, un-trusting color.”
Likewise, colors craft very specific images in pageants. “For instance,” says Kathleen Munson, “I think it’s a very different contestant who comes out in a black gown than comes out in a white gown. Black develops an image of sophistication, glamour, maturity, and elegance onstage. Light colors will be more whimsical and younger, and red is reactionary.” White creates an even more distinct image, according to pageant clothes designer Ada Duckett. “White represents purity. Queen Elizabeth wore white for her coronation and brides wear white because they are special. The same way, most Miss Americas have worn white.”
Evening gown colors talk…What does your pageant gown say about you?
From the standpoint of human response, a pageant gown’s color subtly conveys a specific image to judges. For instance, the candidate in glow-in-the-dark orange fabric will project a far different image than the young lady in dainty pastel pink. Since color and style define a young woman’s image and tell judges who she is, contestants should choose gown colors with great care.”
Therefore, different colors can be consciously chosen to reflect a girl’s personality, to soften an overpowering personality, or to convey a specific image to the judges panel. Pageant gown colors instantly create an image for judges, telling them volumes about your personality, taste, and suitability to be their titleholder.
Colors Create Specific Impressions For Judges
If Colors Could Speak…Research has demonstrated that colors have definite personalities:
- WHITE: Pure, clean, innocent, ladylike, uniforms
- IVORY: Elegant, refined, feminine, classic
- RED: Confident, aggressive, exciting, outgoing, sexy
- PINK – feminine, nonthreatening, delicate, adolescent
- BLUES – Calm, conservative, dignified, # 1 favorite color
- NAVY – Conservative, reserved, traditional, official
- AQUA – Outgoing; men find it extremely attractive on women
- YELLOW – Cheerful, friendly, outgoing, “people person”
- ORANGE – Active, cheerful, enthusiastic, stimulating
- GREEN – Open, refreshing, outdoorsy, restful, money, not in good health (hospital green)
- DARK GREEN – Refined, associated with money, drab
- BROWN – Reliable, friendly, practical, dull, drab
- GRAY – Conservative, classic, refined, calm, stodgy
- PURPLE – Dignified, associated with royalty, sadness
- WINE/BURGUNDY – Regal, understated elegance, wealth
- BLACK – Sophisticated, serious, mature, dignified
- PASTELS – Soothing, youthful, feminine, nonthreatening
Specific Colors + Specific Styles = Very Specific Pageant Images
While color can be used to develop a specific image, color alone won’t complete that look. When it comes to selecting the right pageant gown, color must be combined with the right style to create an exact image. Try experimenting with mixing different combinations of gown colors and styles.
- A red velvet strapless gown creates a very different image than a red sequin gown with a plunging neckline.
- A red chiffon gown with a flowing skirt and lace bodice creates another completely different image.
- The same chiffon gown in white changes the image more.
By carefully combining styles and colors, a contestant can develop an exact image that makes her look and feel like a winner.
Use color psychology to create a specific image that tells judges who you are. “You really have to understand what’s best for you,” says Munson. “Dorothy Benham won in red [sequins]. Susan Perkins won in a purple [chiffon] gown. You’ve got to go with what works for you.” Make sure the color you choose sends the right message.
Just as the right gown design can improve a figure, the right gown color can help a contestant achieve a winning look.