Top 5 Formal Wear Competition Tips


You’ve purchased the dress, you’ve practiced the walk, and you feel ready to hit the stage! You might feel ready for your pageant’s Formal Wear Competition, but may unknowingly overlook multiple aspects that could cost you precious points! Ensure readiness for your upcoming competition with our Top 5 Formal Wear Competition Tips!

1. Gown Selection

First and foremost, your gown must be age appropriate not only your age division, but should reflect the style and values of your pageant system. Just as if you are competing in the PreTeen division, you should definitely not be wearing a mermaid style or tight-fitting gown since that would be more appropriate for a Miss division competitor. When it comes to a pageants brand, systems want their division queens to look like their age for marketing purposes. When all the queens are pictured together, it should be easy to define which girl represents which age division. Selecting a gown that is too juvenile or too mature for your age division can cost you points, which can easily be avoided! Not sure if your gown is the right one for your upcoming competition? Let us review it!

2. Alterations

If your dress is too long, you’ll most likely trip on it onstage. If your dress is too short, it imposes a big distraction to your judges since most of the time they are seated at eye level with your feet. Make sure that your evening gown perfectly touches the ground by utilizing a local alterations business. You can find one close to your area in our Affiliate Directory. When getting alterations done, be sure to wear the actual heels you are going to wear for the Formal Wear Competition and stand on a hard surface when making alteration marks since standing on carpet can allow you to sink and you won’t get accurate markings. When it comes to evening gowns, alterations are your best friend that really can make or break your performance on stage!

3. Hair Accessories

The only accessory that should be on your head, is an invisible crown that’s waiting for the real crown to take its place. Wearing your own crown from home, a headband, rhinestone clips, or any other type of hair accessory is not the brightest idea when you are competing to essentially win a crown! It’s best to keep in mind that if you already have an accessory in your hair, where will your new crown go? Your judges will definitely take this factor into consideration when scoring. Keep it simple when styling your hair and just imagine that the crown is already on your head when competing in the Formal Wear Competition – you will exude more confidence than you know!

4. Emcee Cards

Your Emcee Cards that are being read while you float across the stage, matter! Be strategic when creating your content as each piece of information should relate back to your personal pageant brand. Most of the time when competing in large competitions, your judges will not remember every single contestant from what is said in the Interview Competition. It is up to you to reiterate your brand points through every area of competition to maintain memorability as a contestant and your Emcee Cards are a prime time to do so! Submit your Emcee Cards for review through our Feedback Submission area.

5. Scanning

The eye is attracted to movement and it is your job to make sure that all eyes are on you when competing in the Formal Wear Competition! Whenever you come to a stopped pose on stage, the worst thing you can do is stand completely still because your judges will start to look for other things that are moving to focus their attention on. Scanning your judges by creating slow shoulder-to-shoulder head movements will keep the focal point at your face, which is exactly where you want your judges looking. It is beneficial to utilize this tip when on stage with all the other contestants to keep all eyes on you! Watch our Consulting Video on how to create a Winning Walk!

By following these tips we hope that you will see your Formal Wear Competition scores skyrocket at your next competition!

Become a Sash Girl to receive even more tips that are highly detailed and personalized! Click HERE!


Favorite Miss America Evening Gowns 2017


1. Miss America 2017 Savvy Shields (Miss Arkansas 2016)


Like they say, sometimes less is more! The simplicity of this little black Sherri Hill Couture velvet gown from Buffie’s All the Rage had Savvy looking like a Miss America even before the crown was placed upon her head. The unique pointed tips of the neckline were a nice touch along with the silver plated earrings and bracelet that were just the right amount of sparkle.

2. Miss Indiana 2016 Brianna DeCamp


Not a finalist – not a problem! Miss Indiana made the cut for our 2017 Favorite Miss America Evening Gowns with her body-complimenting blush tone mermaid evening gown by Sherri Hill Couture from Miss Priss. Most times stripes can be distracting on stage, but Brianna’s horizontal line designed bodice created the perfect silhouette. Her color-matched earrings and soft up-do hairstyle were also a great combination in styling her look to perfection.

3. Miss Maryland 2016 Hannah Brewer


A simplistic yet sophisticated Jovani Couture design from Regalia Magnificent Apparel worn by Miss Maryland. Red was a great choice in color for Hannah to contrast from her brown locks. Not to mention the center diamond keyhole that brought the eye down to her waistline and the criss-cross neckline that brought it back up to her flawless face. The lack of sparkle wasn’t even a deterring factor in this dress being a complete showstopper!

4. Miss Mississippi 2016 Laura Lee Lewis


When you cross Cinderella with Elsa you get, Miss Mississippi! This fully beaded gown from Lasting Impressions Formal Wear with an attached chiffon cape was a fantastic selection for the Miss America stage. Styled with statement earrings and a pulled back hairstyle, Laura radiated confidence in this custom Sherri Hill gown and worked her cape accessory like no other.

5. Miss Oklahoma 2016 Sarah Klein


Miss Oklahoma was daring when she stepped out in this green Jovani number from Regalia Magnificent Apparel. It’s always a breath of fresh air not to see the typical neutral color tones in the Miss division and Sarah really pulled this look off and made it work! Her blonde bob and sun kissed skin tone made for the perfect color and styling palette for the green multi-toned gown to pop on.

6. Miss South Carolina 2016 Rachel Wyatt


Truly the perfect pageant evening gown. A deep v neckline, an accentuated waistline, an attached overskirt, and soft pastel fabrics were definitely a hit on Miss South Carolina. None other than a Jovani from Regalia Magnificent Apparel, Rachel was a real life doll floating across the Miss America stage. Her bold drop earrings were a complimenting accessory piece and had just the right amount of sparkle on her belt and lace appliqué’s.

Need help selecting a winning evening gown for your upcoming pageant? Click HERE!


2017 Miss America Top 5 Predictions


Congratulations to the 2017 Miss America Preliminary Winners!

Night 1:

Talent – Miss Tennessee
Lifestyle & Fitness – Miss District of Columbia

Night 2:

Talent – Miss Arkansas
Lifestyle & Fitness – Miss Maryland

Night 3:

Talent – Miss Michigan
Lifestyle and Fitness – Miss Ohio

Now, who will be our next Miss America?? Be sure to watch the live finale this Sunday, Sept. 11, on ABC! It was a tough challenge to narrow down 52 beautiful, talented, and driven young women to only a top five and we know the judges will have an even tougher time selecting only one representative to serve as our next Miss America! After taking all aspects into consideration, here are our 2017 Miss America Top 5 Predictions!

Miss Alabama 2016 Hayley Barber


Talent: Tap Dance
Platform: Sight for Small Eyes – Advocacy for Comprehensive Eye Examinations at a Young Age, and Fundraising for Children with Low Vision

Miss Arkansas 2016 Savvy Shields

Talent: Jazz Dance
Platform: Eat Better, Live Better

Miss District of Columbia 2016 Cierra Jackson

Talent: Vocal
Platform: Behind the Frontline: Supporting Military Children

Miss Kansas 2016 Kendall Schoenekase

View More:
Talent: Vocal
Platform: Stay Alive – Don’t Text and Drive

Miss Maryland 2016 Hannah Brewer

Talent: Vocal
Platform: Hannah’s Heroes

Do you want to someday compete on the Miss America stage?? Become a Sash Girl to utilize all the pageant resources you will need in order to succeed in the Miss America Organization!


Interview Preparation Techniques


Question: How should I be preparing for the Personal Interview Competition?

Answer: You need to find a technique that works best for YOU! We can guarantee you that the way you prepare for the Personal Interview Competition will be completely different than the contestants next to you in the lineup did – and that’s okay! The beauty of individuality is that everyone learns differently. When beginning to prepare for your Personal Interview, it is best to find what type of learner you are: Visual, Auditory, Read-Write, and/or Kinesthetic. Below are our top five interview preparation techniques that will help you in finding your preparation niche along with how to apply each technique to your preparation efforts.

1. Flashcards

This is a great starter method for getting back into the mode of preparing for the Personal Interview Competition. For this method, write down an interview question on one side of a flashcard and on the other side jot down a few keywords that will spark the speaking topic of your answer. By “keywords,” we mean your brand points, personal stories, platform, etc. Preparing by flashcards is a great technique to utilize if you are preparing on your own with no assistance from others and in an individualized setting where you can freely practice verbalizing your answers without peer critique.

2. Memorization

When nerves are known to hit in the interview room, some contestants prefer to memorize their answers word for word. While we don’t necessarily recommend memorizing answers for every single possible question that could potentially be asked, we do find that memorizing personal stories, concepts, and keywords that can be used as a stepping stone will help spark a speaking topic for your answer. If you must memorize, don’t memorize an answer from beginning to end, instead memorize short blurbs regarding your brand points, platform, opinions on controversial topics, along with anything written on your resume!

3. Journaling

One of the most effective interview preparation methods is journaling. Make an effort to write out at least one interview question per day followed by a full and complete answer. Unlike auditory practicing, reading and writing gives you the opportunity to really evaluate your answer content, make necessary edits at any time, and is ultimately a reference book since you will not always remember what you said to every interview question you verbally practiced. Also having a journal full of interview questions and answers that is 100% tailored to YOU is a very useful tool to bring along with you to pageant weekend to review before heading into the Personal Interview Competition.

4. Voice Recording

This technique is for the perfectionist as it is meant to be a self-critiquing method. By utilizing a voice recording device, ask yourself an interview question and then reply with an answer. Then listen back to your answer and think about the following: How did my voice inflection sound? Did I include enough substantial content that related to any of my brand points? What else could I have included or omitted that would improve my answer? After your self-critique is complete, ask yourself the same question, deliver a new answer, listen back, and repeat the process until you are satisfied enough with your answer to move on to practicing a new question.

5. Peer Critique

This method works best if a pageant consultant is hired. You should partake in mock interviews with an individual who does not know you personally and are situated in a setting that is unfamiliar to you. This is simply because you will not (and should not) personally know your judge and will most likely be in an environment that is new to you during the Personal Interview Competition. Most of the time new faces and places can alter a contestants overall interview delivery so it is best to practice in these elements so that your hired professional can provide you with the most accurate feedback they can to help you reach your full potential!

We know that by implementing one or more of the above techniques into your interview preparation regiment, you will be one step closer to winning your upcoming pageant!

Schedule a Mock Interview or submit your Interview Question Answers for Feedback with a Studio Sash Consultant! Click HERE!


Interview Preparation Timeline


Question: How far in advance should I be preparing for the Personal Interview Competition?

Answer: The best time to start preparing for the Personal Interview Competition is on a continual basis. As a competitor, you will constantly be learning new things about yourself, finding your stance on controversial topics, and determining your opinion on the latest current events. When it comes to really buckling down and honing your interview skills, we recommend starting interview preparations no later than three months prior to your competition date.

Three Months Prior:

Time To Get Started! During this time, get started on developing a rough draft of your resume and creating a list of interview questions relating to topics written on your resume that a judge could potentially ask you. If you find that there are topics on your resume that you are unable to relate to the job of being a titleholder when verbally stating an answer, we highly recommend making revisions during this time to find your brand points and topics of interest that will captivate your judges most. In this first month of preparations, only focus on practicing questions that are about YOU! Once you have mastered knowing who you are as an individual and competitor, you are ready to move on to other question categories.

Need assistance defining your brand points or fine-tuning your resume? Click HERE!

Two Months Prior:

Almost There! During this time, you should have a solid draft of your resume completed, while continuing to work on questions that might come from your resume, along with starting to incorporate general interview questions like the ones that are listed and constantly updated in our Sash Girl Membership Interview Question Database. You should also be able to speak effortlessly about any topics relating to you, your platform, your hobbies/activities, career goals, etc., when two months out from the competition date. The ultimate goal is to be able to incorporate your brand points and personal stories into any type of question – even ones that are not asking anything about you directly! Not only will this improve your answer content, but will make for an overall memorable Personal Interview.

Want to schedule a Mock Interview with a Studio Sash Consultant to practice delivering your answer content?
Click HERE!

One Month Prior:

It’s Crunch Time! During this time, you should continue to work on your resume and practice general questions while also scouring the latest and most relevant news topics! If competing in a pageant based on political questions, find your favorite reliable news sources and be sure to subscribe to their notifications! If you are not competing in a system that asks politically based questions, research pop culture stories that are highlighted in the media, be knowledgeable on any news that relates to your platform or activities you are involved in, along with keeping updated on advances that have been made in your current or future career path. Know what is going on in the world around you!

We know that by following this Interview Preparation Timeline along with active preparations as a Sash Girl Member, that you will be set for success at your upcoming pageant!

Not yet a Sash Girl member? Click HERE!