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10 Reasons You Should NOT Wear a Black Evening Gown

Maaliyah Papillion, Miss Louisiana USA 2016. Photo Courtesy of Nick Verreos.
Maaliyah Papillion, Miss Louisiana USA 2016. Photo Courtesy of Nick Verreos.

Black is the color of sophistication and class. It’s a classic color that has been a staple of elegance for decades. Recently, the color black has become a popular choice among pageant contestants. However elegant and stunning you may think the color black is, it is not for everyone. (Read: How To Choose The Right Evening Gown For Your Body Type)

When is the color black NOT appropriate to wear in a competition? We’ve put together the top 10 reasons that black may not be for you.

10 Reasons you Should NOT wear a Black Evening Gown

1. Age Division

It is a general rule of thumb that any division under Preteen, or ages about 10-12, should stay away from a black evening gown. Black tends to age a contestant and give off a more mature look.

However, breaking up the harsh black with a pop of color, such as white, can give the dress a more youthful look. Having a black bodice with a white or printed skirt can help make a dress look less mature for younger contestants. (Read: Top 10 Preteen Evening Gowns of 2016)

Abbigail Hancock PHD photography
Abbigail Hancock poses on stage during a pageant. Photo courtesy of PHD Photography.

 

2. Skin Tone

Black is one of those tricky colors to wear. If you are too pale, the color can wash you out on stage and leave you looking like more of a ghost than a queen.

If you have a richer, darker tone, the color can blend into your skin tone and not be a standout. Consider using the appropriate tanners or bronzers to get the perfect glow for your black gown. If not sure, seek a professional for more information about tanning. (Read: The 5 Rules of Spray Tanning Every Pageant Girl Should Know)

International Junior Miss Jr Teen Amaiya Allen wore this black and white layered ball gown when she won nationals.
International Junior Miss Jr. Teen Amaiya Allen wore this black and white layered ball gown when she won nationals.

 

3. Hair Color

Your hair color is important when wearing a black dress. Black shows everything, so you cannot hide any flaws in coloration. Be sure that the shade of your natural hair or hair color you choose not only flatters you but the gown as well. Going too dark or too light with your hair color can change the entire look of the dress. It also can make the black gown appear to be unflattering.

Miss America, Savvy Shields wows judges in her velvet gown via @Yahoo
Miss America Savvy Shields wows judges in her velvet gown. Photo: Yahoo

4. Pageant Stage

Some pageants tend to have dark backgrounds on stage. There can be black curtains, black floors or black props behind you.

A dark background on stage can cause your beautiful black gown to blend in instead of stand out. Be sure to do your research or simply ask the director if the stage background will be black before choosing a black gown.

Caroline Carothers, Miss Texas 2016 - Photo Courtesy of wjla.com
Caroline Carothers, Miss Texas 2016. Photo Courtesy of wjla.com

5. Pageant System

Be sure that a black gown is appropriate for the system in which you are competing. Some systems are very conservative, therefore a sexy black gown wouldn’t win over the judges. For other pageants, a black gown may be completely appropriate. This is when it is important to do your homework! (Shop: Pageant Jewelry)

Chakiva Latrell, Ms. All World International Beauties 2015. Photo Courtesy of Chakiva Latrell.
Chakiva Latrell, Ms. All World International Beauties 2015. Photo Courtesy of Chakiva Latrell

6. Feels Uncomfortable

This should go without saying, but if you do not feel comfortable in the gown, you should not wear it. Judges are able to pick up on the slightest of things during competition.

If a black gown does not make you feel your absolute best on stage, you should absolutely not wear it.

Candice Christian, USA National Miss Delegate 2016
Candice Christian, a contestant in USA National Miss 2016, poses on the runway. Photo courtesy of Amanda Ferguson.

 

7. Lighting

This is the age of instant gratification through social media and we all know just how crucial lighting can be. While we often worry about lighting in terms of getting the perfect selfie, we often don’t think of lighting when it comes to choosing our evening gown.

If you’ve never competed in a particular system before, do you research and talk to former contestants about the stage lighting. Some pageants tend to have really bright stage lights that can offer a great contrast between your dress and the stage. Others have dim lights, which can cause a black dress to disappear completely.

Makayla Crafton poses for a photo. Photo courtesy of L & M Bling.
Makayla Crafton poses for a photo. Photo courtesy of L & M Bling.

 

8. Body Shape

Your body shape can determine if the color black is one that helps or hinders you. While black can be a forgiving color and give some the appearance of a more slender frame, for others it can do just the opposite.

Be mindful of the cut of the dress as well as the embellishments, and be sure to choose a black dress that looks best on your unique body. (Read: 4 Style Secrets to Dress for Your Body Type)

Alexandria Houston, Ms. American Elegance 2017. Photo courtesy of Radh Balwan.
Alexandria Houston, Ms. American Elegance 2017. Photo courtesy of Radh Balwan.

 

9. Fit

This doesn’t just apply to black gowns; fit is important for any color gown. Fit is especially important for black gowns because they can and will show any mistakes.

If the fit of the gown is off, you simply should not wear it.

USA National Miss Georgia 2017, Talisha White
Talisha White, USA National Miss Georgia 2017. Photo courtesy of Amanda Ferguson.

 

10.  Style

No matter the color, style is a big factor in choosing a gown. Some styles instantly change when in the color black. A simple ball gown shape that would be lovely for a Preteen or Jr. Teen instantly become “sexy” when in the color black.

A short, fitted dress can instantly become inappropriate in black, while in hot pink it is considered to be fun and flirty. If the style of the dress is instantly changed by the color, consider if that change is good or bad.

Miss Michigan USA 2017, Krista Ferguson. Photo: Miss Michigan USA Facebook Page
Miss Michigan USA 2017, Krista Ferguson. Photo: Miss Michigan USA Facebook Page

 

Going Forward

Be sure that you take in these 10 reasons you should not wear a black gown before deciding to wear one. You should absolutely love your gown, no matter the color!

Which dress do you like better?

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