Interview is the first and arguably the most important part of a pageant. It is the only point in the competition where you will have one-on-one time with the judges. The rest of the time, you will be on the stage. So, this is your shot to sell yourself to judges and convince them that you are the one who should take home the crown.
While being well spoken and up-to-date on current events is crucial to succeeding in the interview room, what you wear is just as important. A dress that is too short or sexy, especially in the Ms./Mrs. categories, can send the wrong message to the judges from the start.
Interview outfits are a tricky subject. There are thousands of styles, cuts and colors to choose from. Should you go with a traditional suit, a dress, or jump on the latest trend of jumpsuits?
How to Pick the Best Ms./Mrs. Interview Outfit
Pay Attention to Color
No matter how great the outfit fits, if a contestant does not choose the right color, the outfit may fall flat.
“Most newbies gravitate towards navy or black,” said pageant coach Wendi Russo. “In my opinion, that is a pageant no-no.”
Wendi has been involved in the pageant world since 2007. She is a coach specializing in the Mrs. division. She coached former Mrs. Corporate America, Kylah Johnson. Wendi was 1st Runner-up for Ms. America and Mrs. United States. She has also competed in Mrs. Galaxy, placing 2nd Runner-up, and won the title of Mrs. United Nations 2016.
“You’re not interviewing for a banking position,” Wendi said. “You still need to stand out and to me, a color does that very nicely. If you were interviewing for a traditional corporate job then you would be in black or navy.”
Wendi advised Kylah to dress in yellow for her interview at Mrs. Corporate America.
“She looked professional and divine,” Wendi said. “You want a color that looks well on you since you are being judged on facial beauty in interview.”
The way your outfit hugs the body and where it falls are some of the easiest details to overlook. Even if you have a fantastic body, a dress that is too baggy can make you look heavier. The wrong length can chop up the body in a way that makes you appear super short or frumpy.
“You want a conservative length because you are a Mrs. or Ms.,” Wendi said. “And you may be sitting down, which also will shorten your dress a bit. Nothing low-cut, in my opinion, and nothing that looks like you [are] going to a cocktail party.”
Wendi has dressed Ms./Mrs. clients in Fernando Wong suits and dresses, Black Halo, BCBG, Mark Bouwer and occasionally Calvin Klein. It is also important to remember that different styles work for different systems.
“Every system has its nuances,” Wendi said. “United States is slightly sexier. America is more conservative and jumpsuits are okay as well. Galaxy is a little more fashion forward. Mrs. America could be conservative to more fitted.”
She also says that if you choose a jumpsuit, the fit has to be immaculate. Something too baggy, too thin or flimsy will be all the judges will see, and not the woman in the jumpsuit.
“You need to be very careful about the message you were sending with the fabric and the weight of what you are wearing as well as the fit,” she said. “I recommend a fitted outfit that is not busy and does not have print.
Don’t be Afraid to Spend Money
Let’s face it, pageants can be expensive. You want to save money wherever you can. Spending less on an interview outfits seems like a reasonable solution. However, it may actually hurt your score in the long run.
“I notice the girls do not want to spend a lot of money on their interview outfit,” she said. “However if you spend $40 on something, the fabric is so thin you probably will see through it. Remember, you will still wear this in the future after you win, so invest wisely because this is the message you are sending while you are communicating to the judges about why you should be chosen. So even if you spend slightly more than $100 on your interview dress, just know you will wear that throughout your year and it will have been a good investment.”
Regardless of what you chose to wear, the bottom line is to keep it classy, ladies!