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What Your Evening Gown Color Says About You

Choosing the right color for your evening gown can be one of the harder decisions you will make when it comes to getting your pageant wardrobe together. You want to choose a color that will not only look best on your skin but one that will reflect your personality and convey this and your brand to the judges.

What kind of person do you want them to think you are? Different colors portray a different set of emotions and you want to make sure you are giving off the right message through your evening gown. (Read: What Are the Best Pageant Evening Gowns for Each Age Division)

First, let’s talk about the psychology and meaning behind what we wear.

Color Psychology

It is important to know what we wear has an effect on a person’s impression of you, good or bad. This is why the people say you make your first impression based on your style. People will notice what you are wearing first before they open their ears to you.

In pageantry, this means everything because your clothes determine your brand and the judges will take all that into consideration within the first 3-5 seconds of you walking into the room. So, it’s always good to choose your outfits wisely for each phase of the competition.

Here’s what each of the most popular evening gown colors mean about you.

What Your Evening Gown Color Says About You

1. Black

Black represents authority, strength and power. Wearing black creates a favorable impression by showing the judges you are trustworthy, a natural leader and independent. This color is also slimming and good to hide trouble areas.

Be careful however, too much black can come off as dark and mysterious. You want the judges to see you as a person they can trust to be the winner, so be open and transparent when wearing this color. (Read: How to Style Makeup With a Black Evening Gown)

Pageant Coach Terri Bunch says that wearing a black gown can be tricky since it can be overwhelming on some contestants.

“[Black gowns] need some kind of shimmer or accent to them and I do not recommend them unless you are a blonde,” Bunch said. “Miss America 2017 Savvy Shields demonstrates this concept. The combination of black and velvet draws your eyes up to her face.”

Savvy Shields,Miss America 2017, choose an all black velvet gown - Photo: Miss America Organization
Savvy Shields, Miss America 2017. Photo: Miss America Organization

2. White 

White is common in the Miss America system. Since 2000, 10 of the last 16 winners chose a white, nude or silver gown. This could be because the MAO system is a more conservative, but that mold is changing.

White represents innocence, purity and cleanliness. Depending on the make of the gown, with the additional stage lights, you can appear angelic wearing all white. The problem comes when too much white begins to wash you out, so it’s best to either accessorize with a bold color like red or chose a gown that accentuates your best features.

White is popular because it can look good on anyone and is a universal color. Shelby Poskochil, The Pageant Planet’s Queen of Fashion, says it’s not the white gown who wins but the person in the gown. (Read: How to Win in a White Gown)

“White is popular for the simple fact that it is incredibly complementary on so many different types of contestants,” said Shelby. “However, ultimately it is not the dress that wins it is the girl inside it.”

Whitney Wandland, Miss Illinois USA 2017, wins in a white evening gown. (Photo: Whitney Wandland Instagram)
Whitney Wandland, Miss Illinois USA 2017. Photo: Whitney Wandland Instagram

3. Red 

Red is also a popular evening gown selection for more obvious reasons. It comes off as captivating and reflects energy, power, strength and maturity.

This is my favorite color to wear because it contrasts perfectly with my darker skin tone. Red also excludes confidence and draws the eye to you as a person who is demanding attention, which on stage is exactly what you want to do. (Read: How to Pick the Right Red Evening Gown)

LaToya Mayo, Miss Black District of Columbia USA 2017. Photo: Miss Black District of Columbia

4/5. Blue and Green

These two colors represent tranquility and a sense of calmness, relaxation and loyalty.

Think about it. When people want to take a vacation, where do they usually try to go? The beach (blue water) or somewhere in nature (green). These colors are relaxing to look at. Green, specifically, makes people feel connected to nature. (Read: The Secret to Styling a Green Pageant Gown)

Pia wore a red gown during the preliminary competition for Miss Universe. She changed to win the title in blue.
Pia Wurtzbach, Miss Universe 2015. Photo: Miss Universe Organization


While wore green to win Miss USA. Like Alyssa, green is a popular color for women with red hair since it directly contrasts with the gown.
Alyssa Campanella, Miss USA 2011. Photo: Miss USA

6. Purple

This color can be tricky or masterful, it depends on how the contestant wears it. Purple is rarely found on the pageant stage, but Olivia Culpo introduced this color as one to win in when she took home the Miss USA title.

Purple has a long history of representing royalty and wealth. The combination of red and blue creates a mix of power and calmness or tranquility.

Purple was a favorite for Olivia when she nabbed the Miss USA title.
Olivia Culpo, Miss Universe 2012. Miss USA Organization


Pink works when it comes to competing as a Teen, however because of this, pink is a rather popular color in this category, so wearing it could either make you stand out or blend in.

When I competed for as a teen in the USA system, out of 110 teens, a good 45-50% of us had on a pink gown, but the winner also wore pink.

This color gives the judges a sense of innocence along with kindness. Since pink is often associate with female genders, this color is often associated with youth. (Read: 14 Red and Pink Interview Outfits)

Olivia Jordan, Miss USA 2015, competes in her hot pink evening gown. HO/Miss Universe Organization L.P., LLLP
Olivia Jordan, Miss USA 2015. HO/Miss Universe Organization L.P., LLLP

What do the judges say?

The evening gown portion puts a stamp on who wins, and the onstage question (if you are doing it in your gown) just secures your win with a bow. When it comes to color, you need to know what looks best with your skin tone. (Read: How Do You Find the Right Evening Gown for Your Skin Tone?)

Bunch says that aside from color, if the fit is not up to par, the color does not even matter.

“A less expensive gown with a perfect fit is better than an expensive gown that does not fit perfectly,” Bunch said.

She says movement, presentation and confidence are key to winning the crown of your dreams. Judges do not look at individual colors, but rather how the girl is portrayed and her overall presence.

Shelby also agrees the color does not matter.

“I once had a judge tell me that the contestant they select as their winner is always the contestant that they couldn’t even tell you what they were wearing, all they could see was the contestant herself,” Shelby said.

Best of luck, ladies! If you have any additional questions, please let us know in the comments and we will get back to you.

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