Finding the right evening gown can, at times, be a struggle. If you are anything like me, I am always screen-shotting the prettiest gowns I find on Instagram. Trying on gowns is one of my favorite parts of pageantry. Who doesn’t like to dress up? If you are looking for that once-in-a-lifetime gown, consider velvet for the fabric. This fabric is making a comeback in a major way and will probably be a hot item in the coming years.
Miss America 2017, Savvy Shields, is one of the latest contestants to go for velvet and win. Savvy wore a black velvet halter gown with a deep sweetheart neckline. She completed her look with a bold, red lip and pulled her hair up. She looked gorgeous walking across the stage and presented a very timeless look. (Read: Miss America 2017 Evening Gown: HIT or MISS?)
Velvet has a way of making a contestant looking royal, timeless and elegant. The soft fabric forms to any body type and, with the dark, color can contrast well with any skin tone.
Velvet Pageant Dress: Why You Should Be Wearing One
A Brief History of Velvet
Velvet was used thousands of years ago in Egypt and could be found throughout Italy and even as far east as China. It is made with silk thread and has a gorgeous sheen and depth of color. The fabric allows light to reflect off of it from different angles and creates a smooth, rich color that is perfect for the pageant stage. Often wore by royalty, velvet is perfect as you grace the stage to claim your dream title.
(For more on how secrets to finding your dream gown, read: 6 Secrets to Discovering The Perfect Evening Gown for Your Next Pageant)
Contestants like Sydney Marsh, Miss Madison United States, love velvet. Marsh owns two gowns made of velvet and said that she knew she wanted to wear this type of gown when she saw it on another titleholder. She owns a black gown from the Christian Pelayo Xtian Collection and a won in a red Mac Duggal gown.
Here’s a fun fact: Her gown originally belonged to Nia Sanchez for Miss Universe. However, Nia chose another gown and the dress was picked up by Marsh, who wore it for her pageant. Marsh says velvet gowns are rare and different.
“It is the most comfortable gown and has a classic look and it stands out,” Marsh said.
When it comes to the fit, she said fabric is great.
“[It] stretches and can fit the curve of your body really well,” Marsh said. “It doesn’t confine and can fit a variety of sizes. It’s versatile and looks good on any skin tone.”
Velvet gowns will stand out on their own while on stage, so even though the design is simple, you do not need to dress up the gown too much with accessories. Marsh paired her gown up with jewelry that had red accents and wore her hair back in a half-up, half-down style. She kept her look simple to allow the gown to speak for itself.
This fabric looks best in the darker shades, like deep purple, red or black. With the darker color and fabric density, this look is often synonymous with a winter or colder appearance. People often associate velvet with corduroy, which is also popular for fall/winter looks.
Miss Washington 2011, Britney Henry, also chose velvet for her Miss America gown. She wore it both for state and nationals. She first saw a velvet gown on a former Miss California during an appearance.
“[The outfit] was just so simple and plain but breath-taking and eye-catching,” Henry said. “I always wanted to look like that.”
In her Miss America gown, Britney also kept her accessories simple. Her Sherri Hill gown fell off her shoulders, shaped her body, and was completed with a thigh-high split.
When it comes to the best season to wear this gown, Henry suggested keeping this gown as a winter pageant gown because the fabric is heavy and can be hot to wear during a long pageant in the summer. Henry wore hers in January.
“I personally find velvet somewhat seasonable but appropriate for night time and evening wear,” Henry said.
The smoothness of the fabric creates a chic, sophisticated look, so a winter pageant is the best fit for the right velvet dress, like the one Olivia Culpo wore a few days before Christmas when she won Miss Universe.
Both Marsh and Henry said that having a velvet gown was easy to take care of and there was little if any serious care that they had to worry about when traveling.
Velvet is making a comeback on the pageant stage and is no longer considered a 90’s fashion trend. It has been long overdue to see the right velvet gown. With Savvy’s win in both black and velvet, I would not be surprised if we see one or both of these combinations during the 2017 pageant season. It is definitely a way to stand out on stage and draw the judges eye to you for a royal and elegance look and feel.
Do you have a velvet gown and want to share your experiences with us? Comment below and let us know some of your favorite things about your velvet gown!