Pageant Tips for Nationals #3 - The Perfect Evening Gown

Last year in the spring, my Mom and I were studying websites and pageantry magazines to find my perfect evening gown for competition. We had found it!!! (or so we thought…) The dress was a deep red gown that graced the back cover of Pageantry Magazine’s spring edition. Meanwhile, we were also travelling to Dothan for my headshots and took the picture with us to show Joey of the Competitive Image as we were going to order it from him.

Joey knew us, having worked with me the year before when I competed as Miss Teen DC International (making top ten) for both my gown and fun fashion (I won fun fashion in 2009). In 2009, we described the dress of my dreams to Joey- a beautiful blue lace and beaded mermaid style, with the bottom covered in feathers. Together, with Sherri Hill, Joey created the dress of my dreams- a custom Sherri Hill that to this day will always be my favorite. It was exactly as I had imagined it when it arrived to my home! I slipped it on and it fit like a glove- thank you Joey!!!

Well, when my mom and I arrived at Dothan last May, sure that the red satin gown was the one- Joey gently and very diplomatically disagreed. When we went to his shop to get the head shots, he took us to a back, special room, where he keeps his pageant competition gowns. We had missed the Sherri Hill trunk show the month earlier, but Joey had told Sherri Hill that I was coming and she sent some gowns for me to try that had not yet been seen by anyone. The first gown was white. My mom protested, telling Joey that, "Everyone wears white, red will stand out!” Joey protested back and said, “Just try it on.”

And so I did, and again, I fell in love instantly. It brought tears to my eyes and to my Mom’s as well. Joey, confidently said, “That is the one”….and he was right!! Joey is always right (that’s what my Mom always says). Even though my Mom made me try on every dress Joey had in my size, nothing held a candle to this one. There was one problem though, I really wanted a train on my gown. Not to worry, Joey made that happen as he noted the changes to the dress, took my exact measurements and called Sherri Hill’s office to place the order while we were there with him. If you want the perfect gown, I recommend that you work with Joey Rutherford of the Competitive Image. In the end, you will definitely be glad that you took the trip to get expert advice from one of the best pageant wardrobe consultants in the country!!

The end of the story is that indeed I won evening gown and my dream is to wear this very gown again when I give up my crown in July.

Juliana McKee


  1. LOve this story and the tips.
    You are so lovely Juliana.


  2. Great tips! If you ever sell the white gown let me know :)
    Facebook: search Kelsi Greenlees Ullom


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