Fun Fashion Advice

I didn’t realize how much I have learned about pageantry until I started sharing my thoughts with all of you! As I re-read my “Pre-Pageant Prep” blog I thought, oh I forgot about this or that! There are many aspects of pageantry and I would not have understood how to balance then if not for the experienced team guiding me. I hope they don’t mind that I am passing on some of their wisdom.

One of the hardest decisions for me was figuring out what to wear for the Fun Fashion portion of the competition. I was told it was “a mix between a showgirl costume and Dancing with the Stars.”  Well of course, my mind started racing with ideas! Feathers, pearls, rhinestones, long skirt, short skirt, or both! The possibilities are endless. 

I tried on a few interesting dresses, but nothing I found was quite giving me the look I wanted. Two months before the pageant my mom said, “Either we start making it ourselves or we buy one of the dresses we’ve tried on...” It was crunch time! We hesitantly decided to start making it ourselves. Keep in mind we have no experience making dresses especially for stage. My mom has made a few Halloween costumes throughout the years but nothing very complicated. Using the internet I picked out the fabric and color scheme and went diligently to work every night attempting to create the perfect shape and fit for my body. We covered a Victoria’s Secret Bombshell Bra with fabric so the top gave me lots of lift and the bottom was literally sewn while wrapped onto my body to get it to fit perfectly. Once we had the basic structure created I went to a local store called Crystal Couture, aka heaven, where they sell bulk Swarovski crystals. I bought as many as I could carry out of the store, went straight home and began the rhinestoning process. If you plan on rhinestoning anything, you MUST HAVE U6000 glue and long tweezers or else you will go insane. Also, I used white chalk to lightly draw out the design I wanted and wiped it away when I was finished. Using rhinestones in a mix of size and shapes creates a more appealing finished product than merely covering every square inch in the same size stones.

When I brought the barely-tacked-together costume to my pageant coach she looked at me like…”are you crazy?” I don’t think she has ever had someone compete at a national pageant with a homemade outfit. But, I was positive this was the best choice for me. Here is why…

The Fit – We designed it to make me look tall and slim. As a short girl with thick thighs, that is a difficult task to do.  After working out every day and developing a decent six pack we decided I could pull off a mid-drift revealing design of some kind. We also made sure that the front of the skirt had a V-shape so it would elongate my torso and show off my abs, we curved the hem of the skirt to make my legs appear longer, and made sure we kept a sweetheart shape around the bust to make it appear shapely. 

Attention short girls, I highly suggest emphasizing your natural waistline or “high waist”. The hip hugger look is not flattering on us! By raising the waistline, you give the illusion that your legs are much longer than they may actually be.  The fit is so important. Even though this portion of the competition isn’t judged exactly on how your body looks, it is still going to affect the judge’s scores. So, no matter what category you are competing in, always consider how your body looks. The better your body looks, the better your scores will be overall because hey, it is still a beauty pageant. 

Color is also important! Make sure you are choosing colors that flatter your skin and hair color. I chose pastel colors that made my tan pop, but still looked feminine and soft.

The Presentation – I have a flare for the dramatic and I wanted something I could play with on stage. We chose the high-low skirt design because it was really trendy in the summer of 2012.  I wanted each piece of my wardrobe to be current with the season’s styles. One day while trying on my Fun Fashion, I grabbed the bottom of my train, wrapped it across my body, tucked it into my bra strap and twirled into the kitchen goofily saying, “Hey mom, should I do this on stage?” laughing and making myself look ridiculous.  But then she started clapping and saying, “Yes, yes you should do that!!” I thought she was kidding but after a few trial runs and adjustments, we found out it looked really cool when I whipped the train out of my strap and “revealed” the rest of my outfit. It was like I had a little secret and then when it was my turn to perform on stage; it added excitement and definitely drama! I loved it!

Don’t be afraid to experiment a bit with the presentation of your outfit. Be creative and try a move you haven’t seen done before. This is your one and only time to be over the top, have tons of energy and spunk, and show off your personality. Do spins, turns, fancy footwork, whatever! Just make sure you are having a lot of fun because that’s what it is, Fun Fashion! Even if you don’t have the most spectacular outfit, the way your present it separates the competition, so you need to sell it, baby! Scope out Star magazine or the red carpet trends for inspiration. Put pieces you like of one dress, with pieces you like from another dress combining to make your own design. But keep in mind; it should be something flattering to your body!

The Cost – If you don’t feel comfortable making your Fun Fashion, you can hire a seamstress to make a custom outfit. Luckily, my mom was patient enough to take on the task. We saved a whole heck of a lot by making it ourselves. Some of the outfits I was thinking about buying were $1,000 - $3,000, which was more then my evening gown! I just couldn’t get myself to spend that much money on something I would only wear onstage for 3 minutes. 

In total with the cost of shipping, fabric, and Swarovski rhinestones, we spent less than $500. And to top it all off, I ended up winning the award for Best Fun Fashion! I could not believe when they called me for that award. Out of all the incredible, extravagant outfits on stage, my little homemade design experiment won. I immediately gave the award to my mom and now she has it hanging in her sewing and craft room. We are so proud of her! I refer to her as Sherri Hill now, because yea, she’s that good haha.

I highly suggest getting your hands on videos of previous years to get ideas and inspiration for your own signature moves and a killer outfit!

I will be posting photos of all my competition pieces in a few weeks! Stay tuned! 

Check out to see pictures from the national pageant and my fun fashion outfit!

XoXo and the best of luck to you!

Krista Wanous
Miss International 2012


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