Everybody has their own favorite category when it comes to beauty pageants. Personally, I love the talent portion the most. When it comes down to it, though, the part most of us are really waiting to see is the evening gowns. For Miss America 2016, I really hope there is no holding back and that we get to see some of the best gowns yet. Of course, the history of the pageant is littered with memorable Miss America gowns, from the fabulously kitschy to the too-much-glitter catastrophes.
When competing amongst 52 other women and trying to stand out, an amazing evening gown will really help your case. Most of the time, the dresses are either elegant or rhinestoned (or occasionally both). Other times, a truly unique dress will be presented by a contestant or two. For me, "memorable" can mean one of two things: A dress so beautiful that no one will ever forget it, or so ridiculous that nobody ever could.
In terms of Miss America, I feel like even if your dress is remembered for being ugly AF, it's still a good thing. It means the contestant did something different from the norm, and that should always be applauded. Celebrating different will arguably get us one step closer to recognizing these women as actual talented human beings, even if some of them have really bad taste. Here are the six most memorable Miss America gowns yet.
1. Megan Ervin, Miss Illinois 2012
I love this dress more than words could express. It could have stopped before the knee and would've been amazing, but the added detail to the bottom is what really made Megan Ervin stand out in the 2012 competition. The ruffled detail especially makes me think of roses. In a world that's a bit too obsessed with minimalism and "being chic" for my liking, I adore this unique take on the fishtail cut.
2. Caressa Cameron, Miss America 2010
I can't decide if I love or hate this dress. The combination of solid rhinestones with a bright yellow really shouldn't work, but then again, it was 2010. I feel like it's one of those things that's just so ugly it ends up being gorgeous. Regardless of what I think of her dress, she must have been doing something right considering she won the title of Miss America 2010.
3. Ali Rogers, Miss South Carolina 2012
This dress is totally risqué compared to many gowns chosen for the competition, but that's why it's so special. The swirl patterns kind of give off a Grecian vibe, and the use of silver glitter with partial nudity combines two of my favorite things. That being said, this doesn't really scream "South Carolina" to me. It's far more Las Vegas.
4. Jacquie Brown, Miss Washington 2010
This is the first dress on the list that I find "memorable" out of hatred. It's similar to Megan Ervin's gown in that it has a lot going on and a theme of roses. But whilst Ervin's gown totally worked, I feel that Brown's dress truly failed. Even if it was stripped back to have the satin bottom removed or a less busy pattern, I still believe that I'd hate its weird bottom half and poorly fitting, corset-like bodice.
5. Emily Ann Cox, Miss Kentucky 2008
That belt is unforgivable. It's so early 2000s that it hurts. It's such a shame, and a really good example of how bad accessorizing can truly kill a good outfit. If I imagine the gown without the belt, it's actually stunning. Then again, if I looked back on all my outfits from 2008, I'm sure I would hate them just as much as well.
6. Courtney Porter, Miss Alabama 2011
This shoulder was probably inspired by Lady Gaga, but looks more like something that your auntie would stick on your Christmas present that she wrapped in silver paper and thinks looks really trendy. Without it, this gown would probably be one of my favorites, purely down to how fabulously glittery it is.
Regardless of my opinion, these women have achieved a ton simply by getting into the Miss America pageant and fearlessly being themselves. I'm so encouraged by the way these ladies stuck true to their own personalities and styles by daring to be different.