Few subjects arguably strike up as much debate (with as much fervor) amongst feminist and body positive proponents as the world of beauty pageants. On the one hand, you might find yourself wanting to support pageants like Miss Universe 2015 purely out of a desire to applaud other women (or, you know, to swoon over the Miss Universe gowns), many of whom seem to have a genuine interest in everything from journalism to the education system to feminism and gender equality. On the other, you be cringing at the oft white-washed events that seem to celebrate a thin, cis, able-bodied, leggy, made-up aesthetic and little else. While diversity in pageantry is sorely lacking, and the ethics of a contest that ultimately judges ladies on aesthetics is irrevocably questionable, I do believe that women supporting other women can do wonders on the continued road to actual gender equality. And that includes supporting the contestants of Miss Universe 2015.
There are several reasons why watching Miss Universe isn't a total waste of your time, amongst them the fact that this year's contestants have been sharing candid no makeup selfies through the #ConfidentlyBeautiful hashtag, not to mention the fact that Perez Hilton is judging this year (I mean, his comedically snarky take on pop culture is often a blast). But there's also the aforementioned gowns. Any sartorial enthusiast can likely agree that beauty pageant contestants know their sh*t when it comes to choosing a magical number. So without further adieu, here are all of 2015's dream dresses. Because the pageant might be questionable, but the gowns are certainly not.
1. Olivia Culpo
Culpo has been stealing our hearts since taking the crown for the United States in 2012. She's back on the Miss Universe stage as a judge this year, and this dark emerald gown is bringing us all the Maleficient-esque vibes one could ever hope for.
2. Paulina Vega
Paulina Vega won the Miss Universe title for Colombia in 2013, and tonight she's bringing some chic flapper vibes to the pageant. Her gown is winter wonderland perfection.
3. Katherine Haik
At only 15 years old, Katherine Haik became the youngest contestant to win Miss Teen USA 2015. The Louisiana native looks nothing short of regal in her red floor-length gown tonight.
4. Kimberly Perry
Kimberly Perry of The Band Perry chose to forgo a floor-length gown for a hot pink co-ord set instead. Anyone who rocks a bandeau top and an otherwise non-traditional outfit to a beauty pageant such as this is queen in my book.
5. Miss Slovenia
Miss Slovenia bravely took to the stage after very publicly discussing her experiences with paralysis. In what was one of the most vulnerable moments of the event, it was nothing short of history-making to see this beauty queen open up in such a way. And her stunning red gown was the cherry on top of the body positive moment.
6. Miss USA
Olivia Jordan, Miss USA, looked nothing short of angelic in this caped gown. The lace detailing was absolutely striking, while the deep V was nothing short of bold.
7. Miss Colombia
Miss Colombia called to mind a bedazzled Sofia Vergara throughout the entirety of the evening. And her evening gown was Old Hollywood incarnate.
8. Miss Japan
Miss Japan slayed in a black and white sparkling gown that Cruella de Vil would be so proud of. And I mean that in the best of ways.
9. Miss Thailand
In keeping with the angelic theme Miss USA put out there, Miss Thaliand was radiant in a gown that was basically a hybrid of '20s glamour and heaven.
10. Miss Australia
Miss Australia brought asymmetry onto the stage of Miss Universe, and she nailed it. A gal who supports funky sartorial cuts and is pro-legalization? I'm all for it.
11. Miss Dominican Republic
The Miss Universe stage saw a lot of white gowns this evening, and Miss Dominican Republic was part of the angelic trend. Her gown was kind of reminiscent of the cool girl in high school at prom, only way better.
12. Miss France
Miss France was a vision in red. The high slit of this gown was totally bold, totally glam, and totally perfect.
13. Miss Curacao
So, Miss Curacao was essentially an IRL embodiment of Belle from Beauty And The Beast. Everything from the hue to the mermaid-esque cut of this gown was Disney princess at its finest.
14. Miss Philippines
Miss Philippines stole the hearts of many when she won Best National Costume through viewer votes. But her royal blue gown was something else entirely. Can you even get more elegant?
15. Miss Venezuela
I think we can all agree that Miss Venezuela looked like an angel on that stage. Daisy Buchanan would be so proud.
Say what you will about beauty pageants (and I'll likely agree with you, at least to some degree), but these outfits are obviously everything.