What dress and accessories is appropriate for my young daughter who wants to join pageants?
Girl beauty pageants may be considered a fluff event by some, but really, girl pageants are like any competitive sport. Young children study, train and focus to win. Learning the proper ways to walk and stand, minding one’s manners, and thinking quickly under pressure is also a long process that requires focus, discipline and endurance. Just like any other sport, parents are expected to spend on pageant dresses, training, other costumes and coaches. As with any sport, a child learns to fore go the desire to play to do what is required to win.
As with sports, your child will also learn to put her best foot forward in pageants. She will learn the confidence to face and talk to people. A young girl will learn how to dress and charm people. She will learn to handle pressure. She will learn how to deal with victory and defeat. Pageants may build character too, depending on the guidance of the adult.
Some people view girl pageants with distaste. Always this is due to any pageant factor taken to the extreme. Crazy costumes and make-up that make children look like skanky miniature adults may be a reason behind this. Guardians’ extreme manner of pushing young girls to win may add to the distaste.
If your little girl is interested in joining pageants, families may encourage her to do so, as long as goals and values are clear to the family. Young girls like to doll up in pageant dresses, be pretty and to win. That’s a given. It is up to the parents to put balance and be vigilant to the best interest of a child’s health, values and over-all character. After all, that’s what parents want for their children, right?
The key to all this is balance. Let your daughter be the best she can be, in a manner that is most appropriate to her age and well-being. Pageants can bring out her best character, but parents should step up to provide the balance to looks and character.
Dressing for Girl Pageants
Being age-appropriate in a girl pageant does not mean your little girl has to be ugly or boring. On the contrary, young girls are bursting with natural beauty and joy. Overdoing things causes a natural beauty to be blah and icky.
Formal dresses for Girls
The styles of formal dresses for girls are classic. Whatever era, young girls always look cute and fresh in regular sleeveless with medium waist and long skirt in formal fabric. Other styles for sleeves can be cute, but long sleeves may not be comfortable for a young girl (and look dated too.) Fabrics should be beautiful but not fragile for a young girl, who may get to become fussy or restless, and may ruin too-fragile fabrics.
The color of the dress can be light or pastel. Pink is a common color for young girls, but there are a lot of other colors out there that can help express the personality of your young pageant contestant. A different color dress will also help her stand out. Happy earth colors can also be worn, as well as jewel tones, if in season (usually during the fall). Or, use earth colors and jewel tones as accessories to a light colored dress. Black is usually too severe and looks weird for a young girl.
The dress can also be embroidered or embellished, but keep embellishments tiny and tasteful to be suited to a young girl.
Shoes should be pretty, but comfortable. Young girls can wear Mary Janes or flat pumps with formal embellishments. High heeled shoes are bad for the back and legs.
Girls have beautiful hair. Show it off in its natural state. Let it loose and clip with pretty bling barrette, or sweep away from the face with a pretty bling head band. Mom can also tie it up in pigtails or braids. Young girls do use pigtails and braids.
Any hairstyle that requires a gallon of hairspray is most likely too severe-looking. It is also not healthy for a young girl for her hair to be teased, tugged and pulled and laden with chemicals.
Girls are naturally pretty. They have the best skin and lips. Using lipstick and thick foundation gives a fake look. Young girls with heavy makeup similar to adults are an eyesore. Try using lip gloss and light touch of baby powder. If you are concerned that your little one will look too pale on the stage at night, do test make up during the general rehearsal when the actual lights to be used are also tested. Make sure the make up is minimized and enhances her natural beauty. Less is more for makeup on kids.
Shawls wraps may not be comfortable on a young girl. These may also be left behind when our young contestant dashes off somewhere. If the weather is cold, get her a jacket or wrap suited for her formal dress. Maybe faux-jewelry is best used for pageants, as it easy to lose things during an event as busy as a pageant. Handbags for young girls may be uncomfortable, ask your little girl if she feels comfortable lugging a bag around. Pretty sashes can also be used to enhance your little girl’s pageant dress.
Young girls in pageants may enjoy the attention and being pretty. The pretty pageant dress, the makeup, the hair may seem shallow, but behind all this, the little girl is forming her character and confidence. And these are things parents do develop in their children, even in other more “normal” activities.