In the early years, looking back it seemed that there weren't a lot of dress options out there. Dresses were simpler, colors more bland (lots of black, white, light pink), fabric was a little less bold compared to the options that exist now, and shapes were kept minimal.
Finally, as pageants grew, so did designers and we started to see MacDuggal, Sherri Hill, Tony Bowls, and Jovani dominate pageant stages. As competition amongst designers has grown, designers have had to find ways to diversify themselves and create bold and different gowns...because nobody wants to look the girl next to them. Finally, we began to see dresses take shape. However, we still saw designers struggle to play with color. Pinks, blues, and whites seemed to be the only colors that were seen on not just the NAM stage, but pageant stages across the globe.
Around 2009, we saw chiffon take over and it seemed like everyone was wearing that fabric for their gown, which was playful and elegant, but limiting in what designers could do with dresses.
Then came the year of the pink in 2011. Different shades from red to light pink...it didn't matter, it seemed that pink was the monochromatic color of the year!
But, then in 2012 - it was all about the blues and greens. Different shades and styles, but it dominated non the less.
In 2013, we saw designer Sherri Hill start to explore with cut outs and printed/dyed fabric, which was really exciting and a step forward in the gown evolution.
In 2016, Princess, Jr. Pre-Teen & Pre-Teen style dresses really started to escalate. Designers finally cut loose and everyone rejoiced! LOL! Skirts had texture (ruffles, feathers, rosettes) and no longer were dresses one solid color, but we saw prints and fabrics on the younger girls that we had never really seen before. Finally, designers gave the little girls the breath of fresh air they had wanted and ability to really express their personality, which NAM loves!
In 2017, older girl dresses took on a world of their own, as focus became put on the structure and architecture of the dress. We saw dresses truly start to "take shape" and the skirted cape or peplum became all the rage...and has continued still to today. Ironically, this style is truly a throwback to the 90's when this style was see on the Miss USA & Miss America stage. I guess we can say design always comes back around.
This past year (2018), was the year of the cap sleeve. Everywhere we turned, it seemed that girls were wearing a sleeve of some type, specifically the "cap sleeve." Aside from this trend, we also saw BOLD colors - greens and neon yellows, florescent pinks and it was glorious!
Also, this was the first year at NAM that rules for Formal Wear changed! Older girls could wear 2- piece dresses and trains were welcomed for all age divisions. As style changes, so do our rules so that we can accommodate both the individual style of our contestants and what is available from designers.
I can't wait to see what this seasons brings! But, what really excites both myself and the judges at NAM is girls being able to showcase THEIR unique personality in their wardrobe. After all, THAT is what both Fashion AND Pageants are ALL about! And, Im loving that as long as its age-appropriate - ANYTHING GOES!
For rules and guidelines for NAM Formal Wear, review your Info Magazine #1!
Signing Off in NAM Style!
XOXO - Breanne