Serena Current, Miss Teen East Coast International 2015 - Photo: Thomas Dunn Studios
As if pageant prep, competition, and appearances aren't stressful enough, lets add in the element of surprise when our wardrobe decides to malfunction for one reason or another. Never fear, the Pageant Planet is here. When something goes wrong, breathe, there is a solution. (Read: How to Handle A Wardrobe Crisis on Pageant Night).
Here's how to fix/avoid the 10 most common wardrobe malfunctions in pageantry.
Nia Sanchez, Miss USA 2014, broke her zipper prior to crowning Olivia Jordan, Miss USA 2015. Hence her face behind Miss Universe 2014. Photo courtesy of wavy.com.
Yes, I have had this happen. During my second MAO local the zipper was stuck half way up the dress. I had four chaperones around me trying to get it unstuck. One was pulling the zipper up, the other pulling the dress down, another blotting under my eyes as I was crying because evening gown was starting upstairs, and another holding blowdryer to my cleavage drying the tear stains from my dress.
All the while one of the other girls was screaming down to the dressing room (under the stage) that she had an extra dress and to put me in it. Only we didn't hear her with the blowdryer on. We finally got the dress zipped up, and I ran up the stairs to be escorted by a handsome firefighter. I never unzipped that dress again and just pulled it on and off. So, if this happens to you, don't panic. There is a solution that doesn't include pinning or sewing you into the dress, or cutting yourself out of it.
1. Check to see why the zipper is stuck. If fabric is caught in the zipper, pull the zipper back down while gently pulling the fabric away from the zipper. Once the fabric is free, zip it up. If a tooth is bent or doing something goofy, try bending it back into place with your fingers or some tweezers. You maybe able to get it back into place or guide it into the zipper so it zips up. If the zipper is just plain stuck, rub some pencil on it. The graphite will act as a lubricant to get the zipper moving. Chapstick works too, but pencil works best. Rub the pencil above and below the zipper pull and have someone holding the top and bottom of the dress to straighten the zipper while someone else tugs at the pull to get it moving up or down. If it moves down and you're trying to get it zipped up, straighten the zipper and zip it up as fast as you can so it doesn't even have a chance to get stuck again.
2. If the pull on the zipper breaks... Use a bobby pin, paperclip, or safety pin and zip it on up. I've repaired plenty of zippered jackets and sweatshirts with paperclips. Quick and easy.
3. If it's still wont budge... If you're just stuck in your wardrobe, get it off, cut your losses, and move on. Carry an extra gown just in case. It may not be you that needs it and another girl will be very appreciative.
Poor Cinderella., thankfully she had a fairy godmother and you have The Pageant Planet. Gif Courtesy of gif2fly.com.
Oh, the nightmarish image of your gown unraveling and the beading gathering on the floor like a broken chandelier at your feet. Don't fret, we can fix this.
Unraveling beading Always be gentle with the wardrobe. Push the beading into place on the thread and align it to the pattern; you can usually see where it goes. If you need to add extra beads and you have them, do so. But, you may be able to get away without them.
Tie a knot in the tread as close to the fabric as possible to prevent more beading from falling off. Use a tiny amount of liquid thread, being careful not to let it appear on the fabric (Remember dot-dot-not a lot from kindergarten?), and place the beading gently on the dress. Finish by cutting off any remaining loose threads.
Unglued rhinestone Simplest fix on the planet! They are usually large so they cover a lot of real estate on the outfit making them obvious when they fall off. However, all you need is a little dot of super glue and you're back in business.
It's a common issue. Gif courtesy of buzzfeed.com.
The biggest secret to comfortable heels is making sure they fit properly. Just like with any other wardrobe, "Just because it zips, doesn't mean it fits," the same rule applies to your heels. Make sure that your weight is balanced and that you're not relying entirely on the balls of your feet to support your weight. Also, make sure there is a bit of a platform on the shoe to absorb the shock as you walk. Above all, do not wear new heels for long periods of time. Break them in before hand just like you do contact lenses.
Start with 20 minutes a day and then double it until you can wear them with ease. But, it is inevitable that your feet are going to need a bit of help and would appreciate the extra padding in any pair of heels. I've tried just about all of the pads for shoes out there. My favorites are the fabric ones because my feet don't sweat and stick to them. Dr. Scholl's Dream Walk High Heel Insoles are my personal favs!
They brought a pair of my Steve Madden's back to life and they are in a few other pageant heels of mine. The Duchess Kate is often seen in heels and never looks in pain. Her secret? According to a Vanity Fair article published July 15, 2015, Duchess Kate wears Alice Bow insoles made by British designer Rachel Bowditch.
Be like Betty, don't panic like Kim. Courtesy of giphy.com.
Our new Miss America, Betty Cantrell, had this happen to her TWICE while on stage. She didn't freak out and she won. So, take a lesson from her. Just let it break and keep going. If this happens to you before you go on stage, you may be able to repair the earring. Jweel.com offers an entire article on how to repair various earring styles here in How to Fix Broken Earrings.
Butt-glue application backstage. Photo courtesy of jessicasusanhammer.wordpress.com
Every first time pageant contestant has this fear. The first step to avoiding it is making sure that the cut of your suit fits your backside appropriately. The second step? Butt-glue. If you're in a pinch and no one has butt-glue, other forms of adhesive work, too. At one local pageant, no one had butt-glue and no store that would have it was open or close by.
So, one of the girls had her mom run by Michael's and pick up mounting adhesive, which is commonly used to mount photos. It is extremely sticky, just to warn you, but in a pinch it'll work. Just be prepared to smooth your evening gown and/or talent costume over the adhesive afterwards. Today, with some planning and preparation, you can order butt-glue online in time for your pageant. It comes in spray on and roll on form. There are tons of brands and every pageant girl has her favorite.
We even have it in Pageant Planet Shop! Click here to order Bikini Bite by Pro Tan.
Lifestyle and Fitness Camel Toe
Miss Teen USA 2006 Top 10. Courtesy of pageantmagazine.com.
This can be an issue not just in fitness wear but talent and swimsuit as well. This is why pageant swimsuits are thicker in the crotch than store-bought swimsuits. But don't worry, you can get away with a store-bought fitness and lifestyle outfit with a few tricks to avoid camel toe. Panty liners that are thickish-thin (not the no-feel thin ones since they can crease) work perfectly.
Put it in the crotch of the bottoms and no one will see. They also make a product specifically for this issue called the Cuchini. It was worn by Miss USA contestants a few years ago when the sponsored swimsuits revealed a bit too much during prelims and they were quickly brought in. They were also seen on Keeping Up with the Kardasians. The Cuchini is shaped differently than a pad, has a raised middle (to keep from creasing), and secures into the bottoms of a fitness wear/swimsuit with a strip of adhesive. Some pageant stores have them, but you can easily find them on Amazon for $19.95.
A contestant competing in USA National Miss. Courtesy of The Pageant Planet Directory.
Panty lines can be annoying. While you can opt to go commando, you can also opt to change your underwear style to eliminate the appearance of lines. Seamless and no-show styles exist, but I've found that they can still be seen under some fabrics. You can try a slip under your outfit, but again, sometimes the lines still show. Thongs and boy-short style undies seem to work best with trying to hide panty lines. You want something that doesn't go over your butt cheeks if the lines are appearing from the leg holes of your undies. If the waistband is what is appearing through your wardrobe, try wearing some that are higher waisted. Yes, you may feel like they fit like "granny panties" but you'll be comfortable. Also, play with different fabrics. Sometimes lace or silk won't show like cotton will. Cosmopolitan magazine offers similar advice in their article 7 Ways to Banish Panty Lines Without Going Commando.
Victoria's Secret has a wide variety of undie styles and fabrics for a reason. They often have sales, so go stock up on a few and give them a try. Remember to check for lines while walking since the lines may not show when you stand still but may show when you walk.
Peek-a-Boo Bra Straps
Bras = confusing, annoying, and temperamental. Courtesy of giphy.com.
This is another annoying wardrobe issue that can strike the small and large chested alike. If your bra straps want to be seen, try tightening them. If that doesn't work, go strapless or braless if possible. Do not use those "clear" plastic straps that accompany some bras! Those seem to be more seen than a nude or flesh toned strap because they catch the light. You can also try crisscrossing your straps so they wear at a different angle under your garment. One year, our color guard uniforms were cut awkwardly and our bra straps showed. So, I crisscrossed my straps in the front and the back and they didn't show or slip off. If all else fails, butt-glue or Hollywood tape those babies into place. You don't want your straps to be a distraction to you or to the judges.
Suddenly Too Big/Too Small Wardrobe
Alice experiences both issues throughout the movies. Courtesy of randomstuff126.diviantart.com
Always try your wardrobe on a week before the pageant. But, in the event that pageant day rolls around and your wardrobe is suddenly too big or too small, you can take a few steps to still make it out on stage. During Miss Oklahoma USA 2013, after losing 15 pounds since purchasing the gown, I suddenly realized that when I turned to the side and bent my arm the judges would be able to see straight into my top.
Fearing a Janet Jackson Super Bowl-esq malfunction, one of the chaperones pulled out a huge safety pin, gathered the fabric under my arm, and pinned me into the dress. During Miss International 2014, a few of us were having strapless dress fitting issues after a week in Jacksonville. In order to ensure confidence onstage, our hair sponsor used Hollywood tape to secure the gown onto one of the girls. Butt-glue also comes in handy here if you have it. You can also try an extra padded bra to fill in the outfit, or safety pin some fabric in an unseen location (under the arm or at the hip of a skirt) to make it tighter. If your wardrobe is too small, get some shape wear such as Spanx. These will help bring any excess into place so that you can get yourself into your wardrobe and not have any bulges.
Hair magic! Courtesy of joonies.com.
While it is fun to make your hair look like Einstein at birthday parties with balloons as a kid, this look and the clingy-ness of static is not welcome in the pageant world. To ensure you can be static free, pack some dryer sheets. If your hair is being static-y, just rub the dryer sheet over it to defuse the situation. If your wardrobe is being clingy, rub the dryer sheet under it to get rid of the static. It's a handy little sheet that can safe you a lot of stress.
The biggest tip in the world when it comes to wardrobe malfunctions is to stay calm. The issue can be solved and you don't have to drop out of the pageant. Have a plan! Just remember to breathe, find a solution, and go rock that stage. After all, you've got a crown to win.
Her tip is: "Enjoy networking and remembering you are competing against yourself not others!"Learn More