After spring break, I went to the wonderful dress boutique about 10 minutes from my house in Circleville, Ohio called Uniquely Yours Bridal, Prom and Pageant.
While picking up my national competition gown for this July, I had to try on some of the fabulously fun gowns Carole and Pam had in the store. This was one of my favorites. It’s a bodysuit cut like hot shorts under a flowing high slit skirt- very fun to walk in.
While I was playing dress up, I learned quite a few interesting pieces of information from Carole about online gown purchasing that I felt you needed to know.
If the price seems too good to be true, chances are, it is.
What many “online only “websites do is put the picture of the original designer‘s dress on their website to lure you into thinking that is what you will be receiving.
Instead, what you will get is a “replica” similar to the designer gown. If you take the time to read the fine print on the website, you’ll find wording something along the lines of “your dress will look similar to t his…” There is no way you are going to get a designer dress for rock bottom prices.
Here’s why. Online stores are NOT authorized retailers to the major designers unless the online boutique has a physical storefront. Every designer controls the design, workmanship, and quality materials that go into each of their gowns. Designers will issue a Certificate of Authenticity to the stores which carry their line of dresses. To find authorized retailers, visit the websites of the designer gowns you are interested in and they’ll locate a store in your area.
Also, you want to purchase from honest dress stores. If the tags have been cut from the dress or tampered with, beware. Some dress stores buy gowns from the “knock off” websites and try to sell them at the designer prices. If in doubt, ask to see the stores Certificate of Authenticity.
I totally understand about living on a budget and wanting to get the best quality for your dollar. You just need to do your research and know there is a possibility of getting something less than what you expect if you order online. Many times the replicas arrive made of cheap fabrics, are incorrectly sized, and the color is slightly off. You will either spend a ton of money in alterations trying to fix the gown, or you’ll end up purchasing a new one to replace it.
There are several dress sites that design gowns “in the style of” and sell the fashions at very affordable prices. Many of these gowns fit great and make it possible for women to participate in pageantry. We need these choices. The difference is these websites post photos of “their “real gowns so you have a better feel as to what expect.
When the event is REALLY important to you, here are a couple questions to ask yourself to help decide whether to buy online or from the store:
- How important is the event for which you are going to wear the gown?
- Do you know someone who has ordered from this company?
- How much time do you have before your pageant?
- Are you comfortable with the companies return policy?
- Is there a phone number where you can talk with a human if there is a problem with the gown?
- Do you have a skilled seamstress who can make alterations to the gown?
- What will the alterations cost?
- Is the gown you are purchasing the exact gown shown in the photograph?
- How important is it that you see and try on the dress before you buy it?
Every designer’s sizing runs differently. A size 2 in one line may be a size 6 in another. Forget what the number is. You need the gown to fit you. Don’t assume you can take your own measurements correctly either. Most teens think their waist measurement is where their low riding jeans hit. This is not your waist measurement. Have a professional who knows how to measure do it to ensure a proper fit.
Bottom line is how much risk are you willing to take? Because I’m petite, I need to try things on before I purchase them or have them custom made. I’m a hard fit when it comes to gowns. So I decided to go with a store that I trust.
As a result of giving my business to Uniquely Yours, I have the gown I wanted months before my pageant; I stayed within my budget; it fits me perfectly and needed zero alterations. The whole experience was stress free and fun. The only problem is there are several dresses still down there calling my name.
Special for the Pageant Princess or Queen in your life for $59 (+$12 S&H). An $89 value when purchased separately.
Only 10 left!
Receive my 60 minute training DVD Take The Stage, the Pageant Planner and a set of 12 interview cards for $59 (+$12 S&H). Individually, these items cost $89.
This is an affordable training kit for the pageant princess or queen in your life.
WTP Take The Stage Training DVD
The Winning Through Pageantry Take The Stage™ training DVD is a must have training tool for natural beauty pageants. The depth of information shared in this video will further polish your on stage presence.
Remember, the judges cast their final vote when you are on stage in your evening gown. Your overall stage presence and appearance will determine your final placement.
In this 60-minute DVD, you will learn:
- proper posture and alignment,
- foot positioning,
- timing of your turns,
- multiple walking patterns,
- stage presence,
- microphone etiquette,
- Numerous tips as Rhonda demonstrates all of these techniques.
The modeling style taught in this video will work for those contestants competing in the following natural pageant systems:
- Miss American Coed (MAC),
- National American Miss (NaMiss),
- Miss America,
- America's Outstanding Teen,
- Miss Teen USA,
- Miss USA,
- Mrs. America,
- Mrs. United States,
- Teen, Miss and Mrs. International,
- America's National Teenager (Antso),
- American Royal Beauties,
- Any of the numerous systems that follow the standards of a natural pageant.
Contestants who are brand new to pageantry or have done a couple pageants in the past; and those who do not have pageant preparation resources close to them will benefit most from this DVD. Even if you feel confident in your modeling skills, the numerous tips shared in this DVD will take your onstage presence to the next level.
Please allow up to 14 days to receive your DVD. This is being shipped from a separate vendor. The DVD is readable in all countries around the world but should you receive a defective DVD, a replacement one will be sent.
The WTP Pageant Planner
The Winning Through Pageantry Pageant Planner from Holdon contains organizational pages for logging and tracking 100 pageant related events. Each form records Event Details, Contact Info, Event Expenses, and Post-Event Info. There is also an Income Management Section to record payment details.
Now logging & tracking your pageant-related event details is easy!
- High-quality product
- 8.5" x 11"
- Finished coil-bound spine
- Vinyl front and back covers for durability
- Your contact information
- Important pageant contacts (i.e. - coach, director, salon, etc.)
- Other contact information
Live Performance Forms
- Logging & tracking forms to track up to 100 pageant-related events (i.e. - consultations, media events, autograph signings, etc.)
- Log event requirements (i.e. - crown & banner, opening number wardrobe, script, etc.)
- Record all of your event expenses and mileage for tax purposes
- Post Event area (i.e. - what you wore, who you met, guests, etc.)
Income & Reimbursement Management
Record income & reimbursement details (Pageant/Event Name, Event Date, Payment, etc.)
Pageant Target List
Target Pageants, know special requirements, competition, categories, entry fees, etc.
A section dedicated to Pageant Industry professionals you wish to keep in contact with
- Keep your notes handy and accessible
- Add any thoughts, suggestions or ideas
- 12-month, day-by-day, fill-in calendar section (non-time sensitive, fill-in as you go)
- 24-month quick-view calendar section
- Promo Material Pocket to hold self-promotional material that you can pass around (i.e. - promo postcards, headshots, flyers, etc.)
- Notes Pocket to store any speeches, top-5 question notes, etc.
The WTP Interview Card Set
What kind of questions will the judges ask me in interview?
What if I don't have an answer?
The ability to answer questions about you, your family, platform, goals, community and pop culture in a clear way is an important life skill. The more practice you have in conversing with people, the better your speaking skills will become.
Over 1000 contestants from ages 7 to 80 around the world have used these cards and reported back to me that they were confident and prepared for their pageant interview. Many of my clients receive the highest interview scores.
As a contestant and judge, these are real questions that I have asked, been asked, or heard other judges ask in the interview room. I know they are effective and relevant because my clients and pageant family on Facebook have told me several times that they have experienced other pageant coaches and judges using my cards. By the way, I take this as a compliment, not a threat :).
Outstanding features of this 12 card set includes:</ p>
- Over 200 questions covering 12 diverse subjects. Each card has questions dedicated to one topic. For example, there are 56 questions on the "favorites" card.
- The back side is blank so you can jot down your ideas for answers.
- Being the size of a recipe card, they are easy to carry and you can practice anywhere.
The DVD will arrive separately from the planner and the interview cards. With the holiday mail delivery, please allow up to 14 days for delivery.
$89 $59 (+$12 S&H)
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Rhonda Shappert is an expert pageant coach, an iPEC Certified Professional Coach, an Energy Leadership Index Master Practitioner, and an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) with the International Coach Federation (ICF).
She created Winning Through Pageantry® to partner with pageant contestants and their support people to provide complete pageant preparation, achieve winning results in life through pageantry, and to Succeed From The Inside Out®.
She has over 30 years experience in the pageantry world as a contestant, judge, emcee, staff member, mother of daughters who compete, Mrs. Ohio America 2005, and has held multiple titles at the local, state and national levels.
Rhonda graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelors degree in Musical Theater from The Ohio State University and has performed on stage in 15 countries on the Asian, European and American continents. This mother of three home educates their children and has been married 22 years to her husband Stephen, is the former mayor of her community, and serves on the Board of Trustees for the Ohio Virtual Academy. She and her husband perform original contemporary Christian music. For more information on Rhonda, visit www.WinningThroughPageantry.com.