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Recycling a Pageant Dress


The problem with many “special” occasion dresses is it can seldom be used more than once, such as a wedding or bride’s maid dress. A pageant dress, on the other hand, is more in the gray area. By definition, a pageant is merely a parade or procession so a pageant dress can reflect many different styles and can be appropriate for non-pageant functions. The trick to recycling a pageant dress is in selecting a dress of good material in a solid color, cut along classical lines and simple enough to accommodate different accessories depending on the occasion.


An A-line gown is always a good choice for recycling a pageant dress. The A-line is form-fitting at the bodice and then flares out from the waist. It is a very flattering style even if you are bottom heavy, and can be accessorized with a shell, fancy belt or an elaborate short vest with a stand up collar. Any one of these accessories can change the look completely. The function can range from informal to formal with just a change of hairstyle, shoes and bag.

Another good dress style for recycling a pageant dress is the tea-length dress. This is a mid-calf length dress that usually features a flirty, hemmed skirt. It is fun yet demure, and with the right height heels, jewelry and hairstyle can be a striking pageant dress or pretty prom dress.

For younger pageant participants, the bouffant skirt (with petticoat) style dress is often the pageant dress of choice because it is just too adorable yet undeniably formal. In recycling a pageant dress in this style, it is simply enough to increase or decrease the flare provided by the petticoat so that it can be used as an ordinary party dress or for first communion (provided it is white).

As long as the dress is simply but tastefully made and in solid colors, it will be easy to accessorize and recycle for other occasion. Recycling a pageant dress is practical and coming up with different ways to do so challenges the imagination.


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