Choosing a pageant gown for a child is no small task. Several challenges present themselves, including making sure the design is age appropriate and doesn't overwhelm the small features and frame of a child. There are thousands of beautiful gowns out there, but if the child gets lost in gobs of tulle and elaborate embellishments, judges can be distracted away from the child's personality. Here are a few of my favorite designers for kids and dresses I wish I could have played dress up in when I was a child.

Sherri Hill is always such a class act. Each of the dresses in her children's collection are playful and fresh. I can see each of these young models pulling these frocks out of a fairy princess's closet and playing dress up for hours. These innovative designs are unique to any other designer on the market now, and they don't overwhelm the child's frame. The styles use top quality fabrics, embellishments, and craftsmanship while maintaining age appropriate options. Here is one of my favorites. What little girl wouldn't love parading around in these whimsical feathers. Multiple color options are available as well!

I love Mac Duggal's Sugar designs for children. How fun is this? I can't think of anything more girlie than ruffles. I appreciate these designs, because they offer great embellishments with out distracting my eye from the child. I love the way the ruffle around the neck delicately frames the child's face. Even though the skirt of the gown is elaborate, my eye draws up thanks to the simplicity of the bodice and detail of the neckline.

I absolutely love this Tiffany Designs gown. The lightness of the fabric makes me imagine this little one twirling the night away at a wedding reception or party. Still plenty of glitz for the stage, the child's face is the focus with this simple halter style neckline. And, I LOVE seeing children in color! It makes the gown presentation fun, vibrant and full of your child!


  • Remember that kids grow fast. Like I have to tell YOU, right mom? When purchasing a child's pageant gown, take into consideration the possibility of a growth spurt when timing your purchase and alterations in correlation with your pageant date. 
  • Find a good seamstress. Most dress shops offer in-house alterations from experienced seamstresses. However, if you tend to order online, make sure you find a quality seamstress who has experience handling find garments such as evening gowns. It's better to spend a little extra money to make sure a garment fits. Poorly fitted gowns will lose points every time.
  • Choose the height of the shoe first. When trying on dresses, always bring the shoes your child will wear for the pageant. I know, feet grow fast at this age. But just remember, even the slightest lift in the heel can alter the way the hem line of the gown falls. Most judges sit at audience level with their eyes at the contestants feet. We don't want them to be distracted by crocked hemlines or dresses that are too short or too long. Gowns like these should skim the floor. 
  • Comfort is important. Many factors come into play when it is time for children to perform. Take into consideration whether or not the dress is comfortable. Is it pinching anywhere? Or chaffing her skin? We don't want a last minute temper tantrum because the child is uncomfortable or in pain. Better to spend money on something she feels good wearing. 
  • Always remember, it's not the dress. A great dress is a great dress. But, it really is what is inside the dress that counts. Make sure your child's personality and youth shines through in what ever style you choose. 
At the end of the day, this should be a wonderful bonding experience between mother and daughter. Have fun with the selection process and let your child shine!

1 comment

  • Stacy

    Stacy Houston

    omg i totally agree! I always have a hard time finding dresses for my 28 year old daughter for her pageant. I hope she never grows out of it!!! thanks for the great tips!

    omg i totally agree! I always have a hard time finding dresses for my 28 year old daughter for her pageant. I hope she never grows out of it!!! thanks for the great tips!

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