Miss America 2018: A Snapshot of Our Style

Miss America 2018 was crowned last night, but what we really care about is what they wore.

Pageants, and pageant people, are a culture unto themselves. The Miss America pageant, which has now been going nearly 100 years, continues to exist despite all the strides women make in equality, swimsuit competition and all.

But the most interesting part of the pageant, in my view, is the evening gown round, as all 51 women come up in their best finery. Why? Because its a snapshot of our style as it is right this second.

Fashion, as I’ve said before, is the place where art meets commerce. Runway shows are a place where fashion designers look at what is trendy now, and attempt to push those looks, or riff upon them, or react to them in such a way as to push the conversation forward. Those who are successful find their outfits being worn on the highest end red carpet –a snapshot of what will become trendy in a few year’s time.

Pageant dresses on the other hand, are not fashion forward. They are the epitome of fashion now, when they’re not actually fashion backward — something that was big 4-6 months previous when the Miss State winner realized she needed to pick a gown for the Miss America, still several weeks on.

Therefore, unlike red carpets, which show up our fashion as its most aspirational, these are looks that show our fashion at it’s most desperational, if you will. A determination to be so now, they will be forgotten by this time next year.

In the spirit of that, let us look down the line at the winner of this year’s pageant (North Dakota) and her 50 runners-up, and see what it says about what fashion is, at this moment, as we pass into the end of the second decade of the 21st century.

Miss Alabama

Surprisingly soft

Miss Alaska

Half train chiffon

Miss Arizona


Miss Arkansas

Mermaidz. (Two)

Miss California

Terribad keyholes

Miss Colorado

Half train chiffon in art deco.

Miss Connecticut

One shoulder armor

Miss Delaware

Half train chiffon (That’s three!) Plus bad keyhole (That’s two!)

Miss DC

They don’t call that Mellow Yellow. (Quite rightly.)

Miss Florida

Second soft look.

Miss Georgia

Trying way too hard.

Miss Hawaii

Two dresses fighting.

Miss Idaho

Fourth half train, first in non chiffon.

Miss Illinois

Fifth half train.

Miss Indiana

Mermaidzzzzz. (Three)

Miss Iowa

Awfully old school.

Miss Kansas

Merrrrrr maids. (Four)

Miss Kentucky

Second art deco.

Miss Louisiana

Slightly more mellow yellow. (But not by much.)

Miss Maine

Mermaid Number 5.

Miss Maryland

Second single shoulder, second trying too hard.

Miss Massachusetts

First to go full cape.

Miss Michigan

A column of huh.

Miss Minnesota

A nothing burger.

Miss Mississippi

Six Mermaids.

Miss Missouri

Seventh mermaid, sixth half train, third art deco.

Miss Montana

Our first two piece look.

Miss Nebraska

I can’t see past the unfortunate glaring seam.

Miss Nevada

Seventh half train.

Miss New Hampshire

Eight! Plus our third yellow gown.

Miss New Jersey

I assume she was going for classic and missed.

Miss New Mexico

Went for classic and hit.

Miss New York

Went for classic and wound up in bridesmaid.

Miss North Carolina

Went for classic and landed in Mother of the Bride.

Miss North Dakota

Third bad keyhole, ninth half train.

Miss Ohio

Seventeenth white dress of the lot.

Miss Oklahoma


Miss Oregon

Leftover fabric from the Game of Thrones costume shop.

Miss Pennyslvania

Ten half trains. That’s one fifth of the country.

Miss Rhode Island


Miss South Carolina

No comment.

Miss South Dakota

Second black nothing burger with the same neckline.

Miss Tennessee

Second full cape. Fourth keyhole.

Miss Texas

That’s just ugly.

Miss Utah

Fifth keyhole.

Miss Vermont

I suppose. At least it’s a different color.

Miss Virginia

Very country.

Miss Washington

Twelve half capes.

Miss West Virginia

It’s not trendy, it’s West Virginia.

Miss Wisconsin

Last full cape of the lot.

Miss Wyoming

And a final unfortunate neckline.


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