It has to be incredibly difficult to pick that perfect gown for Miss America. Some women are restricted to a certain store, designer, time limit or monetarily; despite that, if I ever had the opportunity to go to a national pageant, I would never wear a gown already seen on a national stage!
Former Miss Ohio USA, Halle Berry, was red carpet perfection when she won her first Academy Award in 2002 [above left]. However, Miss New Hampshire's knock-off of her gown at the Miss America pageant in 2009 is just sad [above right]. It still looks gorgeous, but such an identifiable design simply can not be worn SEVEN years later! It's too late to be taking a note from this red carpet look and too soon to be bringing it back.
People either love or (more often) hate the style of the gown Miss Oregon wore at Miss America 2009 [above right]. Not only is it polarizing, it's been done! Chanel Wise, Miss Hawaii USA 2007 wore it at Miss USA, Anna Melomud [above left] won Ohio USA 2006 in it, among several others... I do like it better in black than tan, but honestly, the pageant world will be a much better place if women would please stop wearing it!
Miss Rhode Island's 2009 Miss America gown [above] is fantastic on her, but it's very recognizable. We saw it in 2007 when Jennifer Berry was giving up her title [above left] and Kentucky's Michelle Banzer competed in it at Miss USA 2007 [left].
Below left: Shandy Finnessey in the gown in which she was crowned Miss USA 2004. This style became all the rage and is well known as "the Shandi," This trend is now overdone and there is absolutely no forgiving Miss South Dakota for wearing an exact knock-off FIVE years later at Miss America 2009! Shameful!
Miss America 2009, Indiana [above right] and Miss North Dakota [right] seem to have borrowed aspects of the gown Kirsten Haglund was crowned Miss America 2008 in [above left]! Neither compare to the original.
Zuleyka Rivera will always be remembered for the sexy chain-link gown above that she won Miss Universe 2006 in. Many liquid beaded designs on the market now have a similar look, especially Miss Arkansas [above right] and Miss Massachusetts' gowns [right] at Miss America 2009.
Below left: Miss America 2006 Jennifer Berry; below right: Miss Delaware borrows her bodice at Miss America 2009.
Below left: Miss Universe 2004 Jennifer Hawkins; below right: Miss Florida at Miss America 2009.
I'm sure there were other gowns in the recent Miss America pageant that we've seen before, but these stood out to me. I feel like this post is a little bit mean, but I've never noticed so many unoriginal gowns in a national pageant. Again, I know some trends linger around for a while and it's tough to find the perfect gown, but come on, you only get one shot at being crowned Miss America!
Right off the Red Carpet