10 Gowns that Slayed Miss USA 2016

The Miss USA evening gown competition is literally one of my favorite unofficial holidays. It's where we get to see what looks are trending, who had the best gown, and gasp in unison at the looks that we may not collectively understand.

To commemorate my favorite pageant occasion, I have picked my top 10 pageant gowns from the preliminary evening gown competition. My picks are in no particular order!

Hawaii (Favorite Gown) 

Miss Hawaii USA, Chelsea Hardin without a doubt wore my favorite look of the night! This island girl at heart brought the sexy and refined elegance of her state in an evening gown that features delicate applique flowers, which contribute to the nude illusion; thus making her my new favorite flower child. I also credit the fact that she styled this look perfectly by keeping the earrings minimal and her hair in relaxed waves. The dress flowed magnificently on stage and really showcased the bombshell wearing it! In short... she SLAYED!


Miss California USA, Nadia Mejia has successfully branded herself as a true California girl! She effortlessly WORKED this gown on stage which I could picture being blown in the Cali breeze at a chic party near the beach. A girl can easily be lost in a gown with so much material, but this Californian's sass and skill pulled it off without error. I'm also in love with the color selection, which enabled her to look absolutely sun kissed! 

District of Columbia 

Deshauna Barber, Miss District of Columbia USA has been highlighted for having a bold fashion sense, since being crowned in her state winning evening gown. I expected nothing less of uniqueness and risk from this beauty queen, and she did not disappoint! Her beautiful brown skin pops in gold, and she stood out amongst the other contestants who wore gowns that featured organza skirts. In other words... YAAAS QUEEN! 

North Carolina 

Thankfully Miss North Carolina USA, Devin Grant only needed to hem her evening gown to be ready for the Miss USA stage. She was called upon last minute to represent her state at Miss USA, and she did not disappoint! I believe that this is a classic pageant look that we have all seen before, however she shined in that it flatters her perfectly, and looks polished. Who says you can't slay the competition with only a notice of a couple of days?! Kudos North Carolina! 

South Dakota 

Miss South Dakota USA, Madison Mckeown brought us a look that transcends far beyond the Miss USA stage. When this beauty stepped out to showcase her gown, I immediately wanted to see Lupita Nyongo try if for her next acceptance speech. The gown is simple, clean, and enabled the girl to be visible. Very rarely do pageant dresses translate into being appropriate for other events, leaving girls to getting rid of them after the competition.  Madison...keep this gown because I'm sure you'll be needing it to shine once again on a red carpet! In other words, homegirl looked HAUTE!!!

Extra points to South Dakota for seeking out Lebanon based couture designer, Tony Ward. 


I'll try not to show my home state bias here, but Zena Malak, Miss Illinois USA was completely on point with her Miss USA selection. My favorite aspect about her evening gown is that it looks as if this dress was painted on or perfectly contoured for her body! It's risky wearing an aspect of a dress that won the previous year (Olivia's pink ruffled ballgown) but I believe she put her own twist on the ruffles by featuring them on a mermaid silhouette. In short, I AM HERE FOR THIS LOOK!


Come through Miss Louisiana USA!!! No one in the competition this year had anything similar to this gown. Maaliyah is also the only contestant to bring the body suit trend to this year's Miss USA stage. She took a risk of combining three trends (bodysuit, sheer fabric, dynamic organza train) this year, and it was definitely executed well. I would rather have a girl that takes a risk, than one who plays it safe. Way to take a risk Louisiana! 

West Virginia 

Is that Miss West Virginia USA, Nichole Greene, or Jessica Rabbit?! Hey, you thought it, and i said it! I love this sexy homage to old hollywood. The slit is perfectly placed, and the gown fits this beauty like a dream. Extra credit is scored here for the pop of gold provided by her shoes! 


Miss Mississippi USA, Haley Sowers made my list by looking nothing short of angelic in her gown selection. The primary appeal of this dress is the way it flows on stage and how it just comes to life when the stage lights hit it. This dress was made for motion!


I feel like we have definitely seen this dress before; maybe in a former life, or maybe styled differently on various girls. Either way, Miss Wisconsin USA Kate Redeker breathed a new life into this look.  The color popped against her olive skin and enhanced her subtle smokey eye. She looked nothing short of regal and did not even come close to becoming lost in her garment.