Now, it’s time for the fun stuff – shopping!!
I reviewed the attire requirements for Miss New York USA and created a mental shopping list of what I needed. I already had some pieces of my pageant attire, such as a few outfit ideas in mind for my interview, as well as making use of some items I have had since high school. I planned to wear heels with silver sequins that I wore to my junior prom and senior ball and also the rhinestone bracelet that came with my corsage.
I had looked online to get ideas for what I wanted, and I couldn’t wait for my vision to become a reality. I’m one, who prefers going to a store and trying on clothes (pre-COVID-19), rather than shopping online. I started searching for swimwear in early September. At this time, swimwear was going out of season, so options were very limited, most of which did not fulfill the requirement of a solid color swimsuit. I had tried on one swimsuit at Macy’s and also skimmed Bloomingdale’s and Modell’s Sporting Goods for swimwear, but nothing would have been appropriate. I went to Everything But Water, which sells swimwear year round. They had a wide selection of one and two-piece solid colored swimsuits.
Being my first pageant, and considering that I had not purchased a swimsuit since high school, my mind was pretty much set on a one-piece swimsuit.
While shopping, I was drawn to swimsuits with “cutouts” in deeper colors, so I tried on swimwear in green, purple, black, and navy. The employees were very helpful with bringing in different colors and sizes. Many of them looked nice, but the one that I absolutely loved was an olive green, one-piece swimsuit with a plunging neckline. As my first piece of new pageant attire, I was so excited as I left Everything But Water. Many contestants also choose to purchase swimwear from Venus.
After purchasing my swimsuit, I watched videos of swimsuit competitions and noticed the footwear on many of the contestants. While Miss New York USA did not specify any requirements for footwear, other than shoes having a supportive back, I noticed that most contestants wore a nude, patent leather, heeled sandal. I was planning to wear my silver shoes for the opening number, evening gown competition, and swimsuit competition, but after seeing this, I decided to look into a new pair of shoes for the swimsuit competition.
I went to the Macy’s shoe department and found exactly what I was looking for, and they were affordable, too! They were on sale for about $44, and I saved even more from a discount by getting approved for a Macy’s card. This brought the cost down to about $30.
For the opening dance number and contestant introductions, I needed a black cocktail dress. You’d think that would be really easy to find! After purchasing my shoes at the Herald Square Macy’s store in Manhattan, I checked their dress department. I was unsuccessful in finding a dress I liked during this visit, so I ended up checking this store again at a later date, as well as the Newport Centre Mall Macy’s in Jersey City. I also ended up searching JCPenney, Kohl’s, Sears, Bloomingdale’s, Bloomingdale’s Outlet, Saks Fifth Avenue, New York & Company, Nordstrom Rack, and two Burlington stores. Some dresses were nice but just didn’t fit right, regardless of the size; the dress was short, but longer than I’d like; or, I just didn’t like it. I decided to visit Bloomingdale’s again. On a rack, I saw one dress, and this appeared to be the only one in the store. I loved it! It was covered in sequins, had a ruffle around the neckline and near the shoulders of the sleeveless dress, and was the length I wanted – a few inches above my knee. However, it was a size 4. Although clothing sizes run differently, this was at least a size or two smaller than what I’d usually wear in a dress.
My fitting room plan – squeeze into the dress the best I can, see how tight it is, then ask to have it ordered, most likely in an 8. I put on the dress, and it looked great, but yikes! Time for the zipper! I struggle with zippers that go up my back enough as it is. I easily got it up part way. I fumbled with the zipper, as it approached my upper back, but I got it up all the way, and it fit! This was really too good to be true. Just like at Macy’s, I was approved for a Bloomingdales card, which also gave a discount. This dress was $195, and I ended up spending just $169.
Okay, now time for the next shopping trip. This would be for the most glamorous part of the pageant. Evening gown! I needed to go somewhere really special for this one….