A girl of middle school age, no matter what the pageant type, is typically in a ball gown. There are some exceptions to this rule, and the attire expected will be listed in the rules and regulation guide of the pageant. Otherwise, grab a big, poofy, ball gown and show it off on stage! Color options are up to the individual, but pastels are typically used, especially yellows, pinks, and blues. Ball gowns by Mori Lee Prom are a great example of what is expected in a middle school aged pageant. In the south, pageant contestants wear ball gowns until they hit their sophomore year, and even then they will still wear them. Some juniors and seniors, and even all the way up into the Miss USA and Miss America Systems ball gowns are seen on the girls competiting for their respective titles. The current Miss Universe wore a red, long sleeved, ball gown in competition!
Although a ball gown can be worn, once a teenage girl hits the sophomore age group, the dress will typically change to an age appropriate gown. Some examples of this would be empire waist gowns and dresses that are not tight fitted. Chiffon is a common fabric used but taffeta and satin are also popular. Colors used are still very muted but some girls do not look good in those shades. Bolder shades may be used, but the sophomore girl must make sure she does not look too old for her age group. Most pageant directors will steer away from red, black, and gem tones for the younger contestants.