The start of a new decade is always an exciting time. There’s always a sense in the air that things can start fresh and new when a brand-new decade begins. With the crowning of Miss America in 1970, the contest was shaking things up in the fashion department. The winner, Pamela Eldred, wore a bold evening gown that featured an embroidered bodice and flowy skirt.
Gone were the poofy white silhouettes of the 1950s and 60s. In their place came color, experimentation, and even more glam. This dress is all about the details, such as the single sequins sewn into the top or the delicate edging sewn into the skirt. In a later interview, Pamela revealed that Miss America pageants had always enchanted her. She finally had one of her dreams come true by winning this competition.
The Ice Queen
We wouldn’t be surprised if the creators of Disney’s “Frozen” were inspired by this dress when they were brainstorming Elsa’s wardrobe. This light blue evening gown was worn by Laurie Lea Schaefer, who won Miss America in 1972. The dress is simple but oh-so elegant.
We love the bedazzled bodice that looks like it’s encrusted with ice crystals instead of sequins. To finish off the look, the dress transitions to an ice-blue skirt with a sheer layer of tulle on top. Dainty bits of glitter, crystals, or sequins are embroidered onto the sheer layer of the skirt in a sporadic pattern. We adore this look, especially when paired with the winning red royal robe flanking Miss Laurie.
A Totally Groovy Winner
We love this reaction shot of Phyllis George when she learned that she was the new Miss America in 1971. Not only is she showing genuine surprise at being named the winner, but she’s also embodying quintessential 70s style. The empire waist was one of the most popular silhouettes of the decade, and Phyllis was right on trend.
A ton of the other girls in the background are wearing empire waist dresses, too. Honestly, all of the dresses in the background look like they could fit into a modern-day high school dance. The jewel and sequin encrusted tops give an extra kick of pizzazz to dress up what would otherwise be a pretty casual-looking dress.
Pretty in Blue
This photo may be black-and-white, but we’re here to tell you that the winner of Miss America 1967 finally wore something other than a white dress. Jane Jayroe’s dress was a stunning baby blue with dark blue sequins and a flowing tulle skirt. What a breath of fresh air.
No hate to the other women who wore white. We just really love to see when people shake things up. The glittery bodice and striking dark blue accents make this dress stand out from the others. It’s beautiful, timeless, and really makes Jane’s dark hair pop. Jane’s winning evening look just goes to show that it’s okay to think outside the box.
A Shift in Fashion
The 1960s brought huge changes in society, politics, and fashion. Although Miss America has never marketed itself as a cutting-edge program, some more modern touches did make their way into the competition during the 60s. One example is this sleek shift dress worn by Nikki Peck, or Miss Indiana, in 1968.
The shift dress was popularized in the 1920s and then revitalized in the 1960s. It’s a flattering column-style dress that is shorter than traditional silhouettes but with less emphasis on curves. Nikki’s look is utterly modern. We wouldn’t be surprised if we saw someone wearing a shift dress like this to a fancy party or gala event today. Maybe shift dresses should have another moment. What do you think?