- The Miss USA beauty pageant has taken place every year since 1952.
- During each pageant, contestants wear a number of glamorous looks to impress the judges, from leotards to sparkling ball gowns.
- Hopeful contestants have also worn daring necklines and flowing skirts during the competition.
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In the earliest days of the contest, for example, women like Miss New York and Miss California won the crown after wearing tight leotards and minidresses. And by the ’70s and ’80s, pageant contestants were all wearing sparkling gowns.
From floor-length dresses paired with gloves to ensembles with daring necklines, here’s a look back at some of the most show-stopping looks worn throughout Miss USA pageants.
New York’s Jackie Loughery became the first Miss USA in 1952 while wearing a leotard.
She was given a fur-lined cape to wear over her strapless leotard.
Carol Morris, who was once Miss Iowa, was crowned Miss USA in 1956. She wore a William Cahill coronation ball gown during the competition.
She ended up taking the ball gown home as one of her prizes.
Terry Lynn Huntingdon was first named Miss California, and then became the eighth Miss USA in 1959. Like the pageant’s first winner, she was crowned while wearing a leotard.
She showed off her a few of her prizes – a cape, trophy, and scepter – while wearing a pink leotard.
Macel Wilson, a contestant from Hawaii, was named Miss USA in 1962, while wearing an elegant dress with an embellished top.
She donned a white gown for the event, which featured a slim skirt and beaded bodice. Wilson also accessorized with long white gloves.
Maria Remenyi took home the Miss USA crown in 1966 while wearing a shimmering ensemble.
The former Miss California dazzled in a print gown and matching shiny gloves.
In 1968, Didi Anstett won the Miss USA title. She showed off her new title in a sparkly dress with a daring cutout.
The winner, who was also crowned Miss Washington, wore a sparkling halter-style gown with a beaded top.
Michele McDonald represented Pennsylvania during the pageant in 1971. She wore a unique gown with ruffled details that were popular at the time after being crowned.
One of her most showstopping looks from the pageant included a white strapless dress with a sheer overlay.
Kimberly Tomes turned heads in blue when she won the 1977 Miss USA title.
After winning the Miss Texas title, Tomes won the Miss USA crown while wearing a blue gown with jewel detailing.
Terri Utley, from Arkansas, became Miss USA in 1982, wearing a dress with a romantic silhouette.
She took a unique approach to her competition style, and wore a brown dress with long sleeves.
Before she was an Oscar-winning actress, Halle Berry competed in Miss USA in 1986.
She represented Ohio in the competition, where she walked the stage in a blue swimsuit.
Courtney Gibbs competed as Miss Texas and was eventually crowned Miss USA in 1988, wearing a dress with a dramatic thigh-high slit.
She wore a black evening gown with an intricate jeweled pattern.
Gretchen Polhemus of Texas became Miss USA in 1989, wearing a gown with what appears to be fringe detailing on the bodice.
She wore a classic white strapless gown for her final look.
Carole Gist went from Miss Michigan to Miss USA in 1990. One of her most showstopping looks was this black and red dress.
She wore a stunning black gown with billowing red ruffles at the sides.
Kelli McCarty of Kansas wore this sparkling red gown when she became Miss USA in 1991.
She paired her sleeveless gown with matching red heels.
Shanna Moakler of Texas became Miss USA in 1995 wearing a white, embellished gown with a statement neckline.
She wore a subtle shimmery gown with a halter-style neckline.
Shawnae Jebbia competed in the pageant as Miss Massachusetts in 1998, wearing a strapless design with a dramatic train.
She won the competition wearing a beige sleeveless gown with an eye-catching necklace.
Kimberly Ann Pressler of New York took home the crown in 1999. She wore a subtle yet standout white dress with a sparkly top during the pageant.
She wore an understated white gown with a sheer illusion neckline.
Lynnette Cole walked as Miss Tennessee in 2000 before becoming Miss USA. She wore a sleek floor-length evening gown.
Her subtly sparkly dress featured a sheer train attached at the skirt.
Kandace Krueger represented Texas in 2001 wearing a classic white gown.
The floor-length dress featured intricate lace emroidery.
Shauntay Hinton went from Miss District of Columbia to Miss USA in 2002 wearing a one-shoulder design.
Her modern spin on a classic evening gown ended up stealing the show.
Susie Castillo of Massachusetts won the crown in 2003 while wearing a semi-sheer lace gown.
The gown featured cascading ruffles on the bottom half of the skirt.
Shandi Finnessey competed as Miss Missouri in 2004, and ended up winning the competition in a semi-sheer jeweled design.
Her skirt featured a two-toned blue and gold design.
Chelsea Cooley of North Carolina took home the title in 2005. She wore a classic black dress during the evening gown portion of the show.
She impressed the judges with a flowing train.
She may not have won the pageant, but Melissa Witek from Florida wore a showstopping dress in 2005.
She wore an elegant coral evening gown for her final look.
Tara Conner represented Kentucky in 2006 in a flowing white gown.
Her evening gown featuring a ruffled slit at the left leg, which she paired with strappy sandals. She ended up taking home the crown in 2006.
Rachel Smith of Tennessee won the crown in March 2007 while wearing a red gown with a cutout design.
The evening gown featured shimmering sequins on the skirt.
Miss Texas Crystle Stewart was crowned Miss USA in 2008 wearing an intricate beaded design.
Her shimmering jeweled gown that sparkled as she made her way down the runway.
Kristen Dalton of North Carolina won the title in 2009 wearing a flowing blue gown.
Her billowing evening gown ended up stealing the show.
Winner Rima Fakih represented Michigan in 2010 and was crowned Miss USA while wearing a sleek white evening gown.
The gown featured silver embellishments across the fishtail-style skirt.
Alyssa Campanella took home the Miss USA crown in June 2011 while wearing an emerald-green gown.
She represented California in a gorgeous, sparkly evening gown.
Nana Meriwether represented Maryland in 2012 while wearing a flowing white gown.
She paired the elegant dress with a pair of sleek strappy heels.
2013 winner Erin Brady of Connecticut dazzled in a red evening gown.
The floor-length dress featured shimmering sequins on the skirt and lace embroidery on the bodice.
In June 2014, Nia Sanchez represented Nevada in a showstopping red gown that helped her win the Miss USA title.
She accessorized with matching sparkly earrings.
Olivia Jordan represented Oklahoma in a grand ball gown in July 2015.
She won the competition in a Barbie-pink strapless gown.
Deshauna Barber, Miss District of Columbia in 2016, glimmered in a golden evening gown when she became Miss USA.
Her dress featured layers of silver tassels at the skirt and tons of gold sequins on the bodice and sleeves.
Miss District of Columbia Kara McCullough walked down the runway in an eye-catching gown in 2017.
Her flowing gown helped her take home the title of Miss USA 2017.
2018 winner Sarah Rose Summer represented Nebraska in a dramatic black ballgown.
The gown featured a flowing train attached at the waist.
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