Miss Universe: National Costume Contest

The best thing in the entire world has happened: the annual Miss Universe National Costume Contest. Every country took a different approach; most of them failed miserably, providing endless joy for yours truly!

A photo essay is below, though in case you’re thinking, “Is this a little tasteless for my browsing pleasure?”, please know that this is the outfit that WON.

If you looked at that picture and thought, “That’s just what I wore to my prom!”, you will LOVE this competition.

This is in no way safe for dial-up, or for your sense of a just and rational universe.

Weirdly, the Muppet thing is one of the least hysterical ones.

So, some countries are lucky enough to have a unique and recognizable national costume that resembles something vaguely like the implied demands of the contest.





Spain, looking like Lisa Marie in Mars Attacks!


Cyprus, who must have been watching people get dressed backstage and REJOICING that she gets to wear something that looks vaguely red-carpet and certainly is identifiable as a piece of clothing.

This is an important consideration, since some people were sent out on the runway, inexplicably, in foliage:



It’s all very Project Runway Season 2, no?

Though, I suppose if your flora is what you want to present about your country, it’s better than deciding to highlight some other aspect of your country that was never, EVER meant to be rendered in clothing.

Oh, the Netherlands. I’m so sorry.

New Zealand’s sea life!

Russia….birthplace of the marching band?

Some were outlandish and vague, but still clothing, which is a step up.


I do love this, mostly because it’s such a great color and shape, and she’s so awesome.


Switzerland, not wearing the costume I expected!

…because Sweden stole it.

These made me laugh out loud, for one reason or another. Oh my god, they’re amazing.

Iceland was like, “You know what the national costume of Iceland is? DIGNITY. Also, schoolgirl tartan.” (We’ll ignore the hat. Even with the hat, she looked like the chaperone.)

Nothing says “Finland” like a kicky dress and sunhat, for those long Finnish summers! (My guess is that this is a nod to Marimekko textiles? But still, you guys.)

Canada did not EVEN TRY.


Um…Japan? Honey?

Slovenia’s got a fungus!

Ireland forgot about this assignment until the night before.

Venezuela, home of My Fair Lady, apparently!

USA, reflecting the most popular sport in the country and filling me with despair. Thanks for that!

Hey, you know who was really pissed that Panama won with that Muppet getup?

Peru. Just saying.

And my favorite of the night:

China. I think this is an interpretation of armor, but it’s an AWESOME coat no matter what. GET IT, GIRL. FIERCE.

Obviously I couldn’t get to everyone: visit The Global Miss Contest for every hilarious costume.

Recent Work

TV Recaps: Elementary, Season 5

TV Recaps: Victoria, Season 1

TV Recaps: Reign, Season 4

TV Recap: Bates Motel, "Hidden"

Fiction: "Everyone from Themis Sends Letters Home", Clarkesworld

Film: How many movies about grief this year? All of them, Legacy.com

Book Review: HIGH NOON: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic, NPR.org

Book Review: How to Read a Dress, NPR.org

Nonfiction: A Doom of One's Own, Clarkesworld

Genevieve on Tumblr

  • photo from Tumblr


    Embroidered coat, Mughal Indian, c.1620. This coat is of Jahangir’s reign and is among the few surviving early Mughal textiles.


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