There’s a dizzying array of beautiful national costumes at the 71st Miss Universe and choosing which one is the best is indeed a Herculean task. One notable thing that pageant watchers have noticed is the return of huge costumes which could put a contestant in danger. For example, it is evident that Miss USA R’bonney Gabriel struggled to carry her heavy ensemble and it was painful to watch how she walked onstage.

The vast majority of costumes though are sensible and practical. It would be interesting to see whether Miss Universe will give the award to the most flamboyant costume or to the one that sticks to the tradition. Meanwhile, Missosology consulted its core members and beauty analysts on which national costume stood out taking into account its visual appeal as well as its cultural and historical relevance. Here are their Top 10:

No. 10 – Vietnam

Chau Nguyen, Miss Universe Vietnam 2022 looks amazing in this costume made from sedge grass. The ao dai and the conical hat plus the lotus pattern are all unmistakably Vietnamese. Vietnam is yet to win the Best in National Costume award at Miss Universe.

No. 9 – Trinidad and Tobago

The spirit of Trini carnival came alive with the national of Tya Jané Ramey, Miss Universe Trinidad and Tobago 2022. While huge and heavy costumes should be discouraged, this gold costume is culturally relevant and it brings us the memories of the 1999 Miss Universe pageant. Trinidad and Tobago won the National Costume award twice – in 1998 and 1999.

No. 8 Argentina

Barbara Cabrera, Miss Universe Argentina 2022, opted to use sustainable and recycled materials for her costume that represents Iguazu Falls. The white feathers are meant to echo the flowing waters and are accented by crystals, beads, pearls and fringes. Argentina is yet to win the Best in National Costume award at Miss Universe

No. 7 – The Bahamas

Angel Cartwright, Miss Universe The Bahamas, opted to bring the celebratory mood of her nation to the Miss Universe pageant. The year 2023 marks the 50th year that Bahamas gained independence from the British and the feathers are meant to represent the fireworks that usually lit up the Bahamian sky during their Independence Day celebrations. Bahamas is yet to win the National Costume award.

No. 6 – Mexico

One couldn’t get more Mexican by wearing a mariachi costume and while it is ubiquitous as tacos, Irma Miranda, Miss Universe Mexico 2022, came out as classy and sophisticated. Mexico has two Best in National Costume awards in its kitty. In 1971, María Luisa López won the first award for Mexico with her pre-Columbian costume adorned with feathered head dress. In 2000, Leticia Murray became the second Mexican woman to receive the award thanks to her beautiful costume that pays homage to corn and its role as a staple crop.

No. 5 – Netherlands

The Dutch are notoriously proud of their thin, round waffle cookie made from two layers of sweet baked dough held together by caramel filling called stroopwafel. Ona Moody, Miss Universe Netherlands 2022, invites the world to get a taste of her country through her unique costume that honors this delicious cookie. Netherlands won the Best National Costume back in 1964.

No. 4 – Colombia

María Fernanda Aristizabal, Miss Universe Colombia 2022, looks impressive in her Ave Fenix (Phoenix Bird) inspired costume. Even more impressive is the fact that is has 100, 000 Swarovski crystal and is adorned by the features from rooster, goose and ostrich. Colombia reigns supreme at the National Costume contest at Miss Universe with an amazing 6 awards. The last time they won was in 2002.

No. 3 – Panama

Solaris Barba, Miss Universe Panama 202, looks dazzling in her pre-Columbian outfit which is entitled “Puente del mundo, corazón del universo” (“Bridge of the world, heart of the universe”). Panama is home of several ancient Indian tribes known for their jewelry-making skills mostly gold and silver ornaments and this is reflected in this costume. Panama won the Best in National Costume at Miss Universe in four instances: 1986, 2004, 2009 and 2011.

No. 2 – Guatemala

Designed by  César Portillo and Leonel Hernández, this costume donned by Ivana Batchelor, Miss Universe Guatemala 2022, represents all things Mayan. It includes the Mayan calendar, the Tikal Pyramid and the jaguar which is associated with might and authority. Very intricate and attention grabbing, this costume is truly a work of art. Guatemala’s sole Best in National Costume award was bestowed during the Miss Universe 1975 competition held in El Salvador.

No. 1 – Ukraine

Viktoriia Apanasenko, Miss Universe Ukraine 2022, donned a national costume which is called “Angel of Light”. It represents the Archangel Michael who is considered as the protector of Ukraine’s capital city of Kiev. As her country continues to fight Russian aggression, this costume is not only timely but also an apt representation of her nation and its people. Ukraine is yet to win the Best in National Costume award at Miss Universe.