Commentary Tips

See 4-H State Fair Handbook for all 4-H Clothing Event Forms and Information for County Staff, Participants, & Judges

Stage commentaries are the link between the 4-H’er and the audience. They tell about you and the special features of your garment as well as what you learned during this experience.

Commentaries are brief and concise, about 100 words. Whether you are in Fashion Revue, Clothing Selection or The $15 Challenge, commentary will have some basics. These include:

1. An introduction with your name, age, and club. You may also include what school you attend and your grade.

2. A brief outfit description. Analyze the garment.

  • What is special about it?
  • Don’t forget the color, texture and design of the fabric!
  • If you are having trouble describing it, look at catalogs, magazines or pattern envelopes for ideas.
  • Use action verbs i.e. a row of beads accents the neckline or a belt circles the waist.
  • Use “models” rather than “is modeling” or “wears” rather than “is wearing”.
  • Describe details that the audience can see.
  • What is the fiber content in the fabric? (For example, 100% cotton knit or a shirt made of 95% cotton and 5% spandex.)
  • Specific garment terms are given later in this document to help you out.

3. Include where you will be wearing the garment.

4. Describe what you learned. This can be in general or specific to your category. General ideas could include deciding on your wardrobe needs before shopping, comparison shopping, or looking at the suggested care before purchasing clothing or fabric. You may also include what you have learned from your 4-H experiences.


4-H'ers have an opportunity to develop communication skills through writing and delivering fashion commentary during 4-H fashion presentations. At the State Fair Clothing Event, Senior 4-H'ers introduce Clothing Event participants as they appear on stage through a "Fashion Narrative" or oral commentary. Through the experience of writing and delivering fashion commentary, experienced 4-H'ers develop leadership skills and self-confidence. 4-H'ers can have this experience in their home counties also by assisting with planning and presenting County Events. Planning the show can be a lot of fun and is a good way to learn to work with other 4-H'ers.
You don't have to be a great writer to write Fashion Narratives, but each Fashion Narrative card should:

  1. Identify the 4-H'er by name, club, community, and/or county,
  2. Contain a little information about the outfit, and
  3. Provide some information about the 4-H'ers achievements, activities, or career goals.


Commentary Wording Examples


Zeroing in on 2000 with a bright floral print, Name from Local Club, Home County is modeling a dress she constructed to wear to the Junior-Senior Prom. Becky says 4-H has helped her develop confidence in speaking before groups. She likes giving 4-H presentations. Recently she traveled with other Iowa 4-H'ers to Washington D.C. She says 4-H has given her many great opportunities for learning and, after she finishes high school next year, she plans to carry on with her education by studying engineering in college.

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More Examples

  • Representing 4-H'ers from Local Club, Home County, Name is wearing an outfit he selected for school and casual events. Khaki pants are complemented with a dark brown tweed sweater that he wears over a turquoise-blue madras-plaid shirt. Tom is the president of his 4-H Club and recently attended Iowa Youth and 4-H Conference at Iowa State University. He plans to study agricultural business in college.
  • Name, from Local Club, Home County models an outfit she selected for dressy occasions. The versatile two piece navy blue skirt and top can be worn with many other clothes in her wardrobe. Name has been in 4-H four years and after high school wants to get a job as a secretary.
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