4 Clues to Cracking the Military Ball Dress Code

Finding an age appropriate gown

The age-old question: What should I wear?

The military ball is an event that’s looked forward to by military members and their dates alike. It’s a night where those who have so dutifully served are allowed to indulge in some longstanding traditions, great food and drink, and a whole lot of fun.

For those who will be first-time dates to this year’s military ball, here are a few tips to keep in mind to make sure that you look appropriate and stylish:

Complement the Dress Uniforms

As a date to a military ball, you’re there to complement your date, the service member. So don’t wear a bold dress in a loud color. This is the military member’s day, not yours. Try finding a dress in black, navy or even deep red or white, all colors that will nicely complement your date’s dress uniform. Keep it simply with no loud prints, and keep it classy, with just a few rhinestones or other embellishments here or there.

Try to complement your soldiers uniform

When picking out your outfit, consider how you’ll look together.

Keep it Classy

When it comes to the cut or style of a dress, I’m always a strong advocate for wearing a dress that best flatters your figure. It will make you look stunning and feel most comfortable. Keep in mind that while wearing a slinky, short and backless dress may be fun and sexy for a night out at the clubs, it isn’t appropriate at a ball. Think about what your outfit says about you and remember that what you wear does reflect on your spouse. A military ball is a formal occasion and the general consensus is that women should wear a floor-length gown as a matter of formality. I advise that when you question if an outfit is appropriate, err on the side of caution. Plunging necklines, backless numbers and thigh-high slits are common trends in formal wear, but just because something is popular doesn’t make it any more appropriate.

Simple details speak volumes

Keeping your dress on the simple side is better than going over-the-top

Take the Time to Prep

A military ball merits well-manicured nails and well-done hair, so make sure you book your appointment in advance. You don’t need the up-do that you donned during prom, but a sophisticated hairstyle goes great with a formal dress.

Don’t Forget the Heels

Leave the flip flops at home. Even if you have a floor-length gown, you still need elegant shoes to match. Heels are always a great option. Just make sure to keep the heel classy, too, with few straps and only a mild peep toe. Also, wear them before the ball to break them in and make sure they’re comfortable enough that you will not end the night limping!

A military ball is a must-attend event. No matter how concerned you are with your outfit for the evening, always keep in mind that first and foremost, this is an event for your service member. So, instead of fiddling with your hair or worrying about the pain your heels are causing, be sure to let the service member in your life know that this is his special night and that you’re proud of him.

Photos courtesy of Laurie AvocadoU.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District and Maneula