Suddenly, I transform into a woman I hardly know who frets and throws tantrums over dresses that “are all bunchy in all the wrong places.” I fall into the traps of I-have-nothing-to-wear and I-look-awful-in-everything-I-put-on.
It is important to remember that your welcome will be a great one, no matter what you wear. Your service member misses you. Homecoming is about love and you can’t do love wrong. But I don’t think there’s anything wrong with picking out a special outfit for homecoming and doing a little extra primping for your service member. The extra effort can help show significant others they’re special.
Over the last year lots of military spouses have asked me for advice on what to wear for homecoming. I am not a fashion expert, but here are some of my suggestions, examples, ideas and tips gathered from the military homecomings I ‘ve seen.
I always warn against overtly sexy outfits. Homecoming celebrations are public events; anyone from the commander to small children and news media could be present. Even if you have it, homecoming is not the place to flaunt it. That does not mean you have to wear a sack! You still want to feel attractive and look your best. Aim for “Flirty” instead of “Sexy.”
There are lots of things to consider. Where will homecoming take place? I say an absolute no to dresses and stockings in the winter. I just won’t do it. If you’re having homecoming at a pier the wind can be very gusty so consider that when picking out a skirt. Homecoming celebrations can be delayed by several hours so make sure you can comfortably stand around in whatever you’re wearing.
Consider this your free pass to get your hair done, your eyebrows waxed, new makeup, a spray tan, manicure and pedicure and whatever else! This is a special occasion. Besides, you saved all that money when your spouse was gone on personal grooming products like razors and shaving cream (Kidding, mostly).
Most homecomings are pretty casual. Dresses are appropriate, but this isn’t a ball gown occasion. Excessive jewelry, makeup and over-the-top outfits stand out in a not-so-good way. Keep it simple, classic and realistic. Don’t try too hard.
It’s perfectly acceptable to tap into the feeling of the day. Patriotic touches help make some of my favorite outfits.
I don’t actually have any outfits in ACU patterns, and I wouldn’t recommend wearing any uniform-themed outfit to homecoming. Your spouse has spent the last (fill in the blank) number of months looking at those uniforms — the last thing he or she wants to see is more of the same on their significant other.
The exception here is for kids: The miniature uniforms are heartbreakers and adorable on almost any child!
I’ve noticed this much more in recent years. People will order custom T-shirts with personal messages, use iron-ons or fabric paint or even order a deployment homecoming T-shirt from an online retailer like Zazzle. It can be a fun way to express yourself and really personalize your outfit.
Be sure to check out more tips on homecoming from other military spouses in Part 1: Military Spouses Share Tips for a Successful Homecoming!