How to Dress for a Military Ball

It’s military ball season! Getting an invitation to a military ball is an honor, but it also comes with the daunting task of deciding what to wear. The dress code for a military ball is different than any other black-tie event, in that there are usually strict rules of dress and conduct to be followed.

We regularly dress women for these occasions, and have come up with a list of things to remember, plus what to look for (and what to skip),  when shopping for a military ball dress.

General Guidelines for Dressing for a Military Ball

1. First and foremost, remember that the way you look is a reflection on your date. If your attire doesn’t comply with dress code guidelines, your date could get in trouble.
2. When in doubt, err on the side of being too conservative, as opposed to being too sexy.

What to Avoid
1. Cut outs. The one exception to this rule would be an open back, as long as it isn’t too deep or wide.
2. Overly bright colors or neon. Even if a gown is conservative and beautiful, colors like CORAL or TURQUOISE can make you stand out inappropriately.
3. Anything too short (above the knee) or too tight. If you would wear it to a nightclub, it’s probably not right for a military ball.

What to Look For
1. One way to ensure you’ll look fabulous is to wear a color that is complimentary to what “dress” uniform your date is wearing. For example, Marines wear a navy jacket with a bright, almost royal pants and a white hat. This uniform would pair perfectly with a dress that is black, navy, white, red, or blue.
2. Understated, elegant silhouettes. Again, it’s better to air on the side of simplicity.
3. An appropriate length. Knee-length, tea-length, or floor-length are the best options.

Here are a few dresses we love for military balls:

1. Alyce 5682. A simple silhouette in classic black with a lace overlay.

Alyce 5682


2. Sherri Hill 4308, For a slightly more formal take on the above.


3. Bari Jay 305: An understated, simple gown that’s formal without being over the top.


4. Sherri Hill 32011



5. Alyce Black Label 5620. This red dress is a show-stopper, and form flattering without being tight. A high neckline keeps it from being overly sexy.


6. Alyce Black Label 5646: You can’t go wrong with a subtly embellish, knee-length black dress.


7. La Femme 19915:  This dress is fun and fashion-forward, but still appropriate thanks to neutral colors and a conservative silhouette. We’d pair it with a strand of pearls and elegant top knot.





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