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It’s a question that I see ALL the time. What should I wear to a military ball? There are SO many ball gown options out there, that choosing the perfect one can be stressful and difficult.
The second formal Army event that I attended with John was an actual ball. John was stationed in Missouri, and I had flown into town for the weekend to attend the ball. At this event there were all sorts of ranks, being that it was the Military Police Ball, being held at the home of the military police.
Seven years later, and I can still remember the glaring eyes of an older woman, as I walked across the room. At the time, I didn’t see anything wrong with my gown choice, however looking back, it probably wasn’t the ideal choice. If you happen to think a bright glittery teal dress with a thigh-high slit it a good idea, don’t do it.
In the last eight years, I’ve been to more formal events than I can count, and have come up with my own set of guild lines for what to wear and not to wear to a military ball or formal event.
There are really only a few color options that I’d stray from. Neons or loud colors aren’t ideal for events that are considered formal. I’ve worn red, yellow, green, blue, purple, and black, in shades that compliment John’s dress uniform. Many ladies choose to wear a color that represents the branch; for military police, that’s yellow and green. I do think that reds, blues, blacks, and silvers probably compliment the Army dress uniform best.
The shorter the tie, the longer the dress. I heard this particular quote a couple of years back at an etiquette class, and it’s stuck with me since. Although I don’t necessarily believe that you have to wear a floor-length dress to a formal event, I do think that they’re usually the safest bet. I wouldn’t go any shorter than a knee or tea-length dress. Keep the goodies under the dress, ladies!
Choose comfortable shoes
In Miami we have a saying, for people who end up barefoot on the dance floor. Put simply, it translates to “dirty feet.” Don’t be that woman. If you plan on dancing the night away, look for shoes that will be comfortable with hours of wear. Plus, if your dress is hemmed to be worn with heels, it’ll be dragging all over the floor, if you remove your shoes.
Keep it covered
I know everyone always wants to be the beauty of the ball, but at formal events, that should mean minimal skin. I promise, less if more. Use caution when wearing dresses that either cut low and expose cleavage in the front, or have wide open backs, with the possibility of your back side showing. When in doubt, use a piece of Scotch™ Essentials Wardrobe Tape Roll, to make sure the your dress stays in place.
Two-piece Mid-drift dresses, along with cut-out dresses have gained popularity lately. While they’re not something I’d personally wear, I think depending on the command, they can be done tastefully. The same applies to slits.
The dress that I got this year, had a slit, but I did a little bit of adjusting, to get it just how I wanted. As I was picking up some makeup at Walmart, I noticed some items in the aisle, perfect for performing a little no-sew dress surgery.
The first fix that needed to happen, was sticking the lining of the dress to the exterior. The way that the slit was made, made it feel as though I was permanently walking through a set of curtains blowing in the wind. So annoying!
I wanted this to be a permanent fix, so I enlisted the help of Scotch™ Essentials Permanent Hem Bonding Strips.
- Start by hanging the dress up, or laying it flat on a sturdy surface. If necessary, steam your garment, to get any stubborn wrinkles out. You don’t want to be wearing your dress for this.
- Determine how many Scotch™ Essentials Permanent Hem Bonding Strips you’ll need. I used two on each side of the slit.
- Place strips on lining material, according to package instructions.
- Starting from the top of the slit, slowly adhere the the outer portion of the dress, to the lining.
Now, because I wanted the option of also opening the slit back up in the future, I used Scotch™ Essentials Adjustable Hem Tape to temporarily close the slit. I took the strips and lined them down one entire side of the slit.
Once all of the tape was down, I took the other side of the slit, and simply stuck it down. The perfect temporary option for closing up a slit in a dress!