4. Color matters.
It is not always possible to find a dress that “matches” a spouse’s uniform in whatever small town the military moved you to this year. But, there are some things that probably should be avoided. Neon is not a good look for anyone. It wasn’t in the 80’s either. It is not coming back. Let’s move on. The same goes for any prints that try to look like an animal on safari. I promise, in 10 years you will cringe every time you see that picture hanging in the hallway. And you will always wonder if the DJ’s selection of “Eye of The Tiger” was intended just for you.
3. Do not shop in the Prom section.
Have you seen one lately? It is like a Toddlers and Tiaras episode gone very wrong. Every time my husband passes by one, he buys a new gun in anticipation of prom night in a few short years. I promise, if you shop in the prom section of your local department store, you might as well throw away all of these guidelines and get out the Fredrick’s catalog.
2. No need to take out a loan, ladies.
There is absolutely no reason, unless you are just swimming in cash and really want to, to spend hundreds of dollars on a gown. It is perfectly acceptable to shop on CraigsList, in thrift stores or the clearance rack. You can even rent a gorgeous dress from Rent the Runway! It is also perfectly acceptable to borrow from a friend or, wait for it…. wear the same dress you did last year!!!
Your spouse will wear the same uniform to every ball for as long as they are in the military. Sometimes it is changed up a bit with the seasons, and of course they add more bling with more ribbons, etc. So what is the big deal about you doing the same? Wear a different shawl, buy some new heels or wear different bling. But you do not have to buy a new dress every year. I have a standby, floor length, classy black gown in the back of my closet. If I can’t find a reasonably priced gown that year…then I wear it. And not one single person cares.
1. The ball is not about YOU.
I realize this sounds harsh, but it needs to be said. Balls are to celebrate the service member. They are to celebrate the traditions and heritage of their branch of service. The night is about THEM, not YOU. That doesn’t mean you can’t look amazing. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a great time. That doesn’t mean you should be a wall flower. But keeping that in perspective always grounds me when I am shopping for “the perfect dress.”
Here’s hoping you all have a wonderful time at the next formal military event you attend. And here is hoping that we all can do it while looking like the fabulous, classy and amazing spouses we are!