This is embarrassing, but I am going to tell you anyway. Because you can do military ball dresses under 100 dollars the right way or you can do it the wrong way. Last Spring–and a several times before it–I absolutely did military ball dresses the wrong way.
My husband called me from work and announced that there was a military ball in two weeks that he wanted us to attend. Of course I said yes; the idea of getting out of the house for a beautiful evening with my husband without the kids sounded like pure bliss. But…
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There was a problem.
We live overseas and finding military ball dresses under 100 dollars on the fly isn’t that easy. There is literally only one PX that would carry dresses and the idea of shopping out in town at all the local stores was overwhelming.
Then there was the yard sale page, where you can swap dresses with other spouses, but there never seemed to be any military ball dresses available in my size that fit my taste.
Okay, so don’t do what I did.
With the ball only two weeks away, I went to the PX and found nothing! Literally no ball dresses. So I bought a $30 cocktail dress that went to my knees and I looked like a noob.
Military balls are a formal event, and while I don’t think anyone will shame you for wearing a knee-length cocktail dress, the truth is you will feel very informal and out of place.
So here’s the simplest way to avoid a military ball dress conundrum two weeks before an event (ahem…like me).
How to find stunning military ball dresses under 100 dollars.
Buy several military ball dresses for cheap off Amazon now, and then keep two or three so you always have a ball dress ready to go. I always use Amazon prime, and what I LOVE about this is you get free shipping and you can return everything!
You may buy a military ball gown and find that isn’t perfect. Do not panic 🙂 You can send it back.
Other online dress shops charge you for shipping and can make the return process very difficult. Their dresses are also more expensive, costing upwards of $300.
If you attend one or two balls per year, then it is perfectly fitting to buy a few military ball dresses under 100 dollars, keeping them ready to go.
Let’s talk most popular dresses.
I LOVE to keep a few ball dresses in my closet now because you always have something formal ready to go. Here are several I plan to use for upcoming military balls so I don’t get stuck wearing a dress that is way too informal.
I adore this dress because the material is stretchy, which means if you go up or down a few pounds between military ball events this will likely still fit perfectly well. When buy a dress, I always think, “Will this hold up well over time?”
Based on the reviews, it fits a variety of body types. I always look at the reviews.
I also love this Sleeveless Long Black Dress. It’s similar, but less sparkle-flashy and it has a slit on the leg, which I think is very sexy but classy. A friend of mine has this dress, and she gets compliments every time.
On a side note: Most ball dresses prevent you from wearing a regular bra. If you don’t have a bra that goes well with ball dresses, there are several adhesive bras that I recommend.
- Grab this one with self-adhesive wings.
- Or try this padded push-up adhesive bra, sold exclusively on Amazon.
- This one also has a ton of 5 star reviews on Amazon.
This dress has a ton of 5 star reviews on Amazon and it comes in over 5 different color choices. I personally love the red the best in this one and think it would be a great color next to any service member’s uniform.
This dress rates well on Amazon. I always look in the comments of the reviews because many purchasers will post pictures. One beautiful lady even used this as a maternity ball gown at 6 months pregnant, and it looked perfect!
This dress comes in seven different colors on Amazon and contains a built in bra, which is always a plus because then you don’t have to buy one. One woman in the comments shared a photo of herself in the black version of the dress and she looks way better than the model. I was impressed by this dress.
I also try to put a little bling with my military ball dresses. I usually wear a bracelet and some earrings to keep it simple.
This dress looked a little busy to me with the lace applique, but the reviews won me over. Seeing the pictures of real women wearing the dress shows how much nicer it looks. It comes in several colors, but black seems to be the most loved. The back of this dress is stunning.
Finally a dress that is not a mermaid style! This comes in over 14 different colors and has over 300 reviews, making it extremely popular. There is padding (no wire) inside the dress so you do not need a bra. This material is prone to wrinkling, but you can use a steam iron and that easily does the trick. It looks gorgeous in green.
The best part about this dress is simplicity. While many of the dresses above contain detailed beading or sequence, this can also get damaged after one or two uses. The simpler the dress, the more likely it will hold up over time, getting you the most bang for your buck.
This is also a very popular dress on Amazon with over 600 customer reviews. I love the dark purple and peach color the best with this design. Could easily be worn as a maternity ball gown.
I also take a clutch purse with me. I have a silver one that I use with everything. Grabbing a clutch in silver is the perfect way to get more bang for your buck–you can use it with different colored ball gowns and it always matches.
This is another simple dress that holds up well over time. Be forewarned, it doesn’t provide a lot of bust support and it doesn’t really allow you to wear a bra. Just something to consider. I love the thick waist line to really define and gives the illusion of a small waist regardless of body type. Almost one thousand reviews to help you decide on this one.
This ain’t your first military ball rodeo.
Stunning your service member (among others) does not need to cost a fortune. All the military ball dresses listed here are cheap. Which means, you can buy accessories and an adhesive bra all for a great deal.
Of course, you can buy these dresses at a small shop or bridal store, but they are essentially the same dresses. The only difference is the price.
Each dress offers free returns as well. I am always afraid to order online because it’s easy to rack up shipping charges, but Amazon Prime makes it super simple. In most locations, the shipping only takes two days, and it’s included in the price of your military ball dress.
Want more on military life?
- 12 Must-Know Etiquette Rules for Military Life
- The Pros and Cons of Attending a Military Ball
- 7 Military Ball Must Haves That Aren’t a Dress
- The Ultimate Guide to Military Ball Etiquette for Spouses