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Military Ball Help: Ms. Vicki's Advice

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

My husband is a naval officer. We will be attending the Navy ball this fall, and we've never had the opportunity to go to this kind of function before.

What is the proper dress etiquette to a Navy ball? Thanks!

-- Don't Know What to Wear

Dear What to Wear,

Military balls are a lot of fun! I'm glad you are going, and I know you and your husband will have a blast.

Before I talk about what to wear, let me first say that you should make it a night to remember.

For example, try to get a babysitter for 24 hours, if you have children and that's possible. Spend the night at the hotel where the ball is being held, or at a hotel that's close by. Dance all night, then go to your hotel room and do what grown folks do. You know what I mean. Have breakfast together the next morning before you go home.

I advise couples to make a great time of it because sometimes couples forget how to let go and have fun. Some military couples simply go the ball just to show up and punch the ticket. They go, say hi and they leave. It's not often that spouses, especially female spouses, get to doll up for events such as a military ball.

I say wear a floor-length formal dress. There will be women with tea-length or knee-length cocktail dresses there. There will also be women who will come with hoochie-skank clothes -- but that's another show and who am I to judge? Most, however, will be wearing floor-length gowns.

Keep it sexy and beautiful, but classy. Remember your husband will have on his formal military uniform, and your attire should complement that. Start looking now for the perfect gown.

Have fun and make it a special night. Remember to send me a picture!

-- Ms. Vicki

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Ms. Vicki, a native of Dallas, has been the ‘Dear Abby’ for the military community since her column began in 2005. A licensed therapist and licensed clinical social worker, Ms. Vicki holds a Master of Science in social work and a Master of Arts in clinical psychology. Her column has appeared in the Washington (D.C.) Times and in the Heidelberg (Germany) Post Herald. She has been featured on CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC.

Ms. Vicki has retired from writing new columns for Although Ms. Vicki is no longer offering new advice on, you can still email military benefits questions to our Questions and Benefits team. Need military spouse career help? Email our Dear Career writers.