8 Cheap Military Ball Tricks for the Glamour Conscious


Ah, the military ball or holiday party. The perfect excuse to spend money and feel like a princess next to your Knight in shining dress uniform.

But with all that excitement comes a little bit of stress … like whether or not you are overspending.

Where can you get your hair, and makeup done? You know everyone will be using the salons on base or the surrounding areas. So, where can you go without having to pay an arm and a leg or spend the whole day there? How much should you be spending for those kinds of services? Or should you be doing it on your own? Can you do it on your own? Will you look ridiculous if you even try?

Melissa and I (Erika) are two military wives, who happen to be makeup and hair artists. We are here to hopefully answer any or all of those questions any of you ladies might have. We agreed that a $200 budget would be fair (or on average what is spent on a night like that) to work with for our Military Ball night.  We went “shopping” with our budget and came up with a top 10’s list for all of you gals. (Sorry, gents -- this post is for the ladies).

1. The Dress. Your dress will most likely be your highest expense. After all it is the most important item! When choosing a dress you should be looking for something flattering, age appropriate, and elegant. Melissa and I went to our nearest Nordstrom Rack and looked at gowns there that ranged from $130-$300. These are some of our choices from Nordstrom’s.

ball-dress-options-500x500 What was neat about the black dress was that you could cap the sleeves or fold them up and totally make it look like a different dress. Two styles for the price of one. This would be good to use for a different occasion. The dress to the right is fun, sassy but still elegant.

I did a little online shopping and my price range went from $0-$103. I went to websites like Rent the Runway, uwdress, and bookoo. Rent the runway is a site where you can rent dresses for your special occasion; some of their options include high end designers. Uwdress is a site that makes custom dresses for you at affordable prices, and bookoo is a site which is pretty much like an online garage sale.  There is a bookoo link for almost every area that is near an installation. A lot of military wives put up dresses they have worn to balls for sale at cheap prices. You know what they say “one man’s trash is someone else’s treasure”

2. The Shoes. Most of us already have some sort of dressy shoe. It is ok to reuse a shoe that you already have. For most of us stores like Charlotte Russe may seem like it is not age appropriate but it is safe to say that 50 percent of their shoes are! We chose to spend no more than thirty dollars on shoes. If you do not already have a pair of black, silver, or gold heels this may be the place you want to check out. The colors we mentioned above are not standard but they are safe. It is okay to use colors like nude, red or even animal print.


3. Hair.  When it comes to your hair you should keep into consideration the style of your dress. If you are wearing a one shoulder dress you might want to do something off to the side or all up into a classy up-do. Honestly a simple hairstyle can dress up any gown. The majority of women feel like an updo is necessary but it’s ok to wear your hair down. Whether it’s straight or curled, in a ponytail, or bun. All you have to do is dress it up the right way.

Need more help? We put together this hair tutorial just for you!


4. Accessories. When it comes to accessories you want to make sure that you do not overdue it. For expample If you have a sweetheart neckline and VERY blessed up top you may want to just wear earrings and a bracelet. Wearing a necklace will bring more attention to your chest. If you have a lot of beading near your collar bone you also won’t need a necklace.

5. Makeup DIY vs. Paying to have it done. Everyone loves to feel pampered but, if makeup is something that you like to get done or is on your budget you can go to your nearest Paul Mitchell School where they offer full makeup applications done by students. Their prices are considerably cheap compared to makeup counters or simply do it yourself. Here is a short tutorial on a quick and EASY makeup look you can do on your own. YOU CAN DO IT, WE BELIEVE IN YOU!!


6. Skin.  Natural skin is beautiful no need for an orange spray tan. The ball is not the beach! What we are trying to say is that it is not necessary to spend money on a tan for your night out at the ball!

7. Nails. Nail polish is definitely great, but if you have leftover polish from two weeks ago, you might want to remove it. Get together with some of your girls a night or two before the ball and do each other’s nails. Light nude colors work great. No need for a French manicure.

8. JUST HAVE FUN! It is your night to feel beautiful so go have fun with your hubby and friends. Every girl dreams of going to a ball like Cinderella and tonight is your night!

Melissa and Erika are two Military wives who met in cosmetology school. Ever since the day they met they instantly clicked and have been inseparable since. Melissa comes from Kansas and Erika am from New York City. They both share the same passions -- hair, makeup, and the military. We recently started our own business which we decided to name At Ease Hair & Co. They have hopes and dreams to build a clientele and do hair and makeup at the same time being a part of someone’s special day. Whether that special day is a military ball, wedding, or even a sweet sixteen. They  can be reached at Ateasehairandco (at) gmail (dot) com and all of their work can be found on Facebook, tumblr, and instagram at At ease hair and co.

Story Continues

Military Spouse Videos

View more