By Marguerite Cleveland
Military Balls are a fun, exciting event to attend and who doesn’t love seeing their spouse in a dress uniform. While a great time, attire for a formal function can get expensive. Here are a few tips to help reduce the cost.
- Many military spouses clubs host events offering free dresses. Visit Operation Deploy Your Dress a military spouse nonprofit that collects new and gently used formal attire and gives it out for free to military and dependent ID Cardholders.
- The USO hosts an event at military installations across the country called Operation That’s My Dress. If you are lucky enough to have this event come to your area, it is the full princess experience. In addition to a designer ball gown or dress there is a high energy fashion show and lots of swag. The best part, it’s totally free. Visit The USO.
- Check out the Thrift Shop on your installation. They often have great deals on formal gowns. Early in December and May are peak seasons for people to get rid of things. Local thrift shops and Goodwill are also good options. When shopping thrift shops think vintage to come up with a unique look. Consignment shops will give you a better option for picking up a designer dress and will often come at a higher price. I often find better deals when shopping sales.
- Trade with friends. This is a great way to get more mileage out of your own dresses. Trade or borrow with friends. I’ve often lent dresses to other spouses. You can make a fun event out of it by inviting over a group of ladies and have everyone bring dresses they would like to trade.
- Lastly shop when you don’t need a dress. Every time you are out at a department store make sure to peek in the formal dress section. I’ve often lucked out and found a gown for under $50. My biggest score was at a Laura Ashley Outlet and they had a rack of formal gowns and bridesmaids dresses for $7 each. Needless to say I stocked up. I even bought ones that didn’t fit me because I was sure someone I knew could wear it.
Before you pluck down big bucks for a gown, try a few of these suggestions. You never know what treasure you may find.
Marguerite Cleveland is a freelance writer who specializes in human interest and travel stories. She is a military brat, a veteran and now a military spouse. Her military experience is vast as the daughter of a Navy man who served as an enlisted sailor and then Naval Officer. She served as an enlisted soldier in the reserves and on active duty, then as an Army Officer. She currently serves as a military spouse. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two sons. Visit her website www.WanderWordsWine.com