What NOT to Wear to Military Functions

I’ve been inspired this week by the upcoming Air Force Ball and Miley Cyrus’s wardrobe at the VMA’s. Even if you are not a military brat or a spouse, you might at some point in your life end up at a military function. For instance a promotion ceremony or a pilot training graduation.  One rule of thumb that makes it easy is to match the person in uniform you are going with, however, make sure to always dress modestly and with class. You are a direct reflection of the person you are with, so make them look good! You can always ask yourself, what would Kate Middleton do? WWKMD.

Let’s start with the ABU or Flight Suit:

Now this is the most casual you will dress, besides of course the PT uniform. This would probably be an event like a squadron potluck or an assignment night. If you are really nervous about what to wear, I say wear a tee dress with a statement necklace. Here are some pictures for reference (pictures might be outdated):

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Oh Tom…. Ok, back to business!

If they are wearing this, you will wear something casual but cute.  This could be anything from jeans and a cute top to a sundress – so if you are not sure, wear something in between. Probably not the place to bring out your crop top or your cut off shorts, you might run into his boss or his work friends.  Also, this is what you would wear to spouse socials, such as OSC/ESC. Here are some examples:

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Air Force Blues: (This is going to look similar to a suit)

This is most likely to be worn at Change of Command ceremonies, retirements, promotions, and graduations.

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So if they are wearing this, you will wear something similar to what you would wear to a wedding – a sundress, a lace dress, a nice maxi dress, etc. I’d say avoid spaghetti straps, but a modest strapless dress would be appropriate. Some great places to shop for these occasions would be Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, Anthropologie, LOFT, and J. Crew. As a rule of thumb, don’t get your dresses from somewhere you shopped in High School, like American Eagle or Forever 21 – not that you can’t find a good one there ( I have a few), but you are most likely OVER 21 now, wear adult clothing.  Here are some examples:

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And here is a Kate example:

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WHAT NOT TO WEAR:  These dresses all have a place, but not to an event where your military member is wearing his/her blues.

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And finally, Mess Dress:

This is the fanciest you will get, and when I say fancy, I mean fancy-fancy. I’m not talking Easter Sunday, I’m not talking holiday party, I’m talking full length gown fancy.  So please don’t show up in a sundress.  If you are nervous about wearing a full-length gown, wear a fancy short cocktail dress. That is acceptable. Just make sure to have on some sparkle, cute shoes, and a clutch. Here is what it will look like:

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It is best to wear a full length gown or a fancy cocktail dress.  No poof, no see through, no low back, no side-boob, not a ton of cleavage, and no train. We are NOT talking your prom dress.  If your 16 year old self would have worn it to Homecoming, DO NOT WEAR IT TO A MILITARY FUNCTION. Channel Kate Middleton when you are shopping.  Great places to shop are BCBG MaxAzria Outlet, Nordstrom Rack online, Saks Fifth Avenue’s OFF Fifth, the J. Crew wedding section, and Rent the Runway! Here is what I would wear (and disregard the hanger straps – it seems it doesn’t matter how many times I stuff them back in, they always pop out!!! So maybe learn from me and just cut them off) :

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Here are a few more examples of what would be appropriate (disregard any trains):

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And here is what NOT to wear:

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Remember, you are a direct reflection of your spouse, your friend, or your family member – make them look good! It is not all about you and how hard you’ve worked all Summer to look good in that dress.  But YES, you can still have a lot of fun with it and be yourself, just not the Kim Kardashian version of yourself. Bring her out when you go to Vegas.

 

However, if your man is wearing this:

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You should wear this:

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I mean, obviously.

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