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>> Plus-Size Evening Gowns & Cocktail Dresses Appropriate for Military Balls

 
Please be advised that all of the "Editor's Picks" featured in this section are hand-selected by Elegant Plus. Although every effort is made to keep featured products current, retailers can sell out of popular styles before the Editor has had an opportunity to update the page. All selections are available at time of posting and purchases can be made directly from the retailer on the associated shopping link. All of the shopping guides include designer selections which are noted with the designer's name in descriptions.
 


Last Update: November 16, 2016

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Sequin Lace Column Gown, Sizes 14-22W | ElegantPlus.com Military Ball Gown Editor's Pick
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Tulip Hem Cocktail Dress, Size 12 - 22W | ElegantPlus.com Military Ball Editor's Pick High Low Taffeta Gown, Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Military Ball Editor's Pick

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Size 14 - 22W 

Tulip Hem
Cocktail Dress
Size 12 - 22W 

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Taffeta Gown

Size 14 - 24W
 

Attending a military ball is an honor that many take seriously.  Whether you are the date of a service member, or a member of the military yourself finding the right dress is important.

Military ball gown styles tend to be simpler and more conservative than other types of evening gowns or cocktail dresses such as red carpet, prom or homecoming dresses.  Those happening during the holiday season, especially for New Year's Eve, can be especially formal affairs, but for many both cocktail and full length dresses are acceptable choices.

Sleeves and higher necklines are not unusual in this formalwear type, but not mandatory. Consequently, some more formal mother-of-the-bride dresses may also be appropriate. Red and other bold colors, classic black and navy, and blue are always favorites. 

Like any other type of formalwear, the dresses and gowns worn for military balls require proper undergarments to achieve the right, structured silhouettes. 

The right hosiery and other accessories such as shoes, jewelry, and bags are also important pieces to the ensemble.

 

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Chi Chi London, Tulle Party Dress, Size 2 - 26 | ElegantPlus.com Military Ball Editor's Pick Sequin Mermaid Gown, Size 2 -26W | ElegantPlus.com Military Ball Editor's Pick
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Floral Maxi Dress, Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Military Ball Editor's Pick Beaded Flapper Dress, Size S - 4X | ElegantPlus.com Military Ball Editor's Pick

Chi Chi London
Tulle Party Dress
Size 2 - 26 

Sequin Mermaid Gown
Size 2 - 26W
 

Floral Maxi Dress
Size 14 - 24W 

Beaded Flapper Dress
Size S - 4X

 

Shopping Resources for Plus-Size Dresses Appropriate for Military Balls

For those who don't wish to go through the special order process of a bridal or formalwear boutique which can lead to waits of up to 3 months, a number of options are available on-line for plus-size formalwear.

Department Stores

Several of the upscale department stores are especially good for plus-size formalwear all year, if you are willing to shop on-line.  Dillard's consistently offers some of the most conservative styles with plenty of options with jackets or sleeves, in addition to barer styles in size 0 to 24W.  Price points range from more moderately priced options from labels such as Adrianna Papell to more luxury gowns from Tadashi Shoji, Mori Lee, Terani Couture, and Madeleine Gardner.

Nordstrom also stocks a deep inventory of mid priced range formal gowns and cocktail dresses all year with super fast, free shipping and returns making last minute purchases easy. The women's plus-size section is well stocked and ranges from size 14 to 24W, while even more selection and options from more upscale labels are available out in the main collection in size 0 to 18.

 

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Silver Metallic Faux Wrap Dress, Size S - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Military Ball Editor's Pick Cold Shoulder Chiffon Gown, Size 16 - 32W | ElegantPlus.com Military Ball Editor's Pick Black  Lace Bodice Gown, Size 14 - 22W | ElegantPlus.com Military Ball Editor's Pick
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Cascade Capelet Dress, Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Military Ball Editor's Pick
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Silver Metallic
Faux Wrap Dress

Size S - 3X
 

Cold Shoulder
Chiffon Gown

Size 16 - 32W
 

Lace Bodice Gown
Size 14 - 22W
 

Cascade Capelet Dress
Size 14 - 24W
 

 

Lord & Taylor has a collection appealing to more mature full-figured women, including styles with sleeves, capelets, or jackets for sizes up to 24W.  More youthful styles are also available, especially during the prom season.

Those with the largest budgets will find the best selection at Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus.   Saks has more available for full figured women to size 18 in their main collection (available only on-line) with designer offering from brands such as Kay Unger, Teri Jon, Theia, and Tadashi Shoji.  Neiman Marcus is better stocked for smaller plus women with their main collection formalwear, designer racks that include names such as Monique Lhuillier, and Badgley Mischka in sizes up to 18, with a selection of gowns for women size 14 to 24W from labels such as Marina Rinaldi, Carmen Marc Valvo, and Kay Unger in their Special Sizes: Women collection.

 

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Lace Hem Dipuoni Dress, Size 0 - 36W | ElegantPlus.com Military Ball Editor's Pick Black Beaded Gown, Plus-Size 14 - 22W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Sequin Panel Dress, Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Rachel Pally, Cold Shoulder Maxi, Size 1X - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Military Ball Editor's Pick
Also Available in Black

Lace Hem Dipuoni Dress
Size 0 - 36W
Avg - Petite - Tall

Black Beaded Gown
Size 14 - 22W
 

Sequin Panel Dress
Size 14 - 24W
 

Rachel Pally
Cold Shoulder Jersey Gown

Size 1X - 3X
 

 

Formalwear Specialists

Unique Vintage has an entire department devoted exclusively to formalwear with names such as Mac Duggal, Terani Couture, Mori Lee and others regularly available in full-figured sizes.   Price points range from moderate to upscale for sizes 0 to 30W. Meanwhile, Sydney's Closet is one of the oldest plus specialty on-line retailers of formalwear on the internet with cocktail and full length gowns available in size 14 to 44W.

Low, direct from manufacturer prices are available from several websites that often will allow you to adjust measurements for petite and tall sizes for a small fee, as well.  One of the most popular is Light in the Box.

 

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Lace Gown, Size 10 -32W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
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Red Jewel Neck Gown, Size 6 - 26W | ElegantPlus.com Military Ball Editor's Pick Jewel Cuff Black Velvet Gown, Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Military Ball Editor's Pick Silver Beaded Evening Gown, Plus-Size 14 - 22W | ElegantPlus.com Military Ball Editor's Pick

Lace Gown
Size 10 - 32W

Jewel Neck Halter Gown
Size 6 - 26W 

Jewel Cuff
Black Velvet Gown
Size 14 - 24W

Beaded Evening Gown
Size 14 - 22W
 

 

More Formal Dress Shopping Resources

As it's name suggests Dress Barn specializes in dresses. While a majority of their offerings are geared to working women, there is usually a small selection of cocktail and formal dresses and low to moderate prices in classic to contemporary styles available, especially during the holiday party and summer wedding seasons.  Sizes run from 2 to 24W, with petites available to 16P. 

More youthful, budget friendly options can often be found at ASOS  and City Chic, both in size 14 to 24W.  Torrid also occasionally has a handful of more formal dresses for size L to 6X.

Kiyonna, an indie plus designer dress specialist that is well established and manufacturers completely in the USA, always has a good selection of cocktail dresses, maxi dresses with a more formal feel, and a small number of wedding dresses.  Fancier limited edition styles are often available during the holiday party season.  The style here is contemporary with sizing on most dresses from 10 to 32W.  For those who enjoy a vintage or retro feel, there are increasing numbers of formal and cocktail options available at ModCloth in size 0 to 30W.

 

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Black Ruffled Column Gown, Size S - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Military Ball Editor's Pick Red Rose Print Cocktail Dress, Sizes 14-22W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Metallic Print Black Velvet Gown, Size S - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Military Ball Editor's Pick Gold Sequin Maxi Skirt, Size 14 - 28W | ElegantPlus.com Military Ball Editor's Pick
Velvet Top Sold Separately

Ruffled Column Gown
Size S - 3X
Petite to XL

Rose Print
Cocktail Dress
Size 14 - 22W 

Metallic Print
Black Velvet Gown
Size
S - 3X 

Sequin Maxi Skirt
Size 14 - 28W
 

Several catalogs regularly offer moderately priced formalwear with quick, off-the-rack shipping.  Midnight Velvet is known for a more romantic style with a mix of long evening gowns and cocktail dresses in their inventory.  Beading, dressy fabrics, and lace are common along with contemporary styling. Some styles are more appealing to those who prefer more arm coverage, while others are barer. Sizes range from 6 to 24W. An unusual collection, including fancier jacket dresses, evening pant suits, cocktail dresses, and long formal gowns, is available from Ashro.  Sheer chiffon, beading, and lace are common in both classic colors and bolder, more striking hues in size 6 to 26W.

Finishing Touches

Those looking to purchase shapewear and items such as bras and hosiery from the same location will have the best luck at some of the plus specialty stores such as Eloquii, Ashley Stewart, Avenue, and Lane Bryant.

Along with the department stores already mentioned above, Zappos, has one of the most extensive selections of dress shoes and sandals with quick and easy free shipping returns. Evening hand bags are also available. For jewelry, including larger sized rings, necklaces with extenders, and many different earring styles QVC has one of the deepest collections of both costume and fine jewelry.
  

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Vintage Beaded Bolero Gown, Sizes 14-22W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
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Jersey Ruffle Gown, Size 2 - 16 | ElegantPlus.com Military Ball Editor's Pick Jewel Cuff Gown, Size 2 - 26W | ElegantPlus.com Military Ball Editor's Pick
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Tadashi Shoji, Sequin Bodice Gown, Size 2 - 16 | ElegantPlus.com Military Ball Editor's Pick

Beaded Bolero Gown
Size 14 - 22W

Teri Jon
Jersey Ruffle Gown
Size 2 - 16
 

Jewel Cuff Gown
Size 2 - 26W 

Tadashi Shoji
Sequin Bodice Gown
Size 2 - 16 

 

 

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Plus-size clothing featured is hand selected by the Elegant Plus Fashion Editor from our extensive network of plus-fashion business partnerships. Although Elegant Plus earns a small fee on all purchases, it is a completely free shopping resource for the consumer, and many times we are able to provide links that offer consumer discounts and free shipping offers upon landing on the partner retailer's site.