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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. 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. 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: January 9, 2018

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Size 8 - 28W
 

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Size 
8 - 24W
Petite to 18P

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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Keyhole Gown, Size 14 - 28W | ElegantPlus.com Military Ball Editor's Pick  Tadashi Shoji, Purple Lace Cold Shoulder Gown, Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Military Ball Editor's Pick Floral Sleeve Velvet Sheath, Size 1X - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Military Ball Editor's Pick Champagne Lace Jacket Gown, Sizes 14-24W | ElegantPlus.com Military Ball Gown Editor's Pick

Keyhole Gown
Size 14 - 28W 

Tadashi Shoji
Lace Cold Shoulder
Gown
Size 14 - 24W 

Floral Sleeve
Velvet Sheath
Size 1X - 3X

 

Champagne Lace
Jacket Gown
Size 14 - 24W 

 

 

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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Chi Chi London, Vintage Gilt Lace Dress, Size 2 -  26 W | ElegantPlus.com Military Ball Editor's Pick
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Chi Chi London
Vintage Gilt Lace Dress
Size 2 - 26

Lace Gown
Size 16 - 30W

High Neck
Fishtail Gown
Size 8 - 22W 

Teri Jon
Portrait Collar Gown
Size 2 - 20

 

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 occasionally 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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Tiered Chiffon Jacket Dress, Size 14 - 22W | ElegantPlus.com Military Ball Editor's Pick
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Floral Print Gown, Sizes 14-24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Mermaid Gown, Size 2 - 26W | ElegantPlus.com Military Ball Editor's Pick
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Green Lace Dress, Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Tiered Chiffon
Jacket Dress
Size 1
4 - 22W

Floral Print Gown
Size 14 - 24W
 

Mermaid Gown
Size 2 -
26W

Lace Dress
Size 14 - 24W

 

Formalwear Specialists

Plus dress specialists offering extended sizes include the very popular Kiyonna label especially well known for their lace and jersey gowns in size 10 to 32W. Igigi has a contemporary California feel to cocktail and formalwear for size 14 to 36W, with a new collection of custom order dresses that can been adjusted for height, sleeve length, and bodice.

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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Black Lace High Low Dress, Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Choke Collar Chiffon Gown, Size 0 - 36W | ElegantPlus.com Military Ball Editor's Pick
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Lace Bodice Gown, Size 10 -32W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
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Navy Pleat Velvet Dress, Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Military Ball Editor's Pick

Lace High Low Dress
Size 14 - 24W 

 

Choke Collar
Chiffon Gown
Size 0 - 36W
Avg - Petite - Tall

Lace Bodice Gown
Size 10 - 32W

Navy
Pleat Velvet Dress
Size XL - 4X

 

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 City Chic, both in size 14 to 24W.  Torrid also occasionally has a handful of more formal dresses for size L to 6X.

 

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Satin Skirted Jumpsuit, Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Military Ball Editor's Pick Lela Rose, Jacquard Dress, Size 0 - 18 | ElegantPlus.com Military Ball Editor's Pick Purple Rosette Cocktail Dress, Size 6 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Military Ball Editor's Pick Lace Bodice Gown, Size 14 - 22W | ElegantPlus.com Military Ball Editor's Pick

Satin Skirted
Jumpsuit

Size
14 - 24W

Lela Rose
Jacquard Dress
Size 0 - 18

Rosette Cocktail Dress
Size
6 - 24W
Petite to 16P

Lace Bodice Gown
Size 14 - 22W

Eloquii has begun stocking more formal and cocktail options beyond the holiday party season and is known for their youthful, contemporary vibe for size 14 to 28W.  Meanwhile Simply Be has a deeper selection during the holidays and wedding seasons at moderate price points in trendier styles for size 8 to 28W.  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.

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 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.
  

 
 

 

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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.