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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.
 

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Last Update: September 16, 2016

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Alex Evenings, Rosette Gown, Sizes 14-24W | ElegantPlus.com Military Ball Gown Editor's Pick
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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 Floral Party Dress, Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Military Ball Editor's Pick Beaded One Shoulder Mermaid Gown, Size 2 -26W | ElegantPlus.com Military Ball Editor's Pick
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Beaded Flapper Dress, Size S - 4X | ElegantPlus.com Military Ball Editor's Pick

Chi Chi London
Tulle Party Dress
Size 2 - 26 

Floral Party Dress
Size 14 - 24W 

Beaded One Shoulder
Mermaid Gown

Size 2 - 26W
 

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 Black  Lace Bodice Gown, Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Military Ball Editor's Pick Christian Siriano, Split Front White Maxi, Size 12 - 28W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Metallic Wrap Dress, Size 14 - 28W | ElegantPlus.com Military Ball Editor's Pick
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Silver Metallic
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Gold Metallic Wrap Dress
Size 14 - 28W
 

 

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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Gold Sequin Gown
Size 14 - 22W
 

Knit Split Sleeve Gown
Size 14 - 20W
 

Lace Organza Cocktail Dress
Size 14 - 24W
 

Rachel Pally
Twist 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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Taffeta High Low Gown, Size 14 - 22W  | ElegantPlus.com Military Ball Editor's Picks White Cape Dress, Size 6 - 26W | ElegantPlus.com Military Ball Editor's Pick Satin Ball Gown, Plus-Size 14 - 22W | ElegantPlus.com Military Ball Editor's Pick
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Lace Gown
Size 10 - 32W

Taffeta High Low Gown
Size 14 - 22W
 

White Cape Dress
Size 6 - 26W
 

Satin Ball 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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ABS Allen Schwartz
Lace Dress
Size 16 - 24W
 

Beaded Dress
Size S - 3X 

Lace Gown
Size 16 - 26W
 

Chiffon Capelet Dress
Size 14 - 24W
 

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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Sheath Column Gown, Size 2 - 26W | ElegantPlus.com Military Ball Editor's Pick
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Beaded Tulle Gown, Size 2 - 18 | ElegantPlus.com Military Ball Editor's Pick Badgley Mischka, Red Jersey Gown, Size 2 - 16 | ElegantPlus.com Military Ball Editor's Pick Color Block Party Dress, Sizes 14-22W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Sheath Column Gown
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Teri Jon
Beaded Tulle Gown
Size 2 - 18
 

Badgley Mischka
Red Jersey Gown
Size 2 - 16 

Color Block Party Dress
Size 14 - 22W
 

 

 

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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.