Ball Gown "rules"

My dh and I have to go to a ball next month. Yes, I said “have to”. Neither of us want to go, but we have to go because it is work related (for him, not me). I don’t like dressing up very much. My wedding dress was a batik sundress purchased on sale at J.Crew if that helps any…
Anyway, I don’t know what is considered a “ball gown”. Does it have to be long?

In our area they have formal rental places (not just men’s tuxs’). If you don’t want to buy, could you rent? Also a simple long satiny skirt and a fancy top would be comfortable and simple. Remember when sharon stone wore the ball gown skirt and the Gap shirt to the Oscars? It might work for you!?

I think traditionally ball gowns were long, but times change. Is there some else that has been that you can ask? One of DH’s coworkers wives or something?

I just looked on Google images for ball gown. Yikes… I don’t like to dress up either so I know how you feel!

I found a dress that I like. Well, at least I like the dress style, but I’m not sure about the price.
But, I just don’t know about the length.
The only other wife that I know that is going already bought her dress and it is to the floor.

In my opinion Ball gowns would need to be to the floor - My parents always went to the Navy Ball and every year my mom fussed about having to find another floor length gown.
The dress you picked at JCrew is really nice, but seems like more of a cocktail dress to me. J Crew sells the Sophia which comes in a long style…
you could dress it up with a fancy brouche and a pashmina and cheap bling shoes. I almost bought this dress for a black tie wedding we have to go to, but ultimately I didn’t want black and don’t really look all the great in brown. The price is unfortunately about average for gowns right now - but hey, people seem to list them on e-bay with success.

Did someone say ‘Ball gown’?!! I’d LOVE to go somewhere and dress up, but we’re all different.

Speaking with my seamstress hat on, the gown you’ve linked to would be classed as a ‘Cocktail’ dress, Ball Gowns are usual floor length. If you do want something knee length I’d recommend putting a full petticoat underneath to fill it out a bit.

I like the idea of renting a dress, that way the dress get used again and doesn’t gather dust in a wardrobe.

Good luck at the ball.

I’d be all over that ball gown search if I was invited. I love balls and the dresses! I have a few nice gowns, sadly I haven’t been to a formal gathering in years though so I doubt they even fit anymore.
Have fun, you’ll look great!

thanks for your replies, ladies. I knew that the dress I chose from J.Crew probably wasn’t dressy enough, but I was hoping that I was wrong. :teehee:
I just don’t like long dresses. On me, that is.
Anyway, my cousin and I are going to Macy’s and Nordstrom’s today to look for the dreaded ball gown.
I’ll keep y’all posted.

I think now a days you have the freedom to do pretty much what ever you want when it comes to “formal”. Unless it’s an affair of State a dressy short dress should be acceptable at most “black tie” events.

If I didn’t like long dresses and didn’t think I’d wear it again, I wouldn’t buy one!!! I think the dress you selected from JCrew is lovely, paired with a drop dead pair of shoes and the right jewlry I’d call you “ball ready”.

I have two formal dresses sitting in my wardrobe for ten years that were worn once. I didn’t want to throw them out, but its very expensive to buy a dress you’ll only wear once! I would look on e-bay, I’ve seen some bargains on there, or else hire it - you don’t have to like it if you can give it back!

Lots of people are wearing shorter dresses to formal affairs. Just check out for proof. You can look at pictures of events like the Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art of the Whitney Gala for Chuck Close. Since this is a formal event you would need to dress the dress up with drop-dead gorgeous accessories. My favorite place for stuff like that is You can join or not but the rental fees are a bit higher if you dont join. And since you’re only going to this one even you may be able to join for one month. But the whole premise of the site is you can rent high fashion pieces really cheaply. There was a purse that I like to go with you dress for 13.00/week. They do jewelry and purses, so you would still have to find shoes.

Hope you have fun at the ball!

If you didn’t buy one at Macy’s (which will probably cost a lot), consider eBay. You are going to think I’m nuts, but if you search for ball gown, you will get over 2,000 returns and many of them sell for less than $20.00. For that amount, you could buy a few, see which one looks good, and give them all to the Goodwill when you are done.

I bought a dress. We went into every store in the mall that might have evening dresses. Before we (my cousin and I ) were about to give up, we stopped into the Dillard’s. I found a dress on the sale rack marked down to $78 from $200. AND it’s long. Not much to look at on the hanger, but looks really good on. Next weekend: shoes.

are you going to show us when everything is said and done??? I want to see!


It’s nice that you found something you like AND it was on sale :thumbsup:

My mum used to have lots of ball gown type dresses that I loved to dress up in when I was a child, but she got rid of them all :pout: I wish she had told me because I would have kept my favourite one :oops:

Yes, I’ll post a picture. But, not now. Its is 8 am. If I put it on now and took a picture, all you would see is my bed head. :teehee: