What to Wear to a High School Military Ball?


High school military balls are smaller versions of military balls held by all branches of the armed forces. High school ROTC participants are eligible to attend the event along with approved companions and members of the entertainment ensemble. ROTC members may or may not choose to wear their dress uniforms in lieu of more typical formal wear, although specific regulations will vary among schools.


  • Most male ROTC members choose to wear their issued dress uniforms to the military ball. This is a very traditional and constant aspect of high school military balls regardless of school or location. The uniforms should be impeccably cleaned, pressed and fitted for wear at the military ball. The uniform may also decorated with acquired cords, ribbons and awards. The uniform cannot be mixed and matched with one's own clothing; it must be worn as a whole, including shoes. The same is true for female ROTC members who choose to wear their dress uniforms to the military ball.

Formal Gowns

  • Female ROTC members and non-members may wear formal gowns and dresses to the military ball. Many girls choose to coordinate their gowns with the official colors of the military branch of their program (for example, navy blue and gold for Navy ROTC), although this is not a requirement.

Cocktail Dresses

  • Many high school military balls are a bit more lenient in terms of formality. Cocktail dresses have become popular choices for many girls who attend the military ball. While formal gowns are longer and constructed with heavier, more elaborate materials, cocktail dresses can be relatively short (although no shorter than knee-length) simple, and made from lighter fabrics.

Suits and Tuxedos

  • High school males who are not members of the ROTC are still able to attend military balls if they are invited by female ROTC members, or as part of the band ensemble. As non-members they are forbidden from wearing military dress uniforms and instead should opt for tuxedos or other formal suits. Khakis, polo shirts and non-formal shoes are not acceptable for high school military balls.

Female Uniforms

  • Although female high school ROTC members traditionally wear formal gowns and dresses, they may also opt to wear their dress uniforms. Female dress uniforms come in both pants and skirt styles, and the skirt uniform is considered the most appropriate for military balls. Female ROTC members who arrive to the military ball in uniform should also remember to wear the corresponding hat (or "cover") while entering and exiting the military ball.

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