Ball season is here! Don’t run, don’t hide. It’s not that scary. Sometimes, however, it gets expensive quickly. Tickets to the event, dry cleaning that uniform, childcare, Uber, drinks, and the dress. But what if we told you that you don’t have to buy a new dress this year (or ever again)? Trust us, military moms, it’s time to try the latest trend: Recycle a ball gown.

Yup, we went there. There are so many reasons to recycle a ball gown — so many. Here are just a few.

  1. Save money — Spend that on the sitter, or maybe splurge and get your hair done. And you don’t have to stand in the picture line because you already have a picture in that dress.
  2. Save room in your closet so you can buy more clothes! Oh, wait, that goes against the first thing.
  3. Save aggravation — You already know it fits and how to accessorize it.
    So now that we’ve agreed this is the year to recycle your ball gown, here are some of the best ways to do it.

Operation Deploy Your Dress

Operation Deploy Your Dress (ODYD) is an excellent option for those looking to clear out their closet or to get a new dress, free. It’s the epitome of the reduce, reuse, recycle a ball gown process. Started by some milspouse friends by happy accident just a few years ago, ODYD gives military spouses at five duty stations the option of “shopping” for a new dress. It also offers military spouses everywhere the option of donating their dress for others to use.

Yvonne Coombs, one of the founders, is a big fan of recycling ball gowns. “Before ODYD started, I had five gowns and would wear them at each installation once, and then I’d rewear at the next event,” she said. But then social media started catching on, and she realized that while friends may not have seen the gown on her in person, they saw it on Facebook. “Now I just wear a dress and donate it so someone else can wear it.”
It really is quite that simple. And whether you live at one of ODYD’s official locations (Fort Bliss, Fort Eustis, JBLM, Fort Irwin, or Fort Benning) or not, you can still be part of the process.

Rewearing a ball gown

Informal Swaps

The whole reason ODYD began was that the units represented in one neighborhood on Fort Bliss were all coordinating a dress swap for their upcoming functions. The neighbors realized how silly this sounded, so they combined forces. It’s really that simple. If you don’t live at one of these duty stations, you can still use other programs that do this or start one for yourself.

Fort Gordon, Georgia recently started a program, Say Hooah to the Dress, through the community spouses club. All around the world, spouses would get together and shop each others’ closets. You don’t have to be official to recycle a ball gown with your friends.

Everyone Does It

Don’t worry, everyone recycles a ball gown at some point. Even, gasp, celebrities. In most celebrity-watching magazines — the ones you only have time to read when waiting for the military doc — you can see photos of people rewearing the same things. Celebrities mentioned in a recent magazine included Kate Middleton, who wore the same coat dress to Princess Charlotte’s christening and her brother-in-law’s wedding and to the Queen’s birthday celebration in 2016.

Also included is Tiffany Haddish. Haddish, wore a dress when she hosted Saturday Night Live, and also wore it at the Oscars. She said, “This is a $4,000 dress. I’m going to wear this dress multiple times. Real Talk.” While your ball gown may not cost that much, it’s still smart to wear it again.

Have we convinced you to recycle your ball gown yet? Here’s one more reason. Your spouse wears that same uniform every darn time, and no one ever questions them. And, we’ll be doing it too. Happy ball season!

Want another money-saving option? Why not rent? See how one Marine Spouse at MCAS Iwakuni is making ball season a little more manageable for military spouses without sacrificing the glam factor.

yay or nay rewearing a Ball gown


Photo Credit: Unsplash

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