How to Dress for a Military Dinner

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Military dinners allow members to interact in a formal setting, and they are also an opportunity for members to introduce their spouses or partners to their colleagues. Because military dinners are formal occasions, you must ensure that you're wearing the appropriate attire whether you're a member of the military or a civilian. There are the three types of military dinners: official formal functions, private formal dinners and formal dinners that require slightly more formality than service uniforms.

Wear your mess uniform for any military dinner if you are part of the Air Force. The jacket and dress pants are matching dark blue. The jacket is single-breasted with a straight back that has three wing and star buttons diagonally on both sides. The sleeves end 1/4 inch from the heel of the thumb. A dark blue bow tie must be worn with this uniform.

Wear your dinner dress with a blue jacket if it's a private formal dinner or a semi-formal dinner, such as those dinners that would not include only those from a particular base. This dress includes matching dark blue jacket and pants with miniature medals and badges. It also includes a white dress shirt and black bow tie. Wear your formal dress if you're a Navy member and the occasion is a public formal dinner, such as a State dinner. This dress is identical to the dinner dress with blue jacket except it includes a white waistcoat with gold buttons and a white bow tie.

Wear your Evening Dress "A" if you're a member of the Marine Corps attending an official formal dinner. This uniform includes a dark blue coat, sky blue pants, white barracks cover, white shirt, white gloves and medals. For all other formal and semi-formal dinners, Evening Dress "B" is appropriate. This uniform is identical to Evening Dress "A" except you replace the medals with their corresponding ribbons.

Wear your Blue Mess/Evening Dress if you're in the Army and attending an official formal dinner. This uniform includes a short, dark blue jacket with six gold buttons and red lapels on the front, navy blue pants, a white shirt and a black bow tie. Wear your blue or white mess uniform if you're attending a private formal dinner. The white mess uniform includes a short white jacket with six gold buttons on the front, black pants, a white dress shirt and a black bow tie. Wear your Army Blue or Army White uniform with a bow tie if you're attending less formal dinners. Both uniforms utilize navy pants, a white dress shirt and a black tie, but the Army Blue uses a dark blue jacket while the Army White uses a white jacket.

Wear a tuxedo with a white tie if you're a civilian male attending an official formal dinner. Wear a tuxedo for all other military dinners.

Wear an evening gown if you're a civilian female attending any type of military dinner. You can choose to wear a cocktail dress if you're attending a less formal military dinner. Evening gowns and cocktail dresses should go past the knees.