Saint Monica's Ball         City of Lights at Night

Ladies' Dress Code

Dear Parents and Young Ladies: As you read over the following dress code for the ball please keep in mind that this dress code was written by people who may not know you but who care about you and your God given dignity. This dress code was written so that we could easily see that the dress code was followed as you enter the ballroom – there are no double takes to see if you are dressed appropriately for this event.

Will it take longer to find a gown? Possibly. Ask yourself…is this the fault of the dress code or a culture that does not value the dignity of young ladies enough to provide clothing that honors that dignity? As moms, and many of us are mothers of teenage girls, we know the challenge ahead…but as we head into the 9th year of this lovely event we see the wisdom and beauty of this dress code – we hope that this evening we have spent a year planning for will be worth any inconvenience and extra effort on your part.

If you have ANY questions regarding the dress code please feel free to email Enid ( at any time (as we are all moms volunteering for this event please expect up to 24 – 48 hours for a response – thank you!)

Also, please go to the MEETING THE DRESS CODE tab to get ideas from other young ladies who have attended SMB in the past

We do have some sweater/shrugs on hand that evening in case a young lady needs it later on (dress issues ) in the evening – as you have read and agreed to the dress/behavior code in order to get a ticket we REALLY should not have to have young ladies put these on as they come into the ball. Following the dress code is your choice before the ball….do not make it our choice at the ball. We want to spend the evening serving you….not enforcing a clearly defined and agreed to dress code. Thank you for your maturity and your consideration for the Planning Team.

  1. COVERED SHOULDERS: Shoulders must have a “substantial” strap – this is defined at 1.5 inches or wider – anything smaller is considered a spaghetti strap and requires a sweater/shrug/jacket. Shawls are not acceptable since they do not stay on the shoulders. *Clear straps are allowed but require a sweater/shrug/jacket (not shawl) to be worn no matter how wide the straps are.
  2. NO STRAPLESS: Strapless gowns are not allowed for very practical reasons: there is no way to keep them from sliding down while dancing – constant tugging up results. If a young lady decides to wear a strapless gown with a jacket we will notice and she will not be allowed in. Our door greeter will ask if she thinks the gown might not have straps.
  3. TEA LENGTH OR LONGER HEMLINE: A formal event requires a formal dress. A formal length for a gown is tea length (mid calf) or longer. If you can see your knees when looking in the mirror the dress is too short and will not be allowed in. Slits in skirts cannot go above the knee.
  4. FORM FIT/CUT-OUTS: Gowns that form fit over the hips and thighs are not allowed (example: mermaid gowns). Dresses that have open back, cut outs in the side or mid-drif are not allowed (filling these in with flesh colored material is also not allowed). No see through or flesh colored materials – base material must be solid color.
  5. BODICE (Top of Gown): The bodice of the gown must be modestly cut – this means absolutely no cleavage should be showing. Every young woman is different in size and shape – what may be a modest cut on one young lady might be revealing on another young lady (please keep this in mind if you borrow a gown from someone who has attended SMB in the past).
  6. HALTER TYPE GOWN: These gowns are allowed but as the strap goes around the neck and not over both shoulders a sweater/shrug/jacket is required (“Collared” type of gowns are acceptable w/out the required sweater/shrug/jacket – please see pictures on right for example).
  7. OVERLAYS: On gowns with an overlay: base material must meet all dress code requirements…the overlay cannot make up for the base material not meeting the dress code. Example: base material does not go below the knee and/or has slits above the knee but the overlay meets those two requirements – this is not allowed as it is obvious the base material does not meet the code since the overlay is see thru.
FLESH COLORED MATERIAL REMINDER: Having a gown with a flesh colored base or flesh colored fill in for cut outs/drop back gowns is not allowed. If you need to add fabric to cover the bust is must be a noticeable color – not flesh colored.

PARENTS: please realize this is not meant as a prohibitive set of rules – these requirements give our teens the freedom to view one another as people made in the image and likeness of a loving God. Your daughter will spend an enjoyable evening with other teens who know the expectations and she will be treated with honor and dignity – we hope and pray you feel she is worth that effort. We understand it may take more time to find, and possibly tailor, a gown for this event – but this is a wonderful time to walk with our daughters in living the virtue of modesty every day, not just for one occasion. PLEASE be sure to check out the MEETING THE DRESS CODE tab for helpful hints from ladies who attended the ball in the past. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the dress code feel free to email at any time:

* Fr. Jack Durkin – Pastor -
* Patrick Klein – Head of Adult Formation -
* Kathleen McCusker – Respect Life Ministry –