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Your Favorite Internet Shopping Guide to Stylish Plus-Size Clothes: Size 12 +

Plus-Size Clothing Internet Shopping Guides >> Plus-Size Cocktail Looks

Elegant Plus Shopping Guide & Editor's Picks:  Plus-Size Cocktail Dresses & Looks in Size 12 +

Please be advised that all of the "Editor's Picks" featured in this section are hand-selected by Elegant Plus.  Although every effort is made to keep featured products current, retailers can sell out of popular styles before the Editor has had an opportunity to update the page.  All selections are available at time of posting and purchases can be made directly from the retailer on the associated shopping link.  All of the shopping guides include designer selections which are noted with the designer's name in descriptions.


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Last Update: October 30, 2015



Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Dresses @ Dillard's

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Fashion @ Asos

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Special Occasion Clothes @ Draper's & Damon's

Metallic Knit Dress, Plus-Size 14 - 24W| Editor's Pick
Size 14 - 24W

Beaded Drop Waist Dress, Plus-Size 16 -22W | Editor's Pick

Beaded Shift, Size 14 - 24W | Editor's Pick

Evening Pant Set, Size S - 3X | Editor's Pick

Beaded Drop Waist Dress
Size 14 - 22W

Beaded Shift
Size 14 - 24W

  Evening Pant Set
Size S - 3X

Plus-Size Cocktail Fashion Report
[Shopping Resources &  Editor's Picks Below]

Cocktail dresses is one of the most sought after plus-size dress categories. Rarely available in local shops and boutiques, the internet is the go-to source when a woman receives a wedding invitation in the mail, needs the perfect holiday office party outfit, or is packing for that dream vacation cruise.  A little dressier than social occasion dresses, fabrics tend to finer and styles barer.  Longer sleeves and jacket styles are especially popular with special wedding guests such as mother of the bride or groom, grandmothers, and aunts.

Younger women often choose shorter party dresses for prom, homecoming, and other dances throughout the school calendar year creating a demand for more youthful styles as well.

Price points and quality vary tremendously from rock bottom fast fashion to high end luxury designer.  Along with classic black plus-size cocktail dresses, colors from rich jewel tones to lighter pastels and shimmering metallics are quite popular. A big trend during the last year has been white, and full-figured women have embraced it with gusto.  Meanwhile, especially during the Christmas party season and Valentine's Day celebrations, red dresses are among the most popular.


Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Dresses @ Igigi

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Contemporary Plus-Size Fashion @ Eloquii

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Alex Evenings @ alight

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Dresses @ Modcloth

Red Chiffon Shift Dress, Plus-Size 12 - 32W| Editor's Pick

Champagne Sequin Dress, Size 14 -24W  | Editor's Pick

Velvet Dress, 14-22W | Editor's Pick

Romantic Vintage Cold Shoulder Dress, Size S - 3X | Editor's Pick

Chiffon Shift Dress
Size 14 - 32W

Sequin Dress
Size 14 - 24W

Velvet Dress
Size 16 - 22W

Romantic Vintage
Cold Shoulder Dress
Size S - 3X

Special occasion dresses often reflect more romantic, vintage styles with feminine lines and soft fabrics, although edgier looks sometimes trend into this category.  Especially during the holidays look for lace and velvet, while spring occasions see more silk and floral patterns.

Women who prefer dresses with jackets or sleeves tend to be older, but recent trends have meant younger styles are available also.

Those looking for upscale, designer looks will want to visit the designer dress page.  Many red carpet looks can also be luxury, shorter cocktail length options.


Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Trendy Plus-Size Clothing @ Ashley Stewart

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Dresses @ Neiman Marcus

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Dresses @ Torrid

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Dresses @ Monroe & Main

Black Sequin Sheath, Size 12 - 26W  | Editor's Pick

Designer: Kay Unger, Navy Sequin Lace Dress, Size 2 - 16| Editor's Pick

Red Lace Peplum Dress, Size 12 - 30W| Editor's Pick

Chiffon Trapeze Dress, Size 6 - 24W | Editor's Pick

Black Sequin Sheath
Size 12 - 26W

Kay Unger
Sequin Lace Party Frock
Size 2 - 16

Rebel Wilson
Lace Peplum Dress
Size 12 - 30W

Chiffon Trapeze Dress
Size 6 - 24W

Internet Shopping Resources for Plus-Size Cocktail Dresses

Several department stores in recent years have offered extensive cocktail dress collections in women' sizes all year and this plus-size dress category is where several of them really shine.  Dillard's and Lord & Taylor tend to stock styles appealing to older women, including many styles with sleeves or matching jackets, although more youthful styles are being added.  In addition to lace and finer fabrics, beading plays a large role in many of these styles with labels such as Pisarro Nights, Alex Evenings, and Adrianna Papell frequently available. 

Nordstrom has a particularly good and deep collection with contemporary styles a strength. Trendier styles at slightly lower price points are also starting to mix in here, especially during the spring wedding and fall/winter holiday occasion dress seasons.  More moderately priced, but an extensive trendy to contemporary collection is found on-line at Macy's for size 0 to 24W.

On the high, designer end Neiman Marcus carries women's cocktail dresses in sizes up to 24W in two locations on their website.  The most upscale labels such as Carmen Marc Valvo are racked with smaller sizes in the Evening Wear tab.   More contemporary and plus-exclusive labels such as Anna Scholz, Marina Rinaldi, and Melissa Masse are located with the plus women's dresses.   Equally upscale are the offerings at Saks Fifth Avenue which regularly carries Kay Unger, Tadashi Shoji, several fine Italian designers, and also slightly less pricey labels such as ABS by Alan Schwartz.

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus:  Plus-Size Dresses @ Dress Barn

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Trendy Plus-Size Clothing @ Saks Fifth Avenue

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Clothes @ Coldwater Creek

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Clothes @ Zappos

Green Lace Shift, Plus-Size 14 -24W | Editor's Pick

Designer: Teri Jon, Tulle Party Frock, Size 2 - 18 | Editor's Pick

Plum Beaded Chiffon Dress, Size 6 - 24W | Editor's Pick

Ruched Jersey Dress, Size 1X - 5X | Editor's Pick

Lace Sheath Dress
Size 14 - 24W

Teri Jon
Tulle Party Frock

Size 2 - 18

Beaded Chiffon Dress
Size 6 - 24W
Petite to 16P

Ruched Jersey Dress
Size XL - 5X


Kiyonna is known best for their lace cocktail dresses with a slightly vintage feel in size 10 to 32W.

Some of the catalogs also offer good selections year around, especially for women who appreciate more mature styles.   Ulla Popken regularly has beaded cocktail dresses styles available to size 12 to 34W, with the occasional dress available as large as 38W.  Draper's & Damon's special occasion collection is perfect for cruises and other special events in size 6 to 26W, with petite sizes available as large as 16P.  Meanwhile, the moderately priced and deep special occasion dress offerings at Midnight Velvet frequently has styles unavailable elsewhere for women who appreciate more individualized looks. 


Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Fashion @ Lane Bryant

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Designer Clothes @ Karen Kane

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Dresses @ eShakti

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Contemporary Plus-Size Fashion @ Eloquii

Silver Sequin Midi Dress, Size 14 - 28W | Editor's Pick

Velvet Burnout Shift, Size S - 3X | Editor's Pick

Lace Fit & Flare Dress, Size 0 - 36W | Editor's Pick
More Colors Available

Color Block Jumpsuit, Size 14 - 24W | Editor's Pick

Silver Sequin Midi Dress
Size 14 - 28W

Karen Kane
Velvet Burnout Shift

Size S - 3X

Lace Fit & Flare Dress
Size 0 - 36W
Avg - Petite - Tall

Color Block Jumpsuit
Size 14 - 24W


Young women will find the affordable cocktail dress styles at  Asos and Forever 21 on trend in size 14 to 24W. Newly extending sizes to include plus, fast fashion retailers Charlotte Russe and Rue 21 also frequently offer trendy, affordable cocktail styles for size 1X to 3X.

Lane Bryant has upped their style game in the last couple of years, especially on-line where they include dresses from other designer labels such as ABS by Allen Schwartz and Adrianna Papell.  Meanwhile, full-figured women up to size 18 can enjoy upscale designer looks from Teri Jon by Rickie Freeman.

Those who like a vintage sensibility will find a growing inventory at ModCloth, with more and more options available larger than 3X.   1950's style party dresses, Edwardian romantic frocks, and Old Hollywood starlet looks have begun regularly turning up among the more practical day dresses.   eShakti is a must-stop for glam Mad Men style vintage dresses that can be customized for a small fee to your measurements, with off the rack styles sized 0 - 36W.


Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Clothing @ Ulla Popken

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Retro Fashion @ Unique Vintage

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Dresses @ Bon Ton

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Dresses @ Dress Barn

Chiffon Jacket Dress, Size 16 -32W | Editor's Pick

Tulle Swing Dress, Size 2X - 4X | Editor's Pick
More Colors Available

Winter Floral Shift, Plus-Size 14 - 24W | Editor's Pick

 Lace Dress, Sizes 10 - 32W | Editor's Pick
More Colors Available

Chiffon Jacket Dress
Size 16 - 32W

Vintage Tulle Swing Dress
Size 2X - 4X

Winter Floral Shift
Size 14 - 24W

Lace Dress
Size 10 - 32W


Dress Barn, true to its name, carries an extensive inventory of moderately priced dresses for a wide variety of occasions. Special occasion options, including cocktail dresses and full length gowns, are more plentiful during the winter holiday party season, and spring wedding season.  Those who prefer more fashion conscious looks will find a selection of on-trend dresses at Eloquii in size 14 to 28W.

On-line direct from manufacturer formalwear websites can be a good resource for those who need dressier cocktail dresses at affordable prices.  Light in the Box offers sizes to 26W and a rainbow assortment of colors for most styles, with hem length alterations available for a small additional fee.

Bargain hunters can also often find high-end designer options from past seasons at a fraction or retail from Neiman Marcus Last Call and Saks Off Fifth.


Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Trendy Fashion @ Torrid

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Clothes @ Amazon

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Retro Vintage Modern Plus-Size Clothing @ ModCloth

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus:  Plus-Size Fashion @ Lord & Taylor

Silver Foiled Skater Dress, Size XL - 6X | Editor's Pick

Chiffon Cape Dress, Size 14 - 32W | Editor's Pick

Green Lace Party Frock, Size 0 -24 | Editor's Pick

Calvin Klein, Lace Sheath, Size 14 - 22W | Editor's Pick

 Silver Foiled Skater Dress
Size XL - 6X

Chiffon Cape Dress
Size 14 - 32W

Lace Party Frock
Size 0 - 24W

Calvin Klein
Lace Sheath Dress

Size 14 - 22W


Finishing Touches

Cocktail dresses like most other formalwear looks best when body smoothing undergarments and shapewear are worn.  This is what give the desired silhouette structure, regardless of body size or shape. While plus specialty shops such as Lane Bryant regularly offer options, some of the deepest inventories are at lingerie specialty shops such as Bare Necessities.

Spanx is a favorite with stars who regularly walk red carpets, and this allows for shapewear built into hosiery.  A variety of strengths and types are available for women size S to 3X.

The largest inventory of dress shoes in a wide variety of heel heights, styles, price points, sizes, and widths can be found at Zappos which offers speedy shipping and returns.  QVC is one of the best resources for both fine and costume jewelry in styles that come in extended lengths and sizes to fit larger customers.


Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Clothes @ Evans Let's Shop! Elegant Plus:  Plus-Size Fashion @ Ashro Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Stylish Women's Fashion @ Monroe & Main Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Unique, Vintage & Romantic Fashion @ Pyramid Collection

Sequin Poncho Dress, Size 10 - 28W | Editor's Pick

Holiday Pant Set, Size S - 3X | Editor's Pick

Gold Draped Sheath, Size 6-24W| Editor's Pick

Blue Velvet Cut Out Sleeve Dress, Size 4 - 26W | Editor's Pick

Sequin Poncho Dress
Size 10 - 28W

Holiday Pant Set
Size S - 3X


Gold Draped Sheath
Size 6 - 24W


  Blue Velvet
Cut Out Sleeve Dress
Size 4 - 26W



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All Editor's Picks and plus-size clothing featured are hand- selected by the Elegant Plus Fashion Editor from our
extensive network of plus-fashion business partnerships.





Many special occasions in life call for special dresses.  Plus-size cocktail and party dresses are in demand with young and mature women, alike.


Elegant plus cocktail dresses & evening wear,  hand-selected for full-figured women size 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, L, XL, 1X, 2X, 3X, 4X, 5X