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Your Favorite Internet Shopping Guide to Stylishly Curvy 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: Febuary 6, 2016
 

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DESIGNERS

Mint Chiffon Flutter Sleeve Dress, Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Silver Lace Dress, Size 6 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Pink Chiffon Jacket Dress, Size 8 - 22W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Flutter Sleeve Chiffon Dress
Size 14 - 24W

Alex Evenings
Lace Dress
Size 6 - 24W
Petite to 16P

  Chiffon Jacket Dress
Size 8 - 22W

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

Cocktail dresses are one of the most sought after full-figured items. 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 will often choose shorter party dresses for prom, homecoming, and other dances throughout the school calendar year creating a demand for more youthful styles, although hem lines have been coming down for that group the last few seasons, 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.

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: 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

Beaded Chiffon Dress, Size 14 - 24W| ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Ruffled Lace Cold Shoulder Shift Dress, Size 14 - 24W  | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Lace Ribbon Waist Dress, Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Floral Lace Frock, Size S - 4X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Beaded Waist Chiffon Dress
Size 14 - 24W

Ruffled Lace
Cold Shoulder Shift
Size 14 - 24W

Lace Ribbon Waist Dress
Size 14 - 24W

Floral Lace Frock
Size S - 4X

 

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. 

 

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

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

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Designer Dresses @ Saks Fifth Avenue

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Dresses @ Torrid

Lace Bodice Tiered Chiffon Dress, Size 14 - 24W  | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Capelet Dress, Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Designer: Marina Rinaldi, Pink Jacquard Sheath, Size 14 -24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Toile Swing Dress, Size 12 - 30W| ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Lace Bodice
Tiered Chiffon Dress
Size 14 - 24W

Capelet Dress
Size 14 - 24W

Marina Rinaldi
Jacquard Sheath
Size 14 - 24W

Toile Swing Dress
Size 12 - 30W

 

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.

Plus specialty designers are an excellent resource, especially for sizes extending beyond 24W.  Kiyonna is known best for their lace cocktail dresses with a slightly vintage feel in size 10 to 32W.  Similarly sized designer Igigi uses bolder patterns in their collections, alongside classic black.   Meanwhile, award winning designer Anna Scholz can occasionally be purchased from upscale retailers such as Saks Fifth Avenue, with her entire collection including more moderately priced lines available directly through her brand website with shipping worl wide for UK size 16 to 28W.

 

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

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

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

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

Asymmetric Overlay Dress, Size 14 - 22W  | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Blue Lace Dress, Size XL - 4X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
More Colors Available

Designer: Lela Rose, Floral Dress, Size 2 - 16| ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Fringed Evening Pant Set, Size 6 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Asymmetric Overlay Dress
Size 14 - 22W

Lace Dress
Size XL - 4X

Lela Rose
Floral Dress
Size 2 - 16

Fringed Evening Pant Set
Size 6 - 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, Theia, Lela Rose, and Marchesa are racked with smaller sizes in the Evening Wear tab.   More contemporary and plus-exclusive labels such as Anna Scholz, Marina Rinaldi, Kay Unger, 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, Lafayette 148, 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 @ Bon Ton

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

Pink Lace Dress, Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Designer: Tadashi Shoji, Lace Sheath Dress, Size 2 - 18 | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
More Colors Available

Shimmer Fringed Poncho Dress, Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Green Shimmer Lace Dress, Size XL - 5X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Pink Lace Dress
Size 14 - 24W

Tadashi Shoji
Lace Sheath
Size 2 - 18

Shimmer
Fringed Poncho Dress
Size 14 - 24W

Shimmer Lace Dress
Size XL - 5X

 

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. 

Coldwater Creek has re-opened as a catalog and e-commerce retailer exclusively.  Currently they are experimenting with stocking better label cocktail and formalwear from labels such as Komarov, Alex Evenings, Pisarro, and Adrianna Papell for sizes up t24W.

 

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

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

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

Photoreal Floral Sheath, Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Print Chiffon Dress, Size S - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Embroidered Lace Sheath, Size 0 - 36W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Lace Peplum Dress, Size 2 - 28W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
More Colors Available

Photoreal Floral Sheath
Size 14 - 24W

Karen Kane
Print Chiffon Dress

Size S - 3X

Embroidered Lace Sheath
Size 0 - 36W
Avg - Petite - Tall

Peplum Lace Dress
Size 14 - 28W

 

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

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

Teal LaceJacket Dress, Size 16 -30W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Tulle  Dress, Size S - 4X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
More Colors Available

Chiffon Lace Pant Set, Size S - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
Top & Bottom Sold Separately
More Colors Available

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

Teal Lace Jacket Dress
Size 16 - 28W

Rose Print Swing Dress
Size S - 4X

Chiffon Lace Pant Set
Size S - 3X

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 @ Forever 21

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Cocktail Dresses @ Teri Jon

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Trendy Fashion @ Rue 21

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

Metallic Gold Party Dress, Size S - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Teri Jon by Rickie Freeman, Pearl Applique Cocktail Dress, Size 2 - 18 | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Cut Out Lace Sheath, Size S - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Floral Lace Print Sheath, Size 14 - 22W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Metallic Gold Party Dress
Size S - 3X

Teri Jon by Rickie Freeman
Pearl Applique Dress
Size 2 - 18

Cut Out Lace Sheath
Size S - 3X

Floral Lace Print Sheath
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: Unique, Vintage & Romantic Fashion @ Pyramid Collection 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: Plus-Size Clothes @ Evans

Tiered Crochet Lace Shift, Size 2 - 28W| ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Floral Lace Sheath, Size 6 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Tiered Jacket Dress, Size 6-24W| ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Tulle Party Frock, Size 12 - 22W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Tiered Crochet Lace Shift
Size 2 - 28W

Floral Lace Sheath
Size 6 - 26W

 

Tiered Jacket Dress
Size 6 - 24W

 

Party Frock
Size 12 - 22W

 

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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.

 

 

TAGS: # PLUS-SIZE DRESSES | # SPECIAL OCCASION WEAR | # WEDDINGS | # CLASSIC | # TRENDY | # DESIGNER PLUS-SIZE FASHION | # RESORT WEAR |
# HOLIDAYS

 

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