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

Plus-Size Clothing Internet Shopping Guides
>> Plus-Size Cocktail Dresses, Jumpsuits, Party Dresses, Separates & Ensembles

 
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. Although Elegant Plus earns a small fee on all purchases, it is a completely free shopping resource for the consumer, and many times we are able to provide links that offer consumer discounts and free shipping offers upon landing on the partner retailer's site. 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.
 


Last Update: February 25, 2018

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SHOPPING GUIDES

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Flounce Sleeve Cold Shoulder Dress, Size 14 - 28W  | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
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Evening Separates, Size S - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
Top & Bottom Sold Separately
Tahari, Bell Sleeve Shift Dress, Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Flounce Sleeve
Cold Shoulder Dress
Size 14 - 28W

Evening Separates
Size S -  3X

Tahari
Bell Sleeve Shift Dress
Size 14 - 24W

 

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 age 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 metallic brocades, 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.

 

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Flare Sleeve Cut Out  Dress, Size 1X - 3X  | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
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Pleated Swing Shift Dress, Size 1X - 3X  | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
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Tahari, Feather Hem, Jacquard Metallic Shift Dress, Size 2 - 18 | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Lace Bell Sleeve Shift, Size 1X - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Flare Sleeve
Cut Out Dress
Size 1X - 3X

Pleated
Swing Shift Dress
Size 1X - 3X
  

Tahari
Feather Hem
Metallic Jacquard Shift

Size 2 - 18

Lace Bell Sleeve Shift
Size 1X - 3X

 

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. 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, along with plenty of sophisticated styles with sleeves for sizes up to 26W.  Brands regularly include Alex Evenings,  Marina, Tadashi Shoji, Adrianna Papell, Pisarro Nights, Ralph Lauren, Komarov, and trendier looks from City Chic

Dillard's tends 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 Jessica Howard, Brianna, SL Fashion, Pisarro Nights, Alex Evenings, and Adrianna Papell frequently available.  More moderately priced, but an extensive trendy to contemporary collection is found on-line at Macy's for size 0 to 24W.

Talbots has an increasingly contemporary style collection of cocktail wear in finer fabrics such as silk, lace, and jacquards with beading and sequins better represented during the holiday party season.  The RSVP Collection is available from size 2 to 24W, with petites available to 22W. Options are available for wedding guests, professional evening events, and dinners at moderately upscale price points.

 

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Green Floral Jacquard Party Dress, Size 0 - 36W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Sequin Lace Sheath, Size 6 - 22W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Floral Bell Sleeve Shift, Size 14  - 32W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Embroidered Floral Cocktail Dress, Size 1X - 3X  | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Floral Jacquard
Party Dress
Size 0 - 36W
Avg - Petite - Tall
 

Sequin Lace Sheath
Size
6 - 22W

 

Floral Bell Sleeve Shift
Size 14 - 32W
  

Embroidered Floral Dress
Size 1
X - 3X  

 

 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 Eileen Fisher, Joan Vass, and Rachel Pally  are located with the plus women's dresses.  

Equally upscale are the offerings at Saks Fifth Avenue which regularly carries Marina Rinaldi, Tadashi Shoji, Lafayette 148, several fine Italian designers, and also slightly less pricey labels such as ABS by Alan Schwartz. 

Tadashi Shoji cocktail dresses and separates are available directly from the designer with the deepest selection available on-line in extended sizes for the label.  Women in the size 12 to 18 size range will have success in their main collections, while a full extended size range of 14 to 24W is available in selected styles.

 

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Dresses @ Neiman Marcus Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Clothes @ City Chic Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Fashion @ Simply Be Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Women's Fashion @ Coldwater Creek
Brunello Cucinelli, Asymmetric Hem Silk Dress, Size XS - XXL | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Floral Print Dress, Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Green Ruffled Lace Dress, Size 16 - 24W  | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Purple Textured Rosette Sheath Dress, Size 6 - 22W  | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Brunello Cucinelli
Asymmetric Silk Dress

Size XS - XXL

 

Floral Print Dress
Size 14 - 24W

 

Ruffled Lace Dress
Size
16 - 24W

 

Textured Rosette
Sheath Dress
Size 6 - 22W

 

 

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 and trendy contemporary dresses in high quality jersey in size 10 to 32W.  Some of the catalogs also offer good selections year around, especially for women who appreciate more mature styles.    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. 

Simply Be is a popular resource for contemporary to trendy cocktail dresses and separates including hard-to-find items such as sequin palazzo pants, trend conscious jumpsuits, and burnout velvet kimonos for sizes up to 28W.  Sister shopping destination JD Williams stocks polished modern classic to contemporary options in a similar size range at moderate price points.

 

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Dresses @ JD Williams Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Women's Fashion @ Lane Bryant Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Womens Dresses @ Igigi Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Alex Evenings @ alight
Jewel Collar Ruffle Chiffon Dress, Size 6 - 28W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
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Lace Swing Dress, Size 14 - 28W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
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Colored Floral Lace Dress, Size 14 - 36W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
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Shadow Floral High Low Dress, Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Jewel Collar
Ruffle Chiffon Dress
Size 6 - 28W

Lace Swing Dress
Size 14 - 28W

Colored Floral Lace Dress
Size 14 - 36W
Avg - Petite - Tall
 

Shadow Floral
High Low Dress
Size 14 - 24W

 

 

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 24W.  Plus specialty dress designer Igigi is back with a mix of modern classic and contemporary styles for size 14 to 36W.

Torrid is increasingly stocking both trendy and gothier special occasion and cocktail styles including lace, velvet, and satin in both shorter and maxi lengths for size L to 6X.

 

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Tadashi Shoji, Contrast Lace Cocktail Dress, Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Teri Jon, Metallic Jacquard Dress, Size 2 - 18 | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Rose Lace Shift Dress, Size 2 - 28W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Metallic Lace Dress, Size 10 -28W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
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Tadashi Shoji
Contrast Lace
Cocktail Dress

Size 14 - 24W

Teri Jon
Metallic Jacquard Dress
Size 2 - 18

Lace Shift Dress
Size 2 - 28W 

Metallic Lace Dress
Size 10 - 28W

 

Lane Bryant has upped their style game in the last couple of years, especially on-line where they include many dresses not sold in store from other designer labels such as ABS by Allen Schwartz, Eliza J, and Adrianna Papell.  Capsule collections from well known high fashion runway designers such as Lela Rose, Isabella Toledo, and Christian Siriano have frequently included cocktail looks for sizes 10 to 28W.

Those who like a vintage sensibility will find a growing inventory at ModCloth, with more and more options available up to 4X.   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: Women's Clothes @ Old Pueblo Traders Let's Shop! Elegant Plus:  Plus-Size Fashion @ Lord & Taylor Let's Shop! Elegant Plus:  Trendy Plus-Size Fashion @ Torrid Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Clothing @ Ulla Popken
Cutwork Dress, Size 8 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
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Corset Bodice Dress, Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Pleat Chiffon Dress, Size L - 6X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Floral Embroidered Lace Shift Dress, Size XL - 5X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Cutwork Dress
Size 8 - 24W

Corset Bodice Dress
Size 14 - 24W

Pleat Chiffon Dress
Size L - 6X

Embroidered Lace
Shift Dress
Size XL - 5X
Petite to 3X

 

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.  Eloquii has become one of the best year round shopping spots for full-figured evening dresses and separates with a contemporary to trendy edge.  Better quality than fast fashion but with the same eye to runway and trends with a quickly rotating inventory, the selection here is one of the best for sizes 14 to 28W.

Meanwhile, Catherine's carries both dresses and separates for size 16 to 34W, with petite sizes often available to 3X.  Avenue carries dressier styles during the holiday party season for sizes 14 to 32W.

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.

 

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Beaded Fringed Flapper Dress, Size 14 - 18W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Bell Sleeve Sheath,  Size 12 - 36W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
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Chiffon Capelet Dress, Size 12 - 34W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
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Chi Chi London, Satin Fit & Flare Party Dress, Size 2 - 26 | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Beaded Fringed
Flapper Dress
Size 14 - 18W

Bell Sleeve Sheath
Size 12 - 36W

Chiffon Capelet Dress
Size 12 - 30W

 

Chi Chi London
Satin Fit & Flare Dress
Size 2 - 26W

 

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 and Avenue regularly offer options.

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. 

 

 
 

 

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Plus-size clothing featured is hand selected by the Elegant Plus Fashion Editor from our extensive network of plus-fashion business partnerships. Although Elegant Plus earns a small fee on all purchases, it is a completely free shopping resource for the consumer, and many times we are able to provide links that offer consumer discounts and free shipping offers upon landing on the partner retailer's site.