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.
Last Update: October 29, 2016
Size 14 - 22W
Nic + Zoe
Sleeveless Knit Shift
Size XS - 3X
Metallic Embroidered Gown
14 - 24W
Designer dresses are becoming easier to find in
larger sizes as big department stores begin
stocking fashion in sizes larger than twelve.
High-end designers are still hard to find in
plus, but more and more major designers are
offering mid-level, ready-to-wear, diffusion, and
capsule collections in plus-sizes. Plus-size dress resources
include small boutiques, department stores,
capsule collections for major retailers, and
home shopping networks.
Sizes over a 24W are still extremely rare, but
increasingly available even in the major
department stores at more moderate to moderately
upscale price points. The upscale luxury
market is still rare larger than a size 16/18
with women's sizes capped at 22/24W. Labels to
look for at the luxury price point include
Marina Rinaldi, the size 12 to 24W sister label
to Max Mara, Lafayette 148 for career,
sportswear, and occasion looks, and Kay Unger
for cocktail and dinner dresses.
designer dresses are available on-line than in
most in store locations.
Styles run the gamut from contemporary, casual
looks suitable for weekend and vacation wear to
cocktail dresses and
formalwear for gala events, holiday
parties, and weddings. A growing number of
work appropriate styles
are offered in designer collections at larger
sizes as women's roles in professional spaces
Capsule designer collaborations in recent years
have included Lela Rose and Isabel Toledo at
Lane Bryant, with dress styles quick to sell
out. Look for Christian Siriano's
for Spring 2016.
may be among the most famous formalwear
designers to offer plus-sizes thanks to the
success of his muse, Oscar winning Octavia
Spencer. Gala and cocktail dresses with a
vintage flavor are his specialty at surprisingly
affordable off-the-rack price points.
Available more widely during the holiday party
season, a selection is frequently available at
several of the major department stores all year.
Equally famous from popular
culture is Michael Kors
from his days judging on Project Runway.
His plus line of casual and career dresses
includes both sleek tailored options and more
diverse contemporary prints and styles in sizes
to 24W. Available widely from many department
stores and internet retailers all year, the
MICHAEL Michael Kors line is immensely popular
and moderately priced.
The most diverse and deep
collections of plus-size designer dresses are
available mainly through major department
stores. Sizes are available from 14 to
offers contemporary casual to career appropriate
daywear options from upscale labels such as
Marina Rinaldi, Lafayette 148, and Misook.
More moderately priced contemporary labels such
as Joan Vass, Melissa Masse, Eileen Fisher, and
are also frequently represented. Free flowing
maxi dresses, easy-to-wear shift dresses, and
knits make up much of the dress inventory. Looks
can range from upscale contemporary to slightly
The buyers here focus on resort and career wear
for more creative fields. Formalwear options
include looks from Kay Unger and Carmen
Marc Valvo in size 14 to 24W, in addition to
extended misses sizes in the 12 to 18 range out
on the main racks from designers such as St. John, Theia,
Oscar de la Renta, Lela Rose, Teri John, Badgley
Mischka, and other famous luxury labels.
Saks Fifth Avenue
is equally upscale with a deeper and more formal
collection. Some very unusual Italian designers
are regularly available here. Both
Stizzoli and Fuzzi offer contemporary, European
style in fine knits for day time. Kay Unger
designs chic, timeless dresses for career and
occasions with a sophisticated, "ladies who
lunch" appeal. Lafayette 148 and Marina Rinaldi dresses are often especially well
represented, making Saks a go-to resource
for upscale executives. Single and Beyond
Vintage design more youthful day dresses with
feminine, timeless style. Other labels
frequently carried here include Melissa Masse,
Anna Scholz, and ABS by Allen Schwartz. Price
points range from high side of moderate to quite
mixes more youthful options with more mature
designs, and an especially deep day dress and
special occasion collection. This is a very
popular style destination for both wedding
guests and occasions, and women who need work-appropriate
dresses. Primarily more moderately priced
with a few pricier exceptions, shoppers will
find Jessica Simpson, BB Dakota, and Gabby Skye
among the trendiest designer offerings.
Career women will like the modern classic style
dresses from designers Elie Tahari, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein
and Michael Kors. Contemporary dresses are
stocked from Vince Camuto, Nic + Zoe, DKNYC, and
Eliza J to name just a few. Meanwhile,
jacket dresses for special occasions appealing
to older women are also available from pricier
designer labels such as Soulmates and Komarov.
Beaded dresses with a vintage Jazz Age feel
without feeling costumy are regularly stocked
from designer Pisarro Nights. Tadashi
Shoji cocktail dresses often turn up here, along
with styles from ML Monique Lhuillier. Long
formal gowns can also be purchased here
appropriate for both weddings and black tie
events, including softly feminine classic styles from
Lord & Taylor
is generally geared toward a more
classic shopper with a few contemporary designer
labels. Diffusion lines from Ralph Lauren,
Tahari, Calvin Klein, and Michael Kors are
regularly available. Other designers can include
the more youthful Gabby Skye and Jessica
Simpson, with a few dresses from labels such as
DKNYC and Vince Camuto turning up. Deep
discounts can often be scored here.
is an on-line, plus-size dress mecca with
options available for most age brackets.
That having been said, designer offerings are
mainly limited to the major designer diffusion
labels already mentioned: Michael Kors, Vince
Camuto, Calvin Klein, and Jessica Simpson.
Pisarro Nights and Patra beaded cocktail and
formalwear is also usually available here.
Weekend and limited time mark-downs and sales
Dillard's specializes in
special occasion dresses with designers such as
Mori Lee, Terani Couture, Pisarro Nights, Mac Duggal,
and Tadashi Shoji, with a growing collection of
upscale, high end looks with sleeves.
Both Dillard's and
stock day dresses from Ralph Lauren, Calvin
Klein, Vince Camuto, and Karen Kane.
Department stores with Extended Misses
Sizing: 12 to 18
A handful of department stores have quietly
extended their on-line misses designer dress
inventories to include sizes 14, 16, 18, and
occasionally 20. Keep in mind that misses
sizing runs slightly smaller than the women's
numerical counterpart. Many women find
they need to go up approximately one numerical
size in most labels. For example a woman
who wears a 14W may need a misses size 16.
Additionally, those with arm fit issues may find
sleeved dresses too snug, and exceptionally
busty plus sizes may find most bodices too snug.
All that having been said, if you are a lucky
"in betweener" this size extension is a boon in
the designer dress selection available to you.
This is especially true of the most upscale and
The best inventories can be found at
which emphasizes more conservative and covered
Also well worth a browse are
Saks Fifth Avenue
Lord & Taylor.
Use the easy size finder tools available at most
to sort through and find your size.
In addition to the department
stores there are a number of on-line only
retailers that offer a good selection of
designer plus-size dresses for a variety of
eBay can be a treasure trove for both upscale and
diffusion designers. Simply type in
the designer name and the word "plus" in the
search box for the best sorting results.
a growing resource of moderately priced indie
designer dresses with smaller runs that sell out
quickly so be sure to grab something quickly if
you like it. Many designs have a vintage or
retro feel with sizes XS up to 5X. Styles
range from cute day dresses to more
sophisticated evening looks.
another resource for labels such as DKNYC,
Rachel Pally, Calvin Klein, Vince Camuto, and
Kiyonna, among many others with the added
advantage of extra quick free shipping and
returns. Why not pick up a new pair of shoes
while there, too? Meanwhile the television
QVC has a
substantial and easy-to-shop on-line presence.
Home to moderately priced designer lines from
Isaac Mizrahi, Bob Mackie, several Project
Runway stars, Hollywood stylists and celebrities
with almost all dresses available up to 28W
Diffusion Lines and Capsule
The most famous designer capsule collections
offered at little prices are those at
Target. Often selling out quickly
with fashionistas anxiously anticipating the
next release, these dresses can be hard to
scoop, especially in larger sizes. Some
collections top out at size XL or XXL which can
fit smaller plus women size 12 -16, depending on
cut and fabric. The next from Lilly
Pulitzer promises to be available in size 1X to
4X, including even the most voluptuous designer
Dress specialty retailer
has begun to offer affordable diffusion options
from designer formalwear specialist Carmen Marc
Valvo which are particularly appropriate for
special occasions in size 14 to 24W.
Meanwhile, Ralph Lauren offers their most budget
friendly line of American classic and sporty
style dresses in the CHAPS line at
Kohl's in size 14 to 24W.
Department stores are also beginning to
experiment with lines from models, bloggers, and
celebrities. Some of the noteworthy
celebrity brands in plus include Melissa
McCarthy and Jessica Simpson, while plus models
such as Ashley Graham and Tess Holliday have
launched collections in the last year.
Plus Specialty Retailers
Plus-size specialty retailers are
beginning to feature designer capsule
collections and some other designer brands.
Making the news most recently,
has been featuring a gorgeous collaboration with
upscale designer Isabel Toledo who counts among
her clients Michelle Obama. Dresses for
urban working women with polish and panache in
sizes 14 to 28W are available on-line and at
select store locations. Later in 2015,
high end New York Fashion Week designer Lela
Rose will be offering a softer, more romantic
collection here using her signature watercolor
floral prints in dresses and separates
exclusively for Lane Bryant customers.
Asos and Evans
regularly include fashion conscious labels such
as Little Mistress and Loved Robed in their
from time to time will do collaborations.
In the past this has included Beth Ditto, the
high fashion design duo Clement Ribeiro, and a
designer challenge for fashion students.
Direct from Designer Websites
Although many are carried in
larger retail locations, some designers also
have their own web sites. Often this can
be the best place to see a designer's full
is a well known lifestyle brand worn by many
celebrities. Easy shapes in jersey make
most of her line perfect resort and travel wear.
With the ability to dress up or down, many
pieces have been seen on red carpets. Her
White Label collection is available in sizes 1X
to 3X and can run exceptionally long, so expect
hemming for the perfect fit.
designs upscale core black knit pieces along
with separates and dresses with a contemporary
vibe. Popular for work, this label is
available in size S to 3X.
Nic + Zoe is known for knitwear
which can include contemporary dress styles
appropriate for day wear in size S to 3X.
Kiyonna is one of the
best known indie designers specializing in
plus-sizes at moderate price points. Unusual in
that both are available from sizes 10 to 32W,
they also are particularly well known for their
offers chic, modern classic jersey wrap dresses
and more body conscious wiggle dresses with a
retro vibe, along with maxi dresses and lace
cocktail dresses. They design mainly in solid
colors with black, classic red, and navy blue
forming the core palette with additional colors
that change seasonally.
Lauren offers a small selection of their
extended size styles directly from their
website, although many more are available from
the department stores. A similar
situation is true at
which is known for it's more classic and
tailored collections to size 24W.
for Teri Jon is regularly stocked by the
luxury retailers, but the best selection of
their extended size cocktail and formalwear (to
size 20) is available directly from their
website. Although not a direct retailer, the
offers most, if not all, of the hard-to-find
vintage inspired Nataya boutique designer label
in their full size range up to 3X.