Elegant Plus

Serving Savvy Web Shoppers Since 2002

Fashion Flash &
 Weekly Trend Reports
 

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

Plus-Size Clothing Internet Shopping Guides
>> Plus-Size Designer Dresses for Resort, Work, and Occasions

 
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: July 6, 2017

RELATED
SHOPPING GUIDES

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Johnny Was @ Neiman Marcus Let's Shop! Elegant Plus:  Plus-Size Fashion @ Bloomingdale's Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Clothes @ Macy's
Johnny Was, Embroidered Maxi Dress, Size 1X - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Marina Rinaldi, Lace Applique Sheath, Size 14 - 22W| ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick LAUREN Ralph Lauren, Flutter Sleeve Jersey Sheath, Size 14 - 22W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
 

Johnny Was
Embroidered Maxi
Size 1X - 2X 

Marina Rinaldi
Lace Appliqué Sheath
Size 14 - 22W

 LAUREN Ralph Lauren
Flutter Sleeve Jersey Sheath

Size 14 - 22W

 

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.

Generally, more plus-size 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 special occasion 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 expand. 

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.

 

Internet Shopping for Designer Plus-Size Dresses

Tadashi Shoji 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.

 

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Designer Fashion @ Teri Jon Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Designer Clothes @ Lord & Taylor Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Designer Evening Wear @ Neiman Marcus Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Designer Fashion @ Asos
Designer: Teri Jon, Stretch Velvet Portrait Collar Sheath, Size 2 -20| ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
More Colors Available
Vince Camuto, White Eyelet Shift, Size 14 - 22W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Lela Rose, Metallic Jacquard Cocktail Dress, Size 2 - 18  | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Designer: Chi Chi London, Lace Sheath Dress, Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
Teri Jon by Rickie Freeman
Stretch Velvet
Portrait Collar Sheath

Size 2 - 20

 

Vince Camuto
Eyelet Shift
Size 14 - 22W 
 

Lela Rose
Metallic Jacquard
Cocktail Dress
Size 2 - 18

 

Chi Chi London
Lace Sheath Dress

Size
14 - 24W 

 

Department Stores

The most diverse and deep collections of plus-size designer dresses are available mainly through major department stores.  Sizes are available from 14 to 24W.

Neiman Marcus 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,  Eileen Fisher, and Johnny Was 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 bohemian.  The buyers here focus on resort and career wear for more creative fields. Formalwear options include looks from Marina Rinaldi 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 Eileen Fisher, Basler, and ABS by Allen Schwartz. Price points range from high side of moderate to quite upscale.

 

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Clothing @ Zappos Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Dresses @ Lane Bryant Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Dresses @ Coldwater Creek Let's Shop! Elegant Plus:  Dresses @ Dillard's
Designer: Nic + Zoe, Etched Floral Dress, Size 1X - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Melissa McCarthy, Yellow Print Kimono Dress, Size 1X - 4X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Alex Evenings, Stretch Velvet Dress, Size 6 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Adrianna Papell, Green Taffeta Dress, Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

 Nic + Zoe
Etched Floral Dress
Size 1X - 3X
 

Melissa McCarthy
Print Kimono Dress
Size 1
X - 4X

 Alex Evenings
Stretch Velvet Dress
Size
6 - 24W

Adrianna Papell
Taffeta Dress
Size 14 - 24W 

 

Nordstrom 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.  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 Jenny Yoo.

Lord & Taylor is generally geared toward a more classic shopper with a few contemporary designer labels.  Diffusion lines from Ralph Lauren, Tahari, and Calvin Klein 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.

 

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Clothing @ Dress Barn Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: St John Collection @ Nordstrom Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Designer Clothes @ Saks Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Clothing @ Ralph Lauren
Ashley Graham, Green Faux Wrap Dress, Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick St. John, Embellished Shimmer Knit Dress, Size 2 - 16  | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Designer: Lafayette 148, Floral Sheath, Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick LAUREN Ralph Lauren, Linen Jersey Shift, Size 1X - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Ashley Graham
Faux Wrap Dress
Size 14 - 24W

St. John
Embellished
Shimmer Knit Dress

Size 2 - 16
 

Lafayette 148
Floral Sheath
Size 14 - 24W

LAUREN Ralph Lauren
Linen Jersey Shift
Size 1X - 3X

 

Macy's 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 are frequent.

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 Bon Ton 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 luxury labels.

 The best inventories can be found at Dillard's which emphasizes more conservative and covered styles, Nordstrom, and Neiman Marcus.   Also well worth a browse are Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor.  Use the easy size finder tools available at most to sort through and find your size.

 

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Clothing @ Igigi Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Designer Clothes @ Neiman Marcus Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Clothing @ Eloquii Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Clothing @ Kiyonna
Rose Faux Wrap Dress, Size 14 - 36W  | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Rachel Pally, Ruffled Maxi Dress, Size 1X - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
More Colors Available
Teresa Maccapani Missoni, Silk Wrap Dress, Size 12 - 28W  | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Kiyonna, Ruffled Wrap Dress, Size 1X - 5X  | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
More Colors Available

Igigi
Rose Faux Wrap Dress
Size 14 - 36W
 

Rachel Pally
Ruffled Maxi Dress
Size 1X - 3X

Teresa Maccapani Missoni
Silk Wrap Dress
Size 12 - 24W 

Kiyonna
Ruffled Wrap Dress
Size XL - 5X 

 

Internet Emporiums

Modcloth is 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.

Zappos is 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?

 

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus:  Eileen Fisher @ Neiman Marcus Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Clothing @ Simply Be Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Clothing @ Eloquii Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Designer Fashion @ Rachel Roy

Designer: Eileen Fisher, Jersey Asymmetric Dress, Size 1X - 3X |  ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick 
More Colors Available

Traffic People, Plaid Shirtdress, Size 8 - 22W  | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Designer: Karen Kane, Black Lace Dress, Size XL - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Designer: Rachel Roy, Jacquard Halter Sweater Dress, Size XL - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Eileen Fisher
Jersey Asymmetric Dress
Size
1X - 3X

Traffic People
Plaid Shirtdress
Size 8 - 22W

 

Karen Kane
Black Lace Dress
Size XL
- 3X

 

Rachel Roy
Jacquard Halter
Sweater Dress
Size XL - 3X

Diffusion Lines and Capsule Collections

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 shoppers.

Dress specialty retailer Dress Barn 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.

 
Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Designer Dresses @ Nordstrom Rack Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Clothing @ Lord & Taylor Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Women's Clothes @ Kohl's Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Clothes @ Macy's
Designer: ABS Allen Schwartz, Cold Shoulder Lace Dress, Size 14 - 24W| ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Gabby Skye: Belted Border Print Dress, Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Simply Vera Wang, Ombre Dress, Size XL-3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
More Colors Available
Designer: Calvin Klein, Embroidered Trapeze Dress, Size 14 - 22W| ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

ABS Allen Schwartz
Cold Shoulder Lace Dress
Size 14 - 22W

Gabby Skye
Belted Border Print Dress
Size 14 - 24W

Simply Vera Wang
Ombre Dress
Size
XL - 3X

Calvin Klein
Embroidered Trapeze Dress

Size 1
4 - 22W

 

Plus Specialty Retailers

Plus-size specialty retailers are beginning to feature designer capsule collections and some other designer brands. Making the news most recently, Lane Bryant 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.

British retailers Asos and Evans regularly include fashion conscious labels such as Little Mistress and Loved Robed in their offerings, while Evans also 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.  

Simply Be carries many of these labels in addition to a diffusion collection from British plus specialty designer Anna Scholz in size 8 to 28W.
 

 

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Designer Dresses @ Saks Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Designer Dresses @ Nordstrom Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Clothing @ Eloquii Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Designer Evening Wear @ Neiman Marcus
Carmen Marc Valvo, Dot Print Sheath, Size 1X - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Melissa McCarthy, Gauze Print Caftan Maxi, Size 1X - 4X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick MICHAEL Michael Kors, Pleat Chiffon Hem Jersey Dress, Size 1X - 3X  | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Theia, Velet Flounce Cocktail Dress, Size 0 - 16  | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Carmen Marc Valvo
Dot Print Sheath
Size 1X - 3X

Melissa McCarthy
Gauze Print Caftan
Size 1X - 4X

MICHAEL Michael Kors
Pleat Chiffon Hem
Jersey Dress

Size 1
X - 3X 

Theia
Velvet Flounce Cocktail Dress
Size 0 - 16

 

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 plus-size line.

The partnership with Macy's went so well that Rachel Roy has launched her own website showcasing her entire line for extended sizes.  A strong contemporary vibe in resort to work wear style, the aesthetic uses simple silhouettes combined with colors and fabrics that pop for sizes S to 3X.

Rachel Pally 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.  Melissa McCarthy's Seven7 line also has a more casual, contemporary vibe with bold prints and bright colors part of her signature style.  Maxi dresses and flowing styles with kimono sleeves are common, for size S to 4X.

Karen Kane 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 dresses.  Kiyonna 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.  Plus specialty dress designer Igigi is back under new ownership in 2016 with their strong contemporary California aesthetic, remaining true to their "Made in the USA" values for size 14 to 36W.

Ralph 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 Tahari which is known for it's more classic and tailored collections to size 24W.

Rickie Freeman 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.

 

 

 

NRSummerS_728x90
Advertisement:

 

 

 

ElegantPlus.com © 2002-2017


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.