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Plus-Size Clothing Internet Shopping Guides >> Plus-Size Designer Dresses

Elegant Plus Shopping Guide & Editor's Picks:  Full-Figured Designer Dresses 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: May 31, 2016
 

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DESIGNERS

 

Designer: Calvin Klein, Striped Dress, Size 14 - 22W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

RACHEL Rachel Roy, Color Block Trapeze Dress, Size 1X - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
More Colors Available

Nic + Zoe, Elephant Print Chiffon Shirtdress, Size XS - 3X  | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Calvin Klein
Striped Sheath
Size 14 - 22W

 

 RACHEL Rachel Roy
Color Block Trapeze Dress
Size 1X - 3X

 

Nic + Zoe
Elephant Print Chiffon Shirtdress
Size XS - 3X

 

Plus-Size Designer Dress Shopping Report
[Shopping Resources & Editor's Picks Below]

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.

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Clothing @ Neiman Marcus

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

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Designer Clothes @ Lord & Taylor

Misook, Asymmetric Knit Sheath, Size 16 - 30W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Designer: Rachel Pally, Jersey Faux Wrap Maxi, Size 1X - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
More Colors Available

LAUREN Ralph Lauren, Black Handkerchief Hem Dress, Size 1X - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Misook
Asymmetric Knit Sheath
Size 16 - 30W

Rachel Pally
Modal Jersey Faux Wrap Maxi
Size 1X - 3X

LAUREN Ralph Lauren
Handkerchief Hem Dress

Size 1X - 3X


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.

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.

 

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

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

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Designer Fashion @ Teri Jon

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Clothing @ Anna Scholz

Designer: Komarov, Floral Chiffon Dress, Size 1X - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Marina Rinaldi, White Linen Shift, Size 14 - 22W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Designer: Teri Jon, Lace Taffeta Shirtdress, Size 2 - 20 | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
More Colors Available

Designer: Anna Scholz, Print Chiffon Cold Shoulder Maxi, Size 16 - 28W| ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
More Colors Available

 Komarov
Floral Chiffon Dress
Size 1X - 3X

 

Marina Rinaldi
White Linen Shift

Size 14 - 22W

Teri Jon by Rickie Freeman
Lace & Taffeta Shirtdress

Size 2 - 20

Anna Scholz
Print Chiffon Cold Shoulder Maxi

UK Size 16 - 28W

 

 

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, Melissa Masse, 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 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, Eileen Fisher, Anna Scholz, and ABS by Allen Schwartz. Price points range from high side of moderate to quite upscale.

 

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Designer Clothes @ Saks

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Designer Dresses @ Nordstrom

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

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

Designer: ABS by Allen Schwartz, Trapeze Dress, Size 10 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

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

Oscar de la Renta, Yellow Layered Hem Dress, Size  2 - 16 | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

LUXE by Carmen Marc Valvo, Print Maxi Dress, Size S - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

ABS by Allen Schwartz
Trapeze Dress
Size 10 - 24W

Lela Rose
Floral Organza Dress

Size 2 - 16

Oscar de la Renta
Layered Hem Dress
Size 2 - 16

LUXE by Carmen Marc Valvo
Print Maxi Dress
Size S - 3X


Bloomingdale's buyers focus on a chic, edgy and fashion-conscious shopper.  Consequently many of the designs stocked here have a more youthful and modern appeal. Dresses are frequently shorter lengths, although as hem lines come down this is becoming less true.  Edgier designers to look for include MYNT 1792, DKNYC, and JET by John Eshaya.  Well represented are the day dresses from plus-size diffusion lines available from top designers such as Michael Kors, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, and Vince Camuto.   Pricier lines such as Marina Rinaldi and Lafayette 148 are also carried for upscale professionals. Meanwhile contemporary looks from Melissa Masse, Karen Kane, and BB Dakota are also often well represented.

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 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 Jenny Yoo.
 

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

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Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Nataya @ Wardrobe Shop

Christian Siriano, Embellished Black Mermaid Dress, Size 10 - 28W  | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Donna Morgan, Embroidered Crop Top & Tulle Skirt Set, Size 0 - 18 | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Isaac Mizrahi, Paisley Print Maxi, Size 2 - 28W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
More Colors Available

Nataya, Vintage Tea Party Dress, Size S - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Christian Siriano
Embellished Fishtail Dress
Size 10 - 28W

Donna Morgan
Embroidered Crop Top &
Tulle Skirt Set
Size 0 - 18

Isaac Mizrahi
Paisley Print Maxi
Size 2 - 28W
Avg - Petite

Nataya
Vintage Tea Party Dress
Size S - 3X


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.

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.

 

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

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

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

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Designer Fashion @ Last Call

Terani Couture, Illusion Bodice Gown, Size 2 - 18 | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

More Colors Available

Designer: Lafayette 148, Striped Linen Dress, Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Designer: Vince Camuto, Palm Print Sheath, Size 1X - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Designer: JWLA, Embroidered White Shift, Size 1X - 3X  | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Terani Couture
Illusion Bodice Gown

Size 2 - 18

 Lafayette 148
Striped Linen Dress
Size 14 - 24W

Vince Camuto
Palm Print Midi
Size 1X - 3X

JWLA
Embroidered Shift

Size 1X - 3X

 

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: Designer Dresses @ Nordstrom Rack

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Women's Clothes @ Kohl's

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

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

Designer: Tahari, Color Block Sheath, Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

CHAPS, Border Floral Print Maxi, Size 16 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Kiyonna,Jersey Ruched Sheath, Plus-Size 14 -32W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
Also Available in Black

MYNT 1792, Classic Tailored Sheath, Size 12 - 26W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Tahari
Color Block Shift
Size 14 - 24W

CHAPS Ralph Lauren
Border Floral Print Maxi
Size 16 - 24W

Kiyonna
Jersey Ruched Sheath

Size 14 - 32W

MYNT 1792
Tailored Sheath
Size 12 - 26W

 

Internet Emporiums

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 occasions. Amazon might be the largest database with hundreds, if not thousands, of dresses from both major designer diffusion collections and indie boutique designers, alike.  Labels are constantly changing here but it is well worth a browse for mid-level price points.  eBay on the other hand, is 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.

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? Meanwhile the television shopping network 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 (3X).

 

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Designer Dresses @ Macy's

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Clothing @ Karen Kane

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Women's Clothes @ Bloomingdale's

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Clothing @ Neiman Marcus

MICHAEL, Michael Kors, Faux Wrap Maxi, Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
Also Available in Black

Karen Kane, Ikat Print Shift, Size S - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Eileen Fisher, Plaid Silk Trapeze Dress, Size 1X- 3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Joan Vass, Floral Stretch Cotton Shift, Size 1X - 3X  | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

MICHAEL Michael Kors
Faux Wrap Maxi
Size 14 - 24W

Karen Kane
Ikat Print Shift

Size S - 3X

Eileen Fisher
Plaid Silk Trapeze Dress

Size 1X - 3X

Floral Stretch Cotton Shift
Size 1X - 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.

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. 
 

 

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.

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.

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.

Anna Scholz in known especially for her prints, many of which she designs herself.  Styles are bold and contemporary with price points ranging from moderately upscale to upscale.  Some are also in natural fibers such as silk.  Sizing is UK 12 to 28W which corresponds to approximately 8 to 24W in US sizing.  Shipping is world wide.

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.  

Ralph Lauren offers a small selection of their extended size styles directly from their website, although many more are available from the department stores.  

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. Although not a direct retailer, the on-line boutique Wardrobe Shop offers most, if not all, of the hard-to-find vintage inspired Nataya boutique designer label in their full size range up to 3X.

 

Lord & Taylor

 

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All Editor's Picks and plus-size clothing featured are hand- selected by the Elegant Plus Fashion Editor from our
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TAGS:  # DESIGNER CLOTHES | # TRENDY | # CLASSIC | # BOHO | # SPECIAL OCCASIONS | # DRESSES | # RESORT WEAR | # NATURAL FIBERS

 

 

Elegant designer plus-size clothing and plus-size dresses for full-figured women size 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, L, XL, 1X, 2X, 3X, 4X, 5X