PLUS-SIZE FALL FASHION
Browse Related Elegant Plus Editor's Pick
By late summer school bells are beginning to ring, but many teens wait to see what their friends are wearing before starting the back-to-school shopping in earnest. Demand starts in August and begins to taper off in later September. Demand is strongest for boots, jeans, leggings, blazers, and easy-to-wear tops mixes with trendy skirts and dresses. Sleepwear and outerwear are also important shopping categories for college bound curvy fashionistas.
Fall is the season of luxury fashion. Not only are designers showing their latest collections on runways, but fibers such as lace, leather, suede, and cashmere play prominent roles in the designs rolling out in designer collections in store.
Fall is also the season of investment shopping, when wardrobes are updated with bigger ticket items like cashmere sweaters, leather jackets, and wool outerwear. It's a good time to update working wardrobes with tailored suiting in menswear inspired patterns frequently making an appearance.
Fall is the beginning of the special occasion season. High school and college women are shopping for homecoming dresses. Meanwhile, cocktail dresses and special occasion separates in anticipation of holiday office parties begin to come into the stores in late September with options usually peaking in November just before the Thanksgiving weekend. By mid to late November New Year's Eve gowns and dresses are in store.
Important accessories for this time of year include tights, boots, and handbags. Belts are an increasingly important item in plus size looks, as women become more confident and willing to show off their figure.
The first taste of fall fashion happens at Nordstrom's famous pre-season Anniversary Sale in late July. This is when buyers test out possible inventory for fall and mark it down for a short period of time to see what shoppers want. Then prices go back up, and the most popular looks and items are re-stocked at full price. If you like unusual finds, buying during this sale means scoring some looks that won't be re-stocked and worn by everyone else. Otherwise, you get a jump on fall trends at post-season sale prices with plenty of time to wear and enjoy them for the entire season. You'll find everything from upscale leather jackets to the latest jeans trends and holiday appropriate dresses and separates. Well known plus-size designer brands such as Michael Kors, Vince Camuto, Not Your Daughter's Jeans, and Eileen Fisher are all regularly featured.
Pyramid Collection has a bohemian, romantic and Goth flavor in sizes 2 to 28W. Meanwhile more contemporary looks are available from NorthStyle in sizes 4 to 24W. Classic looks in natural fibers in average, petite, tall and plus-sizes are popular at Lands End which is particular good for dresses, outerwear, and core basics in size 2 to 26W.
By late August trendy spots popular with the back-to-school shoppers have stocked the latest looks for fall. Forever 21 and Asos have the latest fast fashion looks in size S to 3X, with one of the deepest on-line inventories available from Simply Be in sizes 6 to 30W.
Those who appreciate a more urban vibe will want to shop plus specialty retailer Ashley Stewart with both trendy back-to-school and work pieces at value to moderate prices in bold colors and patterns for size 12 to 36W. Lane Bryant has stepped up their fashion game in recent years with more looks appealing to younger shoppers, while Avenue has added a new, fresh style destination for teens and college students at Loralette. Super tight budget shoppers will want to check out the collection at Rainbow Shops for sizes XS to 4X in junior plus sizing.
Of the moderately priced department stores Kohl's and Maurice's have the best selection appealing to younger shoppers heading back to college or high school. Target is also actively increasing its appeal at value prices and is a good spot for dorm room needs, as well. Sizing has been quietly extending on-line up to 4X at many of them.
Super-size teens will want to check out
Sealed with a Kiss which is
moderately priced with extensive collections
available in size 14 to 32W. Meanwhile one
of the fastest growing trendy retailers in the
stocks sizes L to 6X.
Late Summer Clearance Sales and Early Fall Arrivals
Other luxury department stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus offer pre-orders of fall designer plus-size fashion no later than the first week in August, giving stylish shoppers the advantage of must-have looks in size 14 to 24W. Labels include Marina Rinaldi, Lafayette 148, Stizzoli, Caroline Rose, Fuzzi, Joan Vass, Misook, Eileen Fisher and many more high quality designer labels.
Plus-specialty retailers will finish late summer clearance sales on Labor Day Weekend and fall fashion will come in during the first week in September. Lane Bryant has been upping the style quotient with high-end designer collaborations adding chic work looks to shoppers in size 14 to 28W. Ashley Stewart has a trendier, urban vibe with body conscious styles, bold colors and patterns characterizing their look in sizes 12 to 26W.
Plus specialty cataloguer
Popken is much more moderately priced and is
usually the first to get the following season's
looks in. Fall clothing usually begins to
arrive in early August in size 12 to 34W.
Other cataloguers are not too far behind giving
plenty of time to order.
Professional Work Wardrobe Updates
Those looking for suiting in both classic and more contemporary styles will find the best selection at some of the more upscale department stores. Dillard's carries both an excellent classic suit selection in coordinated tailored styles, and contemporary jackets, blazers and separates at moderate to slightly upscale prices from well known national brands in size 14 to 24W. Lord & Taylor also has an exceptionally good tailored suit selection from labels such as Calvin Klein, Nipon Boutique, Tahari, and their in house designs for size 14 to 24W. Those with the largest budgets will find the best selection of work appropriate jackets and separates from labels such as Lafayette 148, Misook, Caroline Rose, Eileen Fisher, and Marina Rinaldi at Neiman Marcus. Cashmere is also reliably available in plus sizes by mid fall, in addition to other luxury fabrics such as leather and suede. Nordstrom is strongest in their selection of dresses and tops for professional wear, with only a few suiting options for sizes 14 to 24W.
In addition to the department stores some cataloguers have excellent working wardrobe options at more moderate pricing. Draper's & Damon's is a good bet for slightly less formal offices that still have a contemporary or tailored vibe for size 4 to 26W. Norm Thompson and Appleseed's offer more classics, many in natural fibers for sizes 6 to 24W, including core basics such as classic cardigans and cotton layering tees. Meanwhile, Old Pueblo Traders and Bedford Fair have a mixture of well-priced casual and career pieces for size 8 to 28W.
Talbots is a must stop for upscale classic to contemporary looks and is an excellent resource for work wardrobe needs such as tailored suiting, dresses, and career pants. Natural fibers including silk, cashmere, and cotton are staples and the quality reliably excellent for sizes 2 to 24W for both women and petites. Less formal but equally good for those that prefer natural fibers, the inventory at Coldwater Creek is popular with professional women in more creative office environments. Meanwhile, the upscale knits at Nic + Zoe are well loved by on-the-go, urban professionals who appreciate polished style in sizes XS to 3X.
Eloquii has quickly become the most popular style destination for trend conscious working women with an extensive inventory of dresses, separates, and suiting coordinates for size 14 to 28W. Specialty plus designer Kiyonna is a must stop for those looking for well made contemporary style career dresses in knits for size 10 to 32W. For upscale silk blouses and other quality career separates, the extensive inventory at Ulla Popken for size 12 to 34W is well worth the stop.
Fall Holiday and Occasion Fashion
Those shopping for work wear and special occasion looks for the busy October weddings season, holiday office parties, and other fall social events will find September arrivals for the season at Dillard's and Nordstrom , both of which stock size 0 to 26W. The formalwear at Dillard's is particularly upscale with designers such as Tadashi Shoji, Mac Duggal, Terani Couture, Adrianna Papell, and Mori Lee regularly available in sizes up to 24W. They also tend to have the largest selection of evening pant sets available in extended sizes. The highest end, designer formalwear for upscale events such as the busy entertainment industry awards season, and museum and gallery openings is available from Neiman Marcus which regularly stocks top shelf ready-to-wear looks from names such as Carmen Marc Valvo, Carolina Herrera, Theia, and others in sizes as large as 18 with the occasional 20. Shop there or directly with Teri Jon which has been working hard to extend the sizes available in their collection to 20.
Those on tighter budgets will find the deepest selection of special occasion dresses available at Simply Be in contemporary to trendy styles for size 6 to 28W, in addition to evening separates. ModCloth has begun carrying an extensive collection of party dresses, especially in the months leading up to the holidays. Styles here have a vintage feel while remaining contemporary and youthful. The plus inventory is growing daily and well worth the stop for size 0 to 28.
Kiyonna is best known for their
lace cocktail dress styles, but also offer
jersey maxi dresses that are popular options
with many full-figured women in size XL to 5X.
The lace evening tops are also worth checking
out for those looking for party separates.
Draper's & Damon's
regularly carries evening separates from
brands such as Alex Evenings including chiffon
pants in a variety of colors and lace twinsets that can be easily
mixed and matched for special occasion dressing
in size 4 to 26W. Super size divas will want to
stop in at
both cocktail dresses and evening gowns with a
contemporary flare in size 12 to 36W.
Shoes, Boots & Booties
It is at this time that wide-calf boots and wide-width booties, both fashionable fall items in demand and difficult to find off-line begin to appear on-line. Zappos has one of the deepest and best selections in extended sizes, but several of the department stores have begun stocking more wide widths and wide calf boots in upscale designer and fashion forward looks, most notably Nordstrom and Dillard's. For classic, quality leather boots in wider and extended sizes shop directly with Naturalizer . Regularly available are tall riding boot styles and shorter ankle boots and booties. Trendier looks of the moment in wider widths and calves are reliably available at plus specialty retailers, most notably: Eloquii, Ashley Stewart, and Torrid. Those looking for a more European fashion forward selection will also find a limited selection in wider widths at Asos and Simply Be.