Plus-size Cocktail Dresses and Party Dresses, A Shopping Guide  @ Elegant Plus, Sizes 12 +

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

Elegant Plus Shopping Guide & Editor's Picks:  Plus-Size Cocktail Dresses in Size 12 +

All Editor's Picks clothing featured is hand- selected by the Elegant Plus Fashion Editor from our extensive network of fashion business partnerships. Options available in all size ranges, although we specialize in hard-to-find sizes 12 and over.  Plus size cocktail dresses are often hard to find in local stores, but there are many options on-line.  Classic plus-size cocktail dresses  in lace, silk, chiffon, taffeta and velvet are all very popular for holiday parties.   Young, flirty plus-size cocktail dresses are a favorite with many girls attending proms.   Cocktail dresses with jackets or boleros are often worn by the mother-of-the-bride or groom at weddings and some goods.   Sophisticated plus-size cocktail dresses are popular options for women going on cruises and office parties. No matter what your special occasion you'll finds lots of colors, styles and options available in plus-size cocktail dresses at Elegant Plus.


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

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Fashion @ Asos

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Special Occasion Clothes @ Draper's & Damon's

Sheath Dress, Plus-Size 14 - 24W| Editor's Pick
Size 14 - 24W

Striped Organza Dress, Plus-Size 14 -24W | Editor's Pick

Metallic Lace Dress, Sizes 14-20W | Editor's Pick

Tiered Chiffon Jacket Dress, Sizes 8-24 | Editor's Pick

Striped Organza Dress
Size 14 - 24W

Metallic Lace Dress
Size 14 - 20W

  Tiered Chiffon Jacket Dress
Size 8 - 24W

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

Cocktail dresses is one of the most sought after plus-size dress categories. 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.

Younger women often choose shorter party dresses for prom, homecoming, and other dances throughout the school calendar year creating a demand for more youthful styles 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 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 plus-size designer dress page, as well.


Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Dresses @ Igigi

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Trendy Plus-Size Clothing @ Forever 21

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Alex Evenings @ alight

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Dresses @ Neiman Marcus

Dot Chiffon Dress, Plus-Size 12 - 32W| Editor's Pick

Lace Overlay Dress, Size XL - 3X  | Editor's Pick

Designer: Tadashi Shoji, Belted Lace Dress, 14-24W | Editor's Pick

Designer: Kay Unger, Lace Cocktail Dress, Size 14-24W| Editor's Pick

Dot Chiffon Dress
Size 12 - 32W

Lace Overlay  Dress
Size XL - 3X

Tadashi Shoji
Belted Lace Dress
Size 14 - 24W

Kay Unger
Lace Cocktail Dress

Size 14 - 24W

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.  Dillard's and Lord & Taylor tend 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 Pisarro Nights, Alex Evenings, and Adrianna Papell frequently available. 

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.  More moderately priced, but an extensive trendy to contemporary collection is found on-line at Macy's, while JC Penney offers the most accessible price points.


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

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Trendy Plus-Size Clothing @ Fashion to Figure

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Clothes @ Catherines

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Scala @ alight

Chiffon Overlay Dress, Plus-Size 14 -24W | Editor's Pick
More Colors Available

Cap Sleeve Dress, Sizes XL-3X | Editor's Pick

Beaded Shiftl Dress, 1X - 4X | Editor's Pick

Scala, Beaded Chiffon Jacket Dress, Size 18 - 26W | Editor's Pick

Chiffon Overlay Dress
Size 14 - 24W

Cap Sleeve Dress
Size XL - 3X

Beaded Navy Shift Dress
Size 1X - 4X

Beaded Chiffon
Jacket Dress
Size 18 - 26W


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 are racked with smaller sizes in the Evening Wear tab.   More contemporary and plus-exclusive labels such as Anna Scholz, Marina Rinaldi, and Melissa Masse are located with the plus women's dresses.   Equally upscale are the offerings at Saks Fifth Avenue which regularly carries Kay Unger, Tadashi Shoji, several fine Italian designers, and also slightly less pricey labels such as ABS by Alan Schwartz.

Some of the catalogs also offer good selections year around, especially for women who appreciate more mature styles.   Ulla Popken regularly has beaded cocktail dresses styles available to size 12 to 34W, with the occasional dress available as large as 38W.  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.  Meanwhile, the moderately priced and deep special occasion dress offerings at Midnight Velvet frequently has styles unavailable elsewhere for women who appreciate more individualized looks. 


Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Fashion @ Lane Bryant

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Fashion @ Bloomingdales

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Dresses @ eShakti

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Wedding Shop @ Light in the Box

Drape Knit Dress, Plus-Size 14 - 28W | Editor's Pick

Metallic Dress, Plus-Size 14 - 24W | Editor's Pick

Tulle Dress, Size 0 - 36W | Editor's Pick

Chiffon Shift Dress, Sizes 2-26W | Editor's Pick
More Colors Available

Drape Knit Dress
Size 14 - 28W

Metallic Dress
Size 14 - 24W

Tulle Dress
Size 0 - 36W

Chiffon Shift Dress
Size 2 - 26W


Young women will find the affordable cocktail dress styles at  Asos and Forever 21 on trend in size 14 to 24W.  Trendy on-line plus super store alight also has an unusually good and deep dress inventory with styles ranging from inexpensive and trendy to more upscale formalwear designers.   Many of their formalwear styles are available in extended plus sizes beyond 3X.

Igigi is one of the leading dress plus-exclusive designers and offers a mixture of body con styles, along with more traditional silhouettes, in prints, laces, and jersey in size 12 to 32W.

Those who like a vintage sensibility will find a growing inventory at ModCloth, with more and more options available larger than 3X.   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: Plus-Size Clothing @ Ulla Popken

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Trendy Plus-Size Fashion @ Torrid

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Dresses @ Bon Ton

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

Chiffon Dress with Shawl, Size 14 -34W | Editor's Pick

Cap Sleeve Swing Dress, Plus-Size 12 - 28W | Editor's Pick

Beaded Chiffon Hi Lo Dress, Plus Size 14-24W | Editor's Pick

Floral Ruched Sheath Dress, Sizes 10 - 32W | Editor's Pick
Animal Print Available

Chiffon Dress with Shawl
Size 14 - 34W

Cap Sleeve Swing Dress
Size 12 - 28W

Beaded Chiffon Hi Lo Dress
Size 14 - 24W

Floral Ruched Sheath Dress
Size 10 - 32W


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.  Those who prefer more fashion conscious looks will find a selection of on-trend dresses at Eloquii in size 14 to 24W.

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.

Meanwhile, some of the most glamorous and upscale cocktail dress options can be ordered from Blue Gala.  The size finder here stops at 18, but a good many of the designers represented are available larger, some up to 30.  Look for Primavera Couture and Blush for sequin styles, and Night Moves and Alyce for more sophisticated looks.

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.


Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Dresses @ Unique Vintage

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Clothes @ SWAK

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Retro Vintage Modern Plus-Size Clothing @ ModCloth

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus:  Plus-Size Fashion @ Ashley Stewart

Chiffon Flapper Dress, Plus-Size 2X - 4X | Editor's Pick

Lace Dress, Plus-Size 1X - 6X | Editor's Pick
More Colors Available

Pleated Lace Hem Dress, Size S - 4X| Editor's Pick

Pleated Chiffon Halter Dress, Size 12-26W | Editor's Pick
More Colors Available

 Chiffon Flapper Dress
Size 2X - 4X

Lace Dress
Size 1X - 6X

Pleated Lace Hem Dress
Size S - 4X

Pleated Chiffon Halter Dress
Size 12 - 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 regularly offer options, some of the deepest inventories are at lingerie specialty shops such as Bare Necessities.

Spanx is a favorite with stars who regularly walk red carpets, and this allows for shapewear built into hosiery.  A variety of strengths and types are available for women size S to 3X.

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.  QVC is one of the best resources for both fine and costume jewelry in styles that come in extended lengths and sizes to fit larger customers.


Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Clothes @ Evans Let's Shop! Elegant Plus:  Plus-Size Fashion @ Lord & Taylor Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Stylish Plus-Size Fashion @ eloquii Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Alex Evenings @ alight

Lace Maxi Dress, Plus-Size 12 - 26W | Editor's Pick
More Colors Available

Designer: Ralph Lauren, Lace Sheath Dress, Plus-Size 14 - 24W | Editor's Pick

Sheath Dress, Size 14-24W| Editor's Pick
More Colors Available

Cap Sleeve Shift Dress, Plus-Size 14 -24W | Editor's Pick

Lace Maxi Dress
Size 12 - 26W

Ralph Lauren
Lace Sheath Dress
Size 14 - 24W


Sheath Dress
Size 14 - 24W


  Cap Sleeve Shift Dress
Size 14 - 24W


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All Editor's Picks and plus-size clothing featured are hand- selected by the Elegant Plus Fashion Editor from our
extensive network of plus-fashion business partnerships.





Many special occasions in life call for special dresses.  Plus-size cocktail and party dresses are in demand with young and mature women, alike.


Elegant plus cocktail dresses & evening wear,  hand-selected for full-figured women size 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, L, XL, 1X, 2X, 3X, 4X, 5X