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
social occasion dresses, fabrics tend to
finer and styles barer.
Younger women often choose shorter
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. Special occasion
dresses often reflect more romantic, vintage
styles with feminine lines and soft fabrics,
although edgier looks sometimes trend into this
Women who prefer
dresses with jackets or
sleeves tend to be older, but
recent trends have meant younger styles are
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.
Lord & Taylor
tend to stock styles appealing to older women,
including many styles with sleeves or matching
jackets. 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
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
offers the most accessible price points.
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
Some of the catalogs also offer
good selections year around, especially for
women who appreciate more mature styles.
regularly has beaded cocktail dresses styles
available to size 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.
Meanwhile, the moderately priced and deep
special occasion dress offerings at
frequently has styles unavailable elsewhere for
women who appreciate more individualized looks.
Young women will find the
affordable cocktail dress styles at
on trend in size 14 to 24W. Trendy on-line
plus super store
has an unusually good and deep dress inventory
with styles ranging from inexpensive and trendy
to more upscale and pricey. Many of
their formalwear styles are available in
extended plus sizes beyond 3X.
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.
Those who like a vintage
sensibility will find a growing inventory at
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.
Those looking for Great Gatsby style beaded
flapper dresses will find the collection at
worth a stop. Sizing runs slightly small, so
expect to size up one size here.
On-line direct from manufacturer
formalwear websites can be a good resource for
those who need dressier cocktail dresses at
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
Meanwhile, some of the most
glamorous and upscale cocktail dress options can
be ordered from
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.
Those on tight budgets looking to
slay in a high end designer dress will find the
Rent the Runway
in sizes up to 22W well worth the stop.