Plus-Size Designer Dresses, Shopping Report @ Elegant Plus, Size 12 +
Plus-size designer dresses can be just as high end and expensive as their smaller counterparts.  If you are looking for quality, luxury and style
in premium fabrics for day time, cocktail or evening wear look for designers who understand fit and curves.  Here are the Elegant Plus Designer Dress Style Editor's Picks just for you!


 


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Your Favorite Internet Shopping Guide to Stylish Plus-Size Clothing: Sizes 12 +

 

  MAGAZINE | EDITOR'S PICKS | DESIGNERS | SHOPPING

PLUS-SIZE DESIGNER DRESSES RETAILER SPOTLIGHT:

Designer: Tadashi Shoji, Lace Cocktail Dress, Size 14-24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Designer: Ralph Lauren, Floral Jersey Dress, Size 14 - 22W| ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Designer: Marina Rinaldi, Mixed Print Knit Dress, Plus-Size 1X - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

 Igigi, Deco Print  Dress, Plus-Size 12-32W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Tadashi Shoji
Lace Cocktail Dress
Size 14 -24W

 Lauren Ralph Lauren
Floral Print Jersey Dress
Size 14 - 22W

 Marina Rinaldi
Mixed Print Knit Dress
Size 1X - 3X

Igigi
Deco Print Dress
Size  12 - 32W

 Dillards Inc.

 NORDSTROM.com

 Saks Fifth Avenue

Igigi Plus-Size Designer Dreses

Plus-Size Designer Dresses: Trends & Editor's Picks

Plus-Size Designer Dress Shopping Report

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 and limited mainly to a few independent, plus-specialist designers.

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.

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 Saks Fifth Avenue 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.

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, Misook, and Lafayette 148.  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.

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.

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.

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 Pisarro Nights and Tadashi Shoji.  Both Dillard's and Bon Ton stock day dresses from Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Vince Camuto, and Karen Kane.

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 available up to 4X. 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).

Blue Gala is a major source for designer evening gowns running from a few hundred to as much as a thousand dollars. Although the size finder only works to 18, quite a few designers offer larger options with some as large as 30.  Look for Terani Couture, Tony Bowls, Blush, Primavera Couture, Alyce, and Allure Night Moves.

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.

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 and a designer challenge for fashion students.  Meanwhile Simply Be carries the Anna Scholz lower priced diffusion line, Joe Brown, and has in the past included capsule collections from names such as Zandra Rhodes in sizes 10 - 28W.

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 - 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 to 3X.

Igigi and Kiyonna are two of the best known indie designers specializing in plus-sizes at moderate price points. Unusual in that both are available from sizes 12 to 32/34W,  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.   Igigi is more trend conscious and uses more prints in their designs. Day dresses are both occasion and work appropriate with many maxi dress styles more suitable for evening events.

Finishing Touches

Many dresses need shape wear to make the silhouette work properly.  Hosiery is also becoming more commonly worn with colored and patterned tights particularly popular in the cooler months.  Designer shoes and hand bags can finish a look to perfection.

 

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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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