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.
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
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
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
Equally famous from popular
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.
The most diverse and deep
collections of plus-size designer dresses are
available mainly through major department
stores. Sizes are available from 14 to
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
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
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,
Anna Scholz, and ABS by Allen Schwartz. Price
points range from high side of moderate to quite
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,
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
Karen Kane, and BB Dakota are also often well
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
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
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.
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
Dillard's specializes in
special occasion dresses with designers such as Pisarro Nights
and Tadashi Shoji. Both Dillard's and
stock day dresses from Ralph Lauren, Calvin
Klein, Vince Camuto, and Karen Kane.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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,
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.
Asos and Evans
regularly include fashion conscious labels such
as Little Mistress and Loved Robed in their
from time to time will do collaborations.
In the past this has included Beth Ditto and a
designer challenge for fashion students.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
Many dresses need
to make the silhouette work properly.
also becoming more commonly worn with colored
and patterned tights particularly popular in the
Designer shoes and hand
bags can finish a look to