Please be advised that all of the "Editor's Picks"
featured in this section are hand-selected by Elegant
Plus. Although every effort is made to keep featured
products current, retailers can sell out of popular
styles before the Editor has had an opportunity to
update the page.
Although Elegant Plus earns a
small fee on all purchases, it is a
completely free shopping resource for the
consumer, and many times we are able to
provide links that offer consumer discounts
and free shipping offers upon landing on the
partner retailer's site.
All selections are available at time of
posting and purchases can be made directly from the
retailer on the associated shopping link. All of the
shopping guides include designer selections which are
noted with the designer's name in descriptions.
Last Update: January 7, 2018
Velvet Sheath Dress
14 - 28W
Embroidered Floral Gown
14 - 24W
Illusion Ruffle Gown
Size 16 - 24W
A growing number of plus-size empowerment events
include the glam of Red Carpet entrances.
Feeling special with cameras flashing while
posing in front of sponsorship boards is part of
the fun before a night at a formal event.
Some events require long
while at others
are acceptable. In either case, many women love to
sparkle and bask in the love and attention.
High end, designer runway fashion is where many design
trends first appear. Looks can also be inspired from
the red carpets at national entertainment
industry shows such as the
Grammy's, the Emmy's, and other televised awards shows.
Gala events such as the annual Costume Institute
Ball at the Metropolitan Museum of Art also
influence formalwear styles.
women do attend these high profile red carpet
events also, sometimes as celebrities and other
times as more behind-the-scenes power players
within the industries and social circles for
which these events are geared. Some of
these gala events are daytime luncheons and
award dinners that require less formal styles
than the more famous televised events. A few
ultra-talented, famous faces in recent years
have included Queen Latifah, Gabourey Sidhibe,
Melissa McCarthy, Christina Hendricks, and
Looks tend to be older and more sophisticated
than for prom and homecoming, yet flashier than
wedding party styles and fashion forward.
Fun and whimsical styles can also be favored,
especially by younger women. There is some overlap with styles frequently
chosen for both military balls
and some pageant circuits.
Special black tie and gala events for New Year's Eve
can also sometimes skew more glamorous.
This is the occasion wear shopping category where
labels are often the most upscale and luxurious.
Styles are often highly structured, body
conscious, and detailed with fine fabrics and
embellishments. Bare looks prevail, but
recent style seasons have seen more sleeves
coming into fashion.
Easily the most well known designer regularly
dressing full-figured celebrities is
whose muse in recent years has been Oscar
winning actress Octavia Spencer. Cocktail
dresses, evening gowns, and formal separates
have a vintage romantic flavor here with the
misses collection regularly extending to size
18, and the women's collection including select
styles up to size 22W.
offers their most upscale designer labels such
as Marchesa, Carmen Marc Valvo, Badgley Micshka,
St. John, and Lela Rose in sizes 12 to 20 in
their main evening wear collection. Use
the size finder to locate the styles available
in your size. Available at several
of the finer department stores, the upscale
Teri Jon by Rickie Freeman frequently
includes both formal gowns and cocktail dresses
in sizes as large as 16, 18, and occasionally
The spring wedding season and holiday party
season see several department stores stocking
more formalwear than at other times of the year.
The most upscale options with high end designer labels
such as Monique Lhuillier, Terani
Couture, Mac Duggal, Kay
Unger, and Marina Rinaldi will often turn up at
Saks Fifth Avenue
in sizes up to 24W.
Less pricey, sparkly gowns from labels such as
Adrianna Papell are gaining in popularity, while
the lower priced diffusion lines from Ralph
Lauren and Calvin Klein can turn up some
beautiful options for size 14 to 24W. Many
of these are available from
Lord & Taylor.
Youthful vintage inspired styles from Chi Chi London
can be a fun option with extended sizes up to 26
frequently available through
ModCloth. Curvy fast fashion
has been spotted on celebrity red carpets
recently with custom designs for full-figured
has begun stocking designer gowns from names
such as Mac Duggal, Terani Couture, and Tadashi
Shoji in among their more moderately priced
eveningwear. Many styles have sleeves
here, for those that prefer a little extra
coverage in size 14 to 28W.
easy-to-wear jersey styles
frequently turn up on less formal celebrity red
carpets. Sizing is both generous and extra
long with options to 3X. Meanwhile,
McCarthy has been known to wear pieces
from her own collection available in sizes up to
For those on tighter budgets, direct from
manufacturer formalwear sites bring costs down
to close to wholesale with much shorter order
delivery wait periods than ordering through most
bridal shops. More and more looks are
either inspired by celebrity red carpets or are
of styles appropriate for red carpets. Quality
and fit is not as high as the premium labels and
designers mentioned above, but prices are also
Most come in a wide assortment of colors with
the ability to tweak measurements such as hem
lengths for a small fee, with off-the-rack
sizing to 26W available in a majority of styles.
One of the best is
Light in the Box.
The silhouettes of more elaborate formalwear
cannot be achieved for any size woman without
the help of the correct undergarments and
shapewear. Many celebrities swear by Spanx
which is consistently available in extended
Lane Bryant, and
will wear multiple pairs simultaneously under
designer gowns to get the look they want.
We recommend the extensive selection available
that carries a wide variety of styles and types
with sizes as large as 10X.