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. 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.
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Last Update: August 6, 2016
Size 2 - 16
LAUREN Ralph Lauren
Animal Print Dress
Size 14 - 22W
Lace Bodice Gown
Size 20 - 26W
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, and flashier than
wedding party styles.
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 occasionwear 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.
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, Tadashi Shoji, Terani
Couture, Mac Duggal, Kay
Unger, and Marina Rinaldi will often turn up at
Saks Fifth Avenue
in sizes up to 24W. Women who wear size 12
to 18 will find many more formalwear options
shopping the main evening wear collections as
well, including some petite styles.
Upscale formalwear labels such as Mac Duggal and
Madison James are often available as large as
size 30W from
This site can be exceptionally slow to load and
navigate but it is worth the patience and effort
for a truly unique collection in extended
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.
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.
The "Women's" or plus-size
department carries labels such as
Kay Unger, Marina Rinaldi,
Melissa Masse, and Anna Scholz.
Teri Jon is
a boon for women in the size 12 to 20 range with
sophisticated cocktail and long formal gown
styles. Meanwhile, far less expensive and
youthful vintage inspired styles from Chi Chi London
can be a fun option with extended sizes up to 26
frequently available through
ModCloth. British retailer
offers red carpet inspired fast fashion
styles for those who want the look without the
price tag in size 0 to 24W, with younger
celebrities such as the Obama sisters spotted in
looks at public events. 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.
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.