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Plus-Size Clothing Internet Shopping Guides >>  Plus-Size Red Carpet Dresses & Evening Gowns

Elegant Plus Shopping Guides & Editor's Picks:  Red Carpet Plus-Size Dresses & Gowns in 12 +

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: May 31, 2016

 

RELATED SHOPPING GUIDES

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Designer Dresses @ Nordstrom

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Women's Fashion @ Lord & Taylor

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Vintage Evening Wear @ Unique Vintage

DESIGNERS

 

St John, Black Shimmer Knit Dress, Size 2 - 16| ElegantPlus.com Red Carpet Event Editor's Pick

Designer: Gold Sequin Sheath, Plus-Size 14 - 22W | | ElegantPlus.com Red Carpet Events Editor's Pick

White Strapless Mermaid Gown, Size 4 - 22W | ElegantPlus.com Red Carpet Editor's Pick

St. John
Shimmer Knit Dress

Size 2 - 16

Gold Sequin Sheath
Size 14 - 22W

Strapless Mermaid Gown
Size 4 - 22

Plus-Size Red Carpet Gowns Report
[Shopping Resources & More Editor's Picks Below]

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 formal gowns, while at others cocktail dresses 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 Oscars, the Grammy'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. 

Full-figured 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 Octavia Spencer. 

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.

 

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Formalwear @ Dillard's

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Vintage Style Clothing @ ModCloth

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Formalwear @ Lane Bryant

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Designer Dresses @ Saks Fifth Avenue

Terani Couture, Black Beaded Tattoo Gown, Plus-Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Blush Lace Tulle Trapeze Dress, Size S - 2X  | ElegantPlus.com Red Carpet  Editor's Pick

ABS Allen Schwartz, White Evening Jumpsuit, Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Red Carpet Events Editor's Pick

Designer: Teri Jon, Sequin Lace Off-the-Shoulder Gown, Size 2 -16 | ElegantPlus.com Red Carpet Editor's Pick

Terani Couture
Beaded Tattoo Gown

Size 14 - 24W

Lace - Tulle Trapeze Dress
Size S - 2X

ABS Allen Schwartz
Evening Jumpsuit
Size 14 - 24W

Teri Jon
Sequin Lace
Off-the-Shoulder Gown
Size 2 - 16

Internet Shopping Resources for Red Carpet Worthy Formalwear in Size 12 +

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 (on-line only), Dillard's, and Nordstrom 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 Unique Vintage.  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 full-figure sizing.

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 Macy's and Lord & Taylor.

Meanwhile, Neiman Marcus 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.
 

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Designer Dresses @ Neiman Marcus

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Fashion @ Macy's

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus Size Dresses @ Light in the Box

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus Size Dresses @ ASOS

Designer: Rachel Pally, Kimono Sleeve Caftan Maxi, Size 1X - 3X| ElegantPlus.com Red Carpet Gowns Editor's Pick
More Colors Available

Striped Shift, Size 1X - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Red Carpet Events Editor's Pick

Strapless White & Silver Sequin Gown, Sizes 2-26W | ElegantPlus.com Red Carpet Editor's Pick

Black Cage Cocktail Dress, Size 14 - 24W |  ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Rachel Pally
Kimono Sleeve Caftan
Size 1X - 3X

Striped Shift
Size 1X - 3X

Strapless Sequin Gown
Size 2 - 26W

Cage Cocktail Dress
Size 14 - 24W

 

Teri Jon is a boon for women in the size 12 to 18 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 ASOS offers red  carpet inspired fast fashion styles for those who want the look without the price tag in size 14 to 24W.

Dillard's 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.

Rachel Pally's 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. 

 

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus Size Evening  Dresses @ Nordstrom Rack

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Designer Evening Wear @ Teri Jon

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Women's Clothing @ Neiman Marcus

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Designer Fashion @ Saks

Designer: ABS Allen Schwartz, Lace Slip Gown, Size 14 -22W | ElegantPlus.com Red Carpet Editor's Pick

Teri Jon, Jewel Collar Capelet Gown, Size 2- 18 | ElegantPlus.com Red Carpet Events Editor's Pick

Designer: Marchesa Notte, Sequin Sheath, Size 2 -16 | ElegantPlus.com Red Carpet Editor's Pick

Lafayette 148, Cotton Silk White Sheath, Size 1X - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

ABS Allen Schwartz
Lace Slip Gown

Size 14 - 22W

Teri Jon
Jewel Collar Capelet Gown

Size 2 - 18

Marchesa Notte
Sequin Sheath
Size 0 - 16

Lafayette 148
Cotton Silk Sheath
Size 1X - 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 small.  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.

Finishing Details

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 sizes at Lane Bryant, and will wear multiple pairs simultaneously under designer gowns to get the look they want.  We recommend the extensive selection available from Her Room that carries a wide variety of styles and types with sizes as large as 10X.

 

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Designer Clothes @ Lord & Taylor

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus:  Plus-Size Dresses @ Dillard's

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Fashion @ Eloquii

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Womens Clothing @ Bloomingdale's

Mac Duggal, Cut Out Gown, Size 14 -18W | ElegantPlus.com Red Carpet Event Editor's Pick
More Colors Available

Tadashi Shoji, Sequin Lace Gown, Size 14 - 22W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Faux Leather Sheath, Size 14 -28W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Lafayette 148, Twist Front Jumpsuit, Size 1X - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Red Carpet Editor's Pick

Mac Duggal
Cut Out Gown
Size 14 - 18W

Tadashi Shoji
Sequin Lace Gown
Size 14 - 22W

Faux Leather Sheath
Size 14 - 28W

Lafayette 148
Twist Front Jumpsuit
Size 1X - 3X

Dillards Inc.
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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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Elegant plus-size formalwear and plus-size dresses for full-figured women size 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, L, 1X, 2X, 3X, 4X, 5X