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Your Favorite Internet Shopping Guide to Stylish Curvy Clothes: Size 12 +

Plus-Size Clothing Internet Shopping Guides
>> Plus-Size
Dresses for Social Occasions & Special Events

 
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:  September 24, 2017

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SHOPPING GUIDES

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Dresses @ Forever 21 Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Dresses @ Talbots Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Clothes @ Kiyonna
Flounced Velvet Off-the-Shoulder Dress, Size 1X - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
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Lace Flounce Sleeve Dress, Size 2 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Floral Ruched Sheath, Plus-Size 10 - 32W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Flounced Velvet Dress
Size 1
X - 3X

Lace Flounce Sleeve Dress
Size 10 - 24W

Floral Ruched Sheath
Size 10 - 32W

Dresses for social occasions are often not quite as dressy as those worn for cocktail parties, but are softer and more feminine than dresses appropriate for work.  The types of occasions can range from attending weddings as a guest to brunch with family, church holidays, and school graduation parties. They are also often good choices for dates, dinners, and evenings out at social events such as the theater, gallery openings, and less formal cocktail parties. 

The fall and winter holiday season spanning from Thanksgiving to Valentine's Day often has the dressiest styles with sequins, beading, metallics and finer fabrics such as jacquard, brocade, and velvet more the norm, with red dresses an annual favorite at this time of year.  Spring occasions such as Easter, Mother's Day, and graduations favor more floral prints, cottons, and sometimes linen, although light chiffons, silk, and lace are also popular choices.

Plus-size social dresses are only available in limited numbers in most towns, while the internet offers a much larger range both in size and styles.  Styles can be bare, body conscious and trendy, or more demure and appealing those who appreciate modesty. 
 

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Dresses @ Norm Thompson Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Women's Clothing @ Avenue Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Dresses @ Dillard's Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Dresses @ Ulla Popken
Teal Floral Jersey Dress, Size S - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Bell Sleeve Crushed Velvet Dress, Size 14 - 32W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
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Floral Lace Dress, Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Black Cold Shoulder Dress, Size 12 - 26W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Floral Jersey Dress
Size S - 3X
 

Bell Sleeve
Crushed Velvet Dress
Size 14 - 32W
 

Floral Lace Dress
Size 14 - 24W
 

 Cold Shoulder Dress
Size
12 - 26W
 

 

Internet Shopping Resources for Plus-Size Social Occasion Dresses

Many of the major department stores are the best sources for dresses up to size 24W. Most carry the deepest selection of plus-size dresses on-line, with several offering larger sizes exclusively to internet customers.   Free shipping has become the norm in the upscale department store space (sometimes with reasonable minimum purchase), with some even offering free returns for customer convenience.  Many are geared to the needs of working, professional women who may need social dresses not just for private occasions, but also work related events.  Consequently styles lean towards classic to contemporary designers, with trendier options more readily available at other types of retailers.

 

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Clothing @ Dress Barn Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Dresses @ Neiman Marcus Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Women's Clothing @ eShakti Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Women's Clothing @ Willow Ridge
Pleated Metallic Jacket Dress, Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Eileen Fisher, Velvet Kimono Sleeve Shift, Size 1X - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
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Polka Dot Chiffon Dress, Size 0 - 36W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Red Faux Wrap Dress, Size 8 - 26W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
Pleated Metallic
Jacket Dress
Size 14 - 24W

 

Eileen Fisher
Velvet Kimono Sleeve Shift

Size 1X - 3X

 

Polka Dot Chiffon Dress
Size 0 - 36W
Avg - Petite - Tall
 
Faux Wrap Dress
Size
8 - 26W

 

 

Plus-Size Special Occasion Dresses from Major Department Stores

 Nordstrom has the best and deepest selection of plus-size social dresses on-line. Options range from approximately $100 to several hundred dollars with both youthful and more sophisticated options. The trendy, Australian City Chic line is now available here for easy, direct order for the U.S. market.  Other labels regularly include Adrianna Papell, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Donna Ricco, and Eliza J to name a few. Day dresses in softer styles are available in addition to more evening appropriate looks. 

Macy's has a trendy to contemporary flavor to many of their options, although more mature styles are also available.   Lord & Taylor focuses on the contemporary to more mature customer, with special occasion dress offerings more plentiful during the holiday shopping season, and spring wedding guest season. Dillard's is particularly good for women who prefer sleeves or jacket style cocktail dresses and longer styles.  
 

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Clothes @ Lane Bryant Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Clothes @ Eloquii Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Clothing @ City Chic Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Women's Clothing @ Unique Vintage
Keyhole Dress, Size 10 - 28W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
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Velvet Wrap Dress, Size 14 - 28W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
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Black Lace Chiffon Dress, Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Beaded Drop Waist Flapper Dress, Size 14 - 22W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Keyhole Dress
Size
10 -28W
 

Velvet Wrap Dress
Size 14 - 28W

Lace Chiffon Dress
Size
14 - 24W
 

Beaded Drop Waist
Flapper Dress
Size 14 - 22W

 

For those who prefer upscale, luxury options look for Kay Unger, Tadashi Shoji, Melissa Masse, and Marina Rinaldi at Saks Fifth Avenue. More contemporary looks and designers appealing to younger women have been added in recent years, with special occasion dresses starting at about $150.  Neiman Marcus has some of the most luxurious options from designers such as Marina Rinaldi, Johnny Was, Melissa Masse, Joan Vass, and Anna Scholz in sizes to 24W.

Meanwhile, Lane Bryant has been stepping up its style game to include collaborations with upscale designers at more moderate, diffusion prices in the $100 to $200 range, made especially for the plus market.  Special occasion dresses have been a part of the first two collections in collaboration with Isabel Toledo who is worn by Michelle Obama, among others.  The Lela Rose collaboration for both Spring and Winter Holidays 2015 had special occasion pieces, as she is known for her soft, feminine dresses.

 

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Clothes @  Lands End Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Dresses @ Nordstrom Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Clothing @  Macy's Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Clothing @ New York & Co
Knit Twist Bodice Dress, Size 1X - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
More Colors Available
LAUREN Ralph Lauren, Green Velvet Sheath Dress, Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Embroidered Bell Sleeve Sheath, Size XL - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Eva Mendes, Lace Dress, Size 0 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
More Colors Available

Knit Twist Bodice Dress
Size 1X - 3X

 

 LAUREN Ralph Lauren
Velvet Sheath

Size 14 - 24W

Embroidered
Bell Sleeve Sheath
Size XL - 3X

Eva Mendes
Lace Dress

Size 2 - 24W
Tall to 20

 

Moderately Priced Plus-Size Social Dresses

Nordstrom Rack and Neiman Marcus Last Call stock good selections of occasion dresses at steep discounts.  Many labels aren't available on their main website, and styles have classic to contemporary appeal for sizes up to 24W.

Vintage and trendier looks are a specialty at ModCloth in size XS to 4X.  Young, urban professionals will like the body and trend conscious looks at Eloquii in size 14 to 28W.   Meanwhile Torrid's dress collection is growing in popularity with looks appealing to the trendier fashionistas and young at heart for sizes L to 6X.  Body conscious styles in bold, bright colors and prints are favored by urban plus retailer Ashley Stewart in size 12 to 32W.

 

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Clothing @ Ashley Stewart Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Dresses @ ModCloth Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Trendy Clothes @ Fashion to Figure Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Dresses @ Bedford Fair
Lace Bell Sleeve Dress, Size 12 - 32W| ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick  Velvet Keyhole Dress, Size XS - 4X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
More Colors Available
Classic Lace Dress, Size XL - 5X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick 
More Colors Available
Jacquard Knit Dress, Size S - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
More Colors Available

Lace Bell Sleeve Dress
Size
12 - 32W

 

Velvet Keyhole Dress
Size XS - 4X

 

Classic Lace Dress
Size XL - 5X

 

Jacquard Knit Dress
Size S - 3X

 

Talbots offers a collections with classic sophistication, often in natural fibers such as cotton, linen and silk for size 2 to 24W.  Moderately priced options for classic to contemporary shoppers are a specialty at Dress Barn in size 4 to 24W.  Plus specialty designer Igigi is back with their signature California contemporary style in sizes 14 to 36W.

Of the catalogs, Draper's & Damon's is a particularly good resource for dressier social looks appealing to women with more mature tastes.  Pyramid Collections has a vintage, romantic, and bohemian flavor to their dresses, many of which are in styles not found elsewhere in sizes up to 3X (28W).

 

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Clothes @ Pyramid Collection Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Women's Clothing @ Simply Be Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Women's Clothing @ Torrid Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Women's Clothing @ Kohls
Embroidered Lace Dress, Size 2 - 28W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Floral Embossed Velour Swing Dress, Size 8 - 28W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
More Colors Available
Pink Crushed Velvet Faux Wrap Dress, Size L - 6X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick CHAPS, Knot Front Knit Dress, Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
More Colors Available
Embroidered Lace Dress
Size 2 - 28W

Floral Embossed
Velour Swing Dress

Size 8 - 28W

Crushed Velvet
Faux Wrap Dress

Size L - 6X

CHAPS Ralph Lauren
Knot Front Knit Dress

Size 14 - 24W

 

Extended Plus Sizes

 eShakti is expanding their vintage inspired dress collection to include more styles in contemporary and bohemian looks.  Everything is available size 0 to 36W, with easy low-cost customizations for petite and tall plus-size women.  Avenue has picked up its style game in recent months with dresses their strongest on-line category for size 14 to 32W.

Sealed with a Kiss offers breezy styles with a laid back Californian vibe, often with lots of jersey knits and maxi dress styles available in size 1X to 6X.  Catherine's is especially appealing to women who like classic clothing with a little bit of contemporary styling to keep it fresh in size 16 to 34W.  Kiyonna is known for their gorgeous lace occasion dresses, knit maxis, and wrap dresses for size 10 to 32W.  Meanwhile, Ulla Popken is revamping their inventory for size 12 to 38W with a much larger selection of fine and natural fabrics.
 

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Women's Clothing @ Draper's & Damon's Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Artsy & Boho Women's Fashion @ Coldwater Creek Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Women's Clothing @ Last Call Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Women's Clothing @ Catherine's
Drape Neck  Dress, Size 8 - 22W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Pleat Chiffon Dress, Size S - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Lace Dress, Size 1X - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Color Block Jumpsuit, Size 16 - 34W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
Drape Neck Dress
Size 8 - 22W
Pleat Chiffon Dress
Size S - 3X
Petite to XL
 
Lace Dress
Size 1X - 3X

Color Block Jumpsuit
Size 1
6 - 34W

Finishing Touches

Dressy cardigans and shrugs or wraps are often added during cooler weather and in air-conditioned environments.  In recent years hosiery has become more important for dressier occasions with a resurgence in interest in stockings and pantyhose.  Meanwhile, the right shapewear provides the perfect foundation and silhouette for gorgeous curves.

 

 

 

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Plus-size clothing featured is hand selected by the Elegant Plus Fashion Editor from our extensive network of plus-fashion business partnerships. 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.