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

Plus-Size Clothing Internet Shopping Guides
>> Plus-Size
Vintage & Retro Style Dresses

 
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: September 26, 2016

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Nataya, Titanic Tea Dress, Size S - 3X  | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
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Lace Bodice Shirtdress, Size 14 -24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Beaded Drop Waist Dress, Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Nataya
Titanic Tea Dress
Size S - 3X 

Lace Bodice Shirt Dress
Size 14  - 24W 

Beaded Drop Waist Dress
Size 14 - 24W
 

Plus-size dresses style influences are coming from many different vintage eras, both through modern high fashion designer collections using the past as points of reference and through movies and television shows set in other eras. Whether it's Mad Men 1950's and 60's bombshell chic with faint echoes of Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn, the beaded glam of the 1920's Gatsby style, or the aristocratic romanticism of Downton Abbey, the modern interpretations are often fun and slightly nostalgic.  The mod pop art style of the 1960's, the bohemian free spiritedness of Woodstock, and disco nights of the 1970's are all turning up in style trends today. Major museum fashion retrospective exhibitions such as those put on by The Metropolitan Museum of Art also play an important role in vintage style influences.

Authentic plus-size vintage dresses are almost impossible to find, although many silhouettes are very flattering to the fuller figure. Fortunately, the current interest and re-interpretation of retro fashion for a modern vintage flavor is making many of those dress styles available in larger sizes at a wide variety of price points. 

Some eras are more suited to cocktail dresses and evening wear, while others are perfect matches for day dress and career styles. Certain style eras are also particularly popular with very specific style tribes and sub-sets, while others are entering mainstream fashion.  Interpretations are often available for both the young, trendy fatshionista, and her more mature counterparts as the vintage style influence enters the mainstream.  Some of the more glamorous and romantic vintage styles are making the biggest impact in wedding and formalwear.

 

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Women's Clothing @ Monroe & Main Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Dresses @ Dillard's Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Clothing @ Zappos Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Fashion @ Asos Curve
Fit & Flare Midi Party Dress, Size 6 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
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Retro Print Shift, Size 1X - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Lace Cocktail Dress, Size XL - 5X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
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Illusion Bodice Wiggle Dress, Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Fit & Flare
Midi Party Dress
Size 6 - 24W 

Retro Print Shift
Size 1X - 3X

Lace Cocktail Dress
Size XL - 5X

 

Illusion Bodice Wiggle Dress
Size 14 - 24W
 

 

Shopping Resources for Plus-Size Dresses with Vintage Flair

Modcloth is quickly becoming the style leader in this sector with dress options expanding from 1950's New Look fit and flare silhouettes to other eras.  Swing dresses, vintage prints, romantic Victorian and Edwardian nostalgia, and bohemian styles are turning up more and more frequently from indie designers with small production runs, so act fast if you see something that you like. Both day dresses and special occasion styles suitable for trend conscious shoppers, they have a growing collection of options in sizes up to 3X, 4X and a few 5X styles.

eShakti is also a must-stop for those who appreciate retro and vintage silhouettes and prints.  Mainly in natural fibers, they too are expanding their collections from mainly 1940's and 1950's references to other periods.  An extensive collections that changes frequently this is another spot for day dresses suitable for casual, career, and occasions.  Everything is available in their full size range from 0 to 36W, with easy customization options available for a small fee including sleeves, necklines and hem lengths.

 

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus:  Women's Fashion @ Pyramid Collection Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Vintage & Retro Plus Size Clothing @ ModCloth Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Women's Retro Fashion @ Unique Vintage Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Dresses @ Unique Vintage
Black Lace Ophelia Dress, Size 0 - 22W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Striped Shirtdress, Size S - 4X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Black Beaded Flapper Dress, Size S - 4X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Flounce Hem Plaid Shift Dress, Size 0 -36W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Lace Ophelia Dress
Size 0 - 22W

Striped Shirtdress
Size S - 4X
 

Beaded Flapper Dress
Size S - 4X
 

Flounce Hem Plaid Shift
Size
0 - 36W
Avg - Petite - Tall

 

The Pyramid Collection catalog offers an unusual collection of vintage inspired fashion that often can have a goth, steampunk, or Ren Fair flavor in addition to excellent options for summer festival fashion steeped in the 1960's. Many styles are available up to a 3X; be sure to read individual product sizing as some are 3X = 20, and others 3X = 28W.

Contemporary plus-specialty designer Kiyonna has long been a favorite for both their vintage inspired lace cocktail dresses and free flowing jersey maxi dresses suitable for BoHo princesses in sizes to 32W.  Upscale designers Rachel Pally and Melissa Masse are also excellent resources for maxi dress styles with retro flavors in sizes to 3X. 

Unique Vintage carries a mix of mid 20th century style day dresses including swing, wiggle, and classic 1950's New Look silhouettes, in addition to beaded Flapper Dresses from the 1920's in sizes up to 4X. The formalwear collection includes labels such as Mac Duggal.   Meanwhile, curvy lingerie retailer Hips & Curves regularly stocks clothes with a Goth, Renaissance Fair, and Steampunk vibe in size XL to 6X. Those looking for more of a vintage Titanic or Downton Abbey era style will love the designs from Nataya which is most reliably available in extended sizes to 3X from the Wardrobe Shop.

Those on tighter budgets looking for daytime looks that are appropriate for work will find the Eva Mendes celebrity capsule collection at New York & Company both vintage infused and affordable with sizing from 0 to 18.   Youthful, fast fashion retailer Torrid often has a vintage edge including both 1950's swing styles and looks with darker, goth edge.  With the popularity of the BoHo look over the last year, 1970's maxi dresses can also turn up for size XL to 6X.

 

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Sweetheart Wrap Dress, XL - 4X| ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
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Peasant Dress, Size 12 - 28W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Flounce Hem Jumper, Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Velvet Cold Shoulder Dress, Size 10 - 30W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Sweetheart Wrap Dress
Size
XL - 4X 

Peasant Dress
Size 12 - 28W
 

Flounce Hem Jumper
Size
14 - 24W

Velvet Cold Shoulder Dress
Size
10 - 30W 

 

For plus-size cocktail dresses with a romantic vintage feel, the major upscale department stores such as Nordstrom and Dillard's regularly stock labels such as Alex Evenings, Pissarro Nights, and Patra.  Dillard's has also begun stocking luxury formalwear, including many long gowns with sleeves, from labels such as Terani Couture, Mac Duggal, and Mori Lee which frequently have vintage style influences in size 14 to 28W.

Meanwhile, Saks Fifth Avenue is a source for plus-size evening gowns from designers such as Tadashi Shoji who frequently design a similar feel, and the vintage bohemian label Johnny Was that offers casual day dresses in silk can be found from Neiman Marcus

Finishing Touches

Shapewear is absolutely essential for achieving the silhouettes of many vintage styles.  This isn't about looking thinner so much as achieving structure, smooth body lines, and a particular shape.  Some plus-size specialty retailers that regularly stock body conscious dresses styles offer corsets, body shapers, and waist cinchers in extended sizes.    Eloquii and Avenue are two of the most reliable through size 3X.   Those needing larger sizes will want to stop in at lingerie specialists such as Her Room and Bare Necessities.  Look for the Rago line for sizes up to 8X.  These are also good spots for full-figured Spanx.

 

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Beaded Flapper Dress, Size 12 - 28W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Polka Dot Swing Dress, Size S - 4X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Red Rose Jacquard Party Dress, Size 6 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Retro Bell Sleeve Tunic Dress, Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Beaded Flapper Dress
Size 1
2 - 28W
 

Polka Dot Swing Dress
Size S - 4X

Red Rose
Jacquard Party Dress
Size
6 - 24W

Retro Bell Sleeve
Tunic Dress
Size
14 - 24W

 

 

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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.