Plus-size designer clothing is mainly stocked on-line for a majority of department stores that offer it. Even those with selling floors at select locations tend to have a deeper and more diverse inventory on the internet, sometimes even with a different style flavor and average price point. This can be both confusing and a boon for fashionable curvy consumers.
Department stores are still the main, and best resource for plus-size designer fashion.
Some modern classic and contemporary labels suitable for the professional working woman such as Eileen Fisher, Lauren by Ralph Lauren, MICHAEL Michael Kors, Vince Camuto, Calvin Klein, and DKNY are regularly available from multiple more upscale department stores in sizes up to 24W such as Macy's, Nordstrom, Lord & Taylor, Dillard's, and Bloomingdale's.
All of them, however, will from time-to-time seek out exclusive collections from designers just for their particular store, sometimes from designers that don't have larger size offerings other places, not even on their own sites. These private label agreements are somewhat akin to capsule collections in that if they don't sell as well as anticipated they may disappear after only a short season or two.
The women's collection at Neiman Marcus is both the most unusual designer assortment of the department stores and the most consistent in style. Like many luxury designer establishments catering to investment shoppers, the first styles for the following season tend to arrive on the early side.
Dominated by relaxed easy styles, natural fibers, and knits there are also pieces that can make good choices for executives in more creative fields that still have a classic vibe. Caroline Rose's sportswear collection includes easy toppers and jackets in artisan prints, wide and slim leg trousers in neutrals, and easy jersey pieces. Misook offers heavy gauge, fine knits in styles appealing to busy executives, especially those who travel. Dresses, jackets, and separates mix and match in strikingly sophisticated ensembles. Sizing for this label is among the most generous of upscale luxury designers with a 3X fitting size 28/30W.
Marina Rinaldi is a luxury European designer with superb fit. Fabric quality is top notch with many natural fibers such as silk, hemp, and genuine leather. Particularly well known for the luxury outerwear, Marina Rinaldi dresses and separates for work, casual, and resort are all regularly stocked here for size 14 to 24W. Equally upscale and classically chic is the tailored Lafayette 148 New York label popular with urban upscale executives. Exquisitely tailored trousers, blouses, and jackets in fine fabrics characterize these modern classic designs for size 14 to 24W.
Meanwhile, Joan Vass has an easy, relaxed weekend and career core basics vibe with classic neutrals forming the core. Tolani and Johnny Was are particularly well represented here, bringing bohemian prints in silks and cottons into the mix. Other designers regularly available here include Eileen Fisher, Berek, Michael Simonton, XCVI, and Go Silk.
Many of the designer pieces here are more formal than those at Neiman Marcus, including cocktail dresses and more conservative career wear. Pre-orders are frequently available for the more unusual labels, especially for the next fashion season.
Basler is an upscale German designer appealing to urban and globe-trotting executives. Fit, fabrics, and workmanship are excellent in designs that are classic with a contemporary edge. Natural fibers and fine fabrics are an integral part of many of their designs. Hard-to-find luxury Italian knitwear from Stizzoli in skirts, jackets, tops and dresses is also often here. Max Mara's exquisitely tailored, full-figure label Marina Rinaldi is well represented, along with classic, upscale styles from Lafayette 148 in sizes 14 to 24W. Other labels regularly stocked include ABS by Allen Schwatz and Eileen Fisher.
Saks has recently started racking some misses size designers with extended sizing in the 14/16 and occasionally 18 range in with the full women's plus offerings available to 24W.
Upscale, but slightly less pricey and more contemporary in many of their offerings, Nordstrom is especially well-known for their customer service. This is true even on-line, as the first leading department store to offer free shipping in both directions on all orders. Others have since followed suit. Although most store locations do have a plus-size clothing department (Encore), the selection on-line is significantly better.
Nordstrom also has the most innovative designer sale in the industry: Mid-July brand new designer fashion for fall goes on sale for a limited time at their annual Anniversary Sale, and then gets marked back up to full retail after the sale. Items that sell well will get re-stocked for the main fall fashion shopping season, but sometimes this is a customer's only shot at something unique that speaks to personal style.
A deep dress inventory in styles suitable for casual, career, and special occasions has offerings available appealing to many different age brackets. For example, younger women will enjoy the flirty appeal of Gabby Skye's designs, and drama of Mac Duggal evening gowns. Meanwhile the more expensive Soulmates and Kamarov designer labels in lace and silks are more likely to appeal to older consumers. Beaded cocktail and evening dresses from Adrianna Papell, Pissaro Nights, and Tadashi Shoji are frequently stocked. Sleeves and jackets over fuller and longer skirted styles characterizes both labels in special occasion styles. Tahari joins Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and Michael Kors, in the designer career dress offerings with tailored, modern classic lines. DKNY can bring an edgier vibe. Vince Camuto is more relaxed with frequent maxi dress options.
Nic + Zoe works in mainly knit tops, duster, and cardigans with a relaxed, contemporary feel and artisan detailing. Nordstrom's denim collection will frequently include designer labels such as Eileen Fisher, Not Your Daughter's Jeans, and CJ by Cookie Johnson in both classic and fashion forward washes and silhouettes. Meanwhile the occasional, hard-to-find Louben jacket or classic black career trousers can be found here for interviews, and core work wardrobe investment pieces. During the fall and winter season, leather jackets from upscale bridge labels such as Ellen Tracy will turn up.
Lord & Taylor is a particularly good choice for better modern classic to contemporary career labels and designers. They have a strong collection of tailored suits, blazers, separates, and dresses from designers such as Albert Nipon, Tahari, Calvin Klein, and Ralph Lauren. Softer career looks from Anne Klein, and Vince Camuto are also regularly stocked.
Their special occasion dress offerings will be most appealing to older, more sophisticated shoppers. Jacket dresses and sleeves are not unusual in both cocktail dresses and evening dress styles from designers such as Patra and J Kara.
More youthful and contemporary are the casual offerings here. Eileen Fisher is well represented, in addition to DKNY, Not Your Daughter's Jeans and Jessica Simpson. Capsule collections from celebrity designers such as plus model Tess Holliday are starting to give this retailer a more youthful makeover.
A mixture of more moderately priced contemporary designer labels and more upscale offerings, Bloomingdale's is popular with fashionable women who appreciate a sophisticated city aesthetic. On the luxury end dresses, separates, and outerwear from European designers such as Marina Rinaldi are regularly stocked. Lafayette 148 New York is also often well represented for upscale executive types.
Designers with a more relaxed, contemporary vibe that also can work well for occasions and office wear frequently include Melissa Masse, MYNT 1792, and BB Dakota.
Dominated by moderately priced trendy to contemporary fashion in plus-sizes, the designers on offer here are mainly those you will find at many other department stores that cater to working women: Ralph Lauren, Vince Camuto, and Calvin Klein. Recently they've actively sought smaller collaborations with names such as Rachel Roy and Nanette Lepore in curvy sizes, and often include looks from more casual and trendier celebrity designers such as Jessica Simpson and Melissa McCarthy.
This is the spot for designer swimwear with a good selection regularly available from both names such as Ralph Lauren, and designer swimwear brands such as Gottex and La Blanca.
Appealing mainly to modern classic and contemporary shoppers, the plus-size designer collection at Dillard's includes some labels unavailable elsewhere. Price points run the gamut from moderate to more upscale. Notable are the luxury, classic heavy gauge knit jackets and separates from Ming Wang suitable for work and day-time occasions. Canadian designer Peter Nygard delivers modern classic to contemporary work apparel, while linen fiber designer Bryn Walker offers simple, casual tunics and wide leg pants in linen solids. Meanwhile, ZoZo has upscale, contemporary separates that mix and match suitable for more casual working environments and weekend wear.
The dress collection here is particularly appealing to older women for work and special occasions. Expensive designer labels such as Tadashi Shoji and Terani Couture can turn up from time-to-time, in addition to more moderately priced options.
Eileen Fisher is particularly well represented at Dillard's, along with Vince Camuto and LAUREN Ralph Lauren.