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Designer Plus-Size Dresses
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Featured editor's selections throughout the Elegant Plus Shopping Guides, Trend Reports, and  Fashion Flash Looks include designer clothes which are noted in the captions by designer label. 





Although Elegant Plus earns a small fee on all purchases made through the shopping recommendations below, 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.



Plus size designer dresses are increasingly more available, especially at more moderate prices points as part of capsule collections and from contemporary indie designers.  The most expensive labels tend to be more limited in sizes and available from major department stores and luxury shopping sites.  Aside from the exclusivity of a prestige label, upscale designer clothing often uses better quality fabrics and has invested more time in patterns and fittings.  Full-figured women in the 12, 14, 16 size range will have the most selection in expensive premium designer labels. 


Department Store Shopping

The department stores remain one of the main sources for designer dresses, especially on-line.   Along with already well-known and branded labels, it is here that shoppers are more willing to trust the quality of a new or lesser known label and try them for the first time.  Consequently, department stores continue to play a vital role for branding with less well known labels, even when they have their own direct-to-consumer websites.

Furthermore, several of the department  stores have taken the lead in providing extremely deep and diverse selections of dresses in extended plus-sizes on-line. One of the most noteworthy is the special occasion and formalwear offerings at Dillard's.  Along with Tadashi Shoji cocktail dresses and gowns in extended sizes up to 24W, they frequently carry other upscale designer formalwear from names such as Mac Duggal, Terani Couture, Emma Stone, Soulmates, and Madeline Gardner with some available as large as 28W.  Day dresses are less well stocked here, but the designers that are frequently available include Ralph Lauren, Eileen Fisher, and Peter Nygard.  Many styles have sleeves or coordinating jackets.

The other especially deep inventories are at Nordstrom and Lord & Taylor.   Both stock a similar mix of mid-level and diffusion designers dresses at moderate to moderately upscale price points.  Expect to find contemporary labels for size 14 to 24W such as MYNT 1792, Nic + Zoe, Karen Kane, Rachel Pally, Melissa McCarthy, Vince Camuto, and Eileen Fisher.  Classic and tailored labels appropriate for work such Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, and Tahari are also common.  Eveningwear collections will often include Tadashi Shoji, along with harder-to-find designers such as Komarov and Soulmates.  Those looking for wedding party dresses may also find bridesmaid dresses that fit the entire wedding party from size 0 to 24 in the Nordstrom Wedding Shop from bridal designers such as Amsale and Jenny Yoo.

The luxury lines at Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus are the most likely to extend up to 16, 18, and sometimes even 20.   This is where shoppers will find eveningwear from names such as Theia, Carolina Herrera, Oscar de la Renta, Carmen Marc Valvo, Lela Rose, Badgley Mishcka, Kay Unger and many more designers who present at global fashion weeks.  The women's selection at Saks in size 14 to 24W is a mixture of day dresses and formalwear with the most upscale options available from Marina Rinaldi and Lafayette 148, both of which work in classic, tailored styles and fine fabrics.   More moderately priced and relaxed options are generally stocked from the bohemian designer Johnny Was, often in silks and velvet for winter, and Eileen Fisher in her well known, relaxed aesthetic.   Other dress labels in plus-sizes that occasionally appear here are Anna Scholz, Fuzzi, Stizzoli, and Basler.  Neiman Marcus also regularly carries dresses from Marina Rinaldi, Lafayette 148, Johnny Was, and Eileen Fisher in sizes up to 3X.  Other labels that turn up are the relaxed chic of Joan Vass, dinner dresses from Kay Unger, and the occasional formal or cocktail dress from Carmen Marc Valvo or Badgley Mischka, especially around the holiday season.


Contemporary, Diffusion, and Indie Plus-Size Designer Dress Shopping


 Kiyonna is perhaps one of the best known independent designers that offers up to size 5X.  Contemporary in style at a moderate price point,  they use many knits in solid colors to create body conscious sheath dresses and more classic wrap dresses.  Kiyonna is also well known for both their lace cocktail dresses  and jersey maxi dresses which can be dressed up or down.  Other contemporary designers that are available in department stores also have websites of their own, although not all offer their extended plus-sizes through them.  Those worth checking for dresses include Karen Kane, Rachel Pally, Ralph Lauren, and Nic + Zoe.

 QVC can be a wonderful resource for television celebrity and stylist designer collections at moderate prices in a wide variety of style that are almost all available in sizes 0 to 28W. Mainly resort, casual day, or career appropriate there are occasionally dressier styles available during the holiday party season.  ModCloth carries a growing collection of affordable indie designer labels with cute dresses appealing to style conscious and younger women their main strength.  Many styles have vintage overtones, with looks ranging from casual day dresses to cocktail dress styles.  Increasingly extended sizing with more and more options available as large as 5X,


Affordable designer capsule collections are more ephemeral and very often include dresses. Plus-specialty retailer Lane Bryant has worked with Isabel Toledo, Lela Rose, and Christian Siriano.  Sister retailer, Dress Barn, has begun stocking special occasion dresses from a Carmen Marc Valvo moderately priced capsule collection line in sizes to 24W.


Discount Designer Plus-Size Dress Shopping


There are several designer clearance sites on the internet that carry plus-sizes.  Much less plentiful than their misses size counterparts, and with smaller inventories, they are still worth a stop for women who appreciate designer style but have smaller budgets.

6PM.com has a constantly changing inventory and flash sales, but regularly offers well-known diffusion lines such as DKNY, Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, Calvin Klein and Vince Camuto in size 14 to 24W. 

More upscale designer labels are available from Last Call and Saks Off Fifth which offer past season styles at steep discounts.  You'll often find designers such as Kay Unger, Misook, Lafayette 148, Eileen Fisher, and lesser known labels such as Chetta B, JB by Julie Brown, and Sheragano in size 14 to 24W.  Dress styles tend to lean towards day dresses appropriate for work, and special occasion and cocktail dress styles.  Nordstrom Rack can be a good spot for Rachel Pally, and many of the labels carried on their main website.

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