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. The Shopping Guides for dresses are some of the most popular at Elegant Plus and cater to a wide variety of styles and budgets.
More readily available during both the prom & homecoming seasons, and the holiday party season, plus-size formalwear is in demand all year. More formal dresses are needed for gala events and many weddings. Cocktail dresses are popular options for both wedding guests and work-related parties. And, special occasion dresses can be worn for everything from Easter Sunday Brunch to graduation parties. Yet, these are some of the most difficult dress styles to find in plus sizes in most brick-and-mortar retail locations. Designer dresses are often more formal with cocktail and evening gowns most readily available in larger sizes during the winter holiday and spring/summer wedding and prom seasons.
Some of the most extensive individual in-depth
shopping guides at Elegant Plus are devoted to
occasion dress needs.
Some of the best and deepest
plus-size special occasion and cocktail dress
selections on-line are at
in size 0 to 24W.
Both cater to trendy to contemporary style
women, with more mature and conservative
offerings in the mix as well. Price points
range from moderate to more upscale.
Look for names such as Gabby Skye, Pisarro
Nights, Komarov, Alex Evenings, Ralph Lauren,
Jessica Howard, and Australian contemporary plus
label City Chic. Nordstrom also offers extended misses sizes in
cocktail dresses, formalwear, and wedding styles
from 0 to 18 in its main collection with an
especially good selection of bridesmaid and
Lord & Taylor
both offer many styles with sleeves, with some
of the most luxurious evening gown labels such
as Terani Couture, Mac Duggal, Soulmates, and
Tadashi available at Dillard's in size 14 to
24W, alongside more moderately priced brands
such as Adrianna Papell and Jessica Howard.
Saks Fifth Avenue
has one of the best collections of upscale
designer labels in special occasion wear from
brands such as Kay Unger, Marina Rinaldi, and
ABS by Allen Schwartz in size 14 to 22W.
is the place to shop for the truly special
upscale, designer dress for women who wear size
0 to 18. Shop the main collection for the best
selection, with a few extended sizes to 24W
available in the women's plus collection.
Look for labels such as Carmen Marc Valvo, Lela
Rose, Tadashi Shoji, Kay Unger, Carolina
Herrera, Oscar de la Renta, and many others that
show at global fashion weeks.
Lane Bryant has added special occasion dresses from other designers to their on-line offerings. Included are brands such as Adrianna Papell, ABS by Allen Schwartz, and Gabby Skye. Curvy British counterpart Evans is equally well stocked with stylish occasion options from brands such as Lovedrobed, Little Mistress, and Gemma Collins. Newcomer Eloquii offers a contemporary collection of fashionable dresses for a variety of occasions including more casual formalwear. All three work in sizes up to 28W.
Plus-specialty bridal boutique Sydney's Closet, carries wedding gowns, bridesmaid dresses, mother-of-the-bride gowns, and prom dresses designed specifically for the plus figure in size 14 to 44W.
is a sure bet for beaded cocktail dress looks
for size 12 to 38W. Lace cocktail dress
styles are particularly popular at
Kiyonna in size 10 to 32W.
customizes dresses with different necklines,
sleeve lengths and hem lengths with some
beautiful occasion wear in both the main
collection and under the weddings tab.
Styles sell out quickly and often have a vintage
flavor for sizes 0 to 36W.
Value and Moderately Priced Plus-Size Special Occasion and Formalwear
Another resource is direct from wholesale websites which offer much lower prices, customization services, and much quicker shipping times than most specialty bridal boutiques can offer. These are especially good for wedding gowns, bridesmaid dresses, prom gowns, and evening wear for other formal occasions. Some of the best include TB Dress and Light in the Box. Most offer sizes to 26W with customization fees for larger or petite and tall lengths.
Amerimark is value priced and particularly appealing to classic, older shoppers. Many dresses with sleeves for all occasions are available from casual to formal. Labels here include Anthony Richards and Alfred Dunner with some styles available not just in plus-sizes but also petite plus.
Dress Barn has a deeper selection of dresses available on-line than in most locations, including a year round selection of modestly priced special occasion, cocktail, party, and formal dresses in size 0 to 24W. Styles are classic to contemporary.
More on Plus-Size Dresses: