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Resort Wear, Cruise & Beach Vacation
Plus-Size Clothing at Elegant Plus

 

The official resort and cruise season begins in January lasting through Spring Break.  In reality, cruises and beach vacations are virtually an all year shopping need.  In fact, family vacations over the fall and winter Thanksgiving through New Year holiday season are becoming quite popular in lieu of more traditional festivities.  Honeymooning couples all year often choose tropical destinations and sandy beach, warm weather locations both in the U.S. and abroad, with the most popular wedding months June and October.  Summer sees many families packing bags for week long frolics at resort tourist destinations.   Many of these shopping guide become more sparse in August through December due to retailer inventory stocking habits, but are updated regularly all year by Elegant Plus.

ELEGANT PLUS DETAILED SHOPPING GUIDES FOR :  Resort, Cruise & Beach Destinations

 

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.
 
 

Beyond time spent by the pool or on the beach, resort vacations to Mexico, the Caribbean, and more exotic locations often include swank dinners and evenings out, time strolling quaint boutique lined streets, taking in the local sights, and indulging in sporty activities.   Wardrobes need to be packable, stylish, and practical.

Travel Smith provides both clothing in sizes up to 3X and other specialty items sought after by travelers heading to more exotic locations such as electric adapters, luggage, passport and money protectors, rain coats that fold down to a small pouch, cosmetic and toiletry kits compliant with current TSA standards, and more.

 

Free flowing skirts and maxi dresses make comfortable alternatives to shorts and capris in hot weather.  Natural fibers such as cotton and linen are popular options. Sandals are de riguer, so be sure to pack a couple of pairs.  Those indulging in spa, yoga meditation, or active vacations may also need activewear.  More romantic holidays might need a cocktail dress or two and some sexy lingerie tucked away in your suitcase.  Many of these items are impossible to find in any size in local retail outlets. Hence the advent of internet shopping has been a boon for those planning winter getaways. 

 

Students headed on sunny Spring Break vacations often enjoy trendy styles.  One of the most popular styles for free spirited warm weather vacations are the long flowing, easy looks that are an important part of BoHo Style, although many women still prefer classic casual wear. 

 

BOHO SHOPPING

Currently part of mainstream fashion trends and consequently currently more widely available at more types of retailers, the BoHo Style Tribe has a distinctive flavor.  Some retailers that specialize in the look and make an excellent resource for curvy fashionistas getting ready for vacation include Soft Surroundings and Pyramid Collection.  Both are moderately to slightly upscale priced with deep inventories.  Soft Surroundings works in more natural fibers including silk, linen, rayons, and cotton with flowing styles and hand crafted detailing such as embroidery, tie dye, and crochet laces for size 2 to 24W.  Petite and tall sizes are also both often available up to size 18, making this a particularly hot shopping spot.  Pyramid Collection has more of a vintage flavor to their offerings, including classic 1960's to 1970's BoHo styles.  You'll find plenty of maxi dresses, swingy tunics, palazzo pants, and casual skirts here with a unique resort vibe for size 2 to 28W.  Pay attention to sizing for individual garments as this retailer is careful to include numerical equivalents for the standard 1X, 2X, 3X that varies considerably from manufacturer to manufacturer.

 

Less focused in style, but still an excellent resource for more moderately priced options, are Serengeti and Ulla Popken.  Serengeti is an excellent spot for highly packable crinkle skirts and dresses, along with a good selection of knits.  Tees and tops also have  a more whimsical vibe that can often work well for bohemian style mavens.  Sizes run true to generous up to 3X.  Ulla Popken is a boon for the extended plus-size diva with sizes available from 12 to 38W.  Resort styles tend to arrive on the early side here, with a good selection of natural fibers, floaty chiffon maxis, tunics and toppers, and knits in styles that can work into bohemian wardrobes with ease.  Trendy, California retailer Sealed with a Kiss is a good spot for easy knits in flowing styles in both solids and fun prints.  The convertible dresses in both maxi and shorter lengths are a particularly good find for beach holidays and can go from swimming to cocktail hour with a simple re-style and change of accessories. Sizing in generous and prices affordable for size 1X to 6X.  Meanwhile, maxi dresses in fun prints, cold shoulder tops, and bell sleeves mostly in packable, wrinkle free fabrics are plentiful at Avenue for size 14 to 32W.

 

Of the department stores, the deepest year round selection of bohemian inspired fashion appropriate for warmer weather can be purchased at Dillard's and Neiman Marcus.   Dillard's is the more moderately priced of the two with an unusual, and well stocked selection of labels for plus-sizes that will speak to those with both more romantic and more natural fiber versions of BoHo style.  Those needing more formal cocktail dress styles for cruises and upscale resort wear will also have especially good choices here, many with sleeves.  Sizing for more casual options runs up to 24W, while some of the formalwear selections are available as large as 28W.

The most upscale BoHo labels including Tolani, Johnny Was, and XCVI are regularly available from Neiman Marcus.  If you're looking for global inspired prints in flowy silks, crisp linens and cottons, with details such as eyelet lace this is a sure bet.   Kimono toppers, maxi skirts and dresses, palazzo pants, and tunics are stocked all year for sizes up to 3X.

 

CLASSIC & CORE BASICS SHOPPING

For core basics such as tees and tanks in a wide variety of colors,  Appleseed's and Blair are sure bets.  Those looking for cotton will find solids and stripes at Appleseed's with a good selection of necklines and sleeve lengths from tanks to long sleeves.  Usually a dozen or so colors are available and shift seasonally for sizes up to 3X.   Blair is more likely to have tees available in easy care poly-cotton blends, and some styles are available in extended plus-sizes with petites to 2XL and women's to 5X.  More extended sizes are also available for skirts, shorts, crops and dresses at reasonable price points and quality all year. 


More upscale shoppers will want to check in at Talbots and Coldwater Creek where natural fibers are the norm.  Along with knit tees and tops, classic bermuda shorts, khakis, shift dresses, and knee length to midi skirts in contemporary color palettes and cuts are resort favorites for Talbots shoppers with women's sizes available in both average and petites up to 3X. While modern classic in vibe, new collections and color palettes arrive monthly with resort and cruise collections arriving January through March, including harder to find items such as shorts.  Coldwater Creek includes bathing suits and classic occasion wear in its resort collections.  Solid and patterned knits, cardigans, dresses, and skirts are worth the stop.  Many of their designs take a more artisanal turn that keeps the contemporary flavor without going full-scale BoHo that makes their relaxed collections a favorite with vacation shoppers for size 4 to 24W.   A favorite with women who like a more contemporary feel to their classics, the offerings at Draper's & Damon's are particularly good for relaxed vacationers who still prefer to look polished and put together.  Easy toppers and shirt jackets, coordinated pant outfits, and separates are available in extended sizes along with dressy separates and cocktail dresses appropriate for cruises in sizes up to 26W.

 

Of the department stores Nordstrom is the best for classic to contemporary resort and cruise wear.  Nordstrom includes some artsier and BoHo labels such as Lucky Brand tees and Citron silks  that can coordinate well for those who are mainly classic in their tastes but want to add a fun vacation vibe to their looks.   Look for linen pants, classic bermuda shorts, jeans and denim from NYDJ and an excellent collection of shirts and light cardigans and fun toppers for sizes up to 24W.   A small collection of swimwear from premium labels is available all year, along with items such as excellent quality sleepwear, and extensive selection of dresses from casual to occasion and cocktail making this a hard-to-beat one stop shop for those with limited time to shop. 
 

DESIGNER SHOPPING

Those with the largest budgets or planning once in a lifetime trips frequently choose more luxurious and upscale resorts.  Better, upscale and designer clothes for full-figured women are still harder to come by than slimmer counterparts.  However, the situation is considerably better than it has been in the past with some resort and lifestyle designers extending ranges to be more size inclusive.   Contemporary resort designer Rachel Pally works in ultra soft modal jersey that drapes beautifully.  Not only is this fabric packable, but her pieces often dress up or down making them especially travel friendly.  Her color palettes and pattern choices are both tasteful and on trend.   Selections include easy fitting dresses, tunics, skirts, and palazzo pants that mix and match.  Pants, dresses, and skirts tend to run extra long, but are designed with a raw edge that is easily cut to fit.  Have a tailor do this for you if cutting stretchy fabric in a smooth straight line makes you nervous.  White Label sizing is to a generous 3X.  Those needing larger sizes will find similar styles available from plus specialty designer Kiyonna in size 10 to 32W.  Fabrics aren't as luxurious, but the price points are generally lower as well.

 

Silk tunics, ponchos, skirts, and dresses in beautiful BoHo prints are specialties of Tolani and Johnny Was with sizes available up to 3X.  Meanwhile XCVI creates many crochet pieces and generous, extra wide leg and flare pant styles for a relaxed West Coast vibe.  Caroline Rose has a more contemporary style with gorgeous long open front jackets and straight leg and wide leg pants in silk and other fine fabrics in classic black and white that coordinate in upscale cruise wear style for sizes up to 24W.  Many of these pieces will work for cocktails and dressy dinners, in addition to polished yet relaxed daywear.

 

Those especially looking for linen will find both woven and knit options from Eileen Fisher and Bryn Walker.  Eileen Fisher is known for relaxed, somewhat boxy silhouettes in eco-fibers.  Light silks and organic cotton, hemp, and linen knits mix and match in natural color palettes, although trendier and more saturated hues are also a part of her collections.  Whisper light knit ponchos, kimonos, and cardigans are perfect for hotter weather with sizing usually generous to 3X.  Bryn Walker plays with layers and asymmetry in her designs.  Wide pants are often designed with unusual silhouettes such as cropped lantern legs.  Mainly working in woven linen, these cool comfortable clothes have an artsy and earthy appeal.

 

Those with a modern classic will appreciate the pieces from the LAUREN Ralph Lauren and CHAPS collections.  The former uses more natural fibers and better quality fabrics than the lower priced CHAPS collection, but the styles are similar.  Widely available through many better department stores in sizes up to 3X the resort collections come out in January.  Pieces range from flippy silk skirts in pretty prints to classically tailored linen jackets.  Cotton and silk shirts in both woven and knits are some of the most popular items for quality vacation style. The more expensive Ralph Lauren lines are also available larger than average for luxury designer clothes to a 16.

 

Those looking for the most luxurious designer looks in full-figured sizes will appreciate the Marina Rinaldi line from Italian design house Max Mara.  Department stores carry the special occasion and work appropriate parts of the collection most frequently, but more relaxed resort pieces turn up from time to time, especially at Neiman Marcus which carries the most upscale cruise and resort styles for extended sizes anywhere.  Marina Rinaldi looks tend to lean more toward modern classic to contemporary with exquisite tailoring, and nothing but the finest fabrics.  Sizes available range from 10 to 24W.

 

SWIMWEAR SHOPPING

Swimwear is what immediately comes to mind when thinking about warm weather winter vacations.  And this certainly is one of the core components of resort wear.  Plus-size women in recent years have been given more fashion forward swim options, including two piece bikini and tankini styles.  One piece and classic swim dresses remain popular in sleek solids and on-trend prints.

 

While many more retailers carry swim styles in the later spring to early summer, and a few more from January onward, very few spots are good all year.  Of the department stores Macy's is the only one with a deep year round selection for sizes up to 24W.  Here you'll find well known designer labels such as Michael Kors and Ralph Lauren, in addition to sought after swim brands such as Gottex and Miraclesuit.   Target has a growing collection of trendy, inexpensive styles for sizes 1X to 3X including one pieces, swim dresses, tankinis, and bikinis.  Lane Bryant is a leader in full-figured swimwear using their experience in fitting bras to offer some of the best bra fit swimwear on the internet.  Styles have become more trend conscious and include collaborations with well known upscale designers and swim specialty brands, giving this shopping spot a gold star rating for size 14 to 28W.  Sister retailer, Catherine's, offers mainly one piece styles and swim dresses throughout the year in sizes 16 to 34W.   Worth a special mention, although more seasonal, is the swim collection at Ulla Popken.  One of the most beautiful and innovative collections at moderate price points, this retailer give curvy women in sizes 12 through 34W options usually out-of-reach at this size and price point. Finally, those who look for trendy and retro bikini styles will find the best selection for L to 6X at Torrid.

 

 

 

 

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