Plus-size cardigan sweaters are popular all year for several reasons. First, many dresses are sleeveless which can be uncomfortably cool in both winter and summer air conditioned environments. Moreover sleeveless styles aren't acceptable attire in many offices. Softer and less structured than jackets, they are often more comfortable and less formal. Light cottons and other natural fibers are good choices in the summer, while cashmere sweaters are the ultimately chic style statement in the winter.
Most plus specialty retailers such as Avenue have a good selection all year, often in value priced synthetics which some prefer. It is here that the largest sizes, often up to 32W can be found. North Style offers a contemporary collection with both classic and more trend conscious styling in both synthetics and natural fibers for size S to 3X which is well worth a stop for it's more unusual designs and selection. Here you'll find good quality wool, cotton, and lighter crochet shrugs and dusters all year. The more upscale styles at Talbots range from classic cardigans to knit jackets with a little bit more polish in both solids and patterns. Sizing is available from S to 3X in both women's and petites.
Polished knit jackets that upgrade style from simple cardigan knits yet are more comfortable, and often easier to fit especially for women with heavier upper arms than woven jackets, are specialties of several luxury designers. Two of the most noteworthy are Misook regularly available at Neiman Marcus in sizes that fit up to 30W, and Ming Wang regularly available at Dillard's in sizes up to 3X. Both work in solids and more complex knit patterns with detailing such as contrast trims that elevate professional looks into a more contemporary style statement.
Eco-fashion designer Eileen Fisher is also known for high quality organic and natural fiber cardigans and knit jackets mainly in solids. Winter weights are heavier gauge knits with generous, boxy silhouettes, while her summer designs in whisper weights can be on the sheerer side and appropriate for less formal offices in sizes up to 3X.
Dillard's has one of the most diverse selections of blazers available in extended sizes to 24W. Look for the patterned and asymmetric styles from IC Collection, classic tailored looks from labels such as Calvin Klein, and contemporary designs from brands such as Kasper. Eloquii is the place to stop for fashion forward trend setters with moderate budgets with both core, classic styles continuously in stock and bolder trend conscious looks rotating through for size 14 to 28W. Lord & Taylor has been adjusting its product assortment recently to include more of a mix of classic and trend conscious labels in the career inventory. Consequently blazers from upscale classic labels such as Nipon and Ralph Lauren are well represented along with trendy brands such as Modamix and Junarose.
Classic tweeds, hopsack linens, and boiled wool blazers that mix well with both denim and career looks are well represented at Appleseed's for size 6 to 24W, while Draper's and Damon's brings a more upscale, contemporary vibe to the jackets and blazers stocked there, often with a softer more feminine vibe in sizes up to 26W. Coldwater Creek also carries more natural fibers such as linen, silk and cotton, but their jackets and blazers often include art-to-wear and other artisanal detailing such as embroidery, hand painting, and ethnic inspired fabrics and prints for size 4 to 24W. Talbot's on the other hand is a reliable source for jackets and blazers with more classically tailored appeal for sizes 0 to 24W in both women's and petites.
Those looking for genuine suede and leather blazers will have good luck at QVC which regularly carries labels extending to size 28W. Look for Isaac Mizrahi, H by Halston, and Dennis Basso. Dress Barn is a good choice for moderately priced neutral solids and contemporary prints in tailored styles for size 4 to 24W.
Ulla Popken is a surprise entry in the professional jackets and blazer category with an excellent mix of contemporary styles in better quality fabrics and fibers. The selection is usually quite good and one of the few places women wearing larger than 24W can find a selection in natural fibers with artistic or trend conscious detailing. Much of their inventory is available from size 12 to 30W with occasional styles available as large as 38W. Those on tighter budgets or preferring trendier looks in extended plus sizes will have good luck at Torrid which has recently expanded their size range to include 6X.
Long line jackets in more tailored styles have come into fashion over the last year and occasionally can be purchased separately as a topper for dresses and pants. A variation on this style is long thigh length vests. Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus are two of the most likely to have options in larger sizes from luxury brands such as Lafayette 148 and Marina Rinaldi in sizes up to 24W. Eileen Fisher is more moderately priced and also will sometimes offer these longer lengths in larger sizes. As long as the style remains up-to-the minute, Eloquii is the best bet for tailored versions at more moderate prices in extended sizes to 28W.
Softer styles in lighter fabrics and knits are options for more creative fields and have been gaining popularity with the bohemian and art-to-wear style influences in recent years. Contemporary designers such as Caroline Rose are particularly good for office looks, along with the heavier gauge knits from Ming Wang and Misook, all of which are regularly available through Neiman's women's department.
Dillard's will often include longer and artsier styles in their jacket mix for fuller figures to size 3X, at price points that are more moderate. Soft Surroundings is an excellent resource for both embroidered and longer line natural fiber choices in more relaxed constructions and lightweight print silk kimonos, according to seasons.
Maxi cardigans and softer
toppers are frequently part of the mix at
from brands such as H by Halston and Lisa
Rinna in sizes up to 28W. Kimono styles
are a favorite of
with designs available at a number of retailers
in sizes up to 4X. Those with a more BoHo
or romantic feel in fabrics such as chiffon or
lace are regularly available at
for sizes 2 to 28W.
Shop for plus-Size business and work clothes in Size 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28