Please be advised that all of the "Editor's Picks"
featured in this section are hand-selected by Elegant
Plus. Although every effort is made to keep featured
products current, retailers can sell out of popular
styles before the Editor has had an opportunity to
update the page.
Although Elegant Plus earns a
small fee on all purchases, 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.
Last Update: July 16, 2017
More Colors Available
Knit Pocket Dress
Size 12 - 30W
Crinkle Shift Dress
Size 2 - 24W
Petite to 18
Flutter Sleeve Dress
S - 3X
Classic style plus size dresses tend to
have simple silhouettes, and come in classic colors and patterns. Tailored
lines are not unusual, although some are designed in easy-to-wear knits.
Especially appealing to sporty types, those who
prefer clean lines, and women who like to shop
styles with long-lasting appeal, this type of dress is
available at a variety of price points. Many plus-size designers offer fashion in
The style of classic plus-size dresses can range from casual to work attire to
occasion dressing. Natural fibers
such as cotton,
linen, and silk are not unusual.
Some of the most classic silhouettes include fit
and flare styles, wrap dresses, shift and sheath
dresses, shirt dresses, and jersey t-shirt
dresses. The Little Black Dress
for special occasions is the quintessential
Colors are frequently dark or
neutral, but seasonal color trends also play a
part in this style category. Black, navy blue,
red, khaki, and
white are all classic staples.
When patterns are used it's not unusual for
menswear inspired patterns such as plaid or
stripes to be chosen. Other classic prints
are inspired from both preppy fashion, florals,
and vintage repertoires.
Available at a variety of price
points, plus-size designer options
are most readily available from department stores.
Some of the most upscale labels such as St. John
are only available in extended misses sizes
above size 12, while others such as Lafayette
148, Marina Rinaldi, and Kay Unger design lines
specifically for fuller figures to 24W, all of
which are regularly available at
Saks Fifth Avenue.
Leading, upscale formalwear and special occasion
Teri Jon by Rickie Freeman devotes a
spotlight section to their extended size
cocktail dresses and evening gowns in sizes up
to 20. Designs are characterized by fine fabrics
including silk, clean modern classic lines, and
is one of the most popular upscale, designer
labels with simple, classic lines in natural
fibers such as linen, silk, organic cotton,
hemp, and fine wools. Dresses tend to have
loose easy silhouettes
Better, mid range designer diffusion labels with
a classic flair often are work appropriate with
classically tailored lines.
Look for labels such as MICHAEL Michael Kors,
LAUREN Ralph Lauren, CHAPS Ralph Lauren, and Calvin Klein.
Indie plus designers such as Melissa Masse,
Rachel Pally, and
(Size 2 to 24W)
will also often work in classic silhouettes and
colors which can be purchased through many of
the better department stores such as
Lord & Taylor. Some of the best styles available from
plus specialty designer
in jersey wrap and sheath silhouettes to size 10
Those who prefer stylish, upscale knits will enjoy the
Nic + Zoe for size XS to 3X, while more
structured tailored styles are available from
for size 2 to 24W. Classic retailer
stocks both casual and work appropriate styles, many of
which are in natural fibers such as linen, silk, and
cotton. Noteworthy is their commitment to plus
petites with many styles available from size 2 to 24W in
both average and petite proportions.
Catalogs and chain retailers also
often a variety of casual to work appropriate
and less formal social occasion dresses with
modern classic vibe.
is a leader in classic to contemporary dresses
with a much deeper selection available on-line
in women's sizes than in most retail locations
in size 2 to 24W.
New York & Co
is worth a stop not only for their tailored work
styles at affordable price-points, but also for
the Eva Mendes capsule collection in size 0 to
The newly resurrected
line is now available exclusively on the
internet with the modern classic collections
loved by their loyal fans. Dresses finish
below the knee in simple silhouettes, classic
colors and patterns, and quality fabrics in size
S to 3X.
has a modern classic vibe with a small
collection of unusual dresses in size S to 3X,
while their sister catalog
offers more casual options in the same size
is one of the best resources for casual styles
with a preppy flavor with sizing available in
misses, petite, and tall in size 0 to 18, and
women's in size 14 to 26W.
Those looking for special occasion dresses with
a classic flavor will want to stop by
Draper's and Damon's
for sizes up to 24W.
a growing collection of sleek, modern classics
with a faintly mid-20th century vintage flavor
in sizes to 36W.
Catherine's is beginning to stock some looks
with cleaner, more modern lines in size 16 to
34W, with plus petite sizes sometimes available
in dresses in size XL to 5X. They carry
options for casual, resort, work, and special
occasions at moderate price points with frequent
sales and coupons available directly from the
website bringing their looks down into more
budgets. Their sister retailer,
Bryant, has the 6th & Lane line which also tends
toward cleaner, classic to contemporary lines in
higher quality fabrics
for work in size 14 to 28W.
Value Priced Shopping Options
Those looking for inexpensive, yet classic
looks will find good inventories at
easy care fabrics for size 14 to 32W.
Styles are mainly appropriate for work, but a
few more casual and party styles are also
Those looking for plus petite
sizes at value prices will have good luck at
(Size S to 3X, Petite to 2XL) , and
Old Pueblo Traders (Size 6 to 28W,
Petite to 20P).
Flash sale sites such as
often turn up options at steep discounts from
labels such as Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, and
Vince Camuto. Meanwhile
Saks Off Fifth and
Last Call are both great resources for
tailored, luxury labels such as Lafayette 148
and Eileen Fisher at deep discounts.