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Your Favorite Internet Shopping Guide to Stylish Curvy Clothes: Size 12 +

Plus-Size Clothing Internet Shopping Guides
>> Plus-Size Cocktail Dresses, Jumpsuits, Party Dresses, Separates & Ensembles

 
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: September 7, 2017

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Lace Jacket Dress, Size 6 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Velvet Wrap Dress, Size 14 - 28W  | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
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LAUREN Ralph Lauren Bell Sleeve Dress, Size 14 - 22W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Lace Jacket Dress
Size 6 - 24W

Velvet Wrap Dress
Size 14 - 28W

LAUREN Ralph Lauren
Bell Sleeve Dress

Size 14 - 22W

 

Cocktail dresses are one of the most sought after full-figured items. Rarely available in local shops and boutiques, the internet is the go-to source when a woman receives a wedding invitation in the mail, needs the perfect holiday office party outfit, or is packing for that dream vacation cruise. 

A little dressier than social occasion dresses, fabrics tend to finer and styles barer.  Longer sleeves and jacket styles are especially popular with special wedding guests such as mother of the bride or groom, grandmothers, and aunts.

Younger women will often choose shorter party dresses for prom, homecoming, and other dances throughout the school calendar year creating a demand for more youthful styles, although hem lines have been coming down for that age group the last few seasons, as well.

Price points and quality vary tremendously from rock bottom fast fashion to high end luxury designer.  Along with classic black plus-size cocktail dresses, colors from rich jewel tones to lighter pastels and shimmering metallics are quite popular. A big trend during the last year has been white, and full-figured women have embraced it with gusto.  Meanwhile, especially during the Christmas party season and Valentine's Day celebrations, red dresses are among the most popular.

Special occasion dresses often reflect more romantic, vintage styles with feminine lines and soft fabrics, although edgier looks sometimes trend into this category.  Especially during the holidays look for metallic brocades, lace, and velvet, while spring occasions see more silk and floral patterns.

Women who prefer dresses with jackets or sleeves tend to be older, but recent trends have meant younger styles are available also.

Those looking for upscale, designer looks will want to visit the designer dress page.  Many red carpet looks can also be luxury, shorter cocktail length options.

 

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Dresses @ Igigi Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Tailored Women's Clothes @ Tahari Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Women's Fashion @ Forever 21 Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Fashion @ Simply Be
Ribbon Belt Fit & Flare Red Dress, Size 14  - 32W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Tahari, Burnout Velvet Dress, Size 2 - 18 | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Dramatic Lace Bell Sleeve Dress, Size 1X - 3X  | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
More Colors Available
Rose Chiffon Cold Shoulder Dress, Size 8 - 22W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Ribbon Belt
Fit & Flare Dress
Size 14 - 32W
  

Tahari
Burnout Velvet Dress

Size 2 - 18

Dramatic Bell Sleeve
Lace Dress
Size 1X - 3X

Rose Chiffon
Cold Shoulder Dress
Size 8 - 22W

 

Internet Shopping Resources for Plus-Size Cocktail Dresses

Several department stores in recent years have offered extensive cocktail dress collections in women' sizes all year and this plus-size dress category is where several of them really shine. Nordstrom has a particularly good and deep collection with contemporary styles a strength. Trendier styles at slightly lower price points are also starting to mix in here, especially during the spring wedding and fall/winter holiday occasion dress seasons, along with plenty of sophisticated styles with sleeves for sizes up to 26W.  Brands regularly include Alex Evenings,  Marina,Tadashi Shoji, Adrianna Papell, Pisarro Nights, Ralph Lauren, Komarov, and trendier looks from City Chic

Dillard's and Lord & Taylor tend to stock styles appealing to older women, including many styles with sleeves or matching jackets, although more youthful styles are being added.  In addition to lace and finer fabrics, beading plays a large role in many of these styles with labels such as Jessica Howard, Brianna, SL Fashion, Pisarro Nights, Alex Evenings, and Adrianna Papell frequently available.  More moderately priced, but an extensive trendy to contemporary collection is found on-line at Macy's for size 0 to 24W.

 

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Women's Clothes @ Bedford Fair Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Clothes @ City Chic Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Dresses @ Neiman Marcus Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Trendy Plus-Size Clothing @ Macys
Bell Sleeve Lace Sheath, Size 8 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
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Lace Fit & Flare, Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Tadashi Shoji, Pleated Chiffon Lace Bodice Dress, Size 4 - 16 | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Rose Jacquard Party Dress, Size 14 - 24W  | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Bell Sleeve Lace Sheath
Size
8 - 26W
Petite to 16P

Lace Fit & Flare Dress
Size 14 - 24W

Tadashi Shoji
Pleat Chiffon
Lace Bodice Dress
Size 4 - 16

Rose Jacquard Party Dress
Size
14 - 24W

 

 On the high, designer end Neiman Marcus carries women's cocktail dresses in sizes up to 24W in two locations on their website.  The most upscale labels such as Carmen Marc Valvo, Theia, Lela Rose, and Marchesa are racked with smaller sizes in the Evening Wear tab.   More contemporary and plus-exclusive labels such as Marina Rinaldi, Joan Vass, Rachel Pally, Kay Unger, and Melissa Masse are located with the plus women's dresses.   Equally upscale are the offerings at Saks Fifth Avenue which regularly carries Kay Unger, Tadashi Shoji, Lafayette 148, several fine Italian designers, and also slightly less pricey labels such as ABS by Alan Schwartz.  Meanwhile, full-figured women up to size 20 can enjoy upscale designer looks from Teri Jon by Rickie Freeman.

 

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Dresses @ eShakti Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Alex Evenings @ alight Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Women's Fashion @ Coldwater Creek Let's Shop! Elegant Plus:  Plus-Size Dresses @ Dress Barn
Floral Print Dress, Size 0 - 36W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Silver Beaded Sheath, Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Ruffled Floral Shift, Size 6 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Beaded Open Sleeve Dress, Size 1X - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Floral Print Cocktail Dress
Size 0 - 36W
Avg - Petite - Tall
 

Silver Beaded Sheath
Size 14 - 24W

 

Ruffled Floral Shift
Size
6 - 24W
Petite to 16P

Beaded Open Sleeve Dress
Size 1X - 3X

 

 

Plus specialty designers are an excellent resource, especially for sizes extending beyond 24W.  Kiyonna is known best for their lace cocktail dresses with a slightly vintage feel and trendy contemporary dresses in high quality jersey in size 10 to 32W.  Some of the catalogs also offer good selections year around, especially for women who appreciate more mature styles.    Draper's & Damon's special occasion collection is perfect for cruises and other special events in size 6 to 26W, with petite sizes available as large as 16P. 

 

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Dresses @ Dress Barn Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Romantic BoHo Fashion @ Pyramid Collection Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Dresses @ Bon Ton Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Women's Fashion @ Lane Bryant
Navy Blue Lace Dress, Sizes 10 - 32W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Pink Crushed Velvet Dress, Size 6 - 28W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Purple Floral Overlay Dress, Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Lace Bell Sleeve Dress, Size 14 - 28W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Lace Dress
Size 10 - 32W

 

Crushed Velvet Dress
Size 6 - 28W 

Floral Overlay Dress
Size 14 - 24W

Lace Bell Sleeve Dress
Size 14 - 28W
Avg - Petite

 

 

Coldwater Creek has re-opened as a catalog and e-commerce retailer exclusively.  Currently they are experimenting with stocking better label cocktail and formalwear from labels such as Komarov, Alex Evenings, Pisarro, and Adrianna Papell for sizes up 24W.  Plus specialty dress designer Igigi is back with a mix of modern classic and contemporary styles for size 14 to 36W.

Young women will find the  cocktail dress styles at  Asos on trend in size 14 to 24W. This is the spot to find trendy and contemporary European and British labels such as Elvi, Lovedrobed, Little Mistress, and Chi Chi London. Newly extending sizes to include plus, fast fashion retailer Rue 21 also frequently offer trendy, affordable cocktail styles for size 1X to 3X.  Torrid is increasingly stocking both trendy and gothier special occasion and cocktail styles including lace, velvet, and satin in both shorter and maxi lengths for size L to 6X.

 

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Sequin Lace Dress, Size 16 - 32W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Lace Flounce Sleeve Dress, Size 2 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
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Lace Sheath Dress, Size 14 - 22W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
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Burnout Velvet Off-the-Shoulder Dress, Size XL - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Sequin Lace Dress
Size 16 - 32W

 

Lace Flounce Sleeve Dress
Size 2 - 24W
Avg - Petite

Lace Dress
Size 14 - 22W

 

Burnout Velvet
Off-the-Shoulder Dress
Size XL - 3X
 

 

Lane Bryant has upped their style game in the last couple of years, especially on-line where they include many dresses not sold in store from other designer labels such as ABS by Allen Schwartz, Eliza J, and Adrianna Papell.  Capsule collections from well known high fashion runway designers such as Lela Rose, Isabella Toledo, and Christian Siriano have frequently included cocktail looks for sizes 10 to 28W.

Those who like a vintage sensibility will find a growing inventory at ModCloth, with more and more options available up to 4X.   1950's style party dresses, Edwardian romantic frocks, and Old Hollywood starlet looks have begun regularly turning up among the more practical day dresses.   eShakti is a must-stop for glam Mad Men style vintage dresses that can be customized for a small fee to your measurements, with off the rack styles sized 0 - 36W.  Gatsby flapper styles are a specialty at Unique Vintage in sizes up to 4X, along with fun vintage style wiggle dresses, tulle 1950's cocktail dresses, and swing dress styles. The prom tab has even more formal styles available appropriate for any age group looking for occasion wear.

 

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus:  Trendy Plus-Size Fashion @ Torrid Let's Shop! Elegant Plus:  Women's Plus-Size Fashion @ Neiman Marcus Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Dresses @ Ashley Stewart Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Women's Clothes @ Old Pueblo Traders
Embroidered White Dress, Size 10 -30W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Eileen Fisher, Slip Dress, Size 1X - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
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Glitter Mesh Sheath Dress, Size 14 - 22W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Drape Dress, Size 8 - 26W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
More Colors Available

Embroidered Dress
Size
10 - 30W

Eileen Fisher
Slip Dress
Size 1X - 3X 

Glitter Mesh Sheath
Size 12 - 22W

Wrap Dress
Size
8 - 26W

 

Dress Barn, true to its name, carries an extensive inventory of moderately priced dresses for a wide variety of occasions. Special occasion options, including cocktail dresses and full length gowns, are more plentiful during the winter holiday party season, and spring wedding season.  Those who prefer more fashion conscious looks will find a selection of on-trend dresses at Eloquii in size 14 to 28W. 

Meanwhile, Catherine's carries both dresses and separates for size 16 to 34W, with petite sizes often available to 3X.  Avenue carries dressier styles during the holiday party season for sizes 14 to 32W.

On-line direct from manufacturer formalwear websites can be a good resource for those who need dressier cocktail dresses at affordable prices.  Light in the Box offers sizes to 26W and a rainbow assortment of colors for most styles, with hem length alterations available for a small additional fee.

Bargain hunters can also often find high-end designer options from past seasons at a fraction or retail from Neiman Marcus Last Call and Saks Off Fifth.

 

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Cocktail Dresses @ Teri Jon Let's Shop! Elegant Plus:  Plus-Size Fashion @ Lord & Taylor Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Dresses @ Zappos Let's Shop! Elegant Plus:  Women's Fashion @ North Style
Teri Jon by Rickie Freeman, Green Lace Bell Sleeve Dress, Size 2 - 18 | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Michael Kors, Leopard Print Jumpsuit, Size XL - 3X  | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
Solid Black Also Available
Draped Cold Shoulder Dress, Size XL - 5X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Mesh Overlay Dress, Size 6 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Teri Jon by Rickie Freeman
Lace Bell Sleeve Dress
Size 2 - 18

Leopard Print
Halter Jumpsuit
Size XL - 3X

Draped Jersey
Cold Shoulder Dress
Size XL - 5X

Mesh Overlay Dress
Size 6 - 24W
Petite to 18P

 

Finishing Touches

Cocktail dresses like most other formalwear looks best when body smoothing undergarments and shapewear are worn.  This is what give the desired silhouette structure, regardless of body size or shape. While plus specialty shops such as Lane Bryant and Avenue regularly offer options.

The largest inventory of dress shoes in a wide variety of heel heights, styles, price points, sizes, and widths can be found at Zappos which offers speedy shipping and returns. 

 

 
 

 

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Plus-size clothing featured is hand selected by the Elegant Plus Fashion Editor from our extensive network of plus-fashion business partnerships. 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.