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Plus-Size Clothing Internet Shopping Guides
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Luxury & Designer Fashion

 
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: August 28, 2017

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SHOPPING GUIDES

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus:  Designer Plus-Size Fashion @ Saks Fifth Avenue Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Luxury Designer Clothing in Extended Misses Sizes @ Nordstrom Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Bloomingdale's
Lafayette 148, Black Silk Velvet Top, Size 1X - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick, Sizes 12 + St. John Collection, Liquid Satin Dress, Size 0 - 16 | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Designer: Marina Rinaldi, Jacquard Coat, Size 14 -22W| ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

 Lafayette 148
Silk Blend Velvet Shirt
Size 1X - 3X

St. John
Liquid Satin Dress
Size 0 - 16

 Marina Rinaldi
Jacquard Coat
Size 14 - 22W
 

 

The public is becoming more aware of attitudes within high-end fashion through the plights of popular full-figured celebrities such as Melissa McCarthy and Rebel Wilson who regularly have difficulty finding suitable labels on par with their peers for red carpet and other public appearances. Yet, designer clothing in larger sizes is becoming increasingly available at all levels and price points from lower priced diffusion and capsule collections to better label bridge wear from well known designers.  Some of this is spurred by the celebrities, themselves, although many times the public declaration of designing a plus-size collection to solve the problem never materializes into reality.

The lack of fashion for larger celebrities has, however, provided the opportunity for some size-positive, upscale designers to make names for themselves.  Some of the best examples include Tadashi Shoji dressing Academy Award winning actress Octavia Spencer and, most recently, Theia stepping in to design for Gabourey Sidibe at the 2014 Oscars.  Luxury labels such as Burberry have increased sales through high-profile dressing of the immensely popular, full-figured singer Adele with signature style shoes and accessories the most accessible to fashionistas of all sizes. 

Christina Hendricks also had trouble earlier in her career finding appropriately high level fashion in her size for red carpet events. Now considered a fashion trend-setter in her break-out Mad Men role, she is able to regularly find fashion from top level names such as Alberta Ferretti,  Zac Posen, Carolina Herrera, Dolce & Gabbana, and Badgley Mischka.

 

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus:  Misook @ Neiman Marcus Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus-Size Dresses @ Dillards Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus Size Clothing @ Nordstrom Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Luxury Designer Fashion @ Luisa via Roma
Designer: Misook, Green Faded Lines Jacket, Size 16 - 30W| ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Designer: Tadashi Shoji, Lace Cocktail Dress, Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Designer: Mac Duggal, Red Lace Gown, Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Max Mara, Brushed Camel Hair Coat, Italian Size 44 - 50 | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Misook
Faded Lines Knit Jacket

Size 16 - 30W
 

Tadashi Shoji
Lace Cocktail Dress

Size 14 - 24W

Mac Duggal
Red Lace Gown
Size 14 - 24W 

 

Max Mara
Brushed Camel Hair Coat
Italian Size 44 - 50
 

 

It should be noted that many times these celebrities are, in fact, not "plus size" in the sense that they actually don't wear larger than a size 14.   Hollywood, the Music, Media, and Fashion Industries all have a nasty habit of judging women by unrealistic size standards which is then snowballed through media rhetoric, word and image choices to be passed on into wider cultural perceptions.   These celebrities may be larger than their industry norms of sizes 0 to about 4, regardless of height, build, or body type but there are many sizes between 4 and 14 that, unfortunately, get called "fat", "full-figured", and "plus-size" in today's paparazzi driven media culture putting tremendous amounts of pressure on women both inside these high profile industries and the young women who avidly follow their public appearances and careers.  The women most likely to be healthy at even larger sizes are also much taller than the national average of 5' 4". 

These exceptionally tall women are precisely those hired, often young when yet to acquire more womanly curves, as models in the fashion industry where it is not uncommon for women to be 5'10" to over 6 feet tall, and if not considered a "plus size" model, maintain a size 0 to 4 in order fit the standard industry size of product samples. (It should be noted that these sample sizes are also part of what keeps actresses worried about size for big events, as they usually borrow from famous designers rather than purchase red carpet wear.) 
 

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Designer Clothes @ Dillard's Let's Shop! Elegant Plus:  Kay Unger @ Saks Fifth Avenue Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Ming Wang @ Dillard's Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Luxury Designers @ Nordstrom
Designer: Floral Cashmere Cardigan, Size 1X - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Kay Unger, Embroidered Dress, Size 4 - 18| ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Ming Wing, Purple Mandarin Tonal Jacket, Size S - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Designer: Armani Collezioni, Leopard Print Down Jacket, Size 2 - 16 | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Floral Cashmere Cardigan
Size XL - 3X

Kay Unger
Embroidered Dress
Size 4 - 18

Ming Wang
Mandarin Tonal Jacket
Size S - 3X 

Armani Collezioni
Leopard Print Down Jacket

Size 2 - 16

 

In other words plus size modeling begins at size 6 or 8, although those in what the industry calls "in between" sizes don't find much work as plus models until about a size 10 or 12, which is neither overweight for most body types at that height, nor "plus size" in the mainstream understanding of the term.  Some use padding in order to fit the common size 14W or 16W sample sizes used for women's lines, and other styling visual fit tricks are used since hour glass figure types are preferred for models. 

One of the best published studies on the intricacies of size and modeling in the fashion industry was done by a trained sociologist who worked, at a size 10, as a professional model for two years.  Child and body image psychologist Dr. Robyn Silverman also wrote her doctoral dissertation on plus size models in the fashion world, and regularly appears in the media as an expert on these topics in regards to wider public perceptions of health, size, and body image. 

 

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Designer Knits @ Nic + Zoe Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Saks Fifth Avenue Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Plus Size Clothing @ Nordstrom Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Designer Clothes @ Zappos
Designer: Nic + Zoe, Color Block Sweater Tunic, Size XS - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Designer: Lafayette 148, Black Leather Pants, Size 16 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Designer: Akris Punto, Knit Red Wool Dress, Size 2 - 16 | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Designer: Natori, Shangri-La Robe, Size 18 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
More Colors Available

Nic + Zoe
Color Block Sweater Tunic
Size XS - 3X
 

Lafayette 148
Mercer Leather Pants
Size 16 - 24W

Akris Punto
Knit Wool Dress
Size 2 - 16

Natori
Shangri-La Robe
Size 18 - 24W

 

Women's or "plus-size" clothing lines most commonly begin at size 14W or 16W and refer to a specific type of cut needing the fewest alterations for what is commonly referred to as as an "apple" body type.  Those with hour glass or pear body shapes often have to get clothing tailored when they need larger sizes as "W' cuts are the most frequently available.  More information about the most common types of clothing cuts and sizing systems can be found: here.  

A vast majority of perfectly healthy women in this country wear somewhere between a size 10 and 16, putting many in fashion's cusp, in between size ranges, and needing size 12 or larger.  Many high end. luxury labels only offer to a misses size 10 or 12, but fortunately there are getting to be more and more that extend upwards to include a majority of women who would like to wear and can afford their labels.  Elegant Plus includes both selections in extended misses size 12 +, and in women's cuts 14W +.  Lifestyle and career labels are the most likely to offer extended sizes, especially those that cater to upscale clientele from less glamour driven industries such as business or politics.  These also have gala events and dinners for which formalwear is required, but more conservative styles are often favored in comparison to those engaged in the high profile entertainment and media industries.

 

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Luxury Designer Fashion @ Luisa via Roma Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Johnny Was @ Neiman Marcus Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Vintage Style @ Unique Vintage Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Shoes @ Zappos
Designer: Dolce & Gabbana, Silk Leopard Print Blouse, Italian Size 38 - 50| ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Designer: Johnny Was, Embroidered Reversibale Floral Velvet Kimono, Size 1X - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Designer: Beaded Flapper Dress, Size 14 - 22W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Designer: COACH, Lenox Stud Loafer | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
More Colors Available

Dolce & Gabbana
Silk Leopard Print Blouse
Italian Size 38 - 50

Johnny Was
Embroidered Reversible
Floral Velvet Kimono
Size 1X - 2X

Beaded Flapper
Great Gatsby Dress
Size
14 - 22W

Coach
Lenox Stud Loafer
Size 5 - 11 M

 

 

Dresses and formalwear appropriate for red carpet events and black tie affairs, upscale career wear, and casual resort wear are all available in this category, suiting lifestyles of executives, socialites, and well-heeled celebrities. Natural fibers such as silk, linen, cashmere, and leather along with other fine fabrics  combine with quality craftsmanship and design to provide distinctive fashion that makes a statement. 

Tailoring is generally exceptional. Price points can range in the hundreds to thousands in the category.  For those with more limited budgets, investing in designer shoes, accessories and bags can upgrade a look.

 It should be noted that luxury clothes are not always from the glitziest, high end designer labels showing at Fashion Weeks around the world.  Hand craftsmanship, high end materials, and other factors that boost costs can land a label or garment in this category.  Unfortunately, it isn't possible for Elegant Plus to showcase one-off and custom pieces that come from some of the most luxurious hidden sources, but often it is the places that work in small volume with exclusive clientele that are most able and willing to cater to the luxury plus size market for those that can pay for it. 

 

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Accessories @ Neimann Marcus Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Designer Evening Wear @ Neiman Marcus Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Designer Clothes @ Nordstrom Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Luxury Designer Fashion @ Saks Off 5TH
Designer: Burberry, Wool Blend Blanket Poncho Cape | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Designer: Tolani, Velvet Burnout Tunic, Size S- 3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Designer: Versace, Silk Cashmere Turtleneck Sweater, Size 2 - 16| ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Cinzia Rocca DUE, Wool Coat, Size 14 - 22W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
Also Availabe in Black

Burberry
Check Wool Blend Poncho

Tolani
Velvet Burnout Tunic
Size S - 3X

Verscace
Silk Cashmere
Turtleneck Sweater
Italian Size 38 - 52

Cinzia Rocca DUE
Wool Coat
Size 14 - 22W 

 

Misses Extended Sizes

A limited number of very high-end, famous designers have also extended sizes beyond 10 or 12 to Misses 14 - 16 - 18 and XXL in premium collections, but these can be extremely difficult to find. Specialty websites that are authorized to offer collections straight off the prestigious global fashion week runways are some of the best resources and, while scarce, the on-line sorting and search functions makes the shopping process easier.  These include high end European designer website Luisa Via Roma. Designers such as Jean Paul Gaultier and Rick Owens have made size inclusivity a part of their high fashion runway shows, mixing larger models with the more common ultra-skinny.  Gaultier is close personal friends with full-figured celebrities such as Beth Ditto, leading to high fashion collaborations that are more size inclusive.

Luxury retailers such as Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue,  Bloomingdale's, Neiman Marcus, and Nordstrom also regularly offer premium labels in larger, extended styles on-line. Size 14's in recent years have been increasingly difficult to find, but certain designers such as Michael Kors regularly still top out at a fourteen. Labels such as Akris Punto, St. John, Armani, Theia, Lela Rose, Gaultier, Gucci, Acne, and Ralph Lauren consistently offer up to a size 16 which are found racked in the main collections. Harder to find, but still available, are options from names such as Escada, Max Mara, Valentino, and Burberry.  A few size 18 and 20's can be found here and there.  Teri Jon by Rickie Freeman has been savvy enough recently to create a tab on their e-commerce site specifically for styles available in extended sizes above 14 with some cocktail and formalwear looks available as large as size 20.   Carried by many of the leading upscale department stores, this formalwear label is particularly good for gala events such as weddings, formal dinners, and charity balls.

Dillard's has an especially deep collection of dresses in the size 12 to 18 range.  The most upscale labels are available for formal events and include names such as Mac Duggal, Kay Unger, and Terani Couture.

 
Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Saks Fifth Avenue Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Luxury Designer Fashion @ Neiman Marcus Last Call Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Lafayette 148 @ Neiman Marcus Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Designer Clothes @ Rachel Pally
Designer: Ralph Lauren, Denim Field Jacket, Size 14 - 22W| ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Cashmere Sweater, Size 1X - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
More Colors Available
Designer: Lafayette 148, Reversible Floral Print Bomber Jacket, Size 1X - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Designer: Teri Jon by Rickie Freeman, Navy Fit & Flare Laser Cut Dress, Size 14 - 20| ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Ralph Lauren
Denim Field Jacket
Size 14 - 22W

Cashmere Sweater
Size 1X - 3X 

Lafayette 148
Reversible Floral Print
Bomber Jacket

Size 1X - 3X

Teri Jon by Rickie Freeman
Laser Cut
Fit & Flare Dress
Size 14 - 20

 

Women's Plus-Sizes

Some of these department stores also have separate plus collections where women's sizing to 22 or 24W is more the norm and both plus-exclusive and mixed sizing designers are available. Particularly deep and unusual premium plus-size collections are available from Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus, with more bridge and mid-tier designers mixed in at other on-line shopping destinations such as Lord & Taylor, Bloomingdales, and Nordstrom

Upscale formalwear and cocktail dress designers such as Mac Duggal, Tadashi Shoji, and Terani Couture can be readily found on-line from Dillard's in size 14 to 28W.  Unique Vintage can also carry some of these luxury formalwear labels in sizes as large as 30W from labels such as Mac Duggal.  Meanwhile Kay Unger and Carmen Marc Valvo are often available at Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue in size 0 to 24W.

Equally pricy, and custom designed for larger bodies, popular premium plus designer labels include Marina Rinaldi, Anna Scholz, and Lafayette 148 New York in sizes up to 24W.  Department store buyers are also more pro-actively searching out designers who might be willing to design in larger sizes exclusively for them. Some find success, while others struggle with the transition from designing for more stereo-typical fashion bodies and only stay in the plus market for a season or two. 

Along with the lesser priced exclusive designer capsule collections, Lane Bryant has been experimenting with its own in-house 6th & Lane label to bring runway style to plus-sizes.  Some of the pieces hit luxury price tags, such as genuine shearling jackets, available exclusively on-line for size 14 to 28W.

Consult the growing Elegant Plus Designer Database for information on where to shop for specific designers.

 

Let's Shop! Elegant Plus: Designer Evening Wear @ Neiman Marcus Let's Shop! Elegant Plus:  Eileen Fisher@ Nordstrom Let's Shop! Elegant Plus:  Designer Eveningwear @ Teir Jon Let's Shop! Elegant Plus:  Komorav @ Nordstrom
Designer: Theia, Metallic Jacquard Bell Sleeve Dress, Size 2 - 16 | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Designer: Eileen Fisher, Crepe Ankle Pants, Size 1X - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Designer: Teri Jon,  Bell Sleeve Stretch Velvet Gown, Size 2 - 18 | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
More Colors Available
Komarov, Hand Pleated Dress with Wrap, Size 1X -3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Theia
Metallic Jacquard
Bell Sleeve Dress
Size 2 - 16
 

Eileen Fisher
Crepe Ankle Pants
Size 1X - 3X

 

Teri Jon
Bell Sleeve
Stretch Velvet Gown

Size 2 - 18

Komarov
Hand Pleated Dress with
Matching Wrap
Size 1X - 3X 

 

Sizing

European sizing is also common.  For reference a European 48 - 50 = US 16.  U.K. and Australian labels run one size smaller than U.S. and Canadian labels.  Italian labels run smaller than other European sizes with the same numbers.

More than almost any other category, sizing can both run small or generous, depending on the label.  Tailoring for the perfect fit is well worth the investment at these price points, and considered the norm.  Fine fabrics, original designs, in addition to quality craftsmanship are the hallmarks of the top tier of ready-to-wear in fashion. While natural fibers are common, synthetics of exceptional hand and quality are also used.

 

 

 

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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.