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: April 25, 2017
Pleated Floral Gown
Size 14 - 24W
6 - 28W
Pleated Strapless Gown
Size 14 -
military ball is an honor that many take
seriously. Whether you are the date of a
service member, or a member of the military
yourself finding the right dress is important.
Military ball gown styles tend to be simpler and
more conservative than other types of evening gowns
or cocktail dresses
such as red carpet, prom or homecoming dresses.
Those happening during the holiday season,
especially for New Year's Eve,
can be especially formal affairs, but for many
both cocktail and full length dresses are
and higher necklines are not unusual in this
formalwear type, but not mandatory.
Consequently, some more formal
dresses may also be appropriate. Red and
other bold colors, classic
black and navy, and blue are always favorites.
Like any other type of formalwear, the
dresses and gowns worn for military balls
require proper undergarments
to achieve the right, structured silhouettes.
The right hosiery and other accessories such as shoes,
jewelry, and bags are also
important pieces to the ensemble.
For those who don't wish to go through the
special order process of a bridal or formalwear
boutique which can lead to waits of up to 3
months, a number of options are available
on-line for plus-size formalwear.
Several of the upscale department stores are
especially good for plus-size formalwear all
year, if you are willing to shop on-line.
consistently offers some of the most
conservative styles with plenty of options with
jackets or sleeves, in addition to barer styles
in size 0 to 24W. Price points range from
more moderately priced options from labels such
as Adrianna Papell to more luxury gowns from
Tadashi Shoji, Mori Lee, Terani Couture, and
also stocks a deep inventory of mid priced range
formal gowns and cocktail dresses all year with
super fast, free shipping and returns making
last minute purchases easy. The women's
plus-size section is well stocked and ranges
from size 14 to 24W, while even more selection
and options from more upscale labels are
available out in the main collection in size 0
Lord & Taylor
has a collection appealing to more
mature full-figured women, including styles with
sleeves, capelets, or jackets for sizes up to
24W. More youthful styles are also
available, especially during the prom season.
Those with the largest budgets will find the
best selection at
Saks Fifth Avenue
and Neiman Marcus. Saks has more
available for full figured women to size 18 in
their main collection (available only on-line) with designer offering
from brands such as Kay Unger, Teri Jon, Theia,
and Tadashi Shoji.
is better stocked for smaller plus women with
their main collection formalwear, designer racks
that include names such as Monique Lhuillier, and Badgley Mischka
in sizes up to 18, with occasionally a selection of gowns for
women size 14 to 24W from labels such as Marina Rinaldi, Carmen Marc Valvo, and Kay Unger in
Special Sizes: Women
has an entire department devoted exclusively to
formalwear with names such as Mac Duggal, Terani
Couture, Mori Lee and others regularly available
in full-figured sizes. Price points
range from moderate to upscale for sizes 0 to
is one of the oldest plus specialty on-line
retailers of formalwear on the internet with
cocktail and full length gowns available in size
14 to 44W. Other plus dress specialists
offering extended sizes include the very popular
label especially well known for their lace and
jersey gowns in size 10 to 32W, and
Igigi with a
contemporary California feel to cocktail and
formalwear for size 14 to 36W.
Low, direct from
manufacturer prices are available from several
websites that often will allow you to adjust
measurements for petite and tall sizes for a
small fee, as well. One of the most
Light in the Box.
Formal Dress Shopping Resources
As it's name
specializes in dresses. While a majority of
their offerings are geared to working women,
there is usually a small selection of cocktail
and formal dresses and low to moderate prices in
classic to contemporary styles available,
especially during the holiday party and summer
Sizes run from 2 to 24W, with petites available
More youthful, budget friendly
options can often be found at
Chic, both in size 14 to 24W.
also occasionally has a handful of more formal dresses
for size L to 6X.
begun stocking more formal and cocktail options
beyond the holiday party season and is known for
their youthful, contemporary vibe for size 14 to
has a deeper selection during the holidays and
wedding seasons at moderate price points in
trendier styles for size 8 to 28W. For those who
enjoy a vintage or retro feel, there are
increasing numbers of formal and cocktail
options available at
ModCloth in size 0 to 30W.
Those looking to purchase shapewear and items
such as bras and hosiery from the same location
will have the best luck at some of the plus
specialty stores such as
Along with the department stores already
one of the most extensive selections of dress
shoes and sandals with quick and easy free
shipping returns. Evening hand bags are also
available. For jewelry, including larger sized
rings, necklaces with extenders, and many
different earring styles
has one of the deepest collections of both
costume and fine jewelry.