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Plus-Size Clothing Internet Shopping Guides
>> Plus-Size
Vintage & Retro Style Dresses

 
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

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SHOPPING GUIDES

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Ruffled Off-the-Shoulder Dress, Size 14 - 28W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
More Colors Available
Ruffled Bardot Wiggle Dress, Size 1X - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Lace Dress, Size 8 - 26W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Ruffled
Off-the-Shoulder Dress
Size 14 - 28W

 

Ruffled Bardot Wiggle Dress
Size 1X - 3X

Lace Dress
Size 8 - 26W

Plus-size dresses style influences are coming from many different vintage eras, both through modern high fashion designer collections using the past as points of reference and through movies and television shows set in other eras. Whether it's Mad Men 1950's and 60's bombshell chic with faint echoes of Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn, the beaded glam of the 1920's Gatsby style, or the aristocratic romanticism of Downton Abbey, the modern interpretations are often fun and slightly nostalgic.  The mod pop art style of the 1960's, the bohemian free spiritedness of Woodstock, and disco nights of the 1970's are all turning up in style trends today. Major museum fashion retrospective exhibitions such as those put on by The Metropolitan Museum of Art also play an important role in vintage style influences.

Authentic plus-size vintage dresses are almost impossible to find, although many silhouettes are very flattering to the fuller figure. Fortunately, the current interest and re-interpretation of retro fashion for a modern vintage flavor is making many of those dress styles available in larger sizes at a wide variety of price points. 

Some eras are more suited to cocktail dresses and evening wear, while others are perfect matches for day dress and career styles. Certain style eras are also particularly popular with very specific style tribes and sub-sets, while others are entering mainstream fashion.  Interpretations are often available for both the young, trendy fatshionista, and her more mature counterparts as the vintage style influence enters the mainstream.  Some of the more glamorous and romantic vintage styles are making the biggest impact in wedding and formalwear.

 

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Dot Print Dress, Size 0 -36W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Lace Drop Waist Tea Dress, Size 2 -28W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Rachel Pally, Ruffled Jersey Maxi, Size 1X - 3X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
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Lace Color Block Dress, Size 8 - 22W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Dot Print Dress
Size
0 - 36W
Avg - Petite - Tall

Lace Drop Waist
Tea Dress
Size 2 - 28W

Rachel Pally
Ruffled Jersey Maxi
Size 1X - 3X

Lace Color Block
Occasion Dress
Size 8 - 22W

 

Shopping Resources for Plus-Size Dresses with Vintage Flair

Modcloth is quickly becoming the style leader in this sector with dress options expanding from 1950's New Look fit and flare silhouettes to other eras.  Swing dresses, vintage prints, romantic Victorian and Edwardian nostalgia, and bohemian styles are turning up more and more frequently from indie designers with small production runs, so act fast if you see something that you like. Both day dresses and special occasion styles suitable for trend conscious shoppers, they have a growing collection of options in sizes up to 3X, 4X and a few 5X styles.

eShakti is also a must-stop for those who appreciate retro and vintage silhouettes and prints.  Mainly in natural fibers, they too are expanding their collections from mainly 1940's and 1950's references to other periods.  An extensive collections that changes frequently this is another spot for day dresses suitable for casual, career, and occasions.  Everything is available in their full size range from 0 to 36W, with easy customization options available for a small fee including sleeves, necklines and hem lengths.

 

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Ruffled One-Shoulder Dress, Size XL - 4X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Beaded Shift, Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
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Handkerchief Hem Peasant Dress, Size 14 - 32W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
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Gold Taffeta Cocktail Dress, Size 14 - 24W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Ruffled One Shoulder Dress
Size XL - 4X

Beaded Shift
Size 14 - 24W
 

Handkerchief Hem
Peasant Dress
Size 14 - 32W

Gold Taffeta Cocktail Dress
Size 14 - 24W

 

The Pyramid Collection catalog offers an unusual collection of vintage inspired fashion that often can have a goth, steampunk, or Ren Fair flavor in addition to excellent options for summer festival fashion steeped in the 1960's. Many styles are available up to a 3X; be sure to read individual product sizing as some are 3X = 20, and others 3X = 28W.

Contemporary plus-specialty designer Kiyonna has long been a favorite for both their vintage inspired lace cocktail dresses and free flowing jersey maxi dresses suitable for BoHo princesses in sizes to 32W. 

Unique Vintage carries a mix of mid 20th century style day dresses including swing, wiggle, and classic 1950's New Look silhouettes, in addition to beaded Flapper Dresses from the 1920's in sizes up to 4X. The formalwear collection includes labels such as Mac Duggal.   Meanwhile, curvy lingerie retailer Hips & Curves regularly stocks clothes with a Goth, Renaissance Fair, and Steampunk vibe in size XL to 6X. T

Those on tighter budgets looking for daytime looks that are appropriate for work will find the Eva Mendes celebrity capsule collection at New York & Company both vintage infused and affordable with sizing from 0 to 18.   Youthful, fast fashion retailer Torrid often has a vintage edge including both 1950's swing styles and looks with darker, goth edge.  With the popularity of the BoHo look over the last year, 1970's maxi dresses can also turn up for size XL to 6X.

 

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Lemon Print Sun Dress, Size 10 - 30W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Tie Front Shirt Dress, Size 14 - 28W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Mod Shift, Size XS - 4X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Color Block Sheath, Size 16 - 26W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
More Colors Available

Lemon Print Sun Dress
Size
10 - 30W 

Tie Front Shirt Dress
Size
14 - 28W 

Mod Shift
Size XS - 4X

Color Block Sheath
Size 16 - 26W

 

For plus-size cocktail dresses with a romantic vintage feel, the major upscale department stores such as Nordstrom and Dillard's regularly stock labels such as Alex Evenings, Pissarro Nights, and Patra.  Dillard's has also begun stocking luxury formalwear, including many long gowns with sleeves, from labels such as Terani Couture, Mac Duggal, and Mori Lee which frequently have vintage style influences in size 14 to 28W.

Meanwhile, Saks Fifth Avenue is a source for plus-size evening gowns from designers such as Tadashi Shoji who frequently design a similar feel, and the vintage bohemian label Johnny Was that offers casual day dresses in silk can be found from Neiman Marcus

Finishing Touches

Shapewear is absolutely essential for achieving the silhouettes of many vintage styles.  This isn't about looking thinner so much as achieving structure, smooth body lines, and a particular shape.  Some plus-size specialty retailers that regularly stock body conscious dresses styles offer corsets, body shapers, and waist cinchers in extended sizes.    Lane Bryant and Avenue are two of the most reliable through size 3X.   Those needing larger sizes will want to stop in at lingerie specialists such as Her Room and Bare Necessities.  Look for the Rago line for sizes up to 8X.  These are also good spots for full-figured Spanx.

 

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Oktoberfest Dress, Size 12 - 26W| ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick Navy Lace Cocktail Dress, Size 10 - 32W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
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Embroidered Shirt Dress, Size 2 - 22W | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick
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Plaid Swing Dress, Size 2X - 4X | ElegantPlus.com Editor's Pick

Oktoberfest Dress
Size 1
2 - 26W

 

Navy Lace
Cocktail Dress
Size
10 - 32W

Embroidered Shirt Dress
Size 2 - 22W
Avg - Petite

Plaid Swing Dress
Size
2X - 4X

 

 

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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.