Top 9 Plus Size Formal Dresses Perfect for Wedding Season

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In the past, finding plus-size formalwear was a challenge for me. I often ended up with ill-fitting and boxy styles because there were so few options available. Fortunately, thanks to the efforts of fat creators, inclusive designers, and plus-size fashion advocates, the industry has seen significant changes.

Now, when I shop for formal attire, prom dresses, or wedding gowns, I can choose from an abundance of options in various styles, materials, and price ranges.

I want to help you discover the best plus-size clothing, whether it’s for a special event or everyday wear. Below, you’ll find valuable advice and styling tips from fashion writer and activist Marcy Cruz and plus-size fashion stylist Michaela Leitz.

Best Overall: Dia & Co

Size Range: 10-32

Dia & Co stands out as the top destination for plus-size formalwear because it consistently caters to the needs of plus-size, curvy, and fat bodies. Unlike other retailers featured in this guide, Dia & Co emphasizes independent and boutique brands that are dedicated to providing fashionable and luxurious clothing for plus-size individuals.

They feature some of my favorite brands, such as Gia/irl, Sydney’s Closet, 11 Honoré, Alfred Sung, Jessa Kae, and Tanya Taylor. Their convenient online personal styling tool offers expert tips to help you find the perfect plus-size formalwear.

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Best Budget Option: ASOS

Size Range: 12-26

You might have shopped at ASOS for a sequined mini dress or a puff-sleeve cottagecore dress, but it’s also the best place to find affordable plus-size formalwear. ASOS excels in offering mid-priced formal dresses in its ASOS DESIGN line, specifically designed to flatter plus-size figures.

You can find simple yet stunning slip dresses in a variety of cuts, patterns, and styles starting at around $26. More luxurious gowns with intricate beading can go for over $400. Additionally, ASOS frequently offers promotions and discounts for students, making their already budget-friendly styles even more affordable.

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Best for Weddings: Eloquii

Size Range: 14-32

Eloquii, part of Full-Beauty Brands’ comprehensive size-inclusive catalog, is known for its stylish designs that emphasize a great fit for plus-size bodies. This commitment extends to their wedding collection. Both Leitz and Cruz recommend Eloquii’s plus-size formal dresses, perfect whether you’re a guest, a member of the bridal party, or the bride herself. These dresses require minimal alterations and offer unique custom-feel options.

“I absolutely love [Eloquii] because they provide high-quality, fashionable choices without breaking the bank,” says Leitz. Yesenia Torres, Vice President of Design and Creative Director at Eloquii & CUUP, shared with Business Insider about the design process of their wedding collection. “We try each dress on models multiple times during fittings. We don’t stop at static fittings—we have the models move around, sit, walk, and even dance like a real bride on her big day,” she said.

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Best for Prom: Sydney’s Closet

Size Range: 14-40

No more tears in the dressing room over unattractive, overpriced, or ill-fitting plus-size prom dresses. Shopping for prom dresses should be a fun experience, and Sydney’s Closet makes it possible. When I spoke with fashion writer Marcy Cruz, she emphasized the importance of options for young shoppers with plus-size bodies. She recommended Sydney’s Closet for their specialization in plus-size designs.

You can choose from a variety of styles, including satin mermaid dresses, floor-length sequin gowns, and voluminous tulle princess dresses in various shades to suit different tastes. You can try on styles at authorized retailers (primarily in the Northeast US) or, if you need a new size, follow the brand’s return and exchange policy.

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Best Evening Gowns: Nordstrom

Size Range: 12-30

Nordstrom is my go-to for formal evening gowns, especially when I need to try on higher-end styles in-store. When you’re searching for something special for a glamorous date night, a formal event, a wedding celebration, or any occasion requiring an evening gown, this luxury fashion retailer is the best place to find plus-size formal dresses.

Nordstrom features popular plus-size luxury brands like Tadashi Shoji, Kiyonna, Mac Duggal, and Betsy & Adam. I spoke with plus-size fashion stylist Michaela Leitz for her insights on formal fashion. “Xscape Evenings really knows how to curate those stunning, timeless pieces. It’s great to see them also including some ‘trendy’ gowns,” Leitz said.

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Best for Modesty: Mac Duggal

Size Range: 0-30

Mac Duggal offers some of the most exquisite formal dresses and gowns, featuring intricate stitching, embroidery, and beaded craftsmanship that make you feel like a walking piece of art. Their long-sleeve and high-neck designs cater to those seeking modest plus-size formalwear, providing ample coverage without sacrificing style. Plus-size mother-of-the-bride dresses are available in various styles, and anyone in need of modest formal attire can explore these high-quality, bespoke designs.

To ensure everyone has the opportunity to try on the best plus-size formal dresses in person, check your nearest Nordstrom for this brand, especially the plus-size exclusive Fabulouss collection by Mac Duggal.

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Most Fashion-Forward: GIA/irl

Size Range: 10-30

For those looking for formal dresses that are anything but boring and don’t attempt to hide the body, GIA/irl is the perfect choice. This brand offers trendy plus-size dresses, shirts, pants, and other clothing without compromising on fit, fabric, or overall style.

“[GIA/irl] enjoys creating pieces that you don’t always see in plus sizes, then we think about curves and different body types,” shared the brand’s founder, Gia Sinatra.

According to Sinatra, each piece is fitted on plus-size bodies and goes through wear tests for further critique and any necessary design adjustments. The brand’s designs cater to plus-size figures, using draping materials that highlight various body types while celebrating the beauty of plus-size silhouettes.

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Best Statement Piece: Selkie

Size Range: XXS-6X

Selkie is known for its whimsical dresses that look like they’ve been plucked straight from a fairy tale. The brand’s commitment to high-quality design, durable materials, and precise fit, available in sizes up to 6X, secures its spot on this list. Selkie designs have been showcased by plus-size celebrities and models like Tess Holliday, Lynley Eilers, and Jazzmyne Robbins.

Designer and founder Kimberley Gordon creates romantic, unique dresses that make you feel like a magical fairy running through an enchanted forest, all while exuding a sense of sexy allure. Layers of polyester organza and cotton combined with impeccable stitching will make you the center of attention at any event. Prepare for endless compliments, as these fantastical dresses cater to various style palettes, offering a range of stunning looks.

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Best Custom-Made: Hannah Caroline Couture

Size Range: Custom-made

There’s nothing more luxurious than a bespoke gown tailored for a wedding, gala, or simply to indulge in feeling like royalty. Omaha-based designer Hannah Nodskov founded Hannah Caroline Couture to create fully custom and semi-custom dresses that fit every aspect of your body: curves, rolls, wide midsections, thick thighs, and more.

You can schedule an in-person or virtual measurement session with Nodskov, where she will discuss your vision and craft your dream luxury gown. Marcy Cruz loves collaborating with independent designers like Nodskov, who specialize in plus-size custom creations.

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