Thursday, June 9, 2011

Seeking: a plus-size dress that's not a MESS

Hey ESB,

As a "plus sized" (gross) bride-to-be, it's hard to find a dress that isn't your typical empire waist/halter mess from anything other than a megastore. I found this dress, but unfortunately, it is out of stock. (I've also attached some shoes, for an idea of my style.) 

Have you come across anything suitable available in larger sizes? For my specific case, I'll be having a courthouse wedding with a bad ass reception/going away party. The FH and I are leaving the country for a year to teach overseas.

I'm not particularly set on the traditional white.

It's so easy to be discouraged in finding such beautiful things available, but not in your size. The internet is a big place. I really appreciate your help.

Size: Realistically between 18 and 20. A generously cut 16 paired with the world's best spanx would be pushing it. I'm looking for some drinking/eating/dancing room. 

Budget: Preferably under $300. But I'm willing to dip into some travel money for the right dress.



This Suzi Chin for Maggie Boutique is a little different from the dress you sent me, but I really dig it with the Repetto oxfords (on sale! at Creatures of Comfort).

I also like this strapless dress from Lafayette 148, but it pisses me off that they only picture it in petite. 

First image: Beth Ditto via


  1. I'm by no means a big girl but if I was I would have this dress in every color:

    I also like:

    you seem to want to cover your arms?? try:


    and lastly I love the oxfords but Steve Madden (uggh I know) has cheaper versions):

  2. Try David Meister he makes great plus size gowns.


  3. Girl I feel you! What do you think of this one

    and is this too weddingy? Were you trying to avoid that?

  4. Here's a sexy one from bloomies,

  5. i think this cream colored polka-dot number is sexy and sweet and would look retro with oxfords!

  6. I had the same problem and I haven't any suggestions to offer (I had my dress made) but I can empathize with you for the lack of options. Most everything is either too tacky/whorish/cheap or too matronly - especially if you like your arms covered (not sure if you do but I do).

  7. @Fawn - the David Meister number is on sale here:

    The best I could find:

    This lace dress for the courthouse:

    A more casual dress for the after-party:

    Good luck! xo.

  8. I love, love the bloomies dress!

  9. Possibly slightly off-base, but I'll fire away anyway -

    What 'bout this gunmetal wrap number - it reminds me of something Nigella Lawson would wear. I'd pair with some great heels like these red shiny ones or these, I love these, and a big vintage brooch. Might have the sleeves taken in. Oh, and some kickass undergarments,size:. Small posy of enormous scented black/red flowers, velvety red lippy, cats eye black liner, Diane Kruger wavy hair, touch of alluring perfume.

    Too much? Oxford brogues with palazzo pants later in the day/going away.


  11. You'll have to order for the UK for this one, but Monsoon might be just right for you - keep in mind that a UK 18 is a US 16.

    If you're struggling with the UK thing, let me know and i can post it to you! Just e-mail

    (i feel your pain - i had my dress made and i'm about the same size - 18ish)

  12. p.s. my friend got married in that second dress and looked gorgeous!

  13. I also love the Bloomies Meister! I also love this!,16,5,17,9,26,25&Rf900=1465&sh=0&pge=1&pgesize=20&sort=-1&clr=Multi&mporgp=L0Fzb3MvQXNvcy1DdXJ2ZS1QaXBlZC1FZGdlLUhlYXJ0LVByaW50LURyZXNzL1Byb2Qv

  14. I think that Susie Chin is cool.

  15. You should have a custom made dress. My fabric (15 yards of silk dupioni, because, yes, I am having a princess dress) is about $150, with a 50% off coupon at Joann's.

    Typical size 20 dresses need 4-5 yards of fabric. If you get satin/linen-look/taffeta at $10/yard, using a 40% off coupon (sign up for the mailing list), add another $30 for the notions/lining, and it's about $60. A seamstress will sew it for you for about $250 (where I live, anyway).

    Or go to Torrid. I just got my engagement party dress there:

  16. Rachel Pally white label. Her stuff is super comfy and very flattering.
    There's nothing in the collection here in white but if you're in LA, she has sample sales every few months. You can sign up to be on her mail list on her site.

  17. I'm gonna get in trouble for this, but I spent a lot of timing knocking David's Bridal because it's so mass produced, yada yada yada.

    And then I caved.

    But seriously at the end of the day they had great dresses that did my body justice and sales people who are used to working with plus size people ALL the time and who aren't going to snub their noses at your non-bridal-size-2 self.

    And I LOVE this one.

  18. Wow, I'm plus sized, and I really like "empire waist/halter mess[es]"...

    Don't knock it til you try it. Just go to David's, tell them what you want, and they probably have it. You could even get a bridesmaids dress in whatever color you want.

  19. Good Lordy the lace dress @Nicole suggested is on the money

  20. not that you asked for help, but what about this one?

  21. @esb, yea, RP has great stuff and generally flatters anyone who has a curve or two.

  22. that is an awesome suggestion! esb..even worse than not having someone display "plus-sized" having a model who's...MAYBE a size 10 modeling it.

  23. i don't know if i'm too late to this, but i have a size 18-20 dress (corset back, so adjustable) i can give you. how against halter necks are you? it's alfred angelo 1587... i know aa is all evil and mass produced, but i found it new on craigslist so it was the right price :/
    i'm 5'4" so you wouldn't be able to wear it if you're much taller

  24. That is so sweet Manda!