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Plus Size Semi Formal Dresses
Best plus size clothing shops for curvy girls
Plus-size clothing is often quite hit and miss. The sizing is either totally out of whack or the designs just, well, leave a little to be desired… Oh, and to top things off, they’re normally way more expensive. Greeeattt.
As @sarabrowndesigns explains of her usual shopping experience, “One of my biggest annoyances is the fact that the high street has options, but they’re not the options I want.” So when we find a label that consistently nails the curvy fashion brief, we find it particularly worthy of sharing.
Best plus size clothing:
- ASOS Curve
- Pretty little Thing
- River Island
- New Look
- Simply Be
- Never Fully Dressed
- Chi Chi London
Especially if those brands are offering more than just smock tops, kaftans, and other shapeless garms that so often seem to be associated with curve sections. Who said that everyone size 16 and above automatically wants to hide their shape? Where are the options in different fabrics and finishes, different hem lengths and trends?
After years of looking, we’ve found shops that do a good blazer (and workwear in general), great formal dresses, cute midi skirts, and even excellent denim, so you don’t need to compromise on fit or style.
Scroll down for the best brand and shops for curvy and plus-size clothing in the UK.
1. ASOS Curve
Best for: Versatile pieces
ASOS Curve is always going to be our number one curvy girl shop. It’s our first destination whenever we’re in need of a new outfit, because we know they will always come through with the classics and more trend lead pieces. With sizes ranging from 16-30, we wish more retailers would follow suit. On top of that, they also have so much choice. There are a slew of different options updated each week, and glorious flash sales, meaning this should always be one of your first port of calls for online shopping.ADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELOW
£58, ASOS Curve
BUY NOWLounge maxi cable knit cardigan in cream
£45, ASOS Curve
BUY NOWMidi skirt with thigh split in tan and black non print
£22, ASOS Curve
BUY NOWLeather look parka with borg lining in sage
£75, ASOS Curve
Best for: Affordable prices
PrettyLittleThing’s plus-size range came onto our radar after curve blogger, Chloe Elliott, sang their praises. Not only have the brand extended their sizing to a 26, but as Chloe points out, they are offering something we have never seen in plus-size ranges before. While we like trying things on to make sure the fit is right, the good thing about PLT is that you can make a generous order (without going broke), try them on at home and return anything you don’t love. The thing is, you will probs love it all.
From stretchy, comfy basics like sweatpants and cycling shorts, to sexy going-out clothes like sheer organza tops and vinyl trousers, PLT has you covered.Plus Basic White Low Arm T ShirtPRETTYLITTLETHINGprettylittlething.com£8.00BUY NOWBlack ribbed cycling shortsPRETTYLITTLETHINGprettylittlething.com£10.00BUY NOW
Best for: Trend pieces
In times of crisis we turn to the Boohoo plus range. Not only is the entire line incredibly affordable, but we just love that they offer the exact same clothes in bigger sizes. Just because we are a bigger size, doesn’t mean we want to spend our life in kaftans, am I right? I mean, it’s boggling that other stores don’t do this to be honest, but thankfully some brands are opting for more inclusive offerings.
They’ve got everything you need to stock your whole wardrobe, from denim and knitwear (try their oversize baggy cardis), to sundresses and date-night tops.Seamed Cargo Denim JoggerBOOHOO PLUSboohoo.com£14.40BUY NOW
Best for: Classic styleADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELOW
Not many people know that Mango have a plus size range but it’s really worth a look. While the other famous Spanish retailer, Zara, only goes up to a size 18, Mango offers their high quality designs up to a size 26. And, in our experience, their quality also goes the distance. While the pieces might be trend-inspired, their winter coats last us for years on end, meaning it’s easier to justify spending a little more on a piece you love.
If you’re looking for something slightly different to your usual plus-size offering, check out Violeta by Mango. They’re great at cool fashion-forward pieces like puff-sleeve minidresses, sequin skirts, and leather shackets, which you won’t find at most other high-street retailers.Back bow sweaterVIOLETAmango.com£35.99BUY NOWWool handmade coatVIOLETAmango.com£99.99BUY NOW
Best for: High quality
Elvi is a brand that we first discovered through ASOS Curve and it’s quickly become one of our favourites. It’s a mix of high quality wardrobe staples and high fashion pieces that you wouldn’t expect from a plus size brand. Our favourite thing are their skirts, from pleated and metallic to faux leather, they have everything. Plus they have some pretty cool collaborations, like Hayley Hasselhoff.
Why not pair one of their breezy kimono dresses with beautiful leather sandals and a straw bag? Or, match their sequinned microdress with sky-high disco platforms.Slip skirtELVIelvi.com£44.00BUY NOW
6. River Island
Best for: Seasonal buys
When the River Island Plus range finally launched, it didn’t disappoint. Although the selection isn’t as large as ASOS, the well curated line goes up to a size 28. This should be your go to shop for each seasons key trend pieces. Our favourite River Island finds right now? Their dresses. Whether you’re after a cute party dress, or a versatile midi to wear to the office, they’ve got something for every occasion.
RI Plus has become our go-to for embellished denim, bright tailoring, and fun night-out dresses. Why not pull out all the stops in head-to-toe denim, topped off with heels and a pearl bag?ADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELOWBeige leopard print frill mini dressRIVER ISLAND PLUS, £55riverisland.comBUY NOWBlack high rise Mom jeansRIVER ISLAND PLUS, £40riverisland.comBUY NOWGreen floral ruffle mini dressRIVER ISLAND PLUS, £42riverisland.comBUY NOWNavy wrap tie waist topRIVER ISLAND PLUS, £28riverisland.comBUY NOW
7. New Look
Best for: Affordable prices
Props to New Look for being one of the first shops to carry a plus size range. Their ‘Inspire’ line, has been relaunched as their ‘Curves Range’ and we can tell you, it’s giving ASOS Curve a run for its money. The best part? It’s affordable pricing. New Look are high street favourites because you can fill your basket with on-trend pieces without breaking the bank.
They also stock a host of other cool curve brands, like Wednesday’s Girl, which is perfect for silky slip skirts and floral jumpsuits. We’re eyeing up their green and pink floral slip skirt to wear on our next park picnic.Pink Spot Tiered Peplum Top
£17.99, New Look
BUY NOWBrown Leopard Print Denim Mini Skirt
£25.99, New Look
BUY NOWRed Leopard Print Smock Dress
£22.99, New Look
BUY NOWPale Grey Weekend Logo Sweatshirt
£17.99, New Look
8. Simply Be
Best for: Variety
Simply Be is a plus size treasure trove. You want a sports bra, they got it. Swimsuit, they got it. Wide-fit boots, you’ve come to the right place. In short, they have everything. Plus, their sizes are just as fab, which is a huge win. Ranging from a size 12-34, this is one of the most inclusive fashion sites you will find.
Right now, we’re stocking up on denim and florals, which they’re great at. Skirts, minidresses, and summery jackets – it’s all putting us in the mood for a pina colada on a rooftop somewhere.Floral Print Tiered Smock DressSIMPLY BEsimplybe.co.uk£22.00BUY NOWBalloon Sleeve Utility ShirtSIMPLY BEsimplybe.co.uk£26.00BUY NOWBlack Lottie Wide Leg JeggingsSIMPLY BEsimplybe.co.uk£22.00BUY NOWBleach Tie Dye Oversized Denim JacketSIMPLY BEsimplybe.co.uk£45.00BUY NOW
Best for: Timeless piecesADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELOW
Like all good plus size brands, this is another one we discovered through ASOS Curve. Their focus? Quality, without compromise. Owned by Vero Moda, it goes without saying that this label offer the latest trends but what you might not know is just how flatting and tailored their cuts are. You will be sure to find some classic pieces to update your wardrobe from here.
Junarose is great for elegant, timeless classics that you’ll wear for years to come. This is a great first stop when you’re on the hunt for grownup, work-appropriate clothes that you can also wear on the weekends.Voluminous sleeves knitted jumperVERO MODAveromoda.com£32.00BUY NOWPrinted maxi dressVERO MODAveromoda.com£45.00BUY NOW
Best for: Stylish prints
Beginning as a one woman business selling at Portobello and Spitalfields market, Never Fully Dressed is a UK fashion success story and a brand that’ll become your go-to destination for the perfect summer dress. It’s curve range, which goes up to a size 26, is filled with modern designs that have a cool edge. Their unique prints make each dress such a stand out item, it’s a challenge not to add them all to cart. You can never have too many statement dresses right?Multi Tiered Harriet Mini Dress – CurveNEVER FULLY DRESSED, £30neverfullydressed.co.ukBUY NOWBlack Viscose Kira Dress – CurveNEVER FULLY DRESSED, £79neverfullydressed.co.ukBUY NOWMoon Leopard Green Midi Dress – CurveNEVER FULLY DRESSED, £39neverfullydressed.co.ukBUY NOWMulti Sassy Cheetah Contrast Midi Dress – CurveNEVER FULLY DRESSED, £49neverfullydressed.co.ukBUY NOW
11. Chi Chi London
Best for: Evening and formal dresses
If you’ve been looking high and low for a full-on, no apologies party dress, you have come to the right place. From embellished, to lace, to metallic, to rockabilly, these dresses are definitely not for wall flowers. And, honestly, finally! It’s about time curvy gals can shop equally fierce dresses suitable for clubbing, sipping cocktails at the bar, or even for cute date night dinns.
TYPES OF DRESSES EVERY WOMEN SHOULD KNOW
1. Midi Dress
Sitting between a maxi and a mini dress, the midi is what everyone needs for the times when you’re unsure of the formality of an event. This style can have any neckline or sleeve length, so it’s great for any body shape. Pull-on tights and ankle boots for a perfect winter look, or grab a pair of flats and a cute straw hat and have a stylish picnic!
2. Off the Shoulder
Take the plunge and keep your shoulders exposed in an off-the-shoulder dress. These dresses showcase your shoulders, while maintaining a sleeve or ruffle on the bicep. The off-shoulder style is great for those who want to exhibit their shoulders and arms but don’t want the commitment of a strapless look.
3. Shift Dress
The shift dress was a massive trend in the early 1960s and has a simple, boxy shape. It is a short and typically sleeveless dress that hangs from the shoulders. It’s ideal for those who have a lean, column-esque body shape, as they appear straight. You can style this dress with a mid-length duster jacket and a pair of slingback heels or even knee-high boots, to give it that real ‘60s flair! This shape is the ideal blank canvas for color blocking or print detail.
4. Bodycon Dress
The bodycon is a tight-fitting dress that hugs your figure and accentuates your assets. They’re often made of stretchy material and are perfect for a night out on the town. This dress is ideal for those with an hourglass figure, as it flatters the beautiful curves!
5. A-Line Dress
An A-line dress fits at the hips and gradually flares out towards the hem, which makes the dress look like an “A” shape. It is perfect for a casual setting, and you can dress it up or down with ease. This style is best suited for pear-shaped bodies, as it shows off your lovely shoulders and adds a feminine touch to your lower half.
6. Mini Dress
The scandal broke loose in 1965 when model Jean Shrimpton wore a mini shift dress to the Melbourne Cup, showcasing her bare legs and hat-free head to the world. Nowadays, mini dresses are far more mini and far less scandalous, and they’re a great way to capture attention and showcase your pins! This dress is ideal for anyone who wants to put emphasis on their legs and make the world stop and turn! If you’ve got it, flaunt it!
7. Maxi Dress
Spend the day at the beach or by the pool in a relaxing in the effortless maxi dress. This style is suited best for a more casual setting; however, the fabric hits the floor (or at least your ankles), giving the impression that you’re dressed up. Make the perfect lazy outfit by adding sandals and long-hanging jewelry into the mix, and everyone will wish they were as stylish and comfy as you are!
8. Wrap Dress
The wrap dress features a front closure by wrapping one side of the dress across the other and tying the fabric at the waist or back. Often seen by the likes of Kate Middleton, this style has a classic silhouette that is perfect for athletic body shapes, as it creates the illusion of an hourglass figure, even if you don’t have one naturally.
9. Halter Dress
A halter dress is ideal for summer. Featuring a strapless or sleeveless upper half, with a tie around the neck. Some halter necks don’t have a bow but fabric secured around the neck. This style of dress is most flattering for those who wish to show off their ample shoulders.
10. High-Low Dress
A high-low dress is a form of asymmetrical dress. They are typically longer at the back, and shorter at the front. This shape works with casual dresses as well as the ballgowns. It is the perfect style for anyone who wants to show off their sexy pins, and they’re best paired with high heels or platforms, so the back of the dress doesn’t drag on the floor.
11. Sheath Dress
A sheath dress is form-fitting, it has a straight cut and is nipped at the waistline, with no visible seam. It sits at the knee or just above and is ideal for a business event or a night out. This dress style is perfect for those who want to put their gorgeous curves in the spotlight, as it flatters those with an hourglass figure.
12. Peplum Dress
For those who love a playful style, a peplum dress is perfect. The detail can be below the waist, under the bust, at the hips, or around the neck or shoulders. The fit and flare silhouette of the peplum shape has its origins from Greek antiquity. For a day to night look, you can swap flats for a pair of hot heels, adding height to your figure, making your legs look super long and your waist nipped in and tiny.
13. Sweater Dress
Keep it casual with a sweater dress! This dress is knitted, it can be form-fitting or loose, and it comes in different lengths. It is perfect for all body types as there are so many different silhouettes. You can pair it with thigh-high boots to keep your pins warm, or add a sneaker for a fresh casual look!
14. Pencil Dress
If you’re heading out somewhere and you’re trying to impress someone, the pencil dress is the one for you! Named after the pencil shape, a pencil dress is typically nipped in at the waist, with a hem that hits below the knee and has no frills or flounce. This silhouette is great for a little black dress or a go-to for a date night. You can switch things up a bit by opting for a plunging neckline or keep it fresh and sexy with a turtleneck.
15. Shirt Dress
Keep it cool and casual with a shirt dress. Defined as a loose-fitting dress, it features a shirt collar and a button-down front. This style comes in different lengths, and sometimes has a nipped in waist. The focal point of a shirt dress is the collar and button-down front. It’s super easy to dress up or down, grab some chunky ankle boots or sneakers and you’ll be ready for a night out or a night at the beach!
16. Slip Dress
Unleash your inner grunge girl with a slip dress. You would typically wear this style as an undergarment; it is usually satin, with a V-neck line, spaghetti straps, and lace. You can dress it up or down with a pair of barely-there heels or chunky boots. Keep it casual by pairing this dress with a basic T-shirt or a white shirt underneath, to give it that real ‘90s feel!
17. Smock Dress
A smock dress is a gorgeous go-to for anyone in a rush! Super comfy to wear, a smock dress is usually loose-fitting. It can have long sleeves or be strapless, so it’s super versatile. Dress it up or down with a leather jacket and cute ankle boots for a perfect transitional outfit!
Be the belle of the ball with a ballgown! It is a formal dress that hits the floor, it is perfect for a fancy event such as a black tie dress code premier or a ball. This style comes in many different forms, from a princess silhouette, with a prominent pouffy skirt, all the way to the mermaid silhouette. A ball gown is a dress to wear when you’re ready to make a real entrance, and wow the whole room!
19. Mermaid Silhouette Dress
A style of a ballgown, the mermaid silhouette is the perfect dress for a black tie occasion. As the name suggests, the mermaid dress is long and straight from the top all the way to the middle of the thigh or calf, where it flares out into a wide skirt, as a mermaid’s tail would. If you have an hourglass or pear-shaped figure, opt for the tight-fitting silhouette. For column-esque bodies, you can go for a profile that’s a bit looser on the waist and hips.
20. T-shirt Dress
The ultimate casual dress, the T-Shirt dress is the one that you can go for when you’re stepping out to brunch or the movies. Much like a regular T-shirt, the round neck and loose-fitting silhouette sit just above the knee. Of course, you can also find a T-shirt dress with a pencil skirt silhouette, but the focus is on the T-shirt neckline. This look is perfect for any body type, so get creative, as this dress is a real blank canvas for any season!
21. Tea Length Dress
This classic style has its modern origins from Edwardian times when fabric became lighter which made it popular to wear indoors, around friends, often while drinking tea. This silhouette has a full circle skirt that hits at the mid-calf. A vintage-inspired silhouette, a tea length dress is perfect for those who are on their way to a semi-formal event or wish to add some classical Hollywood drama into their outfit. Pair it with cute flats or classic low heel pumps for a full Audrey-inspired get up.
22. Cocktail Dress
As the name suggests, a cocktail dress is a choice for a schmaltzy party or drinks at the bar. A cocktail dress is a blend of formal and casual, it hits just at the knee and is perfect for cocktail dress code events. This is a versatile dress, with different necklines and silhouettes, so you can find the ideal dress to suit you.
23. Denim Dress
When you’re not in the mood to squeeze into your jeans, slip on a cute denim dress! Just as the name suggests: this type of dress is made of denim. They come in a wide range of styles, with long sleeves and a button-down front, or a pinafore with pockets. This casual-cool style is effortless, chic, and suitable for many occasions.
24. Pinafore Dress
A pinafore dress is a collarless, strapless dress with medium-sized straps on the shoulder. You can wear it with a shirt or a turtleneck underneath. This cute little dress is a great way to showcase your figure without having to squeeze into something too tight!
25. Bardot Dress
Named after the blonde bombshell, Bridgette Bardot, this dress radiates decadence and sophistication. With an off-the-shoulder motif, these dresses are complete with a sleeve that sits just below the shoulders, giving you the impression that you’ve slipped the sleeves off just a little!
26. Tube Dress
If you’re ready to make an entrance while making an impact, show off your assets in a tube dress! Tight, form-fitting, and strapless. This dress is the ideal style for summer nights when you want to look sexy and seductive, without compromising on keeping yourself cool. This dress is great for all body types, as the figure-hugging silhouette amplifies your best features!
27. Qipao Dress
This traditional Chinese dress dates all the way back to the 17th century during the Manchu rule. Stunning in design, the Qipao features a high neck and a straight skirt. Traditionally made of silk, they are complete with delicate embroidery. The modern Qipao became popular in the West in the 1920s, and features a high slit on one or both legs, with a variety of different sleeve types. This dress is a stunning glimpse into the intricate and awe-inspiring Chinese culture.
28. Long Sleeve Dress
For those chilly winter nights, opt for a dress with long sleeves. This style is not only a smart choice for freezing nights, but they’re also incredibly sexy and alluring. Long-sleeved dresses come in a range of different silhouettes, so no matter what style you’re after, whether it be a bodycon, ballgown or a midi dress, there is something perfect for you! These dresses are ideal for those who wish to keep their arms covered.
29. Bell-Sleeve Dress
A bell-sleeve dress identifies itself with the sleeve ending at the mid-forearm or wrist, with a flare flowing down towards your hands. The sleeve is shaped like a bell, hence the name. These dresses come in different silhouettes, but the focal point is the sleeves.
30. Strapless Dress
Show off those gorgeous shoulders with the help of a strapless dress. The first modern strapless dress is said to have originated in the 1930s by designer, Mainbocher. As the name suggests, this style has no sleeves or straps, and it sits just above the bust, relying on your body’s contour to keep up. If you don’t feel like showing skin, you can always rock these dresses with a T-shirt underneath or a skivvy.
31. Blazer Dress
The blazer dress is the perfect ensemble to wear when you need to talk business, but have fun at the same time! These dresses look like a blazer, but they are worn as a dress. The style is typically double-breasted, giving the appearance that you’re wearing a men’s blazer. It’s versatile and perfect for any season, so rock it with low rise sneakers of a pair of ankle boots.
32. Empire Waist Dress
The empire waist dates all the way back to the 18th century. The dress gathers under the bust at the slimmest part of the torso, creating a flattering effect. If you’re smaller on the top part of your body, this dress will pinch the top of your abdomen and flare at the bottom. It’s perfect for petite girls, as it elongates bottom half giving the appearance of wickedly long legs.
33. Sun Dress
Catch those rays and wow everyone in a sundress. This garment is best worn in the warmer months, as it’s loose-fitting with spaghetti straps and a wide neckline. These dresses are often tighter around the waist and have a fuller skirt. Sundresses are soft, light, and feminine, best seen in a stunning floral pattern or pastel color.
34. Kimono Dress
This traditional Japanese gown dates over a thousand years ago when the word “kimono” meant a piece of clothing. Now, the kimono is one of the most widely recognized garments, characterized by its long sleeves and a wraparound closure. While the traditional kimono is still prevalent today, the modern kimono dress can have a slit in one leg, wraparound design and long sleeves.
35. One Shoulder Dress
Whether you’re indecisive or it’s just cold outside, you can always opt for a one-shouldered dress! A one-shoulder dress is a form of asymmetrical dress, characterized by the single shoulder. Choose from a full-length sleeve or one strap; however, you wish to wear it, you’ll make a statement. The asymmetry of the garment will attract attention for all the right reasons; you’ll look stunning!