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The Search for the Perfect Plus Size Little Black Dress

perfect little black dress

Daniela dress from Igigi

Every woman wants the perfect little black dress . In fact, most wardrobes could accommodate more than one. However, despite the array of black dresses on the market, it can be a challenge for a plus size woman to find a dress that flatters. We provide some tips for finding your perfect dress and share some of the best current retail offerings.

Cut, Fit and Quality

No dress can be deemed perfect if it does not fit well. Consider the following to ensure you have the right cut and fit.

  • Make sure you understand your body shape so you can choose a style that accentuates your best features.
  • Buy your correct size – a dress that is baggy is as unattractive as one that is too small and pulls or looks tight.
  • Getting the right length is key. A too short skirt can look inappropriate and a skirt that is just a little below the knee can look frumpy. For longer skirts, go for the full maxi or hit mid-calf. A skirt that is hemmed 1-2 inches above the knee works on nearly everyone, however.
  • Choose great fabrics!  A beautiful fabric will drape your figure beautifully, where a thin, inexpensive cloth may cling to every bump or lump in your figure. Also, look for lined garments to avoid items looking see-through.
  • Don’t go too bare for your body. While cutouts, strapless styles and deep v-necklines can work on some women, they do not flatter everyone. While you don’t have to cover up from head to toe, many who wear women’s sizes prefer a dress with a little sleeve or a less revealing neckline.
  • Wear good undergarments – a well-fitting bra, a slip and a shaper garment can make your dress glide over your body in the best way possible.

Know Your Occasions

You may be shopping for a dress for a particular occasion, or you may just want the perfect dress at the ready in your closet. Either way, it is important to know your style and the types of places you’ll want to wear your dress.

A simple dress can be used for more occasions than one that is heavily ornamented. Fabrics such as satin, chiffon, velvet and lace tend to be worn for more formal events or for holidays, while heavy elegant silks and smooth woven fabrics such as a lovely gabardine or even a heavy-weight, high-quality jersey are more versatile.

You can always dress up a plain black dress with accessories. Jewelry adds sparkle, a pretty belt can emphasize or create a waist, and  a shrug or shawl can add a focal point as well as warmth.

Some Great Black Dresses!

The Daniela dress from Igigi (shown above) is one of our new favorites. Made of a heavy knit jersey, it is forgiving without appearing to overstretch. The fabric drapes nicely over generous curves and is a steal at $98. It also comes in several other colors, so you may find you want more than one.

Adrianna Papell currently has a pleated sheath dress that has a mock wrap and a tapered waist giving the illusion of an hourglass figure to even those without one. Note that previous customers have suggested it runs large, so no need to order up a size.

plus size black dress

Fit and flare little black dress from Taylor

 This Taylor fit and flare dress is ideal for a multitude of occasions. The flirty, flared skirt is feminine while gliding over even larger hips. The short sleeves and bateau neck provide coverage without appearing staid.

Kiyonna has a ruffled wrap dress to bring out the happy in almost any woman. The front flounces add a fun feel without making the dress look too juvenile.

Monif C’s Marilyn convertible dress is currently available in black and white stripes and is sometimes in stock in black. While this dress requires a learning curve to wrap the top of the dress into all the possible styles, it has the advantage of giving you multiple dresses in one. Make sure you watch their youtube video for instructions and tips on wrapping it!

Do you have a favorite plus size black dress you’d like to recommend?


Fair disclosure:

Please note that Igigi provided a dress for  review but that all comments are based on our honest editorial staff feedback, regardless of the source of the dress.

Where to Shop for Plus Size Clothing

plus size clothing shopping If you wear a plus size – and lots of women do since the “average” size of a woman in the U.S. is a 14, which is considered a plus size by some brands – you know it can be a challenge to shop. Not only are “plus sizes” shunned by many designers, but those brands that carry them often have only limited selections, relegate them to back racks or only represent those sizes online.

Plus Size Shopping Guide

So, we’re committed to researching the greatest plus size fashions and to bringing you tips on where to shop and how to get the best deals and coupons for the most fashion forward plus size clothing finds.

Have a great plus size clothing brand you want us to suggest? Feel free to comment and we will be happy to investigate and add qualified lines to our resource list.

Online Plus Size Focused Shopping

  • Fashion to Figure: While their selection is not huge, Fashion to Figure offers cute casual basics.
  • JMS (Just My Size): While JMS carries casual clothing, they are most known for their collections of intimate apparel, activewear and swimwear.
  • Juno Active: For activewear and casual apparel, one of the best sites is Juno Active (at the domain name They also offer swimwear and lingerie.
  • M.I.B. (Making It Big): M.I.B. has a full range of clothing the plus size woman needs from intimate apparel to outerwear in sizes 1X to 8x. Note their bra and underwear selection is very limited, however.
  • Monif C: This small designer focuses on plus size clothing and only has limited selection. However, her Monif convertible dress is a flexible hit!
  • OneStopPlus: This clothing site carries lots of basics
  • Roamans: This Indianapolis based retailer has been selling mail order plus size clothing for 100 years in the U.S. While not overly fashion-forward, they have lots of wardrobe essentials.
  • Simply Be: This British-based company now sells their size 10-28 clothing in the U.S. They contract with companies such as Joe Browns to bring stylish apparel to larger sizes.
  • Swimsuits for All: Swimsuit shopping can be a chore no matter your size or shape and it is even more of a challenge for plus size bathing suit shoppers. This site has a huge selection of swimwear in sizes 8 to 34.
  • Torrid: Torrid caters to a younger audience, so if you are looking for modern, fashion-forward clothing, this is a must-visit site.
  • Ulla Popken: Ulla Popken carries a full line of plus size attire in sizes 12W – 38W.
  • Woman Within: With lots of essentials, Woman Within serves one of the widest size ranges, offering items in sizes 12W to 44W.

plus size women's clothing sites Brick and Mortar + Online Plus Size Focused Shopping

  • Ashley Stewart: This plus size retailer has 100 stores in the U.S., but carries some of their styles exclusively online.
  • Avenue: Avenue has stores across the U.S., especially on the East coast.
  • Catherine’s: This plus size retailer is now owned by Lane Bryant, but carries a different selection
  • CityChic: While CityChic is primarily an online seller, they are some storefronts in Southern California. Look to them for a great assortment of party dresses.
  • Igigi: For unusual looks and great style, check out Igigi. Their stores are mostly on the coasts, but you can find some of their looks in Lane Bryant stores. For the best selection, head online.
  • Lane Bryant: Lane Bryant is one of the most well-known plus size retailers. Both the brick and mortar stores and web site include their plus size lingerie line: Cacique
  • Yours:  UK based retailer Yours Plus Size sells clothing items in sizes 14 – 32. Their stores are only found in the United Kingdom, but they ship worldwide.

Brick and Mortar + Online Retailers That Carry Plus Sizes

  • Belk: Southern department store Belk offers plus sizes online and in store.
  • Bloomingdales; Bloomingdales department stores carry a few plus sizes in store, but have a broader selection online.
  • CJ Banks: This retail boutique carries misses and women’s sizes in-store and online.
  • Dillards: Found in the Midwest, Dillards are mid-range department stores. They carry plus size basics in store and on their site.
  • Dress Barn: While the name doesn’t exactly bring glamour to mind, Dress Barn stores offer a wide range of reasonably priced clothing in both misses and plus sizes ranging from 4 to 24.
  • Eddie Bauer: While most of Eddie Bauer’s retail locations are closed, their web site offers a good assortment in plus sizes and in plus petites.
  • Forever 21+: Forever 21 is a great place for younger, trendier fashions for less.
  • JC Penney: This embattled retailer is struggling, but fans are still depending on them for some of their tried and true plus size clothing items. Find easy-stretch slacks in plus and plus petites here.
  • J. Jill: J Jill’s clothing ranges from easy and elegant casual to business attire and formalwear. Their  upscale linen looks and perfect for spring and summer dressing no matter what your size.
  • Kohls: Kohls has carved out a great segment in the mid-priced fashion arena and their plus size collection is no exception.
  • Lands End: This mail-order main stay has a good selection of larger size apparel. You can find some items in the Lands End boutiques in Sears stores, but their best plus selection is on their web site.
  • Lord and Taylor: This high end department store has devoted a substantial area of their site to plus size fashion.
  • Macy’s: Macy’s online carries plus sizes for women and juniors, offering great selection for younger larger size shoppers.
  • Nordstrom: While not inexpensive, Nordstrom online has a great selection of sophisticated apparel items sure to please even the most discerning woman.
  • Old Navy: Old Navy no longer represents their plus line in stores, but they do have reasonable selection of casual wear online. They are especially great for jeans and tees!
  • Ralph Lauren: Ralph Lauren is one of the select few designers that doesn’t ignore the plus size market. While his clothing may be hard to locate in stores (check the major department stores for limited selection) you can see the full line on his web site.
  • Silver Jeans: For sizes up to 26. shop Silver Jeans extended sizes area. Use their body shape tool to find the best jeans cut for your proportions.
  • Target: Target offers a small selection of women’s sizes in-store (usually jammed up against their maternity clothing) but has more online. Note their items, while cost-conscious, tend to run a little small and are also prone to shrinkage.
  • Talbots: Classic attire from Talbots comes in plus sizes, too. They carry plus petites and are a great place to purchase business apparel.


Looking for a plus size little black dress? We have suggestions!