Plus Size Formal Dresses: Tips for Choosing the Perfect One

plus size formal dresses

You’ve got a formal event coming up, and you’re looking for the perfect plus size dress to rock for the occasion. With so many gorgeous styles to choose from, it can be tricky to settle on just one. But have no fear – whether you love the drama of a mermaid gown or prefer the effortless flow of an A-line, there’s a stunning plus size formal dress out there for you. In this article, you’ll discover tips for choosing a dress that flatters your figure and reflects your personal flair. Get ready to feel confident and fabulous when you walk into that event!

Choosing the Right Silhouette for Your Body Type

When shopping for plus size formal dresses, choosing a flattering silhouette is key. The A-line and empire waist styles are versatile and suit many figures.

A-Line Dresses

plus size formal dresses
plus size formal dresses

A-line dresses cinch at the waist and flow outward, creating a flattering shape. They skim over hips and thighs, hiding any lumps or bumps. A-lines with embellishments like beads or lace around the waist help accentuate your best features. Shorter A-lines ending around the knee show some leg while still being modest.

Empire Waist Dresses

Empire Waist Dresses

Dresses with an empire waistline are fitted at the bust and flow loosely over the rest of the body. The high waist creates an elongated look, perfect for emphasizing your shape. Empire waists in rich colors and luxurious fabrics like velvet or chiffon are ideal for formal events. Pair with statement jewelry to complete the elegant look.

Mermaid or Trumpet Dresses

If you want to show off your curves, consider a mermaid or trumpet style. These dresses hug your body to the knee, then flare out. They’re sexy yet sophisticated, perfect for a glamorous evening. Look for ones with ruching or gathers around the waist and hips for an even more flattering silhouette. With the right undergarments, a mermaid dress can make you look and feel like a bombshell.

For the most flattering and comfortable formal look, choose a silhouette that suits your body type and personal style. Accentuate your shape with the cut and details, and don’t be afraid to go bold with color and accessories. When you feel confident, you’ll shine from the inside out.

Fabrics and Styles to Consider for Plus Size Formal Dresses

Satin or Chiffon:

When it comes to fabrics for plus size formal wear, satin and chiffon are elegant choices. Satin provides a luxurious sheen and drapes beautifully over curves. Chiffon is a lightweight, flowing fabric that can make you feel like a goddess. Both fabrics come in a variety of colors to suit any event.

Mermaid or A-line:

Two flattering silhouettes for plus size women are the mermaid and A-line styles. A mermaid dress hugs your curves from top to bottom, accentuating your waist and hips. It’s a showstopping choice for a glamorous evening. An A-line dress cinches at the waist and flows out, camouflaging your lower body. This silhouette works for many body types and occasions.

Off-the-Shoulder or V-neck:

For an alluring neckline, consider an off-the-shoulder or V-neck style. An off-the-shoulder dress reveals your shoulders and collarbone while still providing ample coverage. A V-neck dress plunges to a V-shape, which helps create a longer, leaner silhouette. Either neckline would be stunning for a formal event.

Tea-length or Maxi:

If you want a dress that’s formal yet comfortable, a tea-length or maxi dress is perfect. A tea-length dress falls below the knee but above the ankle, giving you freedom of movement. A maxi dress is floor-length, allowing you to dance the night away without worrying about your dress rising up. Both lengths come in gorgeous fabrics and designs for any occasion.

Whether you choose a slinky satin sheath, a chiffon A-line, or an off-the-shoulder maxi, there are so many options for plus size formal wear. Focus on a style, fabric and color that makes you feel confident and happy. With the right dress, you’ll be the belle of the ball!

Accessorizing Your Plus Size Formal Dress for Any Occasion


The right jewelry can take your formal dress to the next level. For most plus size formal dresses, a statement necklace is a great choice. Look for gemstone, beaded or bib necklaces that complement the neckline of your dress. Drop earrings or chandelier earrings also pair nicely and help frame the face. Don’t be afraid to mix metals like gold and rose gold for an on-trend look. Bracelets, rings and gemstone brooches can also make elegant additions.


A stylish clutch purse is essential for any formal event. Look for a clutch that incorporates beading, gemstones or metallic fabrics that coordinate with your jewelry and dress. An envelope style clutch or framed clutch in a solid color also makes a timeless choice. For extra flair, look for a clutch with a decorative closure like a gem, tassel or buckle. A clutch with a strap or chain gives you the option to wear it on your wrist for added convenience.


Formal shoes help polish your look from head to toe. For a formal gown, platforms, pumps or strappy sandals with a heel are stylish options. Look for shoes that are the same color family or metallic shade as your accessories. Peeptoe shoes, ankle strap shoes or shoes with gemstone embellishments can also make a stylish statement. For maximum comfort, look for shoes with padding, adjustable straps or wedge heels.

Wraps and Jackets

For events in cooler weather, a stylish wrap, stole, cape or jacket completes your formal look. Materials like faux fur, lace, chiffon or velvet make an elegant choice. Look for outerwear in a complementary or contrasting color to your gown. Embellished or patterned fabrics also work well for a formal ensemble. A crop jacket, bolero jacket or shrug provide coverage while still showing off your gown.

With the right accessories, your plus size formal gown will make a stylish statement for any special occasion. Don’t be afraid to have fun with your look and express your unique sense of style! Focus on choosing high-quality, well-made pieces that make you feel confident and comfortable.

Finding the Perfect Fit: Tips for Shopping for Plus Size Formal Dresses

Shopping for the perfect formal dress when you wear a size 14 or above can be challenging, but also exciting when you find the right one. Here are some tips to help you navigate the plus-size dress racks and find an option you’ll feel amazing in.

Focus on Fit

The number one priority is finding a dress that fits you well and makes you feel comfortable and confident. Don’t get caught up in the size on the tag. Sizing varies greatly between designers and styles. Instead, pay attention to how the dress actually fits your body. Look for one that accentuates your best features, fits properly in the bust and waist, and allows you to move freely. You may need to size up for a looser fit or size down for a more tailored one. Try on multiple sizes of dresses you like to determine which flatters you best.

Consider Your Body Type

Certain dress styles are more flattering for different body types. If you have an hourglass figure, show off your curves with a mermaid or trumpet style. If you have a pear shape, balance your proportions with an A-line or empire waist. A sheath or shift dress adds length to a petite frame. And an off-the-shoulder or halter neckline draws eyes upward for those with a larger bust. Think about your best features and how you want to accentuate them.

Focus on Fabulous

Once you find some well-fitting options in styles you like, consider the overall look and feel. Think about the fabric, color, length, and details like beading or lace accents. Choose a dress in a color you love and that complements your skin tone. Lighter, flowing fabrics in chiffon or satin and strategic embellishments can help achieve an elegant formal look. And don’t forget the finishing touches like jewelry, shoes, a clutch, and a wrap. When you find a dress you feel amazing in, your confidence will shine through.

With the variety of styles now available, shopping for plus-size formalwear can be an enjoyable experience. Focus on fit and choosing an option you feel fabulous in. When you do, you’ll be turning heads at your next formal event!

Frequently Asked Questions About Plus Size Formal Dresses

Once you’ve narrowed down the style of plus size formal dress you want, you likely have some remaining questions. Here are some of the most common FAQs to help you make the perfect choice.

What size should I order?

Sizing can vary between brands and styles. Check the sizing chart to determine your best fit based on your measurements. It’s always a good idea to order one size up from your usual size, especially for fitted styles. You can then have the dress altered by a tailor for a custom fit.

What are the best fabrics for my shape?

Flowy, draped fabrics like chiffon, mesh and lace help camouflage any areas you want to downplay while still being formal. Stiff fabrics like taffeta can emphasize curves so pair them with shapewear. Matte jersey is stretchy and forgiving, perfect for a bodycon style.

What neckline is most flattering?

An off-the-shoulder or sweetheart neckline balances broad shoulders, while a scoop or V-neckline flatters a fuller bust. An empire or princess waist draws attention to your slimmest part. Asymmetrical or one-shoulder necklines also help create a flattering diagonal line.

How should I accessorize?

A stylish wrap, pashmina or bolero jacket provides lightweight coverage for your arms. Statement jewelry like a gemstone necklace or drop earrings draws attention upwards to your face. Metallic or embellished shoes and a beaded clutch help complete a glamorous formal look.

How can I feel more confident?

Shapewear smoothes your silhouette under the dress. Getting your hair and makeup professionally done boosts your confidence from the outside in. And remember, you chose a dress that flatters your best features—walk into the event with your head held high, radiating positivity. Your inner beauty will shine through!

Focusing on fit, fabric, and accessories, and embracing your unique beauty will help ensure you feel amazing for your special occasion. With the right plus size formal dress, you’ll be dancing the night away in style!


You’ve got so many options to look and feel amazing in a formal plus-size dress. Whether you’re drawn to figure-flattering wraps, glamorous mermaids, or breezy empire waists, trust your instincts and rock what makes you feel like your best self. Formal events are the perfect chance to embrace your style. So take your time finding that perfect dress, feel confident, and have an absolutely fabulous time. You’ve got this!

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