11 plus-size dresses to wear to a summer wedding
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As people are getting vaccinated and the world is slowly starting to return to a sense of “normalcy” (whatever that is), many of the weddings that were supposed to take place in 2020 will be held this summer. If you’re like me, the thought alone of going anywhere post-pandemic—let alone a fancy event like a wedding—is really stressful. I’ve been wearing nothing but pajamas and sweats for the past year, and now you expect me to put on makeup? A dress? Heels?!
As a plus-size woman, I’ve scoured the interwebs for exactly what to wear to a wedding or any other formal occasion this summer. From airy maxi dresses to fit-and-flare frocks, these 11 plus-size dresses are equal parts fashionable and figure-flattering.
Pro tip: To prevent uncomfortable chafing, I cannot wear a dress without bike shorts or Bandelettes underneath. One of our writers also loves BodyGlide, which is a gel that works to prevent skin from rubbing and sticking. No matter what dress you buy, I recommend investing in one of these to prevent a night of misery and burning. You’ll thank me later.
1. This ruffled midi dress
Perks of shopping at Old Navy: It’s cheap (most of the time), it has frequent sales, and the clothes—which come in a wide range of sizes—tend to last. The popular retailer also offers a bunch of wedding-appropriate dresses, like this floral find.
With a solid 4.2-star rating, the rayon dress has a relaxed fit and a removable tie belt to define your waist and enhance your curves. The ruffled V-neck and elbow-length puff sleeves make this dress fun and playful yet not too fancy—ideal for a backyard or beach wedding.
2. This floral bodycon dress
Say what you will about Shein but I—along with Reviewed's style editor—love this retailer. I was nervous ordering from it at first because of the low prices and the spammy ads on my social media feed. But the Shein clothes I’ve bought from there are some of my favorites now—staples in my wardrobe.
This bodycon dress is one example. It features a bold floral print, fitted pencil shape, and modest ankle-length hem. Made of a polyester and spandex blend, it's labeled as having a “slight stretch,” and reviewers say it fits true to size.
3. This sultry summer slip
In my opinion, Universal Standard is an underrated brand, with on-trend women's clothing available in a huge range of sizes from 00 to 40. The Foundation Cami Dress—which has a perfect 5-star rating from over 100 shoppers—comes in black, navy, and slate gray and is made of figure-hugging ribbed jersey fabric. Sure, you can wear it as a slip under another dress, but I recommend wearing it on its own for a boost of body positivity. Flaunt it! Be confident! Live your best life!
Still not convinced? Take it from this reviewer: "I am a huge fan of this dress. I've never had a bodycon dress that was so comfy. I want to wear it out, wear it in, wear it all of the time. I love it so much. I have never felt better in a tight yet stretchy dress."
4. This chic chevron dress
I absolutely adore chevron. But for some reason, I don’t see a lot of plus-size clothing with the classically preppy pattern. Fortunately, this pretty pick from Lane Bryant exists. The V-neck highlights the chevron effect and draws the eye downward, where the print turns into elongating vertical stripes.
Available in women's sizes 10 to 40 and both regular and petite lengths, the dress has delicate flutter cap sleeves that cover your upper arms without restricting your range of motion. I’m one wedding invitation away from buying this dress (anyone want to send me an invite? Anyone?).
5. This wrap mini dress
This dress is so playful, it makes me want to frolic through a field of daisies. Over 1,600 reviewers agree—not about the frolicking, per se, but about the fact that this dress is a winner. It’s simple yet elegant, with a deep V-neck and cuffed sleeves. The high waist is accented with a tie sash that shows off the flared hem line, which is just begging to be danced and spun in. It comes in six stunning colors and in women's sizes XL to 4X.
6. This splurge-worthy embroidered dress
I’m an embroiderer myself so this dress caught my eye right away. It's something to wear if you want to steal the show—I’m talking about people coming up to you after the wedding ceremony and complimenting you up and down, asking where you got the dress, and saying how fabulous you look.
At $169, it's pricey but reviewers say the intricate detailing, comfortable fit, and convenient side pockets make it worth the cost. It comes in women's sizes 10 to 30.
7. This T-shirt swing dress
Not everyone is comfortable wearing tight dresses—I get it. Even though I'm a firm believer you shouldn’t feel like you have to hide your body, sometimes you just want to wear something you can relax in. Enter this dress, which I like for those times when you want to look fabulous without tugging at your outfit all night. The playful cold shoulder shows a hint of skin while the flowy cut provides comfy coverage. And it has pockets. Sold.
More than 5,600 reviewers on Amazon give it an average 4.4-star rating for its relaxed fit and versatility. The dress comes in 35 colors and patterns and in women's sizes 14 to 26. It's easy to dress up with some statement jewelry to make it more "wedding-friendly."
8. This sexy tie-front dress
This dress from Eloquii gives off big goddess energy, with its flirty cutouts and full sweeping skirt. Made of rayon with a waist seam with back elastic and cuffed, elastic sleeves, the maxi dress is made for a plus-size body—which is rare, as most plus-size clothes are just straight-size clothes, but bigger.
Available in women's sizes 14 to 28, it also comes in six gorgeous colors and patterns. Sure, there’s the standard black option, but you could also go for eye-popping emerald or an abstract floral.
9. This dress with built-in shorts
As mentioned, I can't wear a dress sans shorts or Bandelettes underneath without suffering the dreaded chub rub. That's why I'm obsessed with this dress. It comes with shorts sewn right into it, similar to the skorts I used to love in elementary school. The off-shoulder neckline lets your shoulders soak up some summer sun and the thigh-high slit in the front gives you plenty of room to tear up the dance floor.
The dress comes in women's sizes XL to 3X. Note: Many of its reviewers recommend going up a size or two to prevent the shorts from being too tight or riding up.
10. This spaghetti strap maxi dress
With over 4,100 reviews and a 4-star rating, this dress is a summertime favorite among Amazon shoppers. Available in a variety of floral and abstract palm leaf prints, it conjures up images of Hawaiian sunsets and romantic beach weddings. The dress boasts a sexy slit to show a little leg, along with a cold-shoulder neckline for an equally flirtatious top half.
"This dress made me feel beautiful, sexy, and confident," one fan raves. "All things I haven't felt like in a while. Seriously, I felt like an ethereal wood nymph roaming the streets of Paris. It definitely gave me a much needed confidence boost." It comes in women's sizes L to 3X.
11. This comfy jersey dress
For years, I've relied on Kohl's for every special occasion, from dances to baby and bridal showers. Thanks to its large selection of plus-size clothing, I always know I'll be able to find something to fit me, no matter what size I happened to be at the time.
This flowy frock is just one example of a great Kohl's find. Reviewers say it's their favorite summer dress thanks to its pretty floral print and soft cotton fabric. The crew neck provides coverage with just a hint of cleavage, while the 50-inch length—which hits mid-shin—allows you to dance your heart out without worrying about flashing the bride's grandma. It comes in women's sizes XL to 4X.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.