Saturday, December 30, 2017

The Ultimate Formal Wear Dress Edit For Curves

This post is a long ... LONG time coming. It's something quite personal to me on so many levels because over the years I've been in various situations of having to attend a formal or black tie event and seriously having NOTHING to wear. At a size 16 there really are not a huge amount of brands that will cater to your size and boutiques who stock formalwear may only have one or two bigger sizes. It's something which not many people realise and a few months ago when I came across my old Debs dress ( Prom dress if you're in the US)... which was actually a bridesmaid dress because we couldn't find anything else!!! But when I shared the story and dress with you all on Snapchat so many of you had the exact same experiences. It made me realise that the industry in Europe for curvy formalwear hasn't changed that much over the years, so today's post has possibly been one of my biggest research blog posts to date. Below is a list of curve friendly designers and brands that ships worldwide. There is everything from the luxury and bespoke designer to the budget find options. I hope this post for 2018 comes in useful to people even as a reference point so you don't feel overwhelmed. Whether you are looking for a black tie dress, dresses for curvy bridesmaids, a graduation dress or a red carpet look I hope it will be more of an exciting exciting experience and less daunting, but most importantly to be able to truly feel fabulous as opposed to settling for any kind of dress just because it fits. I've done this on so many occasions so I hope you guys won't have to go through the same.

Lou xx

The Formal Wear Guide

Christian Siriano: size range - Any 

Siriano needs no introduction as possibly one of my favourite designers over the past few years. Whether it's a bespoke piece, a red carpet event or wedding dress, the celebrity designer has made a name for himself celebrating woman for all sizes both on and off his catwalk shows dressing pretty much every celebrity actress in Hollywood. I've had the honor to attend two of his catwalk shows and on both occasions my jaw dropped to the floor with his beautiful fabrics and just how he creates pieces for every frame. And while the price might be premium his pieces are on my list of dreams to wear one day as a curvy girl.

Tadashi Shoji: sizes 4 - 26

Tadashi Shoji is a Japanese designer based in the USA. You can find his pieces widely across the U.S in places like Macys, Saks 5th Avenue, Neiman Marcus and many more. Outside of the U.S it is quite easy to shop from his online store which ships worldwide. He has both a main collection which goes up to around a size 18 UK along with a full plus size range boasting beautiful feminine design, thigh slits and cleverly designed pieces. 

Mac Duggel : sizes 4-32 

This U.S brand has been around for a very long time offering floor length evening gowns for all. They are beautifully structured and offer curvy and plus size women a wide selection of colours and cuts to choose from. While they are predominantly in the U.S I have purchased this brand with ease to Ireland and the UK on New York in recent years as well as the website directly - 

Adrianna Pappell : sizes 6-26 

This brand is stocked worldwide in Ireland, the U.K and across the EU and is extremely accessible in terms of buying online to all parts of the world . The brand has a broad selection of styles from red carpet to formal events to bridesmaid dresses and bridal. They have a great range of sizes in their main line along with a separate plus size collection with sizes ranging up to a 26 or a US 24. Prices range starts around $150 and upwards.

Eamonn McGill Designs : sizes - Any 

Irish designer Eamonn Mc Gill has made a strong name for himself over the last few years in the world of fashion. He has created a number of bespoke pieces for Irish celebrities and certainly understands a curvy silhouettes. His new floor length wrap dresses which are incredibly stunning can bought for any size starting at around €150. He also offers a bespoke service for all sizes looking for evening wear and red carpet ensembles. 

McElhinneys: size range - Any 


While this may be an Irish store based in Donegal, McElhinneys ship to the U.K and worldwide. Their bridal suites I have to say is the dream for any curvy bride but when it comes to formal wear sourcing bigger sizes is their speciality. I modelled for them around two years ago (image above) which is where I realised their expertise in that area. They stock a list of luxury brands from Pronovias to Hayley Paige; and whether they have a size in stock or not their customer service and ability to work with all sizes is just wonderful. 

Favianna  : sizes 6-26

Favianna is a family run formalwear brand based in New York for over 20 years. They've dressed numerous celebrities for red carpet events and for a price range of $150 -$550 it's gives people access to beautiful gowns to suit various budgets. They have multiple online stockists worldwide so shipping is certainly not an issue. 

Virgos Lounge : sizes 4-24 

Virgos Lounge are no stranger to designing beautiful floor length pieces, however there is now a new addition to their brand - Virgos Lounge Curve which expands their size range up to a UK 24. They kindly loaned me this dress for the nature of this blog post so I was lucky enough to have a sneak peak at their other curve pieces. They are the kind of dresses that do all the work for you - stand out style and little accessorising is needed. The price point is wonderful and I really felt a million dollars in it during the shoot. You can find their full curve line here and their main range here.

Johnathan Kayne:sizes 6-26

Johnathan Kane was a former contestant for U.S show Project Runway in 2006 , his designs caught the attention of many and as a result he went on to focus on formalwear and red carpet numbers along with designer shoes. He's ethos is all about feeling beautiful and so he offers various styles and sizes across his main line and his plus size line listed on his website as " Kurves".   His designs are stocked in Canada and the U.S as well as shipping worldwide via his website

Phase Eight: sizes 8-26

Phase eight is a U.K brand that has offered a good size selection in occasionwear for a long time. In the last few years they also added their Studio 8 line which caters specifically for sizes 12 -26 across both casual and formal wear.  The brand can be found on various curvy websites including Littlewoods, Debenhams, Next and Simply Be as well as their own website . Their pieces offer a mix of length styles, various designs for all taste buds and age ranges as well as a broad price range. 

Asos : sizes 6-30

Asos is a brand most of us are familiar with but may not be aware of their more formal options. In maxi dress styles they cater for Tall women on Asos Tall which goes up to a UK sizes 20/22. Their main line in formalwear goes up to size 18 and then Asos Curve offer stylish formal options up to size 30. They also hold an exclusive collabouration with occasion wear brand Frock And Frill for  sizes 8-28 across both their Asos and Asos Curve lines.

Simply Be: sizes 12-26 

Simply Be is known in the world of curvy fashion for a very long time but may be overlooked when it comes to a red carpet look. On the website I came across a great range of brands from sizes 12-32 from the Simply Be By Night Collection to their Joanna Hope line. They appear to have exclusive collaborations with certain brands who wouldn't normally offer broad size selections and the price start as low as €49.

Coast Plus Collaboration with Asos & Simply Be: sizes 12-32

Coast is one of my favourite formal wear brands for a long time now but what a lot of people aren't aware of is their collaborations with Asos and Simply Be. The formalwear retailer offer exclusive designs to each brand across formal skirts to formal dresses. On the Coast website from time to time you will see certain pieces will go up to a size 20 ( example here),  however their collaborations with Asos and Simple Be give people the extended size option of up to a size 32. 

Asos and Coast Plus: here

Simple Be and Coast Plus: here

Debenhams : sizes 8-28

Debenhams host variety formal options both in store and online. I featured a wedding guest look a number of month ago and I found many people were not aware of the size range they showcase. Brands include Julien MacDonald ( size ranges from 8-22),  Jenny Packham ( sizes 6-22), Jacques Vert  (sizes 8-24), Debut which ranges from sizes 6-22 along with a Debut Plus section on Debenhams online for sizes 20-24.

Little Mistress Curvy : sizes 16-26

Little Mistress is an online retailer which generally tends to show casual to party wear outfits, however more recently they've added more formal options including maxi styles in their curve section, and as their price points vary between the €70+ mark you can find some great gems! Their curvy line goes up to a size 26 with their main line also offers plenty of formal styles for women sizes 12-16. 

If you have a recommendation for other formal curvy brands that ships worldwide feel free to email: so it can be added to this blog list. 

Lou xx 


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