I love maxi dresses in the summer. They’re easy, comfortable and I don’t have to think about things like how white my legs are or (okay, I’ll admit it) if I even bothered to shave them. While I’m not a plus size woman, 62% of women in this country wear a size 14 or greater. So, today, I decided to feature some plus size maxi dresses from retailers who not only cater to this large part of the population, but also embrace the customer with respect while offering a myriad of great fashion choices.
If you’re a plus sized woman, you know that there are slim pickings out there and few manufacturers that truly understand your needs. However, there are still some great options available for you. Check out these summer plus size maxi dresses and familiarize yourself with companies who aren’t just offering maxis for the summer, but fashionable options all year round.
My Favorite Plus Size Maxi Dresses:
Lee Lee’s Valise
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that I am a huge fan of Lee Lee’s Valise, a small but powerful world-renowned Brooklyn Boutique that caters to women sizes 10-28. Everything is designed in-house by owner and designer Lisa Dolan and manufactured in the USA. Being a plus size 18, herself, Lisa designs everything with her own body as the fit standard, and after years of dressing thousands of women, she understands the subtle nuances necessary in dressing the larger customer. If you’re looking for an intimate, personalized shopping experience, you have to check out Lee Lee’s. And don’t let the neighborhood boutique vibe fool you, Lee Lee’s Valise was featured on TLC’s What Not to Wear over 25 times and the store had its own TLC show last year called Big Brooklyn Style. If you can’t make it to the store in person, Lee Lee’s Valise ships to customer’s worldwide through their website.
Here, I am featuring Lee Lee’s Valise’s Stephanie maxi dress. I love this dress because not only does the fit flatter the plus size figure, but there are also many things about the print that make this dress a good choice for a larger women. First, the deep v-neck is figure flattering as are the diagonal lines across the bust and vertical lines down the bottom half. Finally, the flutter sleeve offers coverage while still keeping you cool. With a simple sandal or wedge and gold accessories, this outfit is polished and ready for a vacation, a party or just an easy day around town.
I’m a fan of Catherines, a company that caters to sizes 16W to 34W, not just because my dear old friend Kate McKee heads up the direction of the company’s product as their VP of Design, but also because I have a great respect for how they cater to their customer. Fit is a crucial part of their approach. Recognizing a need to produce better fitting clothes for plus size women, they designed an entirely innovative program called Real Fit, in which they took highly detailed measurements of almost three thousand women and used the resulting measurements to design a totally new prototype. The result of their research is a wide selection of clothing that more closely approximates the plus-size figure.
I chose this plus size maxi dress from Catherines for its versatility as well as for the way in which it was designed. Diagonal lines having a slimming effect and the bold diagonal stripe in this dress is inherently figure flattering. Contrary to the slew of brands out there that don’t take the time to understand the plus size figure, not all plus size women gain weight the same way. While some gain weight in their tummies, others benefit from waist definition. If you’re a plus size woman with curves and a waist, don’t be afraid of a belt, like you are seeing here. The belt defines the waist and accentuates the part of your body you want to show off.
Known for their quirky, retro styles Modcloth, unlike Lee Lee’s Valise and Catherines, is only recently pushing into the plus size market, yet, it’s something they’re pushing into with full force. Modcloth, a company whose direction is very customer driven, received a lot of feedback from their customers requesting more plus size options. Now, here is the interesting part: despite the fact that the plus size market is on the rise, according to Business Week, when Modcloth reached out to the company’s 1,500 vendors about creating a plus size inventory, only 35 vendors agreed to modify their clothes. Needless to say, Modcloth was surprised that so many of their vendor’s rejected their proposal to cater to this underserved and neglected population. Yet, they went ahead with their plan. Since then, 100 vendors have gotten on-board, yet that number is still paltry in comparison to the number of vendors they currently work with. Determined to increase their plus size market, Modcloth has since hired in-house designers who are focused on making flattering and comfortable plus size clothing as part of its private label.
I chose this plus size maxi dress from Modcloth because of it’s flattering design and the different ways it can be worn. While the dress alone is a bit bland, this subtle color lends itself to pairing any color with it as a complement. Here I chose bold red, denim and teal, but any color would work. Like the other two dresses featured from Catherines and Lee Lee’s Valise, the diagonal lines and cut of the dress have slimming, figure flattering effects.