Confession: All I can think about at the moment is my spring/summer wardrobe. It might be too chilly to fully embrace it right now, but I’m longing for those jacketless days, lusting after warm sunsets with friends and prepping for a sunny season of joyful occasions. There’s no denying that the coming months bring so many opportunities to get dressed up and feel a little fancy, and if you’re anything like me, you’re probably already planning what to wear.
However, anyone above a size 18 knows the frustration of finding the perfect dress, then realising the brand doesn’t make your size. (Honestly, brands, expand your sizes—you’re missing out on my money, honey!) I’m a UK size 24/26, and I’m absolutely obsessed with hunting down the best pieces available in plus sizes.
Whether you’re going to a summer wedding, a garden party or your friend’s 30th birthday weekend away or on a special date night, I’m hoping this selection of event dresses can help you with your search. Whilst I, of course, tried and tested some of those long-standing plus-size-friendly brands like ASOS Curve, River Island and Marina Rinaldi, I also wanted to shout about some of the brands that have entered my wardrobe recently. If you’re looking for something sparkly, you need to check out RaeVynn. Since launching last year, it has brought out a range of over 20 sequin-covered dresses in sizes UK 2 to UK 30. I’m so excited to see this level of size inclusivity and variation in styles. It’s the perfect brand to try if you’re looking for a dress to party in, and many of its pieces are available to rent from My Wardrobe HQ.
In the above image I'm wearing Rixo, another of my go-tos for statement dresses. Over the last few years, the brand has been working hard to expand its size range, and it now offers plenty of stunning pieces up to a UK size 24 (which I think is often a generous fit). Rixo has just opened its incredible flagship store in London. This means that as a plus-size person, you have the rare opportunity to walk into a store and try on clothes there and then. To make this even better, the brand also has an alteration booth in its store, so if the fit isn’t quite right, you can easily get a piece tweaked.
Alongside these brands, my other current favourites for dresses are Olivia Rubin for colourful luxury pieces, Mary Benson for British-made fabric-filled dresses and the amazing Mimine AG for the ultimate premium-quality plus-size occasionwear. As for high-street brands, I keep my eye on M&S, Mango and Topshop Curve.
To help you search for the one that bit easier, I’ve lined up a list of all the stunning dresses that stood out to me and tested out five for you in person—just in time for summer. Enjoy!
1. Karen Millen Knitted Dress
Style Notes: My friends are probably sick of me telling them how much I love a knitted dress, but I do—I love a knitted dress! I’m so here for the combo of comfort and style. I love the fit flexibility you get with knitwear pieces, and they always seem to hang with a lovely weight. This dress is made from silky smooth yarn and is incredibly soft to wear. It’s also quite a fine knit so shouldn’t be too warm. I love the abstract marble-style print and the zesty colours. This dress also comes in a pink and black colourway if lime and navy aren’t your thing. Karen Millen has quite an extensive range of plus-size options, and I would suggest trying them out if you’re looking for a more premium high-street item.
2. River Island Pink Midi Dress
Style Notes: I picked this dress out as a colour-blocked option. This would make a fabulous wedding guest look with its frill sleeves and bold hue. With the shirred-back waistband making it comfortable to sit and spend all day in, you could put this on in the morning for the ceremony and still feel happy dancing in it at midnight. I love where the neckline hits, as it makes it easy to find a bra to wear with it. And those ruffles… Need I say anymore?
3. RaeVynn Sequin Dress
Style Notes: I’m a firm believer that sequins are not just for Christmas or festivals. Their statement-making, shimmering joy deserves to be enjoyed all year round. Silver sequins are a classic, and I especially love the different-sized discs used on this dress. It gives me Paco Rabanne vibes. This dress is probably the sexiest of the bunch I’ve picked out for you, as it has a high slit at the side and open sides with ties. I’ve paired it with a sheer layer underneath to enable me to wear a bra with it, but I think it’s time to invest in some super-strong boob tape so I can wear this in its sexiest original form. Imagine this dress on the dance floor or shimmering during golden hour when you’re walking to dinner on holiday. I’m not saying it’s perfect for every occasion, but having said that, think about it layered with a crisp white shirt—so fabulous!
4. Never Fully Dressed Crochet-Print Dress
Style Notes: I was drawn in by the print of this dress but was won over by the embroidered details. I love the added texture. With crochet set to remain a popular trend this summer, I love how Never Fully Dressed has taken that technique and turned it into this colourful print. When it’s warm, I become a little obsessed with natural fibres, so I love the fact this dress is 100% cotton, making it more breathable and cooler to wear. Personally, I’ll be pairing this with even more crochet, a crochet bag and maybe even a crochet hair accessory. I’m a maximalist, and that’s how my brain works, but if you’re into a more pared-back style, this would look stunning paired with all-white accessories for a fresh summer-occasion outfit.
5. River Island Pink Ruffle Minidress
Style Notes: This dress might not be for everyone, but there’s no denying it’s a statement. In fact, it’s a statement I really want to make. Bigger bodies can wear things that make them even bigger—take up the room you deserve! If I saw this dress on a size 10, I know that I would be obsessed, so I’m super excited to see it in a plus-size range too. The mini length along with the racer-style straps give this pouffy dress contrast, and I love its vintage feel. You can really live your true Barbie life in this dress.