Where is MY little black dress?
March 27, 2007 5:42 PM   Subscribe

Too big for the regular stores, too small for the big girl stores... Please help me find a size 18 non-froofy "semi-formal" dress.

It's prom time, but I'm not looking for a prom dress. I'm not finding anything that screams 30-something professional at either Layne Bryant or Avenue. I want to spend less than $100, given I'll probably only wear this dress once. Do any other curvy women have good leads on sites to buy a long-ish semi-formal dress in an 18?

I don't need this for a few more weeks, so ordering online shouldn't be a problem.
posted by meindee to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (19 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
I got a good semiformal dress at David's Bridal. They tend to have a variety of sizes. Check out your local bridal stores; since you have a few weeks you will be able to get something in time. I was a size 16 when I looked for my prom dress and a size 18 when I looked for my senior formal dress in college; I found both at bridal stores.
posted by MeetMegan at 5:49 PM on March 27, 2007

Best answer: I found my rehearsal dinner dress at Talbots. They carry up to 16s and 18s in the stores and their catalog. They also start as low as 12W in their women's sizes.
posted by wildeepdotorg at 5:52 PM on March 27, 2007

I'm all about the Smartbargains these days. You can search dresses by size and colour. Here's one I like in your size and price range.
posted by rdc at 5:58 PM on March 27, 2007

Best answer: Try alight.com and sizeappeal.com -- I'm down to a 12 now, but I remember having lots of choices from those sites a couple of years ago.
posted by houseofdanie at 6:02 PM on March 27, 2007

I'm in the exact same boat and same size, except I need a formal two-piece suit with pants for a dressy (not professional) event. I don't know where "Naptown" (in your profile) is, but if you're in the Seattle area, the Bellevue Nordstrom has a good selection of formal wear in size 16 and up (or if there's a large Nordstrom in your area, try there). Nordy's will probably run you more than $100 though.
posted by matildaben at 6:05 PM on March 27, 2007

Best answer: I've had better luck with department stores for stuff like this -- in my experience, they usually do have an okay selection of larger sizes, but I know it can be pretty hit-or-miss. I don't know what kind of function this is for, or what your style's like, but here are a few under-$100 ideas from a quick search:

Here's one from JC Penney.
Also from JCP but is $129.

One from Macy's (knee-length)

One from Sears
Also from Sears -- but not black; I don't know whether that is a requirement.

One from Dillard's with a lacy jacket thing; not sure how you feel about that.
Another from Dillard's.
posted by Siobhan at 6:08 PM on March 27, 2007

I've had very good luck on the Nordstrom's website for formalwear in plus sizes. We don't have a Nordies here to try anything on, but their return policy has never been a problem. But as matildaben said, I've never been able to get out for less than $100.
posted by librarianamy at 6:29 PM on March 27, 2007

Igigiand Kiyonna are my 2 favorite "go to" stores for dresses like you want. I'm a 40 year old woman but I don't always want to dress like one. Also, Dillards has nice things in their women's section. I just bought 2 dresses 2 weeks ago for my son's wedding. I couldn't decide which one to go with (I ended up going with the bombshell gold Anna Nicole type dress) but I also got a cute retro 60's green cocktail dress just cause it's adorable.
posted by hollygoheavy at 6:29 PM on March 27, 2007

Oh, I simply LOVE this amazing dress. I'm seriously thinking I"m ordering it this weekend.
posted by hollygoheavy at 6:33 PM on March 27, 2007

Kiyonna and BandLu are stores that I wish I had known about a few years ago.

The Vine had a question very similar to this one in the last few months, and a lot of readers had suggestions. You might want to look through the archives.
posted by amarynth at 6:33 PM on March 27, 2007

Best answer: Hellooooo TORRID! I loved that store. I lost weight last year and can't really wear their clothes anymore and I'm actually kind of sad about it. They even have a prom section. Their website is pretty good, but if you can find a store near you, you should browse their selection and try stuff on.
posted by pazazygeek at 7:09 PM on March 27, 2007

You could try getting one custom made by "Dress by Design" -- I haven't tried it myself, yet, but it seems pretty cool. I think they will work with you if you have special requests, too.
posted by amtho at 8:20 PM on March 27, 2007

Lord & Taylor. Kate Hill Tailored Collection Dress $65 bucks. You could wear it with or without a pashmina shawl or a jacket.

Roaman's Faux Lace skirt suit.
posted by nickyskye at 8:46 PM on March 27, 2007

There are several things I want to order from this site, but I don't have anywhere to wear them!
Black Dresses
posted by Melsky at 9:16 PM on March 27, 2007

I'm about the same size, and I really like the following retailers when I can make it into the store for try ons:

Lord & Taylors, Nordstrom's, and sometimes Neiman Marcus.

Nordstrom's is incredibly good about returns when you buy stuff online. (I'm just so very hard to fit that I rarely buy online. Big boobs, tiny waist, big ol' badonkadonk bottom...like an hourglass on steroids.)

Also note that bridal stores will custom fit any dress, and if it's just a one-time only wear, an inexpensive bridal store dress may be the way to go. It's crap fabric, but about the 1/4 of the price of a good formal.

I'm loving all the other links in this post, thanks for asking it. Black Dress may be my new fave dress store. :)
posted by dejah420 at 10:31 PM on March 27, 2007

Silhouettes has some really pretty options.
posted by logic vs love at 10:34 PM on March 27, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks everyone for your input on this. I ended up buying this dress from Torrid. It's a little over the top for what I usually wear, but I think it'll be flattering. Plus, I've learned of many new sites to shop my hard-to-fit shape. Thanks again!
posted by meindee at 9:32 AM on March 28, 2007

Kiyonna.com and bandlu.com and seconding the igigi recommendations.
posted by heartquake at 1:17 PM on March 28, 2007

Thirding Melsky's Black Dresses site and glad for the other new links.
posted by nickyskye at 7:42 AM on March 29, 2007

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