I'm a Plus-Size Editor Going to 7 Weddings This Year—18 Dresses in My Cart
I’m at that special age in a girl’s life when there’s only one thing on my mind. Boys? No. Torture—specifically in the form of what body-constricting, sans-pocket, wear-it-once frock I’ll be wearing to the multitude of weddings I have lined up on my plate for spring.
Now that I’m solidly entering my early-to-mid-20s, some of my best friends from high school and college are getting married to their better halves. While I’m a big sucker for a wedding (cue the waterworks!), one of the most stressful things about celebrating the love of those dearest in my life is what to wear. Picking out the perfect gift and writing the best card comes easy to me, but figuring out what dress goes best with my friends’ unique venues, celebrations, and, frankly, vibes proves to be a challenge if you’re half as fashion-obsessed as I am. Throw being above a size 12 into a mix, and the whole ordeal can be straight from a horror film in my eyes.
Shopping for formal dresses in a landscape that isn’t designed with plus-size people in mind elicits a fight-or-flight response I’ve spent years undoing while working in the fashion industry. While the options are seemingly endless for straight-size shoppers, plugging in my size at some of my favorite retailers only to see the options available above a large max out at 20 is disheartening, to say the least. There’s nothing worse than finding a dress I fall in love with only to read the reviews and learn that it runs smaller than average—a frightening thought in an industry that, just a few short years ago, celebrated plus-size models and shoppers in order to hit inclusion points on social media. Even though it’s a hard pill to swallow for some brands, plus-size shoppers are still a massively underestimated market when it comes to buying power. Take it from me: There’s nothing I love more than shopping.
Ahead of wedding season, I challenged myself to spend hours combing through reviews, listings, and online testimonies in search of the best plus-size wedding guest dresses to wear on my friends’ special days. While I wasn’t quite optimistic at first, I walked away with more than a handful of options to try on from a variety of retailers, price points, and on-trend aesthetics, all of which I can wear over and over again beyond the spring and summer. Now that I’ve found the perfect plus-size wedding guest dresses to wear this year, I just had to share them with the world. Long gone are the days of ordering a stiff, black, A-line gown with thick straps that hides my body just because I’m not a size 2. Everyone deserves the chance to feel good about themselves.
As a born-and-bred city girl, black-tie affairs have to be my favorite weddings to attend. I love an air of formality, and these dresses are absolute showstoppers. Hats off to Anthropologie’s, Réalisation’s, and Reformation’s selection of on-trend styles for this round. While Anthropologie's plus-size dress selection includes well over 200 styles up to a U.S. 24—making it one of the most inclusive on this list—Réalisation only goes up to an XXL, and Reformation’s Extended Sizes selection pales in comparison to its straight-size offerings. For reference, when I used the filtering tool, Reformation had less than 50 styles available as part of its extended line but 772 options available in an XS to an XL.
Pro tip: Réalisation’s bias-cut dresses are the most plus-size friendly, according to my personal experience and reviews on TikTok, with some dresses fitting up to a size 18 or 20.
While wearing flowing maxi dresses to nuptials held on the beach is far more acceptable than wearing knit minidresses, the vibe of my best friend’s seaside affair is anything but formal. For a wedding where the married couple is more free-spirited and nontraditional, a fun-colored midi knit dress may do the trick. This Free People dress can easily be dressed up or down with a pair of beach-appropriate wedges and a statement bag—or, if you’re like me, the most comfortable pair of leather slides I own. I’m wearing an XL, but the knit material and cut is flattering on anyone. For reference, I oscillate between a size 14, 16, and 18, and this dress felt a little big on me.
What’s better than a traditional spring wedding held in a backyard or garden? For some of my friends, their ceremonies are in open air, meaning searching for a plus-size wedding guest dress that felt comfortable and breathable while still remaining on-theme was my highest priority. Eloquii is a plus-size staple, and it's the only plus-size-only retailer to land on my radar while shopping. Reformation’s dress fit like a dream and Hill House’s iconic nap dress silhouette (available in up to a size XXL) tied for second when it comes to comfort and style in my book. Hill House’s back ruching is also tremendously breathable if you have a larger back or chest, and I already have one friend who’s dying to borrow it for another wedding we have coming up.
A Gen Z Affair
Gen Z is finally growing up and getting married, and naturally, that translates into what their guests are wearing. One of my friends getting married later this summer told me her unofficial dress code was a cool, chic, Chloë Sevigny–inspired vibe, which told me all I needed to know. If you’re looking to play up your personality and celebrate young couples in a way that feels most authentic to them and their style, these out-of-the-box wedding guest dresses should be on your radar. Ganni’s inclusive size range makes it one of my favorites to grace this list, with a few options ranging up to a Danish size 52, or 20 in the U.S. For a higher-end brand that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, I was pleasantly shocked. While I scored this pink dress on Ssense for under $100, there’s a multitude of options available in a similar style on Ganni’s website. Reformation’s black A-line dress was one of my favorites on this list, but a special shout-out goes to Rezek Studio’s bold, untraditional corsets I’ll be wearing layered under a black maxi skirt for a downtown rehearsal dinner. Rezek’s sizing can use a good push in a more inclusive direction. The corsets come up to a size L but are designed to fit a bit larger based on sizing instructions from the brand. I’d say U.S. 14s and 16s can make one of the brand’s Insta-famous corsets work. Here’s to hoping for a larger sizing line in the future.
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