Feeling Confident and Elegant: A Guide to Plus Size Special Occasion Fashion

Feeling Confident and Elegant: A Guide to Plus Size Special Occasion Fashion

Muhammad Saleem Shahzad

Attending weddings, parties, proms, and other special events can be exciting, but shopping for the perfect plus size occasion wear outfit can also be stressful. However, the plus size fashion industry has come a long way in recent years with more options than ever before in stylish, elegant plus size special occasion pieces that are both comfortable and confidence-boosting.

The Evolution of Plus Size Fashion

Not too long ago, shopping for fashionable and well-fitting plus size clothing for a special occasion was extremely limited and often disappointing. Plus size fashion choices tended to be basic, frumpy, ill-fitting, and matronly. There were very few plus size formalwear pieces available at all, and certainly none that were fashion-forward or made women feel beautiful.

Fortunately, recent years have seen immense growth and change in the plus size fashion market. Plus size women demanded better, and brands and designers listened. There are now far more options available for plus size special occasion pieces with on-trend silhouettes, fabrics, colors and details. After recognizing the strong demand, major designers and brands now offer extended plus size clothing ranges, meaning better availability both in stores and online.

Today’s plus size occasion wear choices allow women to feel just as stylish, elegant and confident as straight-sized women when attending any formal or dressy event. Continued advocacy and support for inclusive sizing means the options will only continue to grow. Every body deserves to shine.

Key Trends in Plus Size Occasion Wear

The influx of plus size special occasion pieces means there are so many options to suit your individual style. Whether you prefer something classic and timeless or want a contemporary twist, you can certainly find an outfit that makes you look and feel amazing. Some of the hottest trends in plus size occasion wear include:

Statement Sleeves

From extravagant tulle poufs to wide bell shapes, bold and eye-catching sleeves are having a major moment. Make your arms the focal feature with voluminous statement sleeves on your special occasion dress or top. These whimsical details add gorgeous drama to any look.

Metallic Magic

Gold, silver, bronze, and more metallic fabrics are perfect for statement occasion wear. These eye-catching finishes radiate glamour and elegance, from shimmering sequins to liquid-looking satins. Choose a metallic piece when you really want to shine.

Bold Colors

Leave basic black in the past, and embrace vibrant jewel tones and punchy brights instead. Plus size occasion wear is available in stunning rich colors like emerald green and sapphire blue. Make a dramatic entrance in a fuchsia pink or canary yellow gown. Have fun and turn heads with a colorful special occasion ensemble.

All Embellished Everything

Elevate your occasion wear look with gorgeous embellishments. From delicate beadwork and sequins to 3D fabric flowers and feathers, embellished details take any outfit to the next level of glam. Embrace all-over adornments or choose an asymmetric style with one heavily embellished shoulder or sleeve.

Feminine Ruffles

Nothing says feminine beauty quite like ruffles! This romantic trend gives gowns, dresses,, and occasion-wear tops gorgeous soft volume and movement through cascading ruffle tiers, asymmetrical details,, or demure lace ruffle trims. Ruffles accentuate curves and add gorgeous dimension in the most complementary way.

Daring Cut Outs

If you’re looking to spice up your occasion wear style, embrace the cut out trend. Strategic flashes of skin provided through back cutouts, waist cutouts, shoulder cutouts, or even torso cutouts create an alluring silhouette. Pair with high-neck or long-sleeve dresses and tops to offset the reveal.

Styling Tips for Plus Size Special Occasion Wear

With so many gorgeous plus size special occasion options available, the key is learning ways to choose and style pieces that specifically flatter your body shape. Understanding your silhouette and following useful fashion styling guidelines will make you look and feel fabulous at any formal event.

Accentuate Your Assets

Identify the parts of your body you love most and choose special occasion styles that accentuate those areas. This may be defined arms, a narrow waistline, shapely shoulders, toned legs, or ample cleavage. Seek out occasion wear with supportive undergarments that enhance your favorite features.

Balance Proportions

Creating balance in your special occasion outfit is key. If you choose a sleeveless style or something with a deeper neckline, pair it with a long-length hemline. Or if your dress or skirt is short, balance it with more coverage up top. Cinching your waistline also helps create feminine curves.

Layer Strategically

The temperature drops quickly once the sun goes down, so bring a pashmina shawl or faux fur stole when wearing sleeveless gowns. For strapless styles, keep shoulders warm and add visual intrigue by layering over off shoulder capes or cropped jackets. Stay comfortable and stylish.

Mind the Fabrics

Pay attention to fabric content when selecting plus size occasion wear. Natural fabrics like silk, satin, and chiffon are the most flattering. They have movement and drape gorgeously over curves. Stiff fabrics, or anything too thick or heavy, will add visual bulk and should typically be avoided.

Pick Darker Palettes

Deep hues have a slimming effect compared to lighter colors, so opt for gorgeous rich tones like emerald, navy or wine colored plus size occasion wear pieces. Deeper shades also convey elegance, befitting any formal event. To expand the color palette available, add a colored shoe like ruby red or cobalt blue.

Skip Overwhelming Prints

It’s best to avoid oversized florals, plaids, or distracting prints, which tend to overwhelm the frame. If you like patterns, seek smaller-scale prints instead. However, stunning solid colors with eye-catching silhouettes and details make the biggest style statement.


With the exciting evolution and expansion of plus size occasion wear fashion, you certainly don’t have to sacrifice style or comfort to feel your most confident at any formal or dressy event. Follow the latest trends - like statement sleeves or metallic fabrics - or opt for sophisticated classics. Just be sure to choose pieces specifically made for fuller figures, available at inclusive fashion retailers.

Keep these handy plus size occasion wear styling tips in mind, and you’ll have an array of elegant and flattering outfits perfect for anything from black tie weddings to prom nights. Forget frumpy and matronly, today’s plus size special occasion offerings allow you to embrace your inner diva! So have fun with your fashion, and shine brightly in celebration of your one-of-a-kind beauty and style.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.


This article was written by Muhammad Saleem Shahzad, Managing Editor of Fashion and Manufacturing. With more than a decade of experience in the Fashion industry, Muhammad reports on breaking news and provides analysis and commentary on all things related to fashion, clothing and manufacturing.