Some consider a wedding dress one of the most significant fashion purchases a person will make in their life. And with price tags on bridal looks — sometimes leaning more toward the upper four digits than the lower threes — it better be. But, as many brides will tell you, even a higher price tag won’t guarantee that you will easily find the plus-size wedding dress of your dreams — especially when it comes to buying a bridal dress online. This is mainly due to the fact that the fashion industry rarely places equal importance on plus-size women compared to straight-size women, making the options limited. Then there is the issue of size grading, which is the process of sizing up or down from the sample size — which many point to as the main reason why plus-size clothing rarely fits right.
“Women come in all beautiful shapes and sizes and their proportions might not necessarily match the way a dress pattern is graded,” says Hayley Paige, a wedding dress designer whose plus-size gowns are sold at BHLDN. “Even more so, all designs follow different size charts, and this makes it particularly hard to shop online because you don't have a physical sample to reference for sizing.” Tina Wong Zysk, the founder of made-to-order bridal brand Grace + Ivory, says that this is an issue at physical bridal stores to an extent as well, with many only offering samples in sizes 4, 10, and maybe 14, almost ensuring that anyone above a size 14 is unable to get a true visualization of what the dress they’re trying on looks like on their body, and have to order the size blindly.
While, as Paige notes, bridal store consultants can explain to brides how certain dresses will fit them, that’s tricky to do online. To combat this, Paige created a size-inclusive measuring chart that “is curated for better support and easy alterations,” she says. “I think it's so important to remind the bride that our gowns are made to fit her and not vice versa.”
While it may sound bleak, plus-size brides’ frustrations are being heard more and more. BHLDN’s just-launched plus-size collection, along with made-to-order, affordable brands like Grace + Ivory, are proof of that. (All of Grace + Ivory’s wedding dresses are under-$2,000, with a portion of every sale going to charity.) So, to make finding a wedding dress when you’re plus-size something to celebrate rather than stress out about, we rounded up wedding dresses of all styles and price points, in the slideshow ahead.
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(Editor’s note: Although not all of the models featured are plus-size, all of the pieces are available in sizes 14+).