16 Curve Friendly Dresses for Prom or Any Special Occasion

  |   By Holly Jackson

When Elisabeth asked me to write an article about curvy prom dresses, the first thing I did was calculate how long it has been since I've been to prom. Spoiler alert: it made me feel old!

When I went to prom, the options were pretty much big department stores and the mall. They all carried that same dress, a column or full skirt in taffeta with spaghetti straps. None was my style, but they also weren't designed with curves in mind. I was pretty tiny in high school, but my G-cup boobs were still a struggle when it came to buying clothes.

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I’m 32, and the idea of shopping for prom with the internet at your fingers is amazing. There are fabulous dresses everywhere now! You can try them on in the privacy of your own home and send them back if they don’t work. I would have cheerfully killed someone for that option when stuck in mall dressing rooms with my mother.

All of the dresses on this list are curve friendly. They come in a range of sizes, styles, and colors. And plenty won't force you to also search for the right strapless bra to wear underneath! Prom is an occasion where it’s encouraged to stand out, so why not wear a dress that shows off your personality?

ASOS DESIGN Vintage Floral Pleated Maxi Dress: 


ASOS Design Vintage Floral Pleated Maxi Dress
Available in UK Sizes 4 - 18
via ASOS

This dress has it all: vintage flair, no weird undergarment requirements, and an affordable price tag. I love the pleated skirt and the flutter sleeves. While florals for curves are overdone, this less expected version is beautiful.

Regina Gown by Universal Standard:


Regina Gown
Available in Black or Mustard
Fits Sizes XS (10 - 12) to XL (26 - 28)
via Universal Standard

Universal Standard has become the flagship for minimalism for sizes 10 to 28. So if you want a gown that is more modern and streamlined they are a great place to start. Prices are higher, but their quality makes it worth it. Ask my closet and bank account. This mustard yellow gown is unusual, has fabulous draping and a back slit. It would be perfect for pretty much any occasion for a wide range of ages.

Little Mistress Curvy Waterlily Maxi:


Curvy Waterlily Maxi
Available in Sizes 16 - 26
via Little Mistress

Little Mistress has been putting out super trendy dresses for years now, but their expansion into plus sizes has contributed to changing the plus-size shopping landscape. I love this subdued color and the armor-like sleeve beading. This dress has a lovely defined waist, and you can wear it with a wide range of bras, which makes any special occasion easier.

Black Widow Wrap Gown by La Femme En Noir:


Black Widow Wrap Gown
Available in Sizes XS - 4X
via La Femme en Noir

Everyone I have seen in this dress has looked amazing in it, no matter their size or body type. If you’re the type who loves the goth look and high drama, this dress will be your perfect occasion dress for a long time. It’s classic, dramatic and will never go out of style.

Sidney Embroidered Fit & Flare Gown by Dress the Population:


Dress the Population Sidney Embroidered Fit and Flair Gown
Available in Sizes XS - XL
via Nordstrom

The embroidery on this dress is truly incredible, and the beige base gives it a neutral look. You could pair this with tons of different accessories and create different looks with it. I could see this dress working for lots of different personalities and styles.

Collectif Fondness Blossoms Fit and Flare Dress in Ivory:


Collectif Fondness Blossoms Fit and Flare Dress
Available in UK Sizes 4 - 14
via ModCloth

ModCloth has collaborated with Collectif, which is predictably adorable. If you want to dress full vintage princess, this is a great option.

Butterfly Embroidered Dress by Kate Spade:


Butterfly Embroidered Dress
Available in Sizes 00 - 16
via Kate Spade

This embroidered dress with lace tiers is perfect for those who like their style on the boho side but also like maximize every dress-up opportunity. Like many other dresses on this list, it is fashionable enough to be worn way beyond prom night.

Little Mistress Plus Full Tulle Maxi Dress With Embroidery:


Little Mistress Plus Full Tulle Maxi Dress
Available in Sizes US 14 - 24
via ASOS

It’s blue, swishy and will help you channel your inner Disney princess. What more do you need?

Embroidered Bodice Net Gown by Haley Paige:


Hayley Paige Occasions Embroidered Bodice Net Gown
Available in Rose or Black
Fits Sizes 2 - 16
via Nordstrom

This dress gets serious points for being a cut out back dress that allows you to wear a bra! The cut out is closer to the waist, which means you get full bra coverage in back and that same flash of skin.

Little Mistress Embroidered Maxi Dress:


Little Mistress Embroidered Maxi Dress
Available in Sizes 10 - 16
via Little Mistress

Here's another dress that combines a more neutral base color with detailed embroidery to create a beautiful effect. It has an excellent classic shape that helps accentuate curves.

Sequin Cape Dress by Eloquii:


V-Neck Sequin Cape Dress
Available in Sizes 14 - 22
via Eloquii

If you are into statement dresses, you can’t go wrong with a cape dress, especially if it glitters. I love this dress and think it would be a great way to make a super stylish prom statement.

Plus Size Vintage Style Ivory & Black Embroidered Florence Flapper:


Plus Size Vintage Style Ivory & Black Embroidered Florence Flapper
Available in Sizes 14 - 26
via Unique Vintage 

Reproduction flapper dresses don’t have a lot in common with the traditional flapper dress, but they do make a great special occasion dress! Look for ones that don’t have a drop waist and are knee length; that way you get lots of movement and lots of coverage.

Black Marilyn Gown in Oxblood Velvet by La Femme En Noir:


Black Marilyn Gown in Oxblood Velvet
Available in Sizes XS - 4X
via La Femme en Noir

La Femme En Noir cuts for curves in all sizes, which makes this line great for formal occasion pieces. This Marilyn gown is part Morticia Adams and part vintage movie star but will make a serious statement at prom or any other occasion. I love the oxblood color as an alternative to black.

ASOS Floral Wallpaper Maxi Dress with Broderie Trim:


ASOS Floral Wallpaper Maxi Dress with Broderie Trim
Available in Sizes UK 4 - 16
via ASOS

This dress is adorable, has an innovative use of broderie anglaise and is comfortable to wear for other occasions. While the neckline looks relatively low, this is a great chance to pick up a cute bralette to show off underneath.

Holiday Rose Gown by City Chic:


City Chic Holiday Rose Gown
Available in Sizes XS (14W) - XXL (24W)
via Nordstrom

City Chic makes impressive plus-size clothing, even though they don't get as much love in the US as they should. I have two sundresses from them that I bought on a whim that rack up compliments every time I wear them out. I suspect that this strapless gown looks equally gorgeous and would be stunning. They have a great eye for unusual prints. 

Mera Gown by Universal Standard:


Mera Gown
Available in Red and Black
Sizes S (14 - 16) to XL (26 - 28)
via Universal Standard

Another Universal Standard gown, this time in a deep red with a perfect drape. This piece is one that you can wear for everything for the rest of your life. I wish I’d had enough style when I was younger to appreciate dresses like this.


Are you shopping for a curve-friendly formal or prom dress? Which of these styles would you wear?

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