FATshion: In Search of Plus Size Spring Dresses Not Covered in Flower Vomit

IS IT HOT IN HERE or is it just me?
Publish date:
March 22, 2012
dresses, shoppables, FATshion, plus sizes

According to the super-accurate satellite-set Space Clock I keep on my desk here at Casa Lesley, it’s 81.5 degrees Fahrenheit in my home office right now. This is with the windows open and a delicious breeze coming in off the beach I am fortunate enough to live on.

If I were in Florida, this would be pretty normal. But I live in Boston, where the average high for the month of March is 45 degrees, so this is quite weird. DAFFODILS ARE BLOOMING. In March. Very, very weird.

Tuesday marked the first day of spring, although this rarely means things warm up so quickly -- under normal circumstances this is the time of year when I start shopping for spring dresses to cheer myself up from the gloom of late winter, and not because it’s suddenly scarily unseasonably warm. Nevertheless, my shopping is motivated all the more for it, and I thought I’d share some of my finds with you.

As a general rule, if it’s spring, and if you’re plus-sized, that means it’s time to dress like a flower threw up on you. At least, that’s what a stunning number of plus-size clothing designers seem to assume.

I’m not going to put on like I don’t have love for loud, garish florals. I wear them sometimes. But I get a little irked when spring turns up and it seems like EVERY fatty-friendly dress has a big ol’ flower print on it -- sometimes they look like the model is wearing a field of terrifying vulvas, which somehow wouldn’t bother me if I thought it was intentional -- and as much as I try to toughen them up with Dr. Martens boots and a graphic scarf, they do bore me after awhile.

Thus I have gone -- boldly -- in search of spring-esque dresses that defy the floral-print standard.

I’m a freak for cotton dresses, especially ones that are structurally interesting. This yellow dress from eShakti pushes all my buttons, with a corset-style bodice and contrast piping and a big flouncy full pleated skirt. I’d probably wear a crinoline under this, but I enjoy walking through crowded restaurants and knocking stuff off other people’s tables with my clothes (this has actually happened.)

The Button-Front Corset Style Dress is available in standard sizes from 0 to 26W, and in custom sizes for an additional fee, from eShakti.com.

I have such strong associations between springtime and eyelet that I am incapable of wearing it between September and April -- this is possibly the only fashion rule I follow. Better yet, this short little thing from ASOS is not the soft baby eyelet of Laura Ashley but a tougher, bigger pattern that’s as much geometric as it is floral. The embroidered ribbon trim keeps it from getting too twee, and if you’re afraid of wearing white, just throw one of those Clorox bleach pens in your bag and don’t stress. It worked for me.

The ASOS CURVE Broderie Shirt Dress With Aztec Trim is available in plus sizes 14-22 from ASOS.

I KNOW! It’s a MAXI DRESS covered in HORIZONTAL STRIPES! This is basically everything everyone tells you not to wear, and I’m in love with it. This dress is a little sneaky, as the top front of the bodice actually angles the stripes, with a ruched seam on one side, which results in a bit of visual trickery that might calm the stripe-phobic out there. I really want to wear this with a battered denim jacket and some motorcycle boots, but your mileage may vary.

The Gibson Stripe Knit Maxi Dress is available in sizes 1x-3x from Nordstrom.

Igigi are the freaking legendary wizards of the plus-size cocktail dress, but in recent years their more casual offerings have gotten better and better. This dress has a subtle tone-on-tone leaf-and-flower print, but it lets the gorgeous daffodil-perfect color stand on its own. The cotton-blend fabric and smocking at the waist add a comfort factor, and who doesn’t want to be comfortable when it’s this bleeding hot out? ALREADY?

The Daffodil Love Dress is available in plus sizes 12-30 from Igigi.

More stripes, yes! I guess I’m having a stripe moment. This example is an unusual color combination -- camel and carmine -- that I’m especially into. Actually lately I’m into any stripes that use a beigey color instead of white or black. I love Tim Burton but I stopped wanting to dress like an extra in “Beetlejuice” a decade ago (no offense meant to those who are still at it -- rock on with your stripe love).

I like the angled print on this dress, and the top flounce; there’s something vaguely new wave about it, but it doesn’t come across as ultra retro, which can be a dealbreaker for me. I would swap out that belt though. Ugh.

The American Rag Sleeveless Striped Belted (wow -- does NOBODY care about coming up with cute names for clothes anymore?) Dress is available in plus sizes 0x-3x from Macys.

Do you dig it? What are you into for the spring? And is my stripes obsession out of control or what?