Plus Size Dresses For Summer: Buy Dresses Online Without the Guesswork

It’s summer. It’s hot. And you’re ready for some relief! Often, us plus size gals struggle to find clothing in the summer that keeps us cool, covered, and comfortable! It’s either too short, too much fabric, not enough, too clingy; you get the picture. We’ve found a solution to your problems; the dress. 

We know what you’re thinking, a dress?! Dresses are for special occasions only. Dresses are too fancy. Dresses aren’t comfy

Well we’re here to break those myths and give you real solutions to wearing dresses as plus size women. Believe this: there is absolutely no style a plus size woman can’t wear that a straight size woman can. Rant over.  

So let’s get you feeling more comfortable about dresses by explaining the different types. But first, let us explain how to pick out the perfect dress while shopping online.

We all know that buying dresses (or clothing of any kind) can sometimes be hard. What will it actually fit like? Is it long or short? Will it look good on me?


Let's breakdown how to buy dresses online:

1: Find a boutique that knows what they’re talking about. 

Shameless plug here for us, Love Marlow Boutique. We’re plus size women ourselves and we touch and try on every single item that comes into our store. We know exactly how it fits and can make great recommendations even from behind a computer! Contact us through social media or the website and we’ll help you find what you need. 

2: Get familiar with dress terminology. 

At Love Marlow, we try to be very technical with how we name our dresses and describe them. We do this so you can get an understanding of exactly what you’re buying! Keep reading to find a full list of dress shapes and terminology you can brush up on. This will help you feel more confident in knowing if a dress is the right shape for you. 

3: Understand fabrics.

With each Love Marlow item, we include the fabric type in the description online! For cooler summer fabrics, look for Cotton, Linen, and Jersey. For wrinkle free fabrics, look for polyester. For lightweight and anything-but-clingy fabrics, look for rayon. 

There really isn’t one fabric that is greater than the other and it seriously depends on when and where you are going to wear your Plus Size Dress. 

4: Know your body shape.

As Plus Size women, we expel a lot of effort trying to not to think about the shapes of our bodies. It’s a sad statement and we totally get it. We’ve been there. But understanding the shape of your beautiful curves will help you understand how to dress for them. 

We’ve put together a guide to identifying Plus Size Body Shapes. It’s simple, easy to understand and will aid you in buying dresses online. We also put the sizing and exact lengths of each item in the description to help you even further.

5: Don't Be Afraid of Shapewear

Shapewear isn't just for sucking you in and hiding your curves. In fact, it should do the opposite! It should accentuate your curves and help you feel more confident. It is especially handy when wearing dresses if you (like us) suffer from the dreaded inner thigh rub. We also put together a blog about plus size shapewear if you're curious if it's right for you!

Now that we understand how to buy dresses online, let’s dive into some common dress types and explain how they might work on Plus Size bodies. 

A-line dress

a line spring or summer plus size dress


Think the letter “A” for this shape. Fitted at the top, then gradually flowing out at the waist.The hem of an A-Line dress is sometimes flared, giving it a looser look. A-Line dresses can be very loose in the waist or a little more fitted, but the hemline is always flowy. 

A-Line dresses are great for Plus Size bodies, especially Triangle, Rectangle or Hourglass shapes. 

Hot Tip: Because they are extra flowy on bottom, it may be a good idea to wear biker shorts or shapewear underneath. Trust us from experience, wind is not your friend. 

Shift dress

Plus size nautical blue and white shift dress

Shift dresses simply skim the body and have no defined waist. They tend to be a little boxy, but don’t consider that a negative. Shift dresses are great for keeping you cool as they do not cling and are generally flowy. Shift dresses are also typically sleeveless. 

Rectangle and circle shapes rock these, but it's a great option for anyone. 

Baby doll dress

 Dusty rose mauve babydoll dress for summer plus size

Ahhh the Baby doll, a favorite style for many plus size women! The reason so many sing the praises of this style is because it is fitted at the top, cinched at the natural waist, and flowy on bottom . For many women, this hides the tummy and covers the booty spectacularly. The fitted waist gives beautiful shape and accentuates. 

This style is popular because it seriously looks great on all body shapes. 

Swing dress

Woman stands wearing a plus size swing dress. It is a cream color and is flowy looking.

A swing dress is fitted at the top and flows out from there. It differs from the A-Line because it is fitted towards the top, where an A-Line is more fitted through the waist. This is another great option for rectangular or circle shaped women! 

Gathered dress

Plus size tropical vacation midi dress that's flowy and gathered at the waist.


A common dress style, gathered dresses have a cinched or gathered waist. This dress style is very broad and a lot of the dresses we carry in store are some variation of it. It’s great for plus size bodies because it accentuates the waist and has extra room on the top and bottom 

Maxi Dress

 Plus size black tropical maxi dress with a camel cardigan

Maxi simply refers to the length. They tend to be longer, at least mid-calf or more and are flowy. Maxi dresses come in all different styles and shapes but length is what unites them all. Maxis are a favorite in the plus size community because they are comfy, pass the bend over test, and overall are a great style choice!

Buying dresses for summer online or in store doesn’t have to be intimidating. Arm yourself with knowledge and understanding that you can find a dress that works for you! If you’re feeling overwhelmed, let us take that feeling away by guiding you to the right dress for the right occasion. 


Ready to try the tips?

We hope you're feeling more confident about buying dresses online! If you're ready to put some of the tips to the test, or just want to browse, be sure to check out our line collection of dresses. 

Shop Our Dresses