You might need to go to France if you want to buy a plus size black dress from Paris. There are not many plus size dresses for sale and very few are exported for sale in the United States.
It's not easy to find a plus size dress in Paris in any color. The average French woman is smaller and shorter than the average U.S. woman. The average fashion size in France is a European size 42, which is a size 10 in the United States. The average fashion size in the United States is size 14.
French plus size fashions are usually manufactured to only a size 14 or 16. More expensive fashions up to a size 22 can be found in specialty dress stores. Larger sizes usually must be custom made.
Plus size dresses made by French fashion companies are often cut smaller than plus size dresses made by U.S. designers or fashion companies:
- Shoulders are narrower.
- Sleeves are shorter.
- Bust and hips are smaller.
The United States and France use different garment sizing systems. For example, a U.S. dress size 18 is a size 50 in France. If you purchase your French-made dress in France, the tag will show the French sizing. If you purchase the same dress in the States, the tag will include U.S. sizing and will show the foreign origin of the dress in a variety of ways such as "Imported" or "Made in France."
Where to Buy a Plus Size Black Dress from Paris
Finding your plus size black dress from Paris may require some concentrated shopping efforts. Designer evening wear, classic knit dresses and up-to-the-minute empire dresses are all available if you know where to shop.
You have three options:
- Shop in Paris
- Hire a dressmaker
- Shop online
If you are shopping in Paris, the largest plus size fashion shops are:
- Ulla Popken - The Paris store is at 000032 Boulevard Haussmann 75009, close to the large department stores.
- Unjour Ailleurs - They have several stores in Paris. The most convenient to the main downtown shopping area is at 10 Rue Halévy, 75009.
- Elena Miro - The Paris store is at 16 Rue St Roch, 75001. They carry separates and dresses in European sizes 42-58 (U.S. 10-26).
Larger French department stores such as Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche often carry a limited selection of garments up to size 14 or 16. In some stores there may be a separate department carrying larger sizes. It will usually not be identified as "plus size" or "women's sizes." The department is often called "Encore," which means "more."
Hire a Parisian dressmaker if you don't have the time to shop or if you want a dress that is not readily available in the stores.
- Contact the concierge at your hotel at least two weeks before your arrival date.
- The concierge will be able to help you set up an appointment with a local dressmaker.
- You can select your fabric and pattern and then complete your fittings while you in Paris.
- The dressmaker can then finish your dress and ship it to your U.S. home or office.
Is a Paris shopping trip not in your plans? There are French Web sites, but they are not in English and they do not ship to the United States. You can purchase French plus size fashions online through a few U.S. retailers, though black dresses are not always available:
If you really must purchase your plus size black dress from a French designer remember that it will be:
- Difficult to find in sizes larger than 16
- Cut smaller than plus size dresses made by U.S. designers or fashion companies
- Available in Paris at selected large department stores
- Custom-made by a Parisian dressmaker
- Not always available online from a U.S. retailer
Enjoy Your New Dress
If you are able to find a black dress from Paris, it's sure to be the only one of its kind in your wardrobe - and possibly in your local area - so when you wear it, show it off! Remember, also, to follow the directions on the care label carefully so your dress will last longer.