Here’s Where to Find Size-Inclusive Wedding Attire in the Philly Area

If you want a wide selection of sizes and styles — especially if you are looking for a garment that’s fashion-forward, are queer or trans, or wear a wedding dress size 24 or above — planning is key.

size inclusive

Lovely Bride in Old City / Photograph by Love Me Do Photography

Though it’s de rigueur for wedding-attire businesses to claim size inclusivity, this typically means they carry a handful of A-line samples in the smallest possible plus sizes — usually a wedding dress size 14, which will fit more like a 10, since wedding garments are cut smaller than regular clothes. If you’re a fat/plus-size person shopping for your Big Day and want a wide selection of size-inclusive wedding attire in various sizes and styles — especially if you are looking for a garment that’s fashion-forward, are queer or trans, or wear a wedding dress size 24 or above — planning is key. Here, newlywed writer Emma Copley Eisenberg shares her research.

Ed. Note: The inventory cited below is up-to-date as of the Philadelphia Wedding winter/spring 2023 issue, published in November 2022. Call each location for the latest sizes.

On Philadelphia Wedding’s last count, South Philly-based BHLDN offers more than 150 wedding styles online, including­ jumpsuits and sets. Of that number, upward of 33 are plus-size. This includes gowns that go up to a 26, the largest size manufactured by BHLDN, which fits more like a street-size 22. At the time I was shopping in February 2022 for my October union in that same year, the Devon shop had 23 plus-size options for try-on.

In comparison, Conshohocken brand David’s Bridal, which has seven locations­ within 50 miles of Center City, has a huge selection — of its 421 total dress styles, 300 plus-size styles are currently available on the website, with 247 looks in sizes 24 to 30, among them different­ silhouettes, textured fabrics and two-in-ones, as well as jumpsuits. In-store, David’s Bridal offers sizes up to 30 for try-on, but inventory varies based on location, the size of the boutique,­ the market and other factors.

Good to know: Notice how a business brands itself. Does it photograph garments on fat people and post plus-size models on Instagram? David’s, which recently underwent a major identity update, does exactly that.

size inclusive

A size-inclusive look from David’s Bridal / Photograph courtesy of David’s Bridal

As for smaller Philly businesses, there are standouts. Élysée Bridal is a new romantic­ line whose designers live locally­ and whose dresses are at L&H Bridal in Northeast Philly. L&H carries upward of 80 plus-size dress styles available for in-store try-on in size 14 and up, and 15 in size 24 and up. (Most gowns in the inventory can be ordered up to a size 32.) Lovely Bride in Old City, where I ultimately found my dress, curates sustainable garments from boutique designers. There are 95 gown styles available for in-store try-on in a size 14 and above, with five size 24 and above. And the staff was responsive and flexible.

Size inclusivity is a problem on a national scale — far beyond Philly alone. But why? According to Oregon-based designer Elizabeth Dye, it has to do with both the historical biases against making high-end clothing for fat people and the financial ways this bias manifests in the fashion industry — from manufacturers charging designers more for plus-size clothes to designers upcharging shops for plus-size samples.

If you have the time and budget, consider custom clothing. Local designers­ Madison Chamberlain and Ruby Gertz of Spokes and Stitches have expertise with inclusive garments. Chamberlain’s pieces take up to nine months and cost between $3,000 and $15,000. (Her bold veils are fun finishing touches, too.) Black-owned Madelange Laroche­ in Elkins Park is a hybrid ready-to-wear and custom salon, with most try-on gowns in up to size 24 but available to order in up to size 28. Most gowns are custom-made, which takes up to nine months and starts at $4,500. (Discover more about the shop here.)

Xavi Row Bespoke (read about the founder’s wedding here) and Style By Blain are also Black-owned but make custom suits and shoes, respectively. For suits for queer, trans, and gender non-conforming people, Brooklyn-based Bindle & Keep is expected to open a Philly outpost in 2023.

size-inclusive wedding attire

Courtesy of Laura & Leigh Bridal

Cherry Hill-based Laura & Leigh Bridal has an inclusive ethos. Owner Laura Calderone (who is getting hitched later this year) commits to procuring­ samples up to a size 30 for every order, refuses to work with designers who don’t have inclusive size charts, and requires that all stylists go through sensitivity­ training. “Just offering dresses­ in plus sizes doesn’t make a store inclusive,” says Calderone. “It means inclusivity of everyone — regardless­ of gender identity, sexual orientation, race, budget, religion, style or size.”

Online-only brand Sweet Caroline (owned by Caroline Adams of Cherry Hill) has fun bridal separates and sizing­ up to 32. For an exclusively plus-size selection, try Brides of Today in Quarryville, with sizes 16 to 32 — a truly affirming experience.

Published as “Expert Advice: Where Can I Find Size-Inclusive Wedding Attire?” in the winter/spring 2023 issue of Philadelphia Wedding.

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