I’ve been restraining myself from shopping lately, so I can’t tell you how much fun it is for me to fantasy shop for someone else! I just got a delightful Ask Afrobella question for my pear-shaped bellas.


My pear-shaped friend is trying to find something to wear for a wedding in May. I’m trying to help her look for dresses online, neither of us are able to find any pretty, form fitting dresses that are small on top while also providing any room in the rear. Do you know of any stores that cater to average sized women who also have a sizeable behind?


Stasia, I feel you! Wedding season is upon us, and we’re in the midst of prom season. Tis the season for pretty dresses, and some extra junk in the trunk shouldn’t mean you look any less smashing. But I have particular taste in what I like to wear, and I didn’t want to leave you and your friend in my highly opinionated hands. I wanted to consult with an expert. So I reached out to Catherine, one half of the mother-daughter team behind chic online plus size boutique La Grande Dame.

They started the store when they noticed the distinct lack of clothing for full figured women. Whenever Catherine and her mom would try to go shopping together, it was always difficult to find items that fit. Catherine blames this on several things.

“I think designers tend to be sizist. They don’t design clothes for a larger body. There’s a big stigma about being larger, and people who work retail don’t understand the needs of a full figured customer. ”

Believe me, La Grande Dame does. They do their best to make the online shopping experience as swift and easy as possible, and they’re available via live chat and phone. And when you call, it’s actually Catherine at home on her computer, helping to answer your question.

So here’s what made La Grande Dame the perfect candidate for your question, Stasia — not only can you shop by occasion (hello, wedding attendant, and hello puttin on the ritz!), but you can also body type — click here for pear. And Catherine had one particularly gushing recommendation for a pear shaped bella. “Every pear shaped woman I know says the David Meister rouched V-neck dress is the miracle dress.” That’s it up at the top of the post.


So what else did we love for your body type? Oooh, the silk Shelton dress is so feminine and so pretty! And it comes in gorgeous jewel tones. LOVE.

The silk criss cross ruffle blouse and matching skirt would be dynamite together and surprisingly chic apart. The raw silk wrap dress will play up your sumptuous voluptuousness (you like that? You can use it later! LOL) and the tafetta flower dress “draws the eye upward,” so if you want to hide your hips, it could help.

Catherine recommends the Tadashi halter dress which is figure flattering and on sale! I really, really dig Richie by Olivia Harper — a maxi dress that would look outstanding at a daytime, outdoorsy wedding or a chilled-out prom.


Above all else, Stasia and friend — walk tall, work your makeup and accessories, and know you’re a show stopper. So often we seek to downplay what we perceive as figure flaws, when we should celebrate what we’ve got. Not everyone’s as blessed, and don’t you forget it!

Have fun at your special event!

See anything you like, bellas? I LOVE that Shelton dress, I do!


Lynette says:
April 28, 2009, 9:09 pm
I like how they give honest opinions on which body types the dresses would flatter. And oooh, they have Marina Rinaldi clothing!! I must bookmark this site.
BSQUARED86 says:
April 29, 2009, 1:30 am
May I also suggest Igigi.com, you can shop by shape there!
dee says:
April 29, 2009, 9:44 am
I found this dress for you: http://shop.nordstrom.com/S/2992119/0~2376776~2374327~2374331~6014178?mediumthumbnail=Y&origin=category&searchtype=&pbo=6014178&P=2 You/your friend can shop by shape on Nordstrom's website.
Kindred Smiel says:
April 29, 2009, 1:37 pm
I second Dee's recommendation. I've found excellent pieces on Nordstrom that weren't too hard on the wallet (especially when they're having a sale). More importantly, Nordstrom has the best customer service I've ever encountered, anywhere. And that's saying a lot.
La Grande Dame says:
April 29, 2009, 2:12 pm
Kindred & Dee - I love Nordstrom too but hopefully you will check out www.lagrandedame.com. We are a mom and daughter shop dedicated to personalized customer service and selection!
dee says:
April 29, 2009, 4:53 pm
Don't get me wrong, I love to rep the "small" business. It just so happens the person requesting help said her friend was "average sized" which led me to beleive she wasn't plus sized. I didn't want her to fall in love with your website and then find out she wasn't the correct size.
bella says:
April 29, 2009, 10:44 pm
Dee, great suggestion, and had no idea Nordstrom had a shop by shape option! My bad - I read Stasia's e mail and immediately thought "plus size pear". Perhaps I was reading myself in there? Either way, I think Stasia and friend got some great suggestions!
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