If you're plus-size, you may know the struggle all too well of falling in love with a piece on the runway and waiting three to five seasons until a brand designs something similar in plus-size, if ever. But thanks to indie designer Nakimuli, plus size neoprene fashions were something I fell in love with before I even saw the fabric pop up everywhere else in straight size. When the plus-friendly indie label released their Fall Collection, the structured neoprene "Mambo Dress" was a stand out to me.
Neoprene is the thick synthetic rubber fabric used to make wetsuits, which is why you may also see neoprene clothing referred to as "scuba." If you aren't sure what neoprene feels like, just think about that laptop case that you bought in college when you were paranoid about spilling coffee on your new laptop after an all-nighter.
When used in clothing, the weight of the fabric creates added drama and structure, as evidenced by the wide flair of the Nakimuli dress. Beyond jaw-dropping dresses, neoprene fabric can be manipulated to create a wide range of silhouettes without the garment ending up looking too overworked. And thanks to its waterproof nature, here are 13 ways to work this fall fashion trend right into your summer festivities without worrying about spilling your margarita on your new duds.
1. The OG Neoprene Flared Dress
Red Mambo Dress, $210, Nakimuli
Indie stand-out Nakimuli has been creating garments in this flounced shape (which she refers to as the mambo) for years before creating the silhouette this fall in neoprene. The mambo dress premiered in red and dark khaki in sizes S-3X before expanding to black, white, and pink. The signature mambo silhouette can also be purchased as a skirt in black and red.
2. The New On The Scene Show Stopper
Mad Max Dress, $155, Shop-Majour
Launched a little over a month ago, Shop Majour is already making a huge splash in the plus-size fashion scene. This success is thanks much in part to the brand's limited edition bold statement pieces like this zip-up neoprene and fishnet dress available in sizes 1X-3X.
3. The Floral Bodycon Cuteness
Orchid Print Scuba Body-Conscious Dress, $81, ASOS
Although I've never personally worn anything from ASOS Curve (insert gasp), I know it's a staple for many plus-size shoppers. Scuba options abound on ASOS at the moment but this floral bodycon number was one of the few still available in a full size range (14-24) so it got my pick. Also it's adorable.
4. The New Scuba Suit
Neoprene Blazer, $99, Eloquii
ELOQUII is the brand that plus-size consumers and bloggers helped revive last year and it looks like the brand has wasted no time meeting the needs of its loyal fan-base. In addition to this fashion-forward checkered print neoprene blazer, ELOQUII offers a wide range of neoprene suiting options including tailored pants and flair midi skirts in sizes 14-24.
5. The Skort Not Snorkel
Molly Printed Scuba Skort, $26, Boohoo
With the success of Nadia Aboulhosn's Boohoo capsule collection, the U.K.-based brand has been in the spotlight for its body positive plus-size offerings of late. I probably haven't worn a skort since I was in fourth grade because not too many retailers are making these in plus-size. The Molly skort from Boohoo is not just available in sizes 12-20 but it's a perfect print for spring.
6. The Jackson Pollock-esque Bodycon
Colorblock Bodycon Dress, $55, Torrid
Whether its in nail design or fashion, I love a good Jackson Pollock style paint splatter. This neoprene Torrid dress uses the splatter pattern to add interest to the classic color-block technique.
7. The Rare Scuba Romper
Ray Lace Scuba Romper, $43, Fashion to Figure
Rompers used to be one of those items plus-size women were told not to wear, but thanks to the growth of fast fashion brands like Fashion to Figure, romper options are finally expanding. This scuba option takes the trend to the next level by combining delicate lace on the top with thick neoprene on the bottom.
8. The Neoprene LBD
V-Neck Neoprene Dress, $238, Navabi
Although it's a far cry from my over-the-top personal style, minimalism is on the rise in plus-size fashion and this V-neck neoprene dress by designer Manon Baptiste does the trend justice. Available in black or dark blue, this simple dress also goes up to a size 26 (a small victory for those in favor of extended plus).
9. The Oversized Dress
Spring Black and White Scuba Handmade Oversized Maxi, $109, Etsy
When I came across this dress from Bulgaria-based indie designer, Cherry Blossoms Dress, I was in awe. I have never seen anything like it, especially in plus-size. As I flipped through the photos, I saw that the dress is completely transformed when belted. From the looks of the other items in her shop, such as this oversized maxi dress with neoprene accents, it's clear that she knows how to work the fabric like a pro.
10. The Embroidered Dress
Saffron Embroidered Neoprene Dress, $408, Tadashi Shoji
From the looks of the rest of this list, you might think I only wear black and white. And while I love black and white as wardrobe staples, I am all in favor of bright colors year-round. The jewel-tone shade makes this neoprene dress stand out while the embroidery adds a more subtle detail.
11. The Pull-On Pant
Black & Pink Floral Pull On Scuba Trouser, $43, Yours Clothing
I don't wear pants with zippers, so imagine my delight to find neoprene pants that pull on! These slim fit scuba trousers come in a black and pink floral pattern or a black and white floral option because everything neoprene should have a black and white option.
12. The Watercolor Scuba Top
Modamix Plus Size Printed Scuba Top, $53, Macys
Although it might be expected to see a neoprene peplum top given the nature of the fabric, this fitted Macy's soft pastel option takes the opposite approach. It pairs up nicely with a matching scuba skirt in the same watercolor print.
13. The Little Black Skirt
Mir, $61, Carmakoma
The Danish-based Carmakoma sizes its pieces in Euro sizes so don't be alarmed to see a S-XL because their pieces, like this scuba-like fitted pencil skirt, fit a U.S. size 12-24. You can also include your measurements at checkout so the item is fitted to you, which is such a progressive option given the wackiness that is women's clothing sizes.
14. The Neoprene Sock Booties
Power Sox Neoprene Bootie, $126, Nasty Gal
Okay, now I know this Jeffrey Campbell sock-bootie hybrid is really next level and maybe not seemingly plus-size friendly, but stay with me here. The nearly six-inch heel does another one of my favorite spring trends, athleisure, such justice that I had to include it. While the circumference measurement of the sock is not listed on the site, I would totally employ one of my go-to short fat girl style hacks and scrunch the socks up if they didn't fit on my calves.
Images: Courtesy Brands