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Manolo for the Big Girl | Archive | October, 2007
Archive - October, 2007

The Big Question: High Fructose Corn Syrup Edition

Today, in celebration of all things teeth-rotting and good, we give you a sugary extra helping of The Big Question. Francesca and Plumcake want to know

a) What was your favorite trick or treat goodie as a kiddo?

b) Did you have any trick-or-treat traditions? (trading? candy x-rays at the local hospital? tithing?)

Winter clothing for the harassed college girl

Our internet friend Katie writes:

Dear Francesca,

First, I love your blog. You’re alway so superfantastic it makes me squeal in a totally non-fangirlish sort of way.

Unfortunately, I need your help.

I’m a big girl who’s a first-year college student at a school in New York, and it’s a fifteen-minute to half-hour walk from the residence halls to the academic side of campus, depending where on the academic side you’re going. The library is closer, but the computer science buildings and such are on the far end of campus. Much of the walk there is on a brick walkway, and people walking on foot have to contend with people on rollerblades, bikes, and skateboards, though there will be fewer of them once it starts to snow.

But! This is my problem! I don’t want to be like the other girls on campus, content to wear frumpy sweatpants or old jeans and t-shirts, and I refuse to touch flip-flops. See, my school has a 70/30 male/female ratio, so most of the girls on campus know they don’t have to be superfantastic for male attention, and don’t want to be superfantastic for themselves.

(And no, I don’t want to be superfantastic for male attention either, I’d much rather attract female attention. I’d also like to avoid getting hit on by said males whenever possible, but that’s not an option.)

So I need clothes, dear Francesca. Clothes that can stand up to bitter New York winters. Shoes that can survive walking through a foot of snow to get to class, and heels that won’t get caught between bricks and lead to a broken ankle. Layers, so that I can be comfortable in the freezing outdoors and the chilly library; the far too warm third-floor physics department and my sweltering sixth-floor dorm room. Clothes that make me look superfantastic without looking like I’m desperate for male attention, because the most persistent here insist they’re a “cure” for lesbianism and the shyer ones just stare at my chest.

I’m right on the line between average and petite, wear a size 24 pant and a larger top (between 24 and 30 depending on cut and stretchiness of material). I’m very large-chested and can’t wear tops with thin straps or lacy shoulders because I hate showing my bra straps. I don’t mind denim, but I love soft fabrics. And I’m a poor college student paying over thirty thousand a year for school.

Can you help me?

Francesca says: Katie, the fashion gods have heard your cry, and created a store just for you: Avenue.com, which has lots of clothes good for layering, at reasonable prices, and with a look that is both attractive and cozy-comfy for the hard-working, fashion-conscious college girl who wishes to look feminine but unpretentious. Up to Size 32, just for Katie!

Francesca recommends the “Shop by Outfit” option for ideas of what to wear during the cold Northeast winters. Katie will enjoy the outfits under “Weekend Wear,” such as this layered look comprised of cotton bootcut jeans, a tank top, thermal hoodie, and quilted vest (dress up with a pretty necklace and earrings to bring the femininity factor up a notch):

and in the “Wear to Work” section is this very pretty and chic ensemble, sure to drive the college boys crazy in Katie’s unattainability, and turn the heads of not a few girls, too:

The outfit is comprised of machine-washable pants, a “floaty, flirty” blouse, and that adorable red quilted peacoat, which Francesca covets.

Now, for shoes. Francesca is familiar with the ill-paved cobblestone pathways, and sympathizes with the need for stylish shoes and boots which will keep one warm and not get caught in those stubborn cracks or break the bank.For days when it is very cold but not raining or snowing, Francesca recommends the Ariane by Bastien, which claim to be waterproof but Francesca never believes these things about suede:

For days of snow or rain, there is the Claire, also by Bastien (in black or dark brown) — or browse the “boots” category on this blog for Plumcake’s many suggestions for wide-calf boots.

Before it gets that cold, Katie could wear the Kira 40 by Rieker (in black or chestnut) which covers the whole foot, making the chemistry lab assistant happy, has wide heels for maneuvering the cobblestones, and are made of leather for the comfort while standing around mixing chemicals and telling off the obnoxious boys. It is a handsome shoe, rather than pretty, but is functional for Katie’s many logistical needs, and is certainly many steps up from sneakers and flip-flops:

Happy shopping and happy studying! Please let us know how your new wardrobe works out!

xoxo, Francesca

Your Halloween Gross Out

Courtesy of the New York Times.

“He explained that the perfume material from the anal gland is found in both males and females.”

Ewwwww!

Strapless Bras for the Big Boobs

It has come up, here at Manolo for the Big Girl, when we recommend strapless, wide-neckline, or plunging-neckline dresses, that readers do not know where to find a bra to wear with such revealing clothes.

Whitney, who recommended HolyClothing to us, reminds us about Bravissimo, the British bra store which sells “lingerie for big-boobed women” (seriously, that is their tagline). Francesca was pleased to see that they sell strapless and plunging bras, starting at D-cups, all the way up to G-cup. (Elsewhere on the site, bras go up to size K, and there is a nursing bra in an L-cup.)

The bras are pricey (and outside Europe, one must add a $15 shipping fee – ha! revenge for all American sites which do not even ship abroad at all!), but this is not an area where one wishes to skimp.

So now there is no excuse not to look and feel sexy.

Gold dancing shoes for the Big MC girl!

Our internet friend Elizabeth writes:

I am going to MC the staff awards dinner at my place of work in a couple of
weeks, and of course I want to look fantabulous. I have, after much
searching, found what I think is the perfect dress for this evening
occasion, the Maggie London Beaded Chiffon Dress in regal from Nordstroms.

I can’t figure out the shoes though, time is running out and I’m getting frantic. It will be November, so I’d like to wear stockings. Gold seems like the obvious choice of color, but the gold shoes I’ve found seem to fall into two categories: sandal (not a fan of the sandal and stocking look) and grandmother of the bride. To further complicate things, there will very likely be a Billy Crystal style song and dance number – so teetery spike heels seem like an invitation to disaster.

Any help you can give me would be a life saver!

P.S. I am a 5’9″ 14/16W chesty big girl with long legs and size 9 medium feet if that is a help to know.

Francesca says: Ah, how jealous I am of Pears, who can wear the gorgeous details across the upper tummy without looking like an Oompa Loompa. And to lack the serious lumpy-squishies on the upper arms! Elizabeth is indeed inshopping heaven! Francesca could never get a way with this dress, but she is happy to help find appropriate shoes.

Indeed it is much easier to find shoes which will exactly (or almost exactly) match the gold trim, rather than to find shoes in the exact same shade of purple, but since we cannot see the exact shade of gold needed (every computer monitor is different), here are two nice options which Elizabeth can try, to see which shoes match both the gold tone and the “look” which Elizabeth wishes to create:
“Rachel” by RSVP:


“Negligee” by Elle:

Francesca also wishes to remind Elizabeth that now might be a good time to buy a superfantastic new bra. A chesty MC in a dress which is unforgiving up top must look ultra-confident, ultra-sexy, and ultra-supported. Do not risk a wardrobe malfunction!

Have a wonderful time at the award dinner. Please let us know how it goes.

xoxo, Francesca

There is a reason that fat ladies look awesome at Renaissance fairs

An internet friend, Whitney, alerted us to an amazing site where one can buy stylish clothing up to 5x: HolyClothing.com

The collection is not extensive, but it is wonderful, and Francesca must point out that since there is a sort of Renaissance/Victorian/Gothic theme happening, many of the items are fantastic for Apples!

Francesca does not understand how, at these very reasonable prices, the site can claim the clothes are handmade. She has not tried the site, so she cannot vouch for the quality of the materials. However, Whitney says:

I’ve been buying their stuff (especially their dresses) for years now. It’s all very well designed and executed, the fit is very consistent from style to style (though I’m afraid I can’t vouch for the pants, as I haven’t worn pants for years, but I cannot imagine it’d be very different). . . . And most definitely what you see on the screen is what you get – fabulousness.

Look at this gorgeous blouse, which Francesca must try immediately!

Ooooooo . . . a gypsy skirt in Francesca’s favorite color!

Is this perfect for Apples, or what?

Francesca will try this site ASAP. Meanwhile, if others have experience with them, please tell.

The Fatter, the Better

Our internet friend April alerted us to an interesting article, about a new finding that the more overweight a woman is, the less likely she is to be clinically depressed:

 The findings match the results of a survey in the UK, which found that three in five women over size 14 were happy and secure in their relationships and life in general.

In the two-part research, the team looked at Body Mass Index (BMI), a measure that takes into account both weight and height, and compared it with mood in a group of young women.

They found that the higher the BMI and body size, the lower the number of symptoms of depression, anxiety and negative mood. In fact, the most depressed were all thin, while the largest were the least miserable.

For explanations, the psychologists turned to biochemical research that suggested the possibility of a link between oestrogen and mood, and the brain chemical, serotonin, the target of widely used antidepressant drugs.

They say very potent oestrogens are primarily found in fatty tissues, suggesting that women with higher body weight may have higher levels.

The science of the study is not what is important to Francesca, it is these lines:

three in five women over size 14 were happy and secure in their relationships and life in general . . . . the most depressed were all thin, while the largest were the least miserable.

The next time someone suggests women are, or become fat, to hide emotional problems, you can stick this article in their faces.

We are at least as likely, if not more so, to be happy, productive, relatively-issue-free as our skinny sisters.

The only problem inherent in being fat, as far as Francesca can see, is if the fatness is related to health problems. Sometimes it is, sometimes it’s not. Your doctor can tell you whether you’ve got anything bad going on which would be helped by eating healthier and excercising more.

If not? If your fatness is purely an aesthetic issue? Then the only problem is this society, which tells us, every day, that if we are fat we should be feeling sad.

We don’t.

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