Manolo for the Big Girl Fashion, Lifestyle, and Humor for the Plus Sized Woman.

February 12, 2008

Plumcake Loses Her Mind, Chaka Kahn Sought for Questioning.

Filed under: Fat and Famous,Honey. No. — Miss Plumcake @ 3:24 pm

Oh Chaka. I was hesitant about bringing you to the Big Girl blog after I snarked on you at Ayyyy! because I figured, how much can one clearly frazzled woman endure? Then I realized a) this could be a learning experience for my fellow big girls and b) my soul is made of eels.

We’re gonna leave the hair alone, that’s her signature and if she wants to look like she’s spent the past five presidential administrations combing her hair with a dead seagull let her.

What we’re not going to leave alone is this tragifying pre-Raphaelite Swamp Thing disaster. I don’t know what it is about Big Girls, but have you noticed we tend to favor the flowy, Stevie Nicks, ren-fest stuff? And yet the vast majority of it looks TERRIBLE.

Plus it sends a social message. That message is “Hello, I spent my formative years smoking pot/rolling 12-sided dice/writing LOTR fanfic/reading historical romance/writing bad poetry because Emily Dickinson is SO DEEP and as such cannot deal with being a grown up. Would you like to meet my cat/see my roomful of stuffed unicorns/marry me/ have awkward fishbelly group sex?”

This is not the message we want to send, Chaka, so leave the crocheted sleeves, the random ejaculations of chiffon and the jagged mermaid hems at home, grow the heck up and put on a freakin’ ball gown.



  1. And speaking as a Big Girl whose dream would be to share a stage wardrobe with Stevie Nicks, has spent her entire life surrounded by cats, is handy with a 12-sided die, and is known in certain circles for her Buffy the Vampire Slayer fanfic…but was not stoned while doing any of these things and is happily married, thank you very much, I’d like to point out that there are ways of doing the PreRaphealite thing and ways of not doing it. Ms. Kahn is showing us an excellent example of How Not To Do It.

    There are sleek, elegant ways of doing this; ones that, indidentally, do not include large areas of questionably-tasteful peek-a-boo lace unlined. Stick to a princess line and keep the main drama in the sleeves, neckline, and hem. Also, do not pick the neckline popularized by Ren Faire Slatterns unless you are in the habit of making change out of your cleavage.

    There is understanding what sort of footwear does and does not go with it. The winkle picker toes can work, but would be better in tapestry or velvet. Best of all is an awesome boot, preferably, again, in a soft, pettable fabric. Little clutch bags are not the thing with this look, either. Look for a fabulous fringed reticule.

    It can be done. Hell, I do it a lot. It just requires some careful thought and a visit from the Taste Fairy.

    Comment by Twistie — February 12, 2008 @ 4:00 pm

  2. that was beautiful, man.

    generally i’m all about the love (and i like her hair!) but she really is dressed like a botrytis infection.

    Comment by marjorie — February 12, 2008 @ 4:03 pm

  3. Oh, amen and amen. I was complaining in my own blog not too long ago about how I need to make my wardrobe more fabulous while on a tight budget. Quick as you like, someone suggested I check the bargain bins at the local boutique that specializes in flowy and drapy things. Sorry, but draping fabric on a Clydesdale does not make it look like a thoroughbred.

    Comment by Lysana — February 12, 2008 @ 4:15 pm

  4. I am a Big Girl and have never and will never favor Ren-Faire, Stevie Nicks flowy clothes. It doesn’t flatter, and people will give you weird looks in public.

    Comment by cheeky — February 12, 2008 @ 4:56 pm

  5. I too like the hair but the dress…oyyy! Ive seen a friend do this, sans the peekabo lace, and its worse in person. Its one of the few times that “just say no” is appropriate. But silly me…Im still trying to understand my sizable sisters who can sashay in 5inch stilts.

    Comment by Peaches — February 12, 2008 @ 5:32 pm

  6. Wait — is Plumcake suggesting via snark that Emily Dickinson is not really “deep”?

    Emily Dickinson is a major poet, profound and philosophically and theologically complex. She was spectacularly innovative and remains a towering figure in American letters — one of our greatest poets, no “female” qualifier required. Her work will stand long after Walt Whitman and Longfellow are forgotten. As, indeed, they nearly are.

    I would admire the teenager who could read Dickinson and profit from it. I’m a lifelong reader and lover of poetry, and I sometimes find her work very tough going. The poems that get anthologized (over and over and over) are the easy ones; there’s a great deal more to Dickinson than that.

    Perhaps you’re thinking of Elizabeth Barrett Browning? She was indeed simply a competent minor poet. Not that that, these days, is anything to scoff at either.

    (Sorry for veering so far OT.)

    Comment by Bridey — February 12, 2008 @ 6:35 pm

  7. Plumcake, you are completely right. It seems like the rest of the world has moved on from this look, but we big girls are still at it — perhaps because it’s difficult to figure out a new style, this one is easy, and dressing for a Renaissance Fair tends to highlight our bosoms? Ladies, just because we’re bigger than the (ridiculous) norm doesn’t mean we can’t be modern in our dress! Can we be fat and fashionable? To steal a phrase from my main man Barry, Yes we can!

    Comment by Chiken — February 12, 2008 @ 7:02 pm

  8. oh, thank you. Unless you’re actually Stevie Nicks OR attending a RenFaire, the flowy stuff really doesn’t work.

    I like the stuff in theory, but I know how terrible it looks on me.

    Less really is more…covering a size 26 body in 8 yards of fabric does NOT flatter it…unless most of that fabric is in a wedding dress train…

    Comment by Canadian Chick — February 13, 2008 @ 12:46 am

  9. I love Chaka, sorry, and I think the hair suits her. It’s her, it’s her look, and there’s something wild and great about it.

    I have a theory about long skirts and sleeves and the “whole lotta fabric” deal and I think you have to be tall. I don’t think you have to be thin; it helps, but I think the key is tall. Too much fabric on a short thin person is not good either.

    Ultimately, you have to go with what works for you. If I listened to everything I was “supposed to do to flatter my figure and hide my flaws” I’d wind up in a burkha. I’ve got cankles. I’ve got hams. And so on. So nothing sleeveless, nothing short. Eventually you just lose patience with the do’s and the don’ts and wear what you like.

    But Chaka’s dress is indeed unfortunate. The dusty purple doesn’t rock her pretty skin the way a richer color could, and I am just one of those people who hates crotcheting on anything. You’re always poking your fingers through it and I always start to feel like I’m caught in a spider’s web.

    But oh what a smile!

    Comment by Chaser — February 13, 2008 @ 1:07 am

  10. Twistie, I too have some clothing from Holy Clothing! And yes, Plumcake, I inhaled, could write in Elvish and Klingon, love the Buffster, read Mercedes Lackey and Anne McCaffrey, am divorced, have always had cats, and am having very weird visuals on what the hell is fishbelly group sex???!!! (Does a defunct pewter dragon collection count? I’m sellling them on E*** My ex bought me one that I liked and so they became gifts for EVERY occasion!) All of that being said, I save my Pre-Raphealite clothing for casual and relaxing. They feel so much better than jeans and look a whole lot better than sweats for hanging around the house. That tangled mess of rags that the Khan tripped in has nothing to do with what I consider to be tasteful, flowing, comfortable dresses! I have to attend a formal occasion in a month and ordered a beautiful silver gown from Igigi. Everything has a time and a place….Except that! Damn!

    Comment by Jennie — February 13, 2008 @ 3:29 am


    Here’s a link to my dress, nothing renfair about it. Dress for the occasion!

    Comment by Jennie — February 13, 2008 @ 3:35 am

  12. Rolling d12s? Bah, good for nothing but long sword damage vs. large creatures. More useful to have the damn things stand in for the attacking hobgoblins than to actually roll them.

    …yeah, our friend’s bachelorette party will be an all-girls’ RPG. Don’t judge us.

    Comment by TeleriB — February 13, 2008 @ 7:40 am

  13. I am a big girl (size 18-ish) who is tired of the stereotype that a woman can’t be interested in video games, Ren Faires, cats, unicorns, fantasy fiction, gaming, etc. and still dress with class. Yes, I attend faires and own “garb”, but I wear it only to faires, where it is appropriate. Fanfic and fantasy and scifi are just hobbies, and personally I’d rather attend a scifi convention than take up knitting or the art of inserting ships into bottles. I’m not trying to be confrontational – just want to let people know that some geeks are also chic! And hey, it’s a known fact that “geeky” guys can be endearing, gainfully employed, sweet, appreciative, and more likely to stay home and engage in a World of Warcraft bender than go out and get plastered. Just sayin’.

    Comment by Elizabeth Goode — February 13, 2008 @ 10:12 am

  14. You forgot to mention the fact that it makes her look like a Hobbit :-)

    Comment by Despina — February 13, 2008 @ 10:27 am

  15. Speaking for the geek sisterhood that outfit is a -20 Charisma :) You can be a geek girl and not look like you’ve been washed out to sea, I do it everyday.

    Comment by AmazonAngelle — February 13, 2008 @ 12:41 pm

  16. Wow, that dress is horrible! I am a size 16ish and I cannot stand long flowing fabric on myself or any other fabulous gal! I agree with Canadian Chick, it’s good in theory but honey, NO!!!

    Comment by jen — February 13, 2008 @ 1:16 pm

  17. Easy there Bridey, I have nothing but love for the Belle of Amherst, if for no reason other than most of her poems –as I’m sure you know– can be sung to the tune of The “Yellow Rose of Texas.”

    That being said there is only so much overwrought self-loathing a teenage girl can handle without it becoming indulgent. I’ll agree she was a major poet (I’ve already gone on record with my feelings about EBB and her Sonnets from the Portuguese) but she was a bit all-mope-all-the-time for my personal tastes. A huge talent, but not a broad one.

    Comment by Plumcake — February 13, 2008 @ 1:48 pm

  18. I can’t hate on this. This is so completely and utterly totally Chaka, that I can’t imagine her wearing anything else.

    Comment by Dowdydiva — February 13, 2008 @ 1:50 pm

  19. Also a big girl who likes D&D and Ren faires, so perhaps it might be a good idea in the future to be kind in foresight to the fact that we do, also, happen to like fashion, and would hate to be driven away by careless insults and abuse such as this :)

    Whoever designed this dress, however, has only a passing acquaintance with “garb”, as the proportions are CLEARLY upside down. Renaissance inspired things are supposed to be floofy on the bottom, and normal or fitted on top. Also, crocheting and lace are for TRIM, and trim alone. Not substance.

    What really ACTUALLY bothers me about this dress is something that neither you nor the Fug Girls mentioned — that the lower half seems to be almost totally see through, except for a strategic, and tragedy-prone “apron.” I just have this fear of a stray breeze coming along and giving us a Lohan’s Eye View of Chaka Khan’s foundation garment habits, whatever they may be. This is something I truly, TRULY do not wish to know about.

    Comment by Sage — February 13, 2008 @ 3:34 pm

  20. I need to say that it is actually possible to wear a long bohoish skirt with some flow to it, always assuming you have long enough legs, and to still look like a normal adult human being and not a f&sf victim (I know, I’ve sort of been there a little bit too with the LOTR love etc but as a *style* it’s not a style I subscribe to).

    Maybe it’s just having grown up in hippie-central 80s Cambridge, MA, but I will stubbornly maintain unto the death that not all flowy skirts are irretrievably zoned into Stevie Nicks World. It’s just the overdetermined ones you’ve got to stay away from. God knows they’re legion.

    Comment by Violet — February 13, 2008 @ 5:49 pm

  21. So I jokingly sent a picture of Chaka Khans get up to my step daughter who is getting married in the fall and has asked that we wear purple, and told her I found a dress for the wedding. She simply said “I don’t know where to begin, the support garment you can see at her thighs or the visable bra strap.” Ok- this dress is an absolute train wreck, but if you are going to wear a train wreck please keep the rest of us from having to view your undergarments.

    Seriously a little more fabic in someplaces and a little less in others would have made the world of difference.

    I am now going to look at the beautiful Eggplant gown I have ordered for the wedding- now to find some shoes…..

    Comment by kimks — February 13, 2008 @ 6:30 pm

  22. I think Chaka’s hair is quite lovely.

    Comment by SutmingSweet — February 15, 2008 @ 5:20 pm

  23. Oh, Chaka’s hurr is great. But it would be nice to see her in something more tailored, a la Queen Latifah on the red carpet.

    Comment by OCCaliAKA — February 18, 2008 @ 4:34 pm

  24. Well i think the opening thread to this discussion was rather harsh and ignorant as well. Chaka Is wonderful. she’s a star and not to mention a diva! Her hair is fantastic and she’s a beautiful and inspiring women for all ages and sex. yeah this was a bad looking dress with all the things hanging from it. but if Those Pieces weren’t on it it wouldn’t be that bad. when i look at chaka I don’t care what she’s wearing. i see her beauiful face and hair and voice that can enlighten anyone’s day.

    Comment by dymond85 — May 24, 2008 @ 5:01 pm

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