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

June 23, 2008

Summertime, and the Livin’ is Sweaty

Filed under: Fashion,What Should I Wear?,You Asked For It — Francesca @ 11:57 pm

Francesca is in the Heathrow International Airport in London, drinking a $7.00 coffee at Starbucks and catching up on her email. As always, she thinks of the dear Manolo readers no matter how far or how long she roams. Here is a letter from “Francie,” which is, perhaps, short for Francesca???

With the humid, hot weather, I dread wearing shirts. I’m top heavy, apple shaped, about a 20 on top and a 16 on bottom. I’m 45 and just don’t feel comfortable in sleeveless tops anymore. What do I wear to survive the 95 degree days. Isn’t anyone else HOT?!



This is a very good question indeed, and yes, Francesca, too, is very hot.

Francesca assumes that you are looking for tops that are a little more dressy than t-shirts, perhaps something suitable for work, or you would not have needed to ask. Francesca also guesses that you do not work as a cog in a super-corporate environment, or you also, in that case, would not have needed to ask, and anyhow sleeveless would not even be an option.

Therefore, Francesca recommends the shaped, slightly and subtly adorned, cotton shirts for the summer, with the ¾ sleeves which is often flattering on the top-heavy Apples (of which Francesca is proud to be one!), and which provide a nice compromise between formality and modesty on one hand, and the brutal summer heat on the other. A second choice to cotton would be linen, which is cool but wrinkles oh-so-easily!

If you cannot find shaped cotton shirts (and in the case of the Apple, “shaped” means “with princess seaming or other structural details which create a waist”), then please, do not buy t-shirts that scream “I bought this at a rock concert” or “I got this for free at some college event eight years ago” or “this is left over from my summer job as a pool guard when I was 16.” Those are shirts for sleeping, or workouts.

No, no, please wear cotton shirts that say “I was bought in a store, chosen purposefully and carefully by my owner because I am flattering to her.” And then add a pretty beaded necklace in a complementary color and some killer earrings, and you are good to go.

Polo shirts can also work well, if one’s office is casual enough. Francesca is imagining a polo shirt in a bright summer color such as rasberry or turquoise, and a headband or comb in a matching color, with slightly-dangling sparkly earrings, and a simple gold or silver bracelet . . .

. . . paired, of course, with well-fitting dress pants or jeans, or a straight skirt. Because a loose shirt paired with loose pants or a flary skirt would create a baggy outfit, and we do not want that!

Here is a wonderful cotton blouse by Charter Club, available on sale at Macy’s up to size 20 W (though it appears a bit too big for the model; Francesca would recommend “taking it in” on the sides):

More cotton shirts to come as the summer progresses!






  1. The Francie should also check out the lovely folk at Deva Lifewear:

    and especially those shirts and dresses which are made in a super-light cotton which they call “Breezecloth.” The Annalucia ( a fellow Apple) has survived many brutal summers in relative comfort thanks to these good people. Many styles and colors are available. They are not cutting-edge trendy, and perhaps would not work on the far side of the glass ceiling, but they will do for almost everything else when the thermometer is edging toward the three digits.

    Comment by Annalucia — June 24, 2008 @ 9:24 am

  2. And I was just thinking of asking about where to get a nice jacket that could keep me warm in my sub-arctic office! Oh to have the opposite problem.

    Comment by JRho — June 24, 2008 @ 2:01 pm

  3. I am an apple, and I love the cotton and linen tunics. Also a tiered skirt, whose top part is fitted close to the body, and whose lower tiers flare out at the knees, is a non sloppy, comfortable way to bear the summer.

    For JRho, if you can find a sale cashmere cardigan, those are most wonderful.

    Comment by Dowdydiva — June 24, 2008 @ 2:21 pm

  4. Thanks for the advice, Dowdydiva. However, I am one of the unfortunate souls who cannot wear cashmere. It makes me itch horribly.

    I will certainly look for cardigans in other materials though.

    Comment by JRho — June 24, 2008 @ 8:20 pm

  5. Having lived in very hot climates, both humid and dry, I have come to learn the practicality of the loose cotton or linen button-down blouse worn over a camisole or other sleeve-less tee. It is incredibly versatile and easy to find many cute combinations. It is also the most practical for keeping cool and keeping the sunburn at bay (if you are a pale Irish lass like me).

    If fact, when I was young, poor and worked on farms during the summer in 100+ heat, all of the older and wiser workers, men and women, cautioned me never to wear short sleeves as it was far too easy to become overheated. I have taken their advice ever since. I have no problem wearing sleeve-less, but I usually carry a longer shirt with me if the sun is intense.

    Comment by Eilish — June 24, 2008 @ 9:11 pm

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