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The Big Question: That Thing You Do Edition | Manolo for the Big Girl

The Big Question: That Thing You Do Edition

“Priests –like strippers– gotta have a gimmick.”

I won’t tell you who said that to me, because I’m sure he doesn’t want his fine reputation sullied by being associated with our tawdy little blog but I WILL say that his job requires him to wear a lot of purple and a funny pointed hat and rhymes with “mishop”.

It’s about brand recognition and signature style. Think Anna Wintour’s severe bob –which I love– or Victoria Beckham’s stacked one of a few years ago, which I detest. I don’t need to post a picture of them for you to know exactly what they look like.

A little closer to home, Style Spy has a chic and frothy halo of Titian ringlets while Mr S of a few posts ago –you know, the one I haven’t yet managed to mug– always wears a silk Ferragamo pocket square. As for your pal Plummy? I have a very specific signature look, too, probably best described as “Liz Taylor meets Clara bow as designed by Bertolt Brecht”

See, in order to sound like a Real Live Fashion Person, it’s important to talk in derivatives. “X meets Y”  or “X meets Y via Z.” It’s also important to describe things as “moments.” For example, Bold primary colors like we saw at Lacroix last month look fresh to me right now, and it reminds me of those great Spanish films of the early and mid 80’s, so when I’m talking to my fashion friends I say I’m having a “major Almodovar moment.” Try it at home!)

Today Miss Plumcake wants to know, what is YOUR signature style. Extra bonus points for using the derivative form, but points will be taken away if the words “naughty” “librarian” or “secretary” pop up anywhere.

39 Responses to “The Big Question: That Thing You Do Edition”

  1. Katie K. February 18, 2009 at 6:11 pm #

    My gimmick/signature style is my love for big jewelry. Big rings, big necklaces, big earrings, big bracelets. I only wear one or two pieces at once to keep myself from looking like a walking jewelry box but a simple outfit with lots of jewelry is my M.O. Part of it is practical–I’m a big girl all over so little pieces just look out out of proportion on me. But I think it’s also that if I’m going to buy a piece, I want people to see it! If I wear a small pendant or stud earrings, my friends and coworkers ask me what’s different :)

  2. Sarah R February 18, 2009 at 7:05 pm #

    I’d have to say that my schtick is open toed shoes. I don’t wear closed toe shoes, ever. Living in Florida makes this an easy accomplishment. I change my toenail polish to either match or complement whatever look I’m going for that day. Flats, heels, flip flops, stacked wedges, stilettos…I wear them all.
    I have cute feet, so this is an easy place to show off. My hands…not so much. I keep them filed short and neutral because my job requires much typing, and I get mad when I break a nail. So I don’t bother anymore. At least whatever I do with my toes, my hands always match since I stick with a basic French manicure.
    My other signature style is big hair. I have long dark brown almost black hair that goes almost down to my butt. Whether I’m wearing it down, in a bun, or using fun accessories, it always get noticed.

  3. Jenne February 18, 2009 at 7:27 pm #

    What if you actually ARE a librarian? :)

  4. Jane February 18, 2009 at 7:41 pm #

    Mine is Redheaded Hippie Nerd Girl. See, I have fat legs, so I wear long flowing skirts to camouflage them, and once you’ve gone down that road the rest of the look sort of follows.

  5. Margo February 18, 2009 at 8:30 pm #

    I noticed recently that I like everything soft: soft lines, good quality fabric, clean colours – my wardrobe is blacks & grays/silver with jewel tones, and some electric blue pieces ’cause I LOVE it and it’s a trend I can actually work. I’m a short pear, and with my new found penchant for dresses seem to work a sort of 70s-meets-30s vibe, in my dreams at least!

  6. Ripley February 18, 2009 at 9:16 pm #

    ::What if you actually ARE a librarian? :)::

    I know!

    I like big, bold pieces of jewelry, and clothes with a conservative cut. I guess I have enough of a style where my staff can see a necklace or a shirt and say, “Oh, that’s definitely a Ripley shirt!”

  7. BrooklynShoeBabe February 18, 2009 at 9:17 pm #

    I was going to describe my style as urban librarian on the go, because I am an urban public librarian on the go but I don’t want to lose points. *snark*

    My style is business casual meets soccer mom with a bit of Katherine Hepburn pre-black turtleneck days. OR Gap-esque prep meets Katherine Hepburn with a large dose of color. Simply put, I love flat shoes, menswear inspired pants, button up shirts and bright scarves. I don’t have a signature item.

  8. Abbey February 18, 2009 at 9:37 pm #

    My style is mostly nerd girl as styled by a kindergarten by day (ie – lots of little sweater dresses with opaque tights or skinny jeans in winter, bitty sundresses with cardigans in summer. For both, I usually have my choppy bob with bangs in pigtails, accessorized with half-rimmed glasses and Kedette Skimmer. I’m usually wearing bright colours too.), nerd girl meets 50s glam by night (fake lashes, red lips, smokey eyes and the bob all done in messy ringlets, with little dresses and cute heels, but usually with glasses, and I almost always accessorize with my current read).

  9. La Petite Acadienne February 18, 2009 at 9:48 pm #

    I rather wish I had a signature style, but it seems impossible. In the summer, I tend to veer between boho (easy jeans, embellished flat sandals and cute tunic tops) or very Lady (1950’s style sundresses and high-heeled sandals). In winter, I have no style whatsoever because it’s so damned cold and snowy up here. I wear jeans, and warm sweaters, and colourful scarves, and ugly flat boots so that I don’t slip. The only constant is that I do wear hoop earrings every day, in many permutations, and the long red hair is also a constant (and at least it’s noticeable enough that one could say it’s part of my style.)

  10. jessie February 18, 2009 at 10:14 pm #

    My signature look is Two actualy
    first is Jeans and Tshirt.I wear Jeans almost every day,usualy with a tshirt,occasionaly a dressy cleavagey shirt,and i always ALWAYS I TELL YOU,wear crocs.I know they are years out of style
    I KNOW its rubber shoes.I do not care though….

    But occasioanly,I do have a trend in ze makeup department.My makeup,when I wear it,is sixties.I wear smoky eyeliner upturned at the corner,usualy a pastel purple ,cause im brunette with greeny brown eyes,and maybe blush,and then lipgloss/chapstick.

    My style is basicaly chicgeek. I wear jeans tshirts,messy buns.little or no makeup,and my glasses,accesorized by my hergungous purse,sketchbook,and akatrillion other things.

    But when i mak eup or dress up,my stlye leans towards classy/hippie,sixties/fifties

  11. Urban Sol February 18, 2009 at 11:26 pm #

    Bright and bold with a touch of classy vamp.

  12. nosestuckinabook February 19, 2009 at 12:01 am #

    above the knee dresses with boots or tights, or slim pants, camisole and little cardigan, bejeweled shoes and always something purple

  13. Cat February 19, 2009 at 12:15 am #

    I have what I call my Audrey Horne hair. It looks, well, an awful lot like this:

    http://www.interlope.ch/nouvelan/img/audrey_horne.jpg

    I had the same style in college, when Twin Peaks was on t.v., and more than once people stopped me to tell me, “Hey, you look like that girl on Twin Peaks.”

  14. Plumcake February 19, 2009 at 12:35 am #

    Exceptions are made for ACTUAL Librarians, of course.

  15. Mrs. Hendricks February 19, 2009 at 12:53 am #

    As I age, I’m aiming for Shelley Winters crossed with Mrs. Roper from “Three’s Company” via Hendricks gin. Meaning, lots of caftans, possibly turbans and a nice, soft fuzziness around the edges of my day.

  16. desmo February 19, 2009 at 1:39 am #

    I’m California casual-bohemian-rocker chick with a side of urban biker.

  17. Twistie February 19, 2009 at 4:55 am #

    Hippie/Boho with a Victorian edge and a touch of menswear chic. It sounds chaotic, but it works on me.

    My signiture pieces are my large, silver, animal-shaped rings (hey, my engagement ring is a silver frog…underneath you can see he’s a prince) and my parade of awesome hats. I once got stopped multiple times in the Castro by gay men wanting to know where I’d gotten my fabulous chapeau.

  18. jawhara February 19, 2009 at 5:51 am #

    Pre-Raphaelite damsel meets Goth chick meets Sheherazad. How do you like that?

  19. De February 19, 2009 at 9:49 am #

    My signature style evolved after I came to terms with my body. Once I accepted that my body type is that of the 40s, 50s pinup (and maybe a bit of the 80s hottie) and NOT the super lean/waif look that my super fantastic best friend has….then things really started falling into place.

    I like to think I carry an air of Pre-Vietnam Feminine mixed with Boho/Artist Chic. I like bold colors mixed with black, and fun graphic patterns. And intriguing jewelry.

    I have enough of a look that friends will find things online and send me the link saying “this is so you!”….and they’re absolutely right!

  20. Kimks February 19, 2009 at 9:55 am #

    East Coast Lawyer Meets South West Artist= Meaning I tend to wear conservative suits for business but match them with cowboy boots or brightly colored stilletos and Southwest Jewelry. Casually its always jeans or shorts and a pressed button up with funky south west Jewelry. I get away with this because I am from New Mexico, was educated in New England and now work/live along the north east corridor- oh and my daughter is a Jewelry designer. I am always appropriate, and slightly irreverant.

  21. AuntBub February 19, 2009 at 10:34 am #

    My signatue style includes ankle length skirts, brightly patterened blouses/tops, heels everyday and dramatic eye makeup. I am a seamstress, so many of my clothes are one of a kind. My husband tells me that I have a really distinctive style…I hope that’s a good thing because there’s no chance that I could stuff my personality into a more conventional look.

  22. angela February 19, 2009 at 11:00 am #

    Ohhh, this is fun. How do describe my style without using “secretary” or “librarian” – both of which I have on my resume?

    Let’s give it a go. Howsabout “retro pinup at a board meeting”? Or – mmmmm – “June Cleaver meets Uma Thurman from GATTACA and goes on a road trip through Italy”?

  23. ChloeMireille February 19, 2009 at 11:46 am #

    I guess the best answer I can give is “Recovering Romantigoth meets Business Casual by way of the late 60’s/early 70’s”.

    I work in an uptight office environment that completely clashes with my personal aesthetic, which is most comparable to the olden days of Torrid. But now, I’ve stumbled up delightfully retro things like a purple maxi dress and a kimono-sleeve dress with a Pucci-inspired print, of which the latter has been worn to work with black boots.

  24. Friv February 19, 2009 at 11:50 am #

    I am not a librarian, nor am I a secretary, but I often go the pencil skirt/retro pumps/tailored shirt (or twinset) route, and from time to time when I have taken off my glasses and released my long auburn hair from a somewhat severe french twist, a man will gasp “Why, Miss Friv… you’re… you’re… you’re BEAUTIFUL!” in tones indicative of no small amount of surprise.

    Let’s call it “Miss Landers goes to work at Sterling Cooper”.

  25. smili February 19, 2009 at 12:24 pm #

    My personal style includes a big, happy smile. :)

  26. Jeanine February 19, 2009 at 12:25 pm #

    I am a tall coke-can shape…..just long and all the way around…..round.

    My signature “me” is a sassy attitude Dorthory Dandridge, crossed with gracious demenor of Nancy Wilson, with a Monique fashion style, and a Berniece Wells (my mama) flair for thrift.

    In other words, I like what I like. You might find me with 12.00 Payless pumps, with a 119.00 Monief C sweater, and Old Navy Diva Jeans. You might find me in a in a Lane Bryant dress, and yes, my lone pair of Manolos. Every now and again, you might find me in a Kmart rustly windsuit and Keds. Today I am wearing a dress from Avon, and boots from the Shoe Department It just depends on my mood, and the day.

  27. Style Spy February 19, 2009 at 1:13 pm #

    If I had to pin it down, I’d go with kaleidoscopic Parisienne manqué. But I am so busy admiring my chic Titian ringlets that I didn’t’t put a lot of thought into that answer, so it might not be accurate.

  28. Style Spy February 19, 2009 at 1:15 pm #

    PS… Hoping against hope that the “Almodovar moment” indicates a reappearance of the toreador pants…

  29. Violet February 19, 2009 at 1:29 pm #

    Well-maintained insouciance. Well maintained: good haircut, good nails 90% of the time, good skin. Insouciance: clothes and makeup generally no-nonsense with one easily added flair-giving element or accessory. I have a simple moonstone choker necklace that brings up a plain V neck fitted tee like you can’t believe. I’m all about the Hermes scarf. Today I have on a fiery red scarlet button-front vintage shirt with some delicate ruching along the, hmmm, button placket, if that’s what you call the long strip of reinforcement where the buttons and buttonholes live, and faint tone-on-tone pink roses; everything else I have on (dark jeans, plain black moderate-heel ankle boots) is perfectly nice but basically vanishes.

  30. Plumcake February 19, 2009 at 2:09 pm #

    Oh you can give up that dream right now Style Spy, because those toreador capris (with gold bugle bead fringe) went the way of the dodo in 2001.

  31. Style Spy February 19, 2009 at 2:35 pm #

    Too bad. I’d have paid cash money for that sight.

    Also, I feel your pointy-hatted friend should be known forever onward as “Mishop Mazeppa.”

  32. Patia February 19, 2009 at 2:44 pm #

    Hippie Cowgirl Goth.

  33. Xandra February 20, 2009 at 12:51 am #

    My style is best described as: A sci-fi B-movie from the 1950s, starring Audrey Horne and Calamity Jane.

    So, retro skirts and dresses and cardigans, in bright technicolor, with space-age cat eye glasses (purple frames, please), and cowboy boots. (The boots are essential for secretly packing my ray gun.)

  34. Bobbi February 20, 2009 at 1:17 am #

    Straight up business suits with killer heels. Or J.Crew mum. I obsess over the right twin set, and then wear it to the soccer game. I tend to wear classics and switch out accessories, but even the accessories tend to not be noticed, because I have huge, HUGE corkscrew hair and with my heels I am 6’2″.

  35. B.S.A.G. February 20, 2009 at 2:07 pm #

    It seems like so many here can pull off the retro-rockabilly look; I’m envious. I just can’t manage it – too high-maintenance, and I just end up feeling like I’m in costume.

    I’ve been trying to figure out my own style for ages, without much success. After all the books and magazines and research I’ve done on the subject, I think this Big Question has finally prompted the exact soul-searching I needed to quantify it. And now I can write this down and keep it in mind – first to clear out my closet, then when shopping (whether retail, thrift or for supplies to make my own stuff).

    Let’s see how this works: Euro-American Beatnik from the Eighties Fifties Future.

  36. fantasmicalfrankie February 22, 2009 at 1:02 pm #

    I’d have to say my signature style would be rainbow/hippie/club kid, on any given day. What I like is wearing really out there t-shirts with wild graphics with jeans and my vintage stuff. I usually wear flats, but I’ve now taken to wearing my gf’s sneakers which go with pretty much everything I own.

  37. rach3 February 23, 2009 at 5:09 am #

    Audrey Hepburn, except quite a bit shorter, not much of a waist, not an accessories person, and definitely not the facial structure to carry off that pixie haircut…. But I wear too much black, and flat shoes, and as a keen adult student of ballet, I get to strut around with ramrod-straight posture :P

  38. Babs February 23, 2009 at 5:26 pm #

    Hmmm…this is a tough one….I guess it would be classic tailoring meets trendy accessories.

    I’m really just finding my personal style and letting it kind of evolve. Finding clothing stores that carry actual CLOTHING for plus size gals has been a wonderful thing.

  39. Dragonbait February 24, 2009 at 1:23 am #

    I’ve had to think about this for a little while, but I’m calling mine “Polo-playing Debutante meets Eurotrash.”

    In the winter, jeans and skinny cords tucked into tall riding boots, with cable knits, cardigans, and argyle. In the summer, shorts, oxfords and polos, ballet flats, and sundresses. Eurotrash comes in with really gaudy accessories, huge sunglasses, and everything in bright colors.