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

March 5, 2009

The Big Question: Joan Crawford Probably Didn’t Even OWN Any Edition

Filed under: The Big Question — Miss Plumcake @ 4:50 pm

Y’all, I am in a foul, foul mood. I’m tired, I’m hungry and I’ve got pesto breath from breakfast (perhaps in retrospect a bad idea) that is showing no signs of surrendering to my minty ministrations.

I thought I’d cheer myself up by seeing a noonday concert and flirting with the pianist, who is a dear friend and the only heterosexual male to have ever had the honor of touching my hot pink Diors.

The concert was lovely and I’s started hating the world and all its inhabitants (uh, except you all! I love you! buy stuff!)  slightly less than I had an hour earlier.  Waiting for the pedestrians to cross, I see a totally normal looking pregnant woman walk by and this bit of evilness popped out of my brain.

“She’ll probably be a horrible mother; I mean, she wears khaki capris.”

Even for me that was harsh. Where did that even COME from? I truly have no idea.

Granted, I don’t generally approve of cropped pants because I don’t think people approach them with the appropriate fear and trembling (not to mention the right statement shoe)  but really? A bad mother?

But we make those snap judgments on appearances every day, and I’d wager we don’t know where many of them come from.  I’m shallow because my shoes are expensive , he’s gay because he’s well-groomed. Is it that far a jump from that to “she’s lazy because she’s fat”?

Today Miss Plumcake wants to know:

We’re all guilty, but what snap judgments based on appearances do you make, and whaddya gonna do about it?

Joan Crawford and family.

(Joan Crawford, sans capris, and her family. I feel Miss Joan was a very misunderstood woman.)


  1. Well let’s face it. Khakis are just not flattering on women.

    Comment by class factotum — March 5, 2009 @ 6:41 pm

  2. Oh – I am bad about this – I resolve to work on this but the mean, nasty little thoughts pop into my head like a reflex.
    I don’t mean to offend – but I’ll confess…

    stereotypical “sorority” girl – rich, spoiled, stupid, shallow, snotty
    smoker – selfish, stop spoiling all the fresh air with your vile emissions, I hope you die of cancer (both my parents smoked, as well as other relatives, still a pet peeve of mine…)
    and – at the risk of a beat down from one of our lovely blog mistresses —
    (extreme) southern accent – hick, idiot, ….

    again sorry…

    Comment by g-dog — March 5, 2009 @ 10:21 pm

  3. When I see a woman who is wearing really badly applied makeup, I immediately think, “I can’t trust her.” My logic is, if she left the house looking like that, she obviously has a skewed sense of reality.

    Comment by Sharn — March 5, 2009 @ 10:55 pm

  4. Skinny jeans-girls-emo/slut. boy-usualy gay,because he has on a tight little tshirt with highlighted hair and his voice is about the same octaveas mine and i sing mezzo,so what does that say

    Skinny girls-must be cheerleader,mean skanks
    High up pants with a shirt tucked in-old man/nerd

    Comment by jessie — March 5, 2009 @ 11:46 pm

  5. A man who wears white shoes is not to be trusted.

    Comment by thesearentchachaheels — March 6, 2009 @ 9:31 am

  6. When I see people stuck in a time warp (i.e. still wearing teased, hairsprayed bangs, or acid-washed jean jackets), I cannot help but think that they’re hopelessly stupid. It’s awful, I know. The same judgement applies to anybody under 50 who wears pastel sweatshirts with kittens or flower baskets on them.

    And don’t get me started on young guys who wear baggy shorts or jeans falling down below their ass, with their boxers hanging out. Or men who go shirtless in non-beach public places. If they’re shirtless, AND with the shorts hanging below their ass cheeks, I become seriously tempted to give Darwinism a hand and push them into oncoming traffic.

    (With regards to the capris, Plumcake, we have to cut pregnant ladies some slack. Most women don’t want to spend a lot on maternity clothing, knowing that they’ll only be wearing it a short while, so they rely on a lot of second-hand stuff, resulting in them wearing things they may not normally wear.)

    Comment by La Petite Acadienne — March 6, 2009 @ 10:02 am

  7. La Petite Acadienne: Isn’t it mind boggling when males wear belts along with the pants, so they stay in *just* the right spot below the bum?

    Comment by Miss Olivia — March 6, 2009 @ 10:23 am

  8. Tramp stamp = slut
    facial piercings, purple hair = I don’t care if I ever have a decent job
    bagging, especially with a belt = I am too stupid to know what the function of a belt is

    I used to judge women who shopped in their gym clothes, but then I became one. It’s far more efficient to go to the grocery store and the library on the way home from the Y than to go home, shower, change and go back out. At the age of 45 and already married, I just don’t care about impressing people any more. Yeah. I’m lazy. And even if I did care, it’s so darn cold here that you can’t see what I’m wearing anyhow because I’ve got like 40 layers on.

    Comment by class factotum — March 6, 2009 @ 10:26 am

  9. Crocs. I can’t respect anyone wearing crocs unless they’re below the age of 5.

    Funny story – I’m a regular on the DC-area Shakespeare seen, have season tickets to the Shakespeare theatre, etc. There’s this actor that is frequently in their productions, and I’m a big fan. Last year he played Marc Antony in both Caesar and Antony & Cleopatra. He was SO DAMN GOOD in A&C that I started swooning over this man (who in reality is twice my age).

    After the show, they had a Q&A session with the actors, who come out on stage after they’ve taken off their costumes. Out comes Marc Antony wearing CROCS!!! I wanted to jump up and yell “Marc Antony would not wear crocs! How dare you defile his image with those horrible shoes!” I restrained myself though.

    Comment by jen209 — March 6, 2009 @ 10:29 am

  10. And by Shakespeare seen, I of course mean Shakespeare scene. d’oh!

    Comment by jen209 — March 6, 2009 @ 10:30 am

  11. A woman who wears clothes that are too small for her must have self-esteem issues, and is obviously deluding herself about her size. I’ll probably assume she’s stupid too…but I assume that about a lot of people. I just really hate to see a person wearing a super tight pair of jeans and her love handles are hanging over them. She would look 50% thinner if she wore clothes that fit properly.

    Comment by Molly — March 6, 2009 @ 11:22 am

  12. I don’t necessarily make snap judgments about people’s personalities based on their attire, but I do often think, “I wonder if she knows how terrible that looks? Doesn’t she own a mirror? Why would she choose to wear that?” Too-tight or too-revealing outfits, glaringly visible panty lines, badly outdated or otherwise unflattering outfits, wrinkled or torn or ill-fitting or mismatched clothing, etc., all make me go, “Why?”

    Also, last week I saw a woman wearing her pajamas in the grocery store. Plaid, drawstring, flannel pj pants and a white cami. In the grocery store. My first thought was, “What is she thinking? This is not her living room. Was it really too much trouble to throw on jeans and a t-shirt?”

    Comment by Cat — March 6, 2009 @ 1:26 pm

  13. Wow. Just wow. And really? Southern accent = idiot? Our poor Southern sisters. Does that mean Jersey accent = smart?

    I have my own, though – and my worst ones seem to be for men. Shirt open, showing chain and grey chest hair? Not dependable. Sparse hair swooping over bald spot? Who do you think you’re kidding? Baseball cap worn backwards or sideways – doesn’t know which way is front, can’t be trusted to do ANYTHING. Pants falling off his backside – either a suburban poseur, or an unsuccessful urban thief who will be caught when his pants fall off. Teenage guys in huge, huge T-shirts that hang to their knees: You are not that big. Just give up and wear a dress already. Guys in those stupid manpris, neither short nor long – I guess it’s still flooding where you live, eh? Or did you just have your growth spurt?

    Comment by La BellaDonna — March 6, 2009 @ 1:37 pm

  14. (With regards to the capris, Plumcake, we have to cut pregnant ladies some slack. Most women don’t want to spend a lot on maternity clothing, knowing that they’ll only be wearing it a short while, so they rely on a lot of second-hand stuff, resulting in them wearing things they may not normally wear.)

    La Petite, the problem with cutting pregnant ladies slack – a lot of the time, people won’t know that a woman is pregnant. They’ll just assume she’s a badly dressed fat woman. No, no slack – better to have a few pieces that you wear to death and throw out, but that look good on you while you wear them into the ground. We start cutting them slack, then everybody else is entitled to slack, too – because they’re old, or young, or tired, or it’s hard to find stuff … all of which is true.

    Comment by La BellaDonna — March 6, 2009 @ 1:42 pm

  15. Um, except for YOU, La Petite! Wear what you like and be happy! (Congratulations!)

    Comment by La BellaDonna — March 6, 2009 @ 2:33 pm

  16. Everybody IS entitled to slack. It just means that, as Plumcake is pointing out, some people are going to make certain judgments about you based on appearance. God knows I think there’s value in pulling it together and looking good, but it’s not like people need a notarized license to go out badly dressed.

    It also depends what you mean by slack. There’s deliberate slacking, like the flannel at the supermarket, and then there’s how much “slack you cut” to someone who Does Not Get It. I totally don’t care if my neighbor wears pyjama bottoms instead of jeans to pop down the street for a quart of milk. They are, indeed, entitled. I may look at them and wonder at some level of consciousness if they’re sick or depressed or a college kid on page 28 of a 35-page term paper, but if they cared what I thought they’d have bothered to fling on jeans, wouldn’t they. Ditto, the less than optimal shorts or capris in August. I worry a lot more about (read: judge) the people who clearly think their ugly, ugly clothes DO constitute “trying” and that they look great in those things.

    Comment by Violet — March 6, 2009 @ 2:57 pm

  17. I am harshest on the people who can’t be bothered to groom themselves for church. Flannel plaid pj pants, fur-lined crocs, a long t-shirt and rats-nest hair — and your mother standing next to you, apparently OK with this because at least you came? That’s the best you could come up with? Yeah, I’ve heard the argument that God doesn’t care what you wear, but is that what you would wear to meet your boyfriend’s parents the first time? Or to a job interview? Or out to a cool new club?

    Then can’t you do a little better for God’s house?

    Comment by class factotum — March 6, 2009 @ 3:09 pm

  18. La BellaDonna – I worked one summer for a vice president of a biotech company who had a strong, strong Tennessee accent. He told me that yes, many, many people assumed he was dumb because of it. He used the fact to his advantage in meetings. If a troublesome point was raised, he’d drawl, “Wait, kin y’all go over thet one agin? Ah plum missed it.” Then, while they were repeating themselves, he’d be thinking of how to turn the situation to his advantage!

    Comment by TeleriB — March 6, 2009 @ 3:58 pm

  19. Like Cat, I do it all the time with women dressed like this. I see so many ladies wearing Spongebob pajama bottoms with white camis and hoodies, flip-flops with socks (that can’t be comfortable) and bedhead. I always wonder if they make any effort at all to look put-together when not at work, school, etc.
    They probably do, and this is what they want to wear when they don’t have to impress anyone. I think with me being fat, I would never be caught dressed like that because people would assume I was a lazy slob that didn’t care about my appearance. So I turn around and assume the same thing about much thinner ladies who do.

    I also make snap judgements about women, especially teenage girls, who wear those short quilted jackets with faux fur hoods, huge gold hoop earrings and tight jeans. The phrase that comes to mind is hoochie mama, the ones I associate who get into cat fights over loser men on Maury or Jerry Springer. Sad, but true.

    Comment by Bree — March 6, 2009 @ 4:42 pm

  20. “Does that mean Jersey accent = smart?”
    Nope, Jersey Accent = mean, gossipy, and possibly violent
    Big hair (I mean BIG – southern or Jersey) – are you kidding me?? When do you have to get up and destroy the ozone layer to get your hair that bit?

    Also – not all snap judgements are bad
    English accent – smart, sexy, classy, educated
    Cokney accent – not so much….
    Irish accent – fun-loving, spontaneous, sweet
    “valley” accent – Like, “duh”
    People who say “ain’t”, “fwustwated”, “got none” – ummm, guess…
    Lisps – please!
    Personally – I like the gays – so my reaction is usually “cool – someone interesting”

    Comment by g-dog — March 7, 2009 @ 12:01 am

  21. @La BellaDonna: Ha, don’t worry. I don’t wear capris anyway. I didn’t inherit my mother’s dainty little ankles, so I know better than to highlight them.

    Can I add in another snap judgment for women who wear dark lip liner and pale, frosted lipstick?

    Ah, we’re a terrible bunch, aren’t we? Oh well, I’m sure there is someone out there judging me harshly when I’m running to the corner store wearing my husband’s plaid wool jacket (which won’t button over my baby bump), with my ugly, gigantic snow boots on my feet. They’re probably thinking “Look at that poor, pregnant bit of white trash over there buying Doritos!” :) We all have our moments, and it at least keeps us somewhat humble.

    Comment by La Petite Acadienne — March 7, 2009 @ 9:34 am

  22. I don’t necessarily make snap judgments about people’s personalities based on their attire, but I do often think, “I wonder if she knows how terrible that looks? Doesn’t she own a mirror? Why would she choose to wear that?”

    Cat, I was once at a mall with my beloved grandmother when we spotted a young (16ish) girl wearing cutoff short shorts that were at least two sizes too small and did not fully cover her butt. Grandma quietly exclaimed: “Oh, that poor girl! Doesn’t she have a mirror?!” She could not fathom that the girl would go out in public like that on purpose and was sure the girl would be just mortified if she knew how she looked. I half expected her to run up to this girl and offer to buy her a pair of shorts that fit, or go home and start a charity bestowing full-length mirrors on the mirrorless.

    My own personal snap judgment: men wearing gold chains = sleazebags. If I see a man wearing a gold chain (or worse, multiple gold chains) I automatically assume he’s out to scam me somehow.

    Comment by Melissa B. — March 7, 2009 @ 12:26 pm

  23. Someone on the the early morning train wearing a combination of the following : low-cut top, clothes so tight you can tell what type of underwear they’re wearing, skirts so short, they can’t sit properly, bra straps showing, heels too high to be able to get out of the train safely, and tons of metallic jewellery = makes me wonder exactly what it is they do for a job. What kind of work are they doing where it’s appropriate to wear any of that ? On my meanest days, I snort (in silence) “Prostitute”.
    And my boyfriend tells me I’m a mean cow, and I have to agree.

    Comment by Ponytail — March 7, 2009 @ 3:30 pm

  24. Those tan-coloured pants which zip off just under the knee = TOURIST

    Aforementioned pants with hoodies/giant parkas with thousands of pockets and baseball caps, all in immaculate like-ironed condition, nowhere near the Great Outdoors but in a city centre = TOURIST

    Couples dressed in matching outfits made up of the above = Did you assume traveling out of your own country meant you are required to wear special uniforms to distinguish yourself from the strange foreigners?

    Seriously, if you wouldn’t wear it at home in similar environs, why are you wearing it here?

    Comment by Margo — March 7, 2009 @ 5:05 pm

  25. I don’t want to turn this into a political discussion, but when I see someone in a Che t-shirt, I think either that person is a complete idiot who knows nothing of the history of the world’s mass murders or does know about mass murderers and has Hitler and Stalin t-shirts at home in the closet.

    Comment by class factotum — March 7, 2009 @ 11:21 pm

  26. Dirty, run down shoes, any kind. I know I’m not gonna like this person. How much does it take to take a soapy wet paper towel to those shoes and clean them up?

    And as for regional accents – any of them make the speaker sound dumb. It’s so easy to lose the regional accent, why keep it? One can always conjure it if the circumstances warrant it. Today, no one ever suspects that I grew up in Brooklyn, NY.

    Comment by annie — March 8, 2009 @ 12:37 pm

  27. I secretly love that many people are so poorly dressed nowadays. People at my office dress so badly that I’m the office fashion plate just for throwing on an occasional dress or pair of heels.

    Comment by boots — March 8, 2009 @ 4:55 pm

  28. Grown women wearing Disney character sweatshirts = housewife who has completely given up, and doesn’t give IT up (if you know what I mean).

    Side ponytails, scrunchies, perms = I associate these hairstyles with smokers, all of whom I assume to be not-so-bright

    Head-to-toe denim = people who are too high to realize the 70’s passed them by

    Mean, yes. I can’t help it though.

    Comment by Jen 2.0 — March 9, 2009 @ 3:31 pm

  29. I love when someone wears an outfit so ridiculously out-of-date, culture-clashy or out-of-touch that it really gives off their individual sense of fashion. I have a coworker whose closet must be a 1980s garage sale (complete with faded Stevie Knicks concert tees). That tickles me to no end.

    But I reserve judgement for:

    Women whose clothes wear them. The biggest fashion faux pas, to me, is to look like you’re “trying.” If it makes you uncomfortable; if you feel that it’s too much cleavage or pattern, for god’s sake then it’s not for you! You can’t be retiring in a zebra-pattern trench. just pull up the sheets and call in.

    Boys with too many layers: a tank top, a button-down, bedazzled belt buckle, 5-color gym shoes, chain with medallion hanging down to the belly button, headband AND hat plus huge shades. What are you hiding, sweetheart?

    Women who shop in the boys department of sears (get it together, my lesbian and/or Midwestern sisters)

    Fat women in shapeless, stretched out sweaters and sweats. Don’t pretend it’s a lack of selection! Even in the 80s, before the advent of the Internets and Target women’s department, I knew fabulously dressed women living way below the poverty line. Though, come to think of it, I bet people judged them for that, too.

    Everyone’s not blessed with personal style, though many of us have learned to cultivate one. I try to keep that in mind when foolishness crosses my path.

    Comment by emmme — March 9, 2009 @ 4:17 pm

  30. Jen 2.0 – Oh, I so agree with you on those Disney sweatshirts!

    Well, at least I try to not ACT on my first impressions (not wanting anyone to write a book or anything). Good thing, too, since I know from past experience there are PLENTY of people making snap judgments about ME that are way off base. How can I tell? Because they HAVEN’T kept their snap judgments to themselves – that’s how.

    Comment by La BellaDonna — March 9, 2009 @ 5:44 pm

  31. I should preface this by saying that I live in Seattle and have encountered these stereotypes in the flesh enough times to know that they’re not entirely untrue. That being said, I am still a big old bitch and should try not to be so judgmental.

    Outdoor clothing when one is not outdoors: Yuppie poser. Probably moved to the Northwest because they “love nature,” which means they love overpriced organic yoga wear, mountain views from their luxury condo, and driving a limited edition Eddie Bauer SUV that has seen about as much off-roading as my 4-inch snakeskin heels.
    Overly fancy or gimmicky outdoor clothing when one IS outdoors (example: gaiters and mountaineering boots on a flat 4 mile trail in July): Yuppie poser with good intentions, but way too much money. Didja bring your backcountry espresso maker too?
    Carefully constructed boho hipster look: Entitled, priveleged, and condescending. Probably talks big about skipping town to join the Zapatistas but is secretly terrified of people who aren’t white, or complains about capitalism and consumerism while their parents pay for them to live downtown and go to art school.

    Comment by Evie — March 9, 2009 @ 5:54 pm

  32. I used to make terrible assumptions about the manliness of men in purple, until all the Lakers/LSU Tigers fans in my life staged a mini-intervention.

    My Appalachian dad also dealt with assumptions about his intellect, which he also turned to his advantage. He spent a lot of time in the Soviet Union and the security files they had on him were recently released. The consensus was that he couldn’t be a spy because a) Appalachians are too dumb to spy and b) even if one were smart enough to spy, the Americans would never believe that.

    (He was not a spy.)

    When it comes to women, ugly shoes for the sake of comfort drive me crazy. My beloved grandma had terrible foot problems, and she wore the most beautiful handmade shoes. They were flat and molded to her feet, so they could not have been more practical, but they were stunning nevertheless. They were not cheap, but much less expensive than you’d think, and she just had two pairs at a time. I need to ask my mom where she got them.

    Also, women who try too hard to be girly strike me as evil. I’m always convinced that they’re hiding their natural viciousness behind a mask of rainbows and unicorns. Scary!!

    Thanks for letting me vent!

    Comment by Shandey — March 9, 2009 @ 6:21 pm

  33. I have to admit that I’m very guilty of leaving the house looking like Death Warmed Over. If I leave the house that is. I garden every day ( 80 rosebushes and other stuff) and they don’t care what I look like. As long as I have the fertilizer or water hose in hand, they’re happy. Here are some scary facts about me that should make even those of you who THINK you’re fashion slackers feel better:
    Last time I wore heels -2004. for 4 hours
    Days I’ll wear the same jeans or shirt in a row if it smells and looks clean – 3.
    Average days a month I wear makeup – 3.
    I don’t own hairspray or a curling iron.

    Scared yet? My girlfriend ( never one to mince words or call punches) calls this: depression and self punishment. My boyfriend says its because if I did spruce up I’d be followed by drooling men all day and I’d get drool on me. Self defense he says. ( yeah. He IS that sweet and sensitive and thoughtful. I have no idea why he isnt gay…)
    They’re both right I guess. Hate to say it. Ashamed to say it. But there you go.
    I am working on it though. I’m a seamstress and I can make just about anything I want. I just never have because it felt selfish and inappropriate to have nice clothes. I did let my mom buy me 2 pairs of stretchy jeans at avenue. and a few scary bright t shirts. And my girlfriend bought me a pair of size 11 heels by fergie this weekend. I’m practicing wearing them a bit at a time. I dont want to fall on my face in public.
    But its scary. I figure if I look like every other depressed overweight housewife around then no one will actually see -me-. Make sense? Looking like crap seems to confer a certain sense of anonymity. ” These aren’t the droids you’re looking for. Move along. Move along.”
    Ugh. Whoever thought the simple act of getting dressed could be such a big deal.

    Comment by Beauregard Dupree — May 8, 2009 @ 11:11 am

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