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

April 30, 2009

From Francesca’s Inbox: Thursday Edition the Second

Filed under: Sales — Francesca @ 4:19 pm

Avenue is selling pants for $10 in their “Deals of the Week” category.

Torrid has announced new arrivals. Francesca notes that in addition to their regular clothes, they now have handbags, socks, and  adorable lingerie by one of my favorite, funnest designers, Betsey Johnson. (The discordant note: Teenage-style handbags at grown-up prices? The market is narrow, but Francesca wants to have ice cream with them.) Francesca loves the fun, flirty, polka-dot babydoll (pictured).

Swimsuits for All is having a clearance sale. Francesca’s pick (pictured).

Evans (of London) has an 80’s theme going on. One must be judicious with the 80’s retro, but Francesca likes! (Their website was down when Francesca wrote this, but when it’s up again she will try to remember to post pictures.)

JCPenney will give you a sample of Bliss’ Vanilla+Bergamot shower gel (while supplies last) if you order anything online and enter code JCPBATH at checkout (they also will give free shipping on orders of $75 or more). Plus sizes here. They and their partner, Sephora, have lots of nice Mother’s Day gifts. Francesca’s pick.

Maximum Woman wants you to remember that their prices are listed in Canadian dollars. Francesca checked and currently one Canadian dollar is about 80 American cents — so the prices are essentially 20% less. Their website is here.

Chico’s will take $25 off your purchase of $100 or more with code 6518, through May 17. Their new arrivals are here.

Coldwater Creek has moved 500 new items into their online outlet. Also, remember that through Sunday, you can get $25 off purchases of $100 or more with code WKH3340.

Athleta is a new store in the Gap-Old Navy-Banana Republic family, specializing in sports-wear for running, gymnastics, yoga, etc. Francesca wants to let you know that their items run through size 2X, which is not too shabby for a non-plus-size-specialty store. If you wear 1x or 2x, click here to see. They also sell Tall sizes.

Happy shopping! xoxo

Olive the Questions from Readers!

Filed under: What Should I Wear?,You Asked For It — Francesca @ 10:54 am

We received this letter from our internet friend Jen:

My future sister-in-law has asked me to be a bridesmaid in her and my brother’s  August wedding.  She is mercifully allowing the bridesmaids to pick their own dresses, as long as they conform to our assigned color (mine is olive green).  Excited for an excuse to do some major dress shopping, I’ve been thinking about making a trip up to New York City to shop.

Are there stores in NYC that you could suggest?  I am not limited to typical bridesmaid dresses – David’s Bridal is my absolute last resort.  I’d like something tea/knee length and to be able to wear the dress again in non-bridal settings.  I’m a size 18 or 20, roughly pear shaped, and my maximum budget is $200 (and I would love to pay much less).

You love to perplex the Francesca, do you not?

On one of the hands, we have the flexibility in styling. On the other of the hands, the dress must be olive green, quite pretty but not a typical color for the fancy “occasion” dress. Francesca is sorry to have to tell you that finding plus-size occasion dresses in a particular color is not so easy, even in New York, unless that color is black, sapphire, or emerald.

Francesca says: You do not need an excuse to shop in New York City. Go there to poke around at Saks’ Salon Z and at Rootchi and at the boutique of Monif C  and at Lee Lee’s Valise and at the plus-size department at the Macy’s flagship store, but do not expect to find the tea-length olive green dress appropriate for your brother’s wedding! Go to have a good time without such pressure! (Also, you must visit the Talbot’s Woman store on Broadway at 82nd Street and tell the wonderful saleslady Veronica that Francesca says hi. Hi Veronica! Hi!)

Francesca scoured the websites of ALL the New York department stores, from Bergdorf’s to Barney’s and back, and did not find what you seek. At Igigi she found this lovely olive dress for just $92,

which is very pretty and perhaps what you want, but also perhaps not elegant enough for the lavish affair. How formal is the wedding?

Sydney’s Closet used to have an olive green dress but it was floor length and frilly and very, very bridesmaid-y. And anyway it is not available any more, and a search there for “olive” did not turn up anything appropriate for this wedding.

So unless the Igigi dress fits the bill or you happen to find what you need in person in the Big Apple (or closer to home), Francesca says: Buy beautiful olive-green material and have a dress custom-designed and made personally for the Jen.

(In this vein, Francesca checked Dress By Design to see if they have any olive material, and they do. Look at this gorgeous swatch of embroidered shantung silk!

But a dress there in this fabric costs over $300, and for this price the Jen can probably have a dress made by her own seamstress.)

Congratulations on your brother’s wedding, and let us know how the search goes for the dress!


From Francesca’s Inbox: Thursday Edition the First

Filed under: Uncategorized — Francesca @ 7:17 am

::Deep Breath:: Here we go.

Torrid is searching for high school models this weekend in their stores. If you are interested, click here for details. Or click here to shop at Torrid.

Igigi‘s Sale of the Century continues. Now through May 4th, take an additional 50% off selected sales items, with code SALECENTURY.  Sizes/colors are limited so act quickly. Francesca’s pick: the Lucia Jeweled dress, now $69 instead of the original $152 (pictured).

Lane Bryant is having a spring sale! Click here to see the sales items. Francesca’s pick.

Make Your Own Jeans will take 10% off your purchase, today only, if you enter code MAKEJEANS at checkout. Click here for their website.

Old Navy will give you free shipping on orders of $50 or more, today only, if you enter code FREE50 at checkout.

Soma Intimates sale thingy ends today.

Roaman’s will take $20 off your purchase, today only,

J. Crew will take an extra 20% off spring sale items with code EXTRA20. Ends today.

April 28, 2009

Sale Reminder

Filed under: Fashion,Sales — Francesca @ 8:11 am

Francesca wishes to remind you that ENDING TODAY, you can get 25% off your purchase of four items or more at Silhouettes with code S9GEA, or take off $50 from purchases of $150 with code S9SEH2, and STARTING TODAY you can take an additional 50% off any sales items at Igigi with code SALECENTURY.

If it is not sold out already, you can get this teal color-block dress at Igigi now for $39 with the code.

If it is not sold out, this fantastic leather-trim skirt is now $28.50. (Ignore the bow blouse, though. The 80’s are over.)

Four items from Silhouettes:

This dress is on sale for $29.99

Georgette blouse on sale for $29.

  Silk print dress available for $79.

  Shift dress on sale for $34.99.

Happy shopping!

April 27, 2009

Big Girl in Makeup Art!

Filed under: Absolutely Fabulous,Makeup — Francesca @ 10:35 am

Francesca cannot believe she has not yet told you about Lauren Luke!

Ms. Luke is a Big Girl and a makeup artist from the UK who, early on, created a channel on YouTube and started posting makeup tutorials. The production quality is low, but her sweet personality, knowledge of makeup, and ability to make glamorous or complicated Hollywood looks seem easy made her videos extremely popular.

Francesca has chosen to include here one of the more “wearable” looks, Laurens “sweet and innocent bridal look”:

It is fun, though, to watch her videos on how to recreate looks from Britney Spears videos, Sex and the City, etc.

And now, Ms. Luke has her own makeup line!

Congratulations, Lauren! Francesca loves you and thinks you are beautiful!

April 26, 2009

Twistie’s Sunday Caption Madness: The Madding Crowd Edition

Filed under: Uncategorized — Twistie @ 8:30 am


Yesterday I went to an Earth Day celebration in Berkeley. And in the middle of a crowded park, I managed to stumble and take a truly spectacular faceplant in the grass. Yes, I landed on my nose. Luckily, thanks to an interview with Chevy Chase I heard many more moons ago than I care to think about, I remembered that the best thing to do when falling is to keep rolling as long as you can, because it will minimize the potential for injury. Thus it was that I was able to walk away from the scene under my own power within minutes of the catastrophe.

Celebrity interviews: the life they save may be your own.

I also learned that if you’re going to take a spectacular, Chevy Chase-esque tumble in public, an Earth Day celebration in Berkeley is the place to do it. A significant number of concerned citizens concerned themselves with my well-being and stood ready to render assistance, if needed. Luckily, it wasn’t…not even when Mr. Twistie hauled my less than petite backside into a standing position.

Even though I wasn’t severely injured, I’m a bit banged up. There’s a nasty, splotchy bruise on my forehead, my nose has a bad scrape right on the bridge, and I’m a bit sore here and there. Oh, yes, and then there’s that whole public humiliation thing. In some ways, that’s the worst bit, since I didn’t actually…oh…break a bone or something like that.

To make a long story short – and I realize fully that it’s waaaaay too late for that – I’m in need of some laughs. The fastest and most effective way I know to guarantee some of those (short of watching Monty Python and the Holy Grail for the eleventy-millionth time) is to present you folks with a picture just crying out to be captioned. Here’s the pic, you know what to do.

Easter Parade

Next week, when the only painful part of this episode is the memories, I’ll declare a winner.


April 25, 2009

No, Really, I Just Want Something to Wear on My Feet

Filed under: Shoes,Wide-width Shoes — Twistie @ 12:44 pm

Newsflash: I am neither an angel of mercy nor a bargain basement prostitute.

I just thought I’d get that right out there for everyone to see off the bat. Now I’ll proceed to explain why I feel it important for the general public to know this about me: shoes.

Last weekend was a frustrating one for me. The Manolosphere was blacked out by server troubles, the temperature rose some thirty or so degrees literally overnight, and my sandals chose that moment to die an irreversible death, leaving me with a choice of fleece-lined clogs or mid-calf boots to wear.

Now it’s a grim confession for a Manolosphere writer to admit such a tiny collection of footwear. It’s also damn uncomfortable to go out in  ninety-odd degree weather in fleece-lined shoes. I bit the bullet and informed Mr. Twistie that we were on a Mission From God to find me a pair of sandals.

Mr. Twistie has been known to quake in his shoes at such a pronouncement. Why? Because my feet are notoriously difficult to fit coupled with the fact that my sense of style is extremely particular. My arch is ridiculously high, and my sense of balance is…well…I’ve been known to fall off my heels in flats.

Nevertheless, Mr. Twistie knows an implacable Twistie when he sees one and dutifully drove me to a large mall. Said mall contains approximately eighty-five gazillion shoe stores, give or take a couple. It also contains three – count ’em, three – department stores. I trudged through every single one of them in a desperate search for a pair of flat sandals I could stick on my feet right then and there and wear home. You’d think with that many sources there would be a fighting chance of finding one damn pair of shoes I liked that fit.

You would, apparently, be wrong.

Okay, I admit I didn’t try out the ‘sensible’ shoe store. It’s not even (forgive me, Manolo!) that I have a problem with wearing Birkenstocks. I’ve done it before, and I’ll no doubt do it again. They fit. I don’t fall off them. They last for freaking ever. It’s just that for once in my life, I wanted a pair of at least marginally fashionable sandals. Just once. Is that really so much to ask?

I started out at Payless Shoes. This is not because of high quality or even their generally very low prices. It was because I’ve seen them stock reasonable looking shoes in wide sizes before, so it struck me as a good place to start looking. I headed for the row with my size and began the hunt, fairly certain I could at least find a pair of sandals I could wear while looking for a sturdier pair to last me longer.

No dice.

There was one, single pair of shoes in my size. They were hot pink metallic patent leather platform stiletto hooker sandals. Let us count the ways in which these are Not Twistie Shoes. We begin with ‘pink’ and end with ‘hooker.’ The only two words from that list I wanted in my footwear were ‘hot sandals.’

Still, that was one store. There was an entire mall full of shoes just waiting for someone to buy them. Besides, while Payless carries wide widths, they don’t exactly specialize in them. Perhaps they were just low on stock that day. Nothing daunted, I headed for a store that had a lovely selection of attractive flat sandals in real leather colors. Some had pretty beadwork, others decorative stitching that caught my Ren-Fairy eye. Some were simple while others were elaborate. The thing they all had in common was that they looked like something I wanted on my feet.

Wiping away the unladylike drool from my chin, I proceeded in and took a closer look. Good materials, decent workmanship, reasonable prices…I was in Shoe Heaven! Then I asked the fateful question: do you carry wide widths?

The girl looked at me as though I’d just asked for permission to park my spaceship on the premises. She then informed me that, no, she was sorry to be unable to help me, but her store didn’t carry wide shoes at all.

The next store was worse. The shoes – while less inspirational than in the previous one – were quite nice. The saleswoman was not. She didn’t just look confused, but outright disgusted to have been asked a simple question about the sizes available. She then sneeringly directed me to the ‘sensible’ shoe store.

On and on it went. Store after store, I got one of the above reactions. There was either polite befuddlement or outright contempt that I might think I had any right to put something pretty on my disgusting fat feet.

My last ditch effort was Sears. Their shoe section had nobody to ask for assistance or other sizes. It had gone self serve. There were helpful signs all around the department informing me that more styles and sizes were available at their website. Great. That didn’t help me when I was searching high and low all over the department looking for a pair of shoes I could try on AND WEAR HOME IN THE SCORCHING HEAT INSTEAD OF THE DAMN CLOGS.

After some minutes of diligent searching, I found one, single pair of wide width shoes in the whole of the Sears shoe department. They were a pair of sensible white bucks clearly meant for someone in the medical profession. I’m glad they recognized that, say, a nurse who stands on her feet all day might need shoes for work, and that they might even need a wide width. I’m in favor of that. I, however, am not a nurse. Even if I were one, I would still need something to wear on my feet in my off hours. And when I need sandals, I really don’t need bucks.

Oh, and some of us need a bit more from a shoe than simple width. I, for example, need to know that my freakishly high arch will fit into a shoe before I buy it. Purchasing shoes over the internet is simply not a practical option for some of us, aside from the fact that sometimes you just need a shoe immediately because you don’t have anything functional and appropriate to the season.

So, stiletto hooker shoes or angel of mercy white bucks. I wound up swinging through a Target on the way home. No, they didn’t have wide shoes, either, but we had a gift card and I found a pair of kind of cute sandals that weren’t all that uncomfortable to wear for less than twenty dollars. They will have to do for me until I find someplace where I can get a pair of sandals that actually fits and that I actually like.

In fact, if they just came in my actual size, I’d be content with the sandals I bought.

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