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

September 4, 2009

Heaven will be a little more conservative today

Filed under: Fashion History — Miss Plumcake @ 10:44 am

Let’s be honest, Nancy Talbot, the driving force behind Talbots, inspired and sold quite possibly the world’s dullest clothes. Barbara Bush was touted by Robin Sackin of the Fashion Institute of Technology as the quintessential Talbot’s woman, “she’s perfect” said Sackin. But as much as their clothes are narcoleptic attacks rendered totally in twill and unflattering pleats, Nancy Talbot –who died Sunday– was a sister who did it for herself.

Nancy Talbot

Born Nancy Orr, she met her husband Rudolf Talbot in France during World War II.

The two married and when Mr Talbot became dissatisfied with the franchise clothing store he’d inherited from his father, Nancy and Rudolf opened the first Talbots outside of Boston.

“I was always pushing poor Rudolf […] I was an aggressive Midwesterner, but that’s how it started. We were so unique on Seventh Avenue. Everyone took pity on us. We bought what we liked.”

read the rest of the obit here

And you know, as much as their clothes bore me to tears, I’ve got to respect a broad who stayed true to her values, was aggressively enterprising, trusted her eye and did what she loved. We should all be so dedicated.

Mrs Talbot died from Alzheimer’s disease. If you’d like to learn more about that bitch of a disease or donate to the Alzheimer’s Association (one of my favorite charities) click here.


  1. Talbots clothing may be boring but it’s a source of quality plus sized clothing. RIP Mrs. T.

    Comment by Lorraine — September 4, 2009 @ 11:27 am

  2. Thank you for saying that, Lorraine.

    Also, sometimes they can surprise you. They’ll have a classic cut in an unusual color or pattern. I have one skirt that always gets raves – it’s in a print I can only describe as “autumnal Pucci”.

    Comment by dowdydiva — September 4, 2009 @ 1:46 pm

  3. I used to think they had boring clothes, too, till a couple of years ago. It’s still classic, but a lot more adventurous with pattern and color. And they’re a great place for basics. At least that’s what this “aggressively Midwestern” broad thinks.

    Comment by Mrs. Hendricks — September 4, 2009 @ 1:48 pm

  4. I’ve actually found some beautiful and beautifully made clothing at Talbot’s. Unfortunately for me, I’m not built like their fit model, who is flatter in the belly than I am, so the skirts that I LOVE generally look like the devil on me.

    Comment by La BellaDonna — September 4, 2009 @ 5:27 pm

  5. I also think they have some nice things. I bought a cashmere sweater there that really fits well, and I also have a great lightweight lined wool skirt. I don’t like everything they have, but the things I have bought seem well made and classic.

    Comment by Leigh Ann — September 4, 2009 @ 9:31 pm

  6. I’m not saying it’s BAD, I’m just saying it’s dull. Which it is.

    Comment by Plumcake — September 4, 2009 @ 11:16 pm

  7. Yes, they are a mite dull, but there are times when you need to take a basic look and fabulous it up. Every wardrobe needs basics and I love Talbots for those (especially their “no-iron” shirts & blouses). You can accessorize yourself into a frenzy with a good imagination. I also really love them for recognizing that women come in all shapes and sizes and I celebrate them for adding some more “mature” models to their catalogues. In this they are pioneers and I really do greatly respect that.

    Comment by gemdiva — September 5, 2009 @ 11:38 am

  8. Talbotts iconic ties are made right near my home in Carmel Valley, CA. And fabrications you cannot believe – the patterns so imaginative and amazing. We are lucky enough for them donate bags of “scraps” (read: giant pieces and bolts of fabric) to our theatre group for use in costumes. They (The Talbotts) have always been amazing supporters of the arts here on the Monterey Peninsula. Bless them ! They will always be missed.

    Comment by KLauren — September 5, 2009 @ 1:48 pm

  9. RIP Mrs. Talbot, and count me in as a fan of their quality Talbots Woman range. No, it’s not fashion-forward. But for someone like me who is in her 40s and prefers classics, it’s been a consistent source of suiting, dresses and nice separates in wool, linen, silk and cotton. Very little of that wonky poly. And considering that some of my other closet mainstays have either ceased making plus (Ellen Tracy) or gone downmarket (Dana Buchman), I’m glad that TLB is still hanging in there.

    Comment by 19082008 — September 5, 2009 @ 4:54 pm

  10. Plumcake, have you never seen St. John clothes? They are “Talbots Goes to Vegas” a concept which indeed nearly causes the brain to assplode. Flashy and dull at the same time has to be dowdier than plain old dull, no?

    Comment by raincoaster — September 5, 2009 @ 10:12 pm

  11. I’m so sorry to hear this. Their Woman Petites fit me beautifully and they never thought plus sized women didn’t deserve the same colors as everyone else. I tend to mix my Talbot’s classics with other pieces to keep from looking like I’m in Episcopal drag, but the pieces are great foundations.

    Comment by Fabrisse — September 6, 2009 @ 1:19 pm

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