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

December 31, 2009

From Us To You

Filed under: Holidays — Miss Plumcake @ 3:16 pm

courtesy of The Gunslinger

Take a cab, take precautions, take a breath mint and have a blast!

From Francesca’s Inbox: Thursday Edition

Filed under: From Francesca's Inbox,Sales — Francesca @ 2:02 pm

AVENUE has a large selection of items up to 80% off (online, and some are in-store only), “for a limited time.” Also, ending today, use code AV91143 for 25% off your most-expensive item and 30% off the next-most, if you buy 3 or more items.

TORRID has taken 50% off Clearance, and is having a holiday sale, including 25% off dresses. If you order $75 or more, use code CELEBRATE for free shipping. Francesca’s picks: Purple Fur Collar Cardigan for $17.50Black Rosebud Print Tiered Skirt $15; floral pencil skirt $15Black Corset Top $20.

CATHERINES will give you free shipping on orders of $75 or more, ending tonight at midnight Eastern. Their end-of-year clearance goes on through January 12 and is here. Also through January 12, bras and shapewear are “buy 2, get 1 free” and panties are “buy 3, get 2 free.” These offers exclude Goddess and (sadly) Spanx brands. Francesca’s Picks.

NORM THOMPSON is having their winter sale.

CJ BANKS is offering $5 shipping on any order. Francesca sees that they have some nice, classic, wardrobe basics in their section for sizes 4x and 5x.

ASHLEY STEWART is having an end-of-season sale, online only and “for a limited time,” with 50% off your entire purchase.

SAKS FIFTH AVENUE has new styles in by Christian Louboutin. Go look at the pretty $800 shoes here.

TALBOTS is having their famous Red Hanger sale. Note that they sell both Woman and Woman Petite sizes.

COLDWATER CREEK will take 60% off your entire purchase (online only), through January 4, with code WKH8281.

Five Great Shoes Under $50: The Mid-Heel Evening Shoe

Filed under: Five Great...,Sales,Shoes — Miss Plumcake @ 8:00 am

Mid-heel evening shoes are like cigarettes in jail: Difficult to obtain, highly valuable and worth their weight in gold. Also sometimes a really buff gay guy will try to stab you for them.

Mid-heels are perfect for New Year’s Eve parties because odds are you’ll be up late and doing a lot of standing.

Personally I’m wearing these:

pewter atwoods

which are most certainly NOT mid-heels, (the shoes are pewter lace-up sandals by Brian Atwood, the scarf is Couvertures et Tenues de Jour by Hermes) but I also don’t plan on doing much other than draping myself elegantly across a divan and/or bar stool and having champagne funneled down my throat.

A more sensible choice than the full talons aiguilles (literally “needle heels”) would be these thin-wale velvet darlings from Clone. At a sensible 2.7 inches with a pyramid heel, you’ll rock out the naughties in style.

Clone velvet

Plus they’re closed-toe for your champagne-sipping pleasure!

December 30, 2009


Filed under: Models,The Fat's in the Fire — Francesca @ 10:00 am

UPDATE: Oh, dear, Francesca has struck a bad chord with this post. Please see the bottom for some new, additional thoughts.

Do not worry, this will not be a “Gawd, can you believe how awful some of these clothing stores are?” post, nor a “Don’t we hate when people hate on fat people?” post. Rather, it is a post reminding that we all have a voice, and if we use it, bit by bit we might effect change.

Last week, amid the many pre-Christmas sales emails, Francesca received a “happy holidays” message from Nordstrom, linking to their page of holiday dresses. Included in the pictorial ad/message were these photos:

Nordstrom1 Nordstrom2

(The second, of the model in the pink dress, must have been uploaded by Nordstrom as two separate images, because this is how it saved to Francesca’s computer. It was originally of the whole dress.)

Francesca sent them the following email, which she thinks is quite polite under the circumstances:

I’m writing in response to this email you sent out about your dresses.

As you may know, we at Manolo for the Big Girl ( often link to your ecommerce site, and encourage our readers to shop your plus-size collection. So I have no complaints about the attention you pay to plus-size consumers (although more merchandise for our audience is always appreciated).

I’m writing because the model in the pictures here, in this email, goes beyond thin, into the emaciated territory. She looks skeletal, really unhealthy. I’m frankly worried about her.

I’m not demanding that you use plus-size models (though that would be terrific), but could you at least use models who look healthy?

Just my two cents!

Sincerely, etc.

Of course Francesca received the stock reply of “Thank you for your comments about our models, we use lots of agencies, we strive for diversity, we’ll pass along your message for review, blah blah blah.”

The point is that Francesca took a few moments to speak up, and she hopes that, under similar circumstances, you will too!



Francesca never enjoys negative criticism, because who does? but negative criticism from readers here feels especially bad because you are an intelligent, thoughtful bunch whose opinions are worth serious consideration.

So, Francesca will certainly mull over this more, but for now she wishes to add a few points:

1- Those of you who pointed out that one cannot tell just from looking at someone whether that person is healthy … are correct (except under extreme circumstances, such as those involving oxygen tanks or blood-soaked bandages… unless one is on a movie set, in which case all bets are off).

2- Correct: Just as one cannot tell from looking at a fat girl whether she has diabetes or heart disease, one cannot tell from looking at a very thin girl whether she has cancer or anorexia. Francesca apologizes to the many very thin girls who read this blog, who were insulted by the post. It was not my intention to imply that extreme thinness, by definition, indicates unhealth.

3- Correct: Girls with diabetes, heart disease, cancer and/or anorexia deserve as much love and acceptance as anyone else.

4- Even if the model’s health is of any concern, perhaps this model looks pale and wan because of bad lighting and makeup. Who knows?

5- In an ideal world, there would be such a variety of body shapes and styles among working models, and everyone consuming the media would be so non-judgemental, that we’d all be represented and considered gorgeous and marketable.

6- In such an ideal world, perhaps putting clothing on a model and publishing her picture would be, for everyone viewing the photo, just about the clothes and whether to buy them, and not at all about the statement this photo is making about what is considered beautiful and marketable.

7- In the world as it is, I think we all agree here that the choices made about who models clothing make statements about what is considered beautiful, and by extension, what is not considered beautiful — and that those choices  impact  our society, changing what people-on-the-street consider beautiful and not beautiful.

8- I think all of us here would like to live in a world where women who look like they MIGHT have diabetes, or heart disease, or any other illness associated with obesity – whether that association is backed up by science or not — are considered beautiful and worthy of modeling.

9- Logically, then, a girl who looks like she MIGHT have anorexia or cancer — whether she does or not, whether the possibility is backed up by science or not — should also be considered beautiful and worthy of modeling.

10- Francesca does not know how to reconcile #7 with #9 IN THE WORLD THE WAY IT IS, which is that people make judgements about others, and models affect purchases, and the media has a lot of power in establishing “ideals of beauty.” If we want ALL women, including those of any “extremes” (extreme fatness, extreme thinness, extreme paleness or oldness or blackness, women with disabilities, etc) to be represented, then how is it logical for women to complain that the fashion industry hires too many models who are extremely thin, who look like they MIGHT be sick (moreso than anyone not at the extremes, who may also be sick but who do not look, in our non-ideal world, a way that makes people think “oh, dear, maybe that person is sick” just because of how they look) — or whose thinness, whether they are sick or not, might be contributing to the spread of eating disorders?

In other words, if we say that the fashion industry should hire models who, right or wrong, make some people (hi, Meme Roth) think “diabetes,” because NOT everyone fat is diabetic, and even if they were, what is wrong with diabetes?, then are we also willing to say “it’s OK to hire models who make some people (including, it appears, Francesca) think “cancer,” because NOT everyone very thin and pale has cancer, and even if they did, what is wrong with cancer?

Francesca is taking all these thoughts about beauty and media and people’s perceptions, and taking them to their logical conclusions, and does not see how we can have our cake and eat it too. Your thoughts?

Five Great Shoes Under $50: The Deck Shoe

Filed under: Uncategorized — Miss Plumcake @ 8:00 am

Maybe it’s because my happiest memories are of the time spent on my grandfather’s yacht “The Night Owl” when I was a wee bairn, or maybe I’m just a magpie who can’t resist anything shiny, but I am all about these mocs from Ralph Lauren (who can still suck it, by the way). They’re not exactly winter shoes, but think of how much fun you could have in them come spring and summer! Boat parties! Farmers Markets! Making fun of Molly Ringwald for being poor!

RL mocs

Originally $168, limited sizes available at YOOX for $49

December 29, 2009

What Miss Plumcake Is…

Filed under: Books,Food,Movies,Music,Perfume,What Miss Plumcake is — Miss Plumcake @ 12:00 pm

It’s the final Tuesday of the year, time to see what Miss Plumcake is…

What Miss Plumcake is...

Reading: A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby. A re-read for me, since it first came out in 2005. You’d think a novel about a quartet of people trying to commit suicide on New Year’s Eve wouldn’t be very sweet or touching (or funny) but it is, with a good slathering of misanthropic mustard to keep it darkly funny. You can pick it up pretty much for the price of postage at Amazon. Just click the link.

Watching: It Happened One Night
starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, directed by Frank Capra. As I mentioned earlier, I don’t love It’s a Wonderful Life, preferring instead this, the ne plus ultra of all screwball comedies. As a fashion side-note, you’re probably already aware that Clark Gable did irreparable damage to the undershirt industry when he unbuttoned in this film and revealed nothing more than a hairy chest under his dress shirt.
Hearing: Handel’s Messiah. I sing a lot of Handel, rare is the week I don’t have two Handel arias in the works and another one on deck. You’d think I’d get bored of GFH’s greatest hit.  I don’t. Yes, I still prefer it at Easter, but Christmas is no time to be pedantic. The Rutter/Royal Phil is my favorite widely-available recording.

Smelling: Filles en Aiguilles by Christopher Sheldrake for Serge Lutens
. I am an old and jaded frag hag. I roll my delicate nostrils at 99% of mall fragrances. I don’t jump at the newest niche release and I’ve almost given up hope on Jean-Claude Ellena ever releasing anything truly brilliant again –he’s the house nose for Hermes now, which means he’s got marketablity to think about– I am, according to Angela’s brilliant list at Now Smell This, a stage four perfumista. Which is why getting a fragrance that really excites me is a rare experience. Filles en Aiguilles (literally “Girls on Needles” though it’s a play on words, since the French slang for stilettos is talons aiguilles) excites me. A lot. A LOT a lot. Aiguilles opens as a pine bomb like I’ve never experienced, with just a bit of camphor,then it develops into something more resiny. It evolves into a high mass on Christmas eve, where the incense and the wreaths and the smell of old polished wood melt together into something transcendent and just slightly wild around the edges. As it dries down you’re left with a bit of warm pine and buttery skin incense. Equally good for men and women, it’s only available in the states at Barney’s.

Loving: Jon Richardson’s BBC 6 podcast. Generally speaking, comedians and humorists are –as a species– little more than seething balls of neediness, sexual deviance and empty takeout containers. It’s true. I mean, I’m not. It’s a well-documented fact that cartoon bluebirds dress me every day and when I smile you can literally hear the silvery ting! of sunbeams and happiness. But the rest of them? Useless, impotent and in need of a bath. Which is why it’s rare for me to bestow my highest honor —the Order of The Good Egg— to comedian Jon Richardson. I admire his work professionally but more importantly, he is responsible for propagating good deeds hither and yon via his Deed-ication feature. Basically he invites his listeners to write in with their good deeds for a chance to have the show dedicated to them, which is brilliant. Co-presenter/sidekick Matt Forde receives entrance into the Order of The Speckled Puppy for being adorable, endearing and definitely not allowed on the couch.

Hating: Bad Chocolate. I don’t know much, but I do know this: life is too short for small jewelry, faked orgasms and bad chocolate. I’ve managed to eradicate the first two, now if ONLY I could get people to stop giving me the third.

Wanting: Laphroaig Whisky. Islay malts aren’t to everyone’s taste, but they’re certainly to mine. Laphroaig, easily the most famous and accessible is It’s a big peaty smoke bomb of deliciousness. In my head, this is what Mister Badger’s sweater smells like. Drink it neat, with a drop of spring water or for an interesting take on a martini, mixed 1:4 with Hendrick’s gin.

Buying: Kiva Gift Certificates. By now everyone knows about Kiva, the microlending project that’s revolutionized charitable giving. I’ve been into microlending for years, ever since I met a group of women from southern Malawi. If you’re new to microlending, check it out.

From Francesca’s Inbox: Calm After the Storm Edition

Filed under: Uncategorized — Francesca @ 9:31 am

SMARTBARGAINS has a large selection of items 60% off, while supplies last.

ANN TAYLOR, whose sizes go to 18, will take 40% off any purchase online or in store, through Wednesday. Online, use code SALE40.

FASHION BUG is having a big clearance sale, online and in stores, through January 10. Also, through January 19, check out their semi-annual sale on intimates.

SWAK DESIGNS will take 25% off any evening dress through Dec. 31, with code Starlet25.

CHICOS will take 25% off your purchase of $100 or more, through January 10, with code 6712. Can be used one time per customer.

BEAUTY.COM will give you free samples (travel sizes) of skin cream, hair relaxing balm, and shampoo-for-blow-drying, all by PHYTO, with any purchase. This lasts through January 5 or when supplies run out.

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