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

March 8, 2010

Off The Runway: The Grandpa Cardi

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — Miss Plumcake @ 11:52 am

A major look for Fall –I know it’s barely spring yet, but c’mon– is a sheath dress and an open slouchy grandpa cardigan all loosely belted with a skinny belt (put away your wide belts for a few seasons, they’ll be back, but they’re painfully naff right now).

It was all over the place at Giles and Rochas, which have been two of my favorite shows so far this season.

If you can find an man’s old slouchy cashmere cardi, you’re in absolute luck,

Long cardi from Eileen Fisher (I know)
but if not you should be able to find something that’s long and loose (note: loose does not equal shapeless) with a little poking around. sheath
This is NOT the time for cropped cardigans, shrugs, or anything shrunken.
You’ll kill the look dead in a minute with that.
falchi anaconda clutch
The bags from the Rochas collection are just killing me. If you don’t have a metallic bag, pick one up. They’re dead handy and glitzes up an outfit like nobody’s business.
Skinny Belts from One Stop Plus

(pictured: Eileen Fisher cardigan, turquoise sheath from One Stop Plus, Carlos Falchi gold anaconda clutch, skinny patent leather belt from One Stop Plus (click on pictures for links))

I gotta tell you, I don’t just love the skinny belts I’ve seen for plus size broads and it’s the belt that makes the outfit, so here’s a little secret from me to you. Look for double-wrap belts in straight sizes. Buy a small or an extra small —or, you know, not– and either wear it as a single wrap as is, or take it to your cobbler to have him trim it down to size.

Remember, the whole concept of this look is loose, slouchy, effortless but NOT sloppy. Make sure your dress is cut as slim as possible with as much structure as possible and of course, the better materials you use, the better the look will be.

Do you have a runway look you want to interpret or replicate for big girls? Email me! I’ll see what I can do.


  1. Just a note that without careful fitting, any hourglass-shaped women are going to look VILE in slouchy cardigans with a tiny belts. Naff or not, the wider belts tend to work better on hourglasses – and I know that I’ll still be wearing a bolero-length sweater, unless and until I can find a sweater that is actually hourglass shaped.

    Fashion’s all well and good, but knowing one’s figure is priceless.

    Comment by La BellaDonna — March 8, 2010 @ 2:19 pm

  2. As is knowing one’s place. This was a post about getting a specific runway look. Your opinion on what looks VILE or not is just that, one opinion.

    Comment by Plumcake — March 8, 2010 @ 2:21 pm

  3. Speaking of cobblers, how does one go about finding a good one? I moved, leaving my extremely competent and trusted cobbler 1800 miles away, and am afraid of turning over shoes/purses/belts to a stranger.

    Comment by Maria — March 8, 2010 @ 4:41 pm

  4. I agree with La Bella Donna, this is not a generally flattering look for average-size women, much less big girls. It would be nice to at least acknowledge that it doesn’t work for hourglasses, who need more structured clothing.

    And telling commenters to know their place because they disagree with you is much less flattering than any cardigan.

    Comment by Lexi — March 8, 2010 @ 8:10 pm

  5. I appreciate taking a popular runway look and discussing how to alter it to work for non-runway sized people. Maybe a not bulky, slouchy long sweater over a body-skimming, but casual sheath, and a belt lower on the hip? For the tall, a small belt at the waist over a sweater can make one look really short-waisted. Sometimes it’s fun to buy a piece outside one’s look (like the belt, if not too pricey) and try it with my usual pieces, like the long sweater.

    Comment by Debs — March 8, 2010 @ 9:41 pm

  6. I love, love, love cardigans. I’m channeling my grandmother – she had at least 9 white ones that were all completely different. And that snake bag is a classic.

    Comment by Melissa — March 9, 2010 @ 12:07 am

  7. I’m not sure that this wouldn’t work on an hourglass. I am an hourglass and I was playing around with it tonight, and it was ok. I am actually kind of excited to see somewhat smaller belts coming around, because those might actually help out an hourglass with a shorter waist than mine. I have acres of waist, and I think the key to making this work for an hourglass might be some judgment on the thickness of the knit and how long the sweater is more than anything. The two treatments in the top pictures really do result in a much different silhouette for my body type, with the second being a bit more flattering and the first making me look a bit stumpier. The cool thing about the open cardi/sheath is that it gives you a nice up-and-down focal point regardless of what is going with the cardi.

    That said, I do think this look could go wrong, and it’s fair to say it might not work so well on different body types or that you should vary different factors to, as my God Tim Gunn would say, “make it work” for you.

    Comment by Lisa — March 9, 2010 @ 4:42 am

  8. That other variable is the pockets on the first cardi. I wouldn’t want the extra fabric on my hips, but somebody more top-heavy might.

    Comment by Lisa — March 9, 2010 @ 4:44 am

  9. I actually like this concept, mainly because I already tried it a few months ago with an old red cardigan that looks just like that Eileen Fisher one. It’s the only time that the whole “let’s belt everything ever” trend hasn’t failed me because I’m short-waisted with a huge rack.

    I think a lot of the trick is proportion, though. Looking at the first two models, it works way better on the first one than the second one. On the second model, I find that the belt is too low, the cardigan is too short, and I’m almost tempted to say that the dress is too flared. But that’s just my opinion, I could be wrong.

    Comment by ChloeMireille — March 9, 2010 @ 11:11 am

  10. I am extremely hourglass shaped and I think that skinny belts look good on me. FWIW, I find that they are much more flattering that wide belts, which tend to make me look like I am overly cinched, if that makes any sense at all. I think that this look is easily worn by a larger woman, and I am all about it.

    Comment by Chiken — March 9, 2010 @ 5:51 pm

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