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

May 12, 2010


Filed under: Shoes,Summer,You Asked For It — Miss Plumcake @ 10:20 am

Sometimes I’m just kind of dim.

(BTW this pause is for you to vehemently disagree, take your time. Keep going. Little more. Liiiittle more. There. Now stop.)

No, no. It’s true.

A few years ago at Style Spy’s suggestion, I picked up a fab pair of espadrille wedges with burnished gold leather uppers and I spent the bulk of that summer going “Why don’t I wear more espadrilles? I should wear more espadrilles!” but there was an ill-fated design flaw with my dear ‘drillies and I only got one season out of them.

Then in early March I found a pair of ridiculously un-me Lacroix espadrilles on slapyermomma sale and I’ve been tromping around in them asking myself the same question ever since. They’re comfortable, super padded, and since they lace all the way up, they’re molded to my feet.

Plus –and I don’t think we can underestimate the value of this– The Carolina Royal and I got to have the following conversation:

“Your espadrilles. They’re fabulous.”
“They’re Lacroix.”
“I like them even better now!”

At its most basic, an espadrille is a rope-braided fiber –usually jute– with a heel and a toe sewn on in two pieces,  como eso:
traditional espadrilles

UNIONBAY Women’s Pipper Espadrille

Which, okay, is not exactly an exciting fashion statement (although I do love men in these plain types) but the concept is a good one.  It just needs a bit of mustard.


Charles David – Dizzy

Even though espadrilles originated in the Pyrenees, they have a very coastal feel to me, which is why I generally prefer my ‘drillies to have a rustic, woven look, and one of the very few instances where I prefer fabric to leather. When I picture the inspiration for espadrilles, I’m imagining craggy-eyed men and old women in big black skirts who mend nets in some sleepiy Spanish fishing village applying their handicraft to the local footwear.

Eric Michael – Panna

Which isn’t to say there aren’t good drillies with leather uppers, these mid wedges from Eric Michaels are nice –with the added bonus of the t-strap keeping the slingback from slipping off your foot– and these Donald J. Pliners:

Donald J Pliner – Qamra

Are woven nubuck leather, which is the best of both worlds. They’re also the only ones actually made in Spain.

Delman – Denny

For a more Betty Grable take on things –without veering into cutesy vintage– you can’t beat Delman. Doing a black ‘drille is harder than you might think, and this is the best example I’ve found. Plus it’s Delman, so you can pretend you’re Maggie Prescott making over Hepburn The Lesser and shout “CALL DELMAN’S!”

Apepazza – Gaia

Of course you could always take a more boho, road to Marrakesh spin, which would be fun and a good way to anchor a dress that needed a fairly solid shoe to balance out the look.  These also come in a sort oxblood which I might like even more.

But what if you don’t want to futz with the tying and the buckling and whatnot? I mean it’s a long way down for some of us…

LAUREN Ralph Lauren – Cecilia

I love slubby fabric treatments with jute, always have.  They just seem to go together so well, and you don’t see shantung (although these are almost certainly not silk) very often on shoes anymore except for those horrible slapslapslapping mules. These are available in a whole mess of colors and I bet look great on the leg with rolled up trousers on a casual summer day. Is it THE most exciting shoe you’ll ever own? No. But you’ll wear them comfortably until your feet fall off and look classic while you do it.

Bella-Vita – Thai

The internet swears to me these are navy. An interesting take on the ‘drille because it actually has a defined heel. Still, I like them and they would make for easy wearing for picnics or other outdoorsy want-to-look-cute-but-don’t-want-to-sink-into-the-ground events.


  1. Thank you! Thank you so much for this!!!

    Comment by Jenny — May 12, 2010 @ 11:05 am

  2. Oh! I adore espadrilles :) They scream summer and are the perfect complement to sundresses, white pants or walking shorts. I have assorted heel hights from flat to 4 inch wedges and I love them all. Even though I am 7 months pregnant and getting a little bit unstable (physically of course) I may need to grab the Charles David Dizzy.

    Comment by Catherine — May 12, 2010 @ 11:18 am

  3. Ooh. Ooh. Ooh! Love them. Need them. Especially a black fabulous pair to pair with my new very-Esther-Williams strapless one piece this summer. Which is fabulous. As are you.

    Also, care to do a round up of the best strapless bathing suits this summer? It can be such a fabulous look on big girls, but one that is under-utilized, I think.

    Comment by Eilish — May 12, 2010 @ 11:24 am

  4. @Catherine: Good thinkin’ you won’t be knocked up forever!

    @Eilish: I do like a strapless bathing suit but not enough to do a feature dedicated solely to them, especially because GOD KNOWS I’d get six squillion emails from readers about how they can’t wear a strapless swimsuit and why don’t I EVER put REAL clothes and blah blah zzzzz blah, but be not afraid: When I do my bathing suit roundup, I will definitely have at least one. In the meantime, let’s see a link of your suit!

    Glad to do it! Which pair is your favorite?

    Comment by Plumcake — May 12, 2010 @ 11:33 am

  5. Thank you, thank you!!!

    Comment by Rebekka — May 12, 2010 @ 11:34 am

  6. @Rebekka: I hope I have sufficiently enabled you!

    Comment by Plumcake — May 12, 2010 @ 11:47 am

  7. Yikes, the only link I can find is at the bottom of the comment. (And the model is frightening.) Apparently the suit was popular as I ordered it a couple of weeks ago and they had black, red, brown, purple and blue. Now–just blue. The picture is not good and doesn’t do justice to the suit, which is simple and looks really great on.

    I can tell you that I found it at Target and it’s Merona. (I know!) And it has this fabulous outer layer that you can pull down to create a different line along the leg, or scrunch up to hide extra tummy wobbles. It’s not strictly plus sized, but I’m an 18/20 and the xl is even a little big for my taste, especially when wet. I have a hard time finding suits that I really like as I don’t like the skirt-y types that seem to occupy most racks at the plus stores. (I like to really swim, darn it! I don’t want a skirt swirling around.)

    Comment by Eilish — May 12, 2010 @ 11:55 am

  8. Ok. Better link. Here it is in black.

    And much better pic. At least the woman has SOME figure. Though my boobs are much larger (40DD) and the support is fine for me, for more skeptical readers.

    Also, tan lines are eeeeevil, and I do not have my own personal Moroccan oasis, so strapless is as close as I can get without flying back to Italy (which is just not practical today.)

    Comment by Eilish — May 12, 2010 @ 12:02 pm

  9. Back in the 80s in Fort Worth there was this uber-WASP-y preppy store called Henry’s Jean Scene, which sold Polo shirts, Mexican dresses, and madras shorts, etc. They had flat and 2-inch open-toed espadrilles in every color in the world; these have become for me the ideal espadrille to which no others can compare, apparently. Such simplicity (but including the open toe) is now impossible to obtain. Everything drips with beads, patent, appliques, and fussy ties and is ridiculously high-heeled. Nothing against heels, of course, but the 4- and 5-inch wedge on most modern versions seems to defeat the casual vibe of the shoe. The Ralph Laurens come the closest to the rose-tinted perfection I remember.

    Comment by Miss Conduct — May 12, 2010 @ 12:51 pm

  10. I just ordered the Delmans. I am a sucker for Delman, generally, and whenever I see a pair I like I MUST BUY THEM IMMEDIATELY. I once missed out on the most adorable ballet flats from them and I have regretted it ever since.

    Comment by Jenny — May 12, 2010 @ 1:49 pm

  11. @Eilish: I can see why you like it! I wish I could find a long waisted plus size one, I’d wear it in a hot second!

    Comment by Plumcake — May 12, 2010 @ 3:06 pm

  12. @Jenny: I have also had a tale of Delman flats love and loss. I’m glad you acted on your better interest this time.

    Comment by Plumcake — May 12, 2010 @ 3:08 pm

  13. I just got a pair of Cazabat espadrille wedges that I adore. They’ve got the tiny-sequin thing going on and while ankle ties and I plan to wear them to every outdoor wedding I’m going to this summer. (After last year’s Prada-stuck-in-the-lawn incident, I’ve learned my lesson about heels in those situations.)

    Comment by daisyj — May 12, 2010 @ 3:39 pm

  14. Oh, and if I wasn’t about to leave for six days of blowing all my disposable income (and at least a third of my brain cells/liver) in New York, I would totally be buying those Ralph Laurens.

    Comment by daisyj — May 12, 2010 @ 3:43 pm

  15. While I love all the heels, Im a sucker for the flat Union Bay… but in a bright color. I have a similar pair in hot pink that I will wear out this season. I admire ya’ll in the higher versions- sexy.

    Comment by Peaches — May 12, 2010 @ 5:14 pm

  16. Know what? I love espadrilles too but they get to dingy in New York City. I used to a have a cute mule pair from Payless about 12-14 years ago. OOO, I wore the hell out of them. I also like the traditional flat ones. Sometimes it is so hot, you just want something cute and light. Unfortunately, I need more arch support than they provide.

    @Plumcake, you’re never dim. ;-) lol.

    Comment by BrooklynShoeBabe — May 12, 2010 @ 6:21 pm

  17. @BrooklynShoeBabe: fun tip, you can de-dingy your espadrilles by spraying them with Clorox Oxi Magic. A spritz once a week –let them dry in the sun ideally, but if not it’s no big deal– will keep them clean looking, or you can just do several sprays&dry cycles over the course of a weekend if they’ve gone dingy on you bigtime.

    Comment by Plumcake — May 12, 2010 @ 7:23 pm

  18. If you buy white canvas ones, you can keep them pristine with white liquid shoe polish.

    Comment by Margo A — May 13, 2010 @ 3:28 am

  19. “I picked up a fab pair of espadrille wedges with burnished gold leather uppers ”

    Hey, I have a pair of those… now I feel extra fab. And every other pair you have here. I really like the Laurens–I have a pair of Chucks with the same type of fabric treatment. It’s so great, because you wouldn’t expect it in a pair of Chucks, but it works.

    Comment by Genevieve — May 13, 2010 @ 8:55 am

  20. I order the very same wedge-heel, black ankle-tie espadrilles every spring from, which is in Spain but gets them to your door or desk muy rapido. Since I live in Southern California, they are my go-to casual shoe pretty much all year round…my proper non-California upbringing twinges slightly because I know they’re really summer shoes but I tell myself it’s OK to wear them on sunny February weekends because they have a closed toe.

    Comment by missm — May 13, 2010 @ 11:26 am

  21. I bought the Bella-Vita Thai in gold last year and I love them. I don’t like anything around my ankle or anything on the vamp, so this style suited me fine–and they come in wide widths up to E. Bella-Vita are extremely well-made and now my favorite brand.

    Comment by Mimi Stratton — May 16, 2010 @ 6:39 pm

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