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

August 31, 2010

Real Manolosphere Heroes

Filed under: Uncategorized — Miss Plumcake @ 8:38 am

Okay y’all, we need to sit down and take it to the reals.

It’s tough out there, gang. There is bad taste EVERYWHERE. People are still getting pink and white square tips and wearing oversize sunglasses, I STILL am the only person at my local grocery store who can be reliably be counted on to wear a proper-fitting boulder holder and people buy and apparently consume something called Arbor Mist, which makes my soul hurt.

But all is not lost.

For every no there is a yes, for every low there is a high, and for every Woman Too Damn Old For A Vera Bradley Wristlet And Really Should Know Better Anyway is a teenage daughter who won’t let her buy one.

Ladies and gentlemen who act like ladies,  let us doff our collective chapeaux to Clare M.

Clare M is one of our younger readers and at a fresh-faced sixteen years old, stopped her otherwise entertaining and right-thinking mother Julia (who shared the story with me yesterday) from purchasing a Vera Bradley wristlet.

WARNING: Our more delicate readers might want to avert their eyes.

Friends. I am a writer, a Southerner AND an Episcopalian so believe me when I say have seen many MANY pink elephants in my time, but I’ve never, ever (perhaps because I’ve never been forced to drink hairspray) seen pink elephants like THAT.

Now to be fair, this might not be THE wristlet Julia wanted, but it cannot possibly be far off.  Now, we will ignore for the time being that a Grown Woman wants a wristlet –which I think of as strictly the domain of the Miley crowd–  and let’s focus on the low-rent-Lilly Pulitizer tragiculousness of Vera Bradley on someone who remembers what MTV was like when there was music on it.

Our heroine Clare, spying her mother cruising the internet for Questionable Trade (and in this instance I mean a VB wristlet) throws herself into the line of fire like:

“Mommy, no. No Vera Bradley.”

Julia protests. She asks “Who will even know?!”

And Clare, bringing a tear to my eye and making me love her as if she were my own child (by which I mean my own Birkin) responds:

God will know.

I salute you Clare. Well-played. Well-played indeed.


  1. HA!
    I’m 25, I loathe Vera Bradley, and sadly I have many acquaintances (note that I did not say “friends”) my age who adore that sh…tuff. And some whose mothers love it. WHY???

    My early-50s mother used carry a non-VB wristlet that came in garish colors and an alarming pattern. No matter how many times I told her that it made her look like a 9-year-old Japanese girl, she stubbornly would not give it up. I think it was stolen from her in an unfortunate purse-snatching—the only thing I was not sad to hear about her missing.

    Clare M, I doff my currently imaginary cap to you.

    Comment by Emily — August 31, 2010 @ 9:36 am

  2. P.S. Silly me!! The whole point of the story I posted above was to tell you that I sent my mother a link to this post. Sigh.

    Comment by Emily — August 31, 2010 @ 9:36 am

  3. I actually like VB and have several of her bags . My diaper bag/purse (ah the joys of having 2 kids , once of while is only 7 months old) and wallet are all VB’s ”Symphony in hue” which I adored the second I laid eyes on it . Its just a bright floral on a black background , which they tell me is big this year . lol . Guess I was ahead of the curve on the one for once . I would never carry a wristlet however . Theres something just ……tacky about it to me . I dont care if its a $400 Coach bag . Blahhhh .

    Comment by Dawn — August 31, 2010 @ 11:49 am

  4. Correction : I should say ”there bags” being as Vera Bradly is not actually one person .

    Comment by Dawn — August 31, 2010 @ 11:50 am

  5. @Dawn, well, I think technically you should probably say “their bags.”

    Comment by Plumcake — August 31, 2010 @ 11:59 am

  6. I confess to a secret vice – cutesy hair clips and bands; but I bought them for my daughter. That aside, this is a seriously ugly item and not practical or functional. And a child shall lead them…

    Comment by Retna — August 31, 2010 @ 12:17 pm

  7. Thank you for the validation, Miss Cake!

    Comment by Clare — August 31, 2010 @ 12:29 pm

  8. Praise be! I absolutely can not stand that hideous Holly-Hobby-by-way-of-your-grandma’s-couch crap, and I have no idea why people keep snatching them up in such numbers, particularly considering they’re not exactly cheap (for what you’re getting). Vera Bradley is like the Crocs of purses.

    Comment by daisyj — August 31, 2010 @ 12:47 pm

  9. Hated it! (But Arbor Mist is not so bad is it? No? SIGH.)

    Comment by Angela — August 31, 2010 @ 1:06 pm

  10. I’ve always associated Vera Bradley with teenagers. I haven’t seen many adult women with them, with exception to women using them as diaper bags. At 63, there is no way I would let my mother purchase one.

    Comment by natalie — August 31, 2010 @ 1:43 pm

  11. @plumbcake . lol , yeah , Im not the best with grammar . Im good at a lot of things but my ability to spell …no so much .

    Comment by Dawn — August 31, 2010 @ 2:03 pm

  12. plumcake* SEE !!!!!! lol

    Comment by Dawn — August 31, 2010 @ 2:05 pm

  13. Diaper bags get their own fashion rules. But wristlets are just twee, especially ones that look they hold a Hello Kitty makeup kit.

    Arbor Mist is bottled unicorn pee.

    Comment by SusanC — August 31, 2010 @ 2:43 pm

  14. Okay, I didn’t know what Vera Bradley was until this post. Now that I went to her website and had a good look-see, I want to bleach out my eyes.

    Well played, Clare M., well played.

    Comment by HurricaneDeck — August 31, 2010 @ 3:15 pm

  15. I have never been a fan of Vera Bradley, seen a reason to spend $100 on one, or go crazy at a store for one. BUT, it’s not like they are hideous or anything. When I think of Vera Bradley, I think of “Gray Hairs” who use them when they shop at hometown craft stores or country stores (like Cracker Barrel) or to carry bingo dobbers in!!!! I have never associated VB with the younger girls though. Hmmm….

    Aside from that, women over the age of 30 should not use wristlets. Not only because when you are 30, you begin to accumulate more things in a handbag or purse, but who really can leave the house simply with a drivers license, credit card or cash, and a tube of lipstick? It is not practical to be prepared only for bar-hopping. You need to carry a variety of makeup (for touch-ups at work or play), lotion and or body spray for freshen-ups, pens, a writing pad, keys, phone, emergency fingernail kit, clear polish….. what else???…… and that is not to mention what you pack away in your briefcase or tote for work….

    sigh… it takes work to be a woman!!!

    Comment by Margie — August 31, 2010 @ 4:20 pm

  16. An honorary imaginary badge to the young fashion police…person.
    P.s. I don’t even want to THINK about something you would drink being called ” arbor mist”

    Comment by Klee — August 31, 2010 @ 4:59 pm

  17. I’m odd man out. While I don’t enjoy VB designs, I can see how they might appeal to others. Same goes for wristlets. I don’t allow my dress size to define me, and I don’t let my age do it either. I always wonder who makes up these rules and how they came to such conclusions. Are they passed down? I guess I got the tacky gene.

    Comment by skye — August 31, 2010 @ 8:32 pm

  18. Oversize sunglasses are a bad thing?


    I just can’t keep up. Hell, I didn’t even know what a wristlet was. I thought it was a clutch with a handy little wrist strap attached for when you need a free hand.

    Comment by La Petite Acadienne — August 31, 2010 @ 8:35 pm

  19. I’ve often said that you like what you like. I mostly live and let live. That wristlet really pushed it for me. There’s just too much going on there.

    Wristlets are actually practical. They are good for organizing small items in handbags. I use mine (I have a small collection) at work to carry around small items (lip gloss, cell phone and charger, etc.) because I work in one area but my desk is on another floor.

    Way to go, Clare!

    Comment by dcsurfergirl — August 31, 2010 @ 10:32 pm

  20. Is there anyone for whom VB is EVER appropriate? I just don’t see the appeal. They’re all over my campus (UA) worn by sorority girls and s-girl wannabes who live in over-sized men’s t-shirts that advertise sorority events, multi-colored Nike Tempo shorts, and Uggs. There may be a vague sort of irony where I acquire a used, ugly-quilted Vera Bradley bag for my Halloween costume – Typical Female Undergrad – which I am planning to wear to confuse my students and amuse my colleagues, assuming I can find anything resembling Nike Tempos in a size 26/28. That is the only correct circumstance I can imagine for a fashionable woman to own Vera Bradley. (No offense intended to Dawn– a fellow grad student here tells me they’re very comfortable.)

    Comment by sugarsick — August 31, 2010 @ 10:41 pm

  21. In my area (upper midwest,) the Vera Bradley devotees seem more likely to frequent bingo parlors, than frat parties.

    I need to defend the wristlet though. I need to carry a large portfolio for work and since I hate carrying two bags, I need a little purse that can fit in a side pocket. Right now I have a smart little clutch, but in the past I’ve found wristlets really useful.

    Comment by Julie — September 1, 2010 @ 1:06 am

  22. @La Petite Acadienne, I’m with you. I just picked up a small purse with a wrist-strap by Frye, all brown leather and brass hardware, because it was butch, not twee.

    I hate large purses and I hate carrying a lot of stuff. If my clothing all had reliable pockets that didn’t bulge hugely when something was put in them (because pockets are apparently only for tissues and change?), all I’d carry is my wallet. Cell phone can even stay in the car most days.

    Comment by TeleriB — September 1, 2010 @ 9:13 am

  23. @natalie, I can’t disagree with you, but have you seen the price tags on those things? For basically a quilted purse? Man, she is proud of those things!

    Comment by Mrsbug — September 1, 2010 @ 10:34 am

  24. Here in South Mississippi Vera Bradley is the choice for sorority girls and 20-something Junior Leaguers who haven’t quite grown out of their undergrad style.

    Comment by Jezebella — September 1, 2010 @ 11:13 am

  25. I don’t mind VB, some of the prints are nice. I have a purse that looks like a VB I bought at Kohl’s years ago, which I no longer use because one of the straps frayed. (Ain’t Kohl’s quality great?)

    Anyway, I hardly ever see teenage girls and college-age women carry VB. It’s mostly suburban moms in their 30’s around here.

    Comment by Bree — September 1, 2010 @ 12:00 pm

  26. Julia, whatever questionable taste you may have in accessories, you should be very proud of raising a daughter like that. Well done.

    Comment by Eilish — September 1, 2010 @ 12:25 pm

  27. My hometown of Ft. Wayne, Indiana, where I thankfully no longer live, is the site of the annual Vera Bradley Warehouse Sale. At this sale, grown women practically claw each others’ eyes out to buy these monstrosities at 50% off. The bags are considered quite stylish. You now understand why I no longer live in Ft. Wayne.

    Comment by Orora — September 1, 2010 @ 12:27 pm

  28. So, then, a question for the anti-wristlet fashionistas:

    What am I to carry instead for a night out on the town? I don’t like carrying my enormous bulky daytime bag, nor do the folks around me tend to appreciate when I do (::turn, WHAM:: “Oh, sorry!”). Most of the wee bags I see are either wristlets, clutches or shoulder bags. The shoulder bags tend to feel awkward to me, and I don’t want to be bothered with a clutch, which requires me to use at least one hand to keep it wrangled all night when I would rather focus on not spilling my overpriced martini.

    I really don’t need anything more on a night out than my ID, metro card, credit card, a bit of cash, and lipstick, so what should I do instead?

    Comment by SarahDances — September 1, 2010 @ 12:44 pm

  29. @SarahDances: if you go out in the evening, you carry an evening bag. Day bags are for day. When I only need a teensy tiny thing (my regular bag is quite small. I never use the Birkin) I use a beautiful silver Victorian calling card holder that has a lovely chain. You might also search ebay for a reticule.

    Comment by Plumcake — September 1, 2010 @ 12:57 pm

  30. To me the funniest thing about this story is that I think Vera Bradley bags look rather matronly, so I’m always surprised when I see one of their teen-targeting ads.

    Comment by Chicklet — September 1, 2010 @ 1:56 pm

  31. Ehh, to each their own. To be fair, my friend owns some pretty hideous bags, and the most hideous one comes from a little designer named Louis Vuitton. I don’t know, I never really cared enough to rip on people who have a different style, (unless of course they are wearing Uggs and mini skirts, because…ewww) but I do question the sanity of those who would pay $2,000+ for a bag that will be “out of style” 5 minutes later…

    Comment by DB — September 1, 2010 @ 2:19 pm

  32. @Plumcake: What are your feelings on a small crossbody bag for evening? I’ve been eyeing something like this for concerts/clubs/etc. Because it is hard to get down with the get down when you’re trying to remember not to fling your bag across the room and have everything spill out all over the floor. Or should I just develop coordination instead?

    Comment by daisyj — September 1, 2010 @ 2:33 pm

  33. @sugarsick . None take’n ! Everyone is most def. entitled to there own opinions :) They are very comfortable bags tho . I like my diaper bag a lot bc its nice to carry and has TONS of pockets that are easily accessible which is important when you have 2 crazy lil boys ! lol . I will admit that they come up with some hideous patterns tho ! The one above is a good example .

    Comment by Dawn — September 1, 2010 @ 2:43 pm

  34. My VB Experience by Me

    1. Purchase Vera Bradley glasses:

    2. Replace hideous case.

    3. Bob’s your uncle

    Comment by ladymissm — September 1, 2010 @ 8:23 pm

  35. Evening bags are damn tricky if you’re going out to get your groove thing on. I find tiny crossbody bags don’t work well on this particular big girl (whatever the inverse is of a little girl looking like she’s playing dress-up, that’s what I look like). Clutches limit the mobility, either due to taking up a hand, or due to being tucked under the arm, which is fine for cocktails, but doesn’t work for clubbing. Shoulder bags just fall off the shoulder and are a generalized pain in the nuts when dancing. The best option is probably something with a short strap or handle so that you can push it up your arm and carry it by the crook of your elbow?

    Maybe I’ll just tuck everything in my bra and be done with it.

    Comment by La Petite Acadienne — September 1, 2010 @ 10:04 pm

  36. Mostly this all makes me very sad because I have very little need for evening bags, or reticules. Though I had a terrible accident with my fichu once.

    I always want to be a person who carries a small bag, acknowledging that it is more elegant, but it makes me nervous. What if I need that thing? Or that other thing? And I must have a book with me at all times. Oh well. I’m a big purse person. But not Vera Bradley. The glasses are nice though!

    Comment by Abby — September 1, 2010 @ 10:09 pm

  37. Waiwaiwait, I just finally GOT a pair of oversized sunglasses.
    And I was so proud.
    On the other hand, the Child has confiscated them to Parts Unknown. I beat my previous record, I think I got to use these for over a week without having them broken or disappeared.

    So what are the Correct Sunglasses (because I don’t think the white ones you posted are for fashion beginners)?

    Comment by Church Mom — September 2, 2010 @ 1:19 am

  38. Drawing an arbitrary line in the … face … I’d say anything up to the size of Wayfarers is okay. Anything beyond looks too Olsen Twin 2008.

    I’m proud to say I never heard of Vera Bradley or Arbor Mist before this post, which means apparently that I’m superior to most teenagers and pensioners in the US, a thought to which I have no difficulty becoming accustomed.

    I always assumed wristlets ONLY came in eveningwear materials, as of course they were for dances; specifically, they were for clumsy, lonely girls who couldn’t clutch a clutch and dance at the same time, nor could they leave it at the table with friends, for they had none.

    Wow, that’s a country song I just wrote, right there in the comments section.

    Comment by raincoaster — September 2, 2010 @ 4:47 am

  39. I think perhaps the time is nigh for a Miss Plumcake Primer on Perfectly Proportioned Purses.

    Comment by megaera — September 2, 2010 @ 7:41 am

  40. I have a giant head, so I gravitate towards the big sunglasses. No really, it is huge. I suppose I look a little Olsen twin-ish from time to time but I tell myself one of two things:

    It’s ironic, yo.

    Sun protection!

    Comment by Abby — September 2, 2010 @ 2:40 pm

  41. @Church Mom. If you’re MY LJ…sigh. ESPECIALLY in your line of work you don’t want oversized sunglasses.

    Comment by Plumcake — September 2, 2010 @ 5:02 pm

  42. *waves* Yes, we’ve met.
    And no, I don’t need to look like I’m covering a coke hangover or dodging the paparazzi. But I am getting envious of the moms at the park who manage to look Not Totally Frazzled, and I suspect them of using sunglasses to make it happen.

    So now that my heroic offspring has saved me from fashion faux pas– seriously, what shades am I allowed to have?

    Comment by Church Mom — September 3, 2010 @ 11:12 am

  43. Hey, ladies!

    For those of you looking for a bag–wristlets too–go to and design a custom bag. There’s plenty of great leathers so get creative.
    I won a design contest they had in June. I proudly carry my winning design.

    This could be a fun mother-daughter project…

    Comment by dcsurfergirl — September 3, 2010 @ 12:26 pm

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