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Manolo for the Big Girl | Archive | August, 2011
Archive - August, 2011

Plumcake’s Picks: Wide Calf Boots from Duo

I’ve got to be honest here, I cannot even THINK of wearing boots right now.

It’s Austin’s six-millionth day in a row with temperatures destined to be over 100 degrees and the suggestion of donning anything but the wispiest of cotton lawn dresses and the flimsiest of sandals fills me with a sticky overheated dread.

However, Duo Boots, that blessed British purveyor of wide-calf boots for the big girl, is offering free international shipping for a limited time and since it can take up to a month for your kicks to clear customs, it’s a good idea to order now for arrival by the beginning of October.

I’ve got a wide, extremely muscular calf and it’s almost impossible to find boots other than those dreadful cheap-looking microfiber stretch jobbers to fit my legs.

I am a big fan of Duo and one of the most fun evenings of my life involved a pair of Duo over-the-knee suede boots and their effects on the masculine population of Shannon, Ireland.

 

Let’s start out with the Belice raspberry suede knee boot.

What a fantastic date boot. A deep red like this can really be played as a neutral since you could wear it with black for a chic downtown thing, a rich chocolate for a sophisticated upscale presentation and navy for a fun and slightly unexpected look.

These are also available in black. Remember, suede stretches a good deal more than nappa leather so if you’re between calf sizes you might want to order down.

Next there’s the Salso taupe suede knee boots with cone heel.

I really dig these because taupe is an unusual color for boots. You’ve got great opportunity to play with texture here.

I imagine the taupe boots over a pair of nude fishnet tights, a fun wool skirt and fuzzy angora sweater, all in the same tones. You’ve got something funky and incredibly sophisticated without it screaming fashion victim.

The taupe is also a good choice for those of you who live in a place with long winters since it’s easily trasitionable into a spring look where you need that extra warmth but don’t want the visual weight of a heavy black boot.

I showed these Amora croc embossed black boots yesterday during the teaser.

These came out late last year and when I saw them I made a sort of strangled gurgle of pleasure.

They remind me of a pair of Hermes jumping boots I saw four years ago and which I have coveted for approximately every waking second since. Except, you know, not $25,000.

For those of you who like a pointier (though not razor sharp) toe in a boot, we’ve got the Parina in burgundy suede.

Another great boot in a color that can be treated as neutral.

Can you just imagine this with a pair of gray tights and a slightly slouchy little sweater dress in October? Completely effortless and gorgeous. Your friends will hate you…but in a good way.

If you want something classic, statement-y but still casual,  the Catalonia tan riding boot should be right up your alley.

The great thing about these is they can be styled dozens of ways.

Dark jeans, big earrings and a little striped top? Adorable date night outfit a la Edie Sedgwick. Same jeans with a rock tee and a grandpa cardigan? Cool and effortless for running around during the day or a concert at night.

Finally we have the Florence black equestrian boot. Talk about merciless chic, they’ve got the style of a Spanish show riding boot with a low cut back and they just slay me.

Put these with a pair of light honey leggings for a horsey set look or do head to toe black and a bright silk scarf or enormous jewelery for a bit of Parisienne cool.

Do you have a favorite way to wear boots? Put your best boot outfit in the comments and help your sisters out!

 

 

 

 

Pssst…Free shipping on wide calf boots from Duo!

I’m working on a big post for tomorrow, but I wanted to let you all know right now that DUO Boots, those wonderful British purveyors of boots made to fit your calf– is offering free international shipping for a limited time. How limited? They’re not saying, and since shipping can set you back over $100 for just a few pairs, now is the time to stock up on your wide calf boots.

I’m a tough critic and their Tulip boots were knockouts for me last year, so go get while the getting is good!

How Miss Plumcake Got Her Groove Back

There’s nothing wrong with my backside per se.

It has several ardent admirers, but even the intoxicated appreciation of the Toothless Vagrants Local 310 could not hide the sad truth: While I’ve got plenty of boom boom up front, I am noticeably lacking in the posterior pow.

When I was in Mexico not only was I surrounded by Latinas of all shapes and sizes, sporting big, bouncing backsides (many trying to catch the attention of my Hot Latin Boy and giving me the stinkeye when he was clearly not having it), one of the villas up the street had been converted into a plastic surgery recovery house where, according to my neighbor, 8 out of 10 of them were there for butt enhancements.

I reminded myself that as a rule, I do not have body issues and Something Must Be Done before I drove myself insane.

I couldn’t reasonably change how it looked and besides, there was nothing objectively wrong with it.

It’s not that nice perky bubble, but it’s strong, firm and still relatively young.  Sure there’s cellulite but, I’ve had cellulite since the fourth grade. That dimpled ship sailed before glasnost and it’s not coming back. I’ve got bigger fish to fry.

The only thing I could really do is change the way I felt.

In the movie version of this story there would be a montage of hilarious yet endearing moments of me consciously trying to bond with my backside, possibly with a Sonny and Cher soundtrack  but what really went down is this:

I saw Orfeu Negro.

Orfeu Negro (Black Orpheus) is a 1959 masterpiece from French director Marcel Camus that sets the Greek tragedy of Orpheus and Eurydice in a shanty town outside Rio de Janeiro during the dizzying days before Carnival. It’s a beautiful piece of cinema, but what stuck out –literally and figuratively– were the behinds.

They were aspirational.

The extras were women from the local favela and samba schools and they all walked around with this amazing regal walk, carrying their rumps like royal orbs, especially the older, fatter women and especially while they were dancing.

I needed to learn to samba.

One night, I prevailed upon one of the waiters at the only restaurant in my village to take me to a place in a nearby town that offered the Brazilian export and we went, I in my white dress and he in approximately six gallons of Aspen cologne.

The club was loud and there were chickens in the parking lot.

They did NOT serve gin and tonics.

Gentle reader, I do not think it will surprise you when I say I am not the finest samba dancer in the state of Baja California. Frankly, I wasn’t all that surprised myself. I WAS surprised I was so actively, aggressively bad.

I am a good dancer. The steps looked easy. Surely it couldn’t be that hard.

Ha.

Again, in the movie version I’d go from hapless gabacha to samba queen in the span of a few minutes, thanks to the instructive caresses of my sexy Latin waiter and we’d realize, despite our social and economic differences and his flagrant abuse of drug store fragrance, we were Meant To Be Together.
Meaningful exposition of self.
Jump cut to bedroom scene.
Slow fade to black.

What actually happened was this:

“YOUR BUTT IS IN JAIL!”

“WHAT?”

“YOUR BUTT. IT IS IN JAIL! LET IT GO!!”

“NO I ALREADY HAVE A DRINK!”

“PUSH YOUR BUTT OUT, LOOSE! LOOSE!!”

 “WHAT??? TEXAS!! I DON’T THINK I’M DOING THIS RIGHT!!”

And then somehow –and honestly I have no idea how– it happened. I found my inner Brazilian butt.

No one was surprised as I when things started shaking ’round the back 40. Maybe I was tired or maybe it was cachaca margaritas, but I started channeling those broad-beamed broads from Orfeu Negro and it felt so good, so strange and wild and not even remotely Episcopalian that I couldn’t help but let those months of ugly self-talk steam out of me with my sweat.


(French theatrical trailer for Orfeu Negro. Seriously. Watch it.)

I was still the worst samba girl in the club, my waiter friend, while admittedly very sexy, still smelled like my first boy/girl dance circa 1992 and no amount of magical thinking is going to give me one of those fantastic Latin backsides, but that’s not the point.

The point is I made friends with my body, with a part of my body I wasn’t –even if was just a very short while– especially fond of.

I didn’t do it through external praise or by changing what it fundamentally (ha) was. I did it by finding a way to make “LOOK WHAT I CAN DO!” trump “Look what I don’t have!” and if I can do it, you can do it; and if you can do it, why don’t we all start right now?

Now I’m going to watch Orfeu Negro again…the big samba scene is coming up and frankly I still need a few pointers.

Next time I don’t want to scare the chickens.

PSSST: Do you follow @missplumcake on Twitter? If not, today might be a good day to start. I’m answering readers’ questions all day. Personal, professional, just keep it (moderately) clean! –ed.

Happy Birthday Miss Terra Cotta Sugarbaker!

Happy birthday and many jewel-filled returns to longtime reader, friend and Miss Plumcake doppleganger, the fabulous Miss Terra Cotta Sugarbaker!

As your present, please select the tiara and inappropriately hot ex-boyfriend of your choosing from my internationally regarded collection of same and enjoy this brief tribute to the fabulousity of your noble Sugarbaker clan:

For those wishing to help her celebrate in an appropriately fabulous way, why not do a little clicky-click on over to AID Atlanta to support efforts very near and dear to Miss Sugarbaker’s 24 karat, diamond-encrusted heart

Codie Young: Size Zero Scapegoat

Codie Young is a really skinny girl.

Do you know what that tells me?

It tells me that Codie Young is a really skinny girl.

It doesn’t tell me anything about her health, her lifestyle, anything. For all I know, the 18 year-old model whose photos for a recent Topshop campaign are causing all sorts of a ruckus about promoting eating disorders, could spend her mornings farming organic kale and her afternoons running marathons.

Or she could smoke 50 cigarettes, drown a kitten and then snort a line of cocaine longer than her own photoshopped neck, possibly off the corpse of someone’s dead grandmother. It’s anyone’s guess.

Topshop took down the offending photo and replaced it with one that hides her supposedly purge-triggering body behind a coat and offered the reading public a little bread to go along with their circus:

“Topshop is confident that Codie is a healthy young woman and we do not feel it necessary to remove her from our imagery,” said a spokesman for Topshop, “However we do recognize regretfully that the angle this image has been shot at may accentuate Codie’s proportions making her head look bigger and neck longer in proportion to her body . . . We have taken down that specific image at the earliest opportunity. Topshop is proud of its heritage of celebrating individual-looking girls who offer an alternative more unusual beauty.”

Want to see the photo? Here we go.


So here’s what really happened:
Topshop hired a very skinny model and through photography and Photoshop made her look even skinnier because that was the exact look they wanted.

They got busted and now the blame and vilification is falling on the shoulders of a teenage model who, she insists on her blog, is just naturally thin.

Now okay, let’s be honest here, after poring over Ms Young’s blog I’m pretty no one is going to confuse her with Noel Coward in a dark alley so some of her statements aren’t exactly…mature:

There are overweight/obese people who are a size 34 or 18 but know one says anything to them because you don’t want to affend them![…] And funny enough saying I’m anorexic affends me just as being called obese affends overweight people, but the differences is that im not anorexic!

but what about this?

Firstly this is very hurtful to me as I am naturally skinny; and anyone who knows me would know that I have been naturally skinny my entire life as my dad is 6’5 tall and skinny an my mum is also skinny, not to mention that my entire family on my dads side are all tall and skinny like me!

For someone like Ms Davies to say its not okay for me to be this thin ( which is how I was created) basicly says its not okay for me to be who I am!

Okay yeah, just put a gigantic sic. next both those quotes but replace “skinny” with “fat” and how many of us can sing this song from heart? I know I can.

The problem isn’t some size 0 teenager got a job modeling trickledown fashion. The problem is she’s impossible to tell apart from all the OTHER size 0 teenagers who get jobs modeling fashion, trickledown or otherwise.

Ms Young is just another very tall, very thin, faceless automaton who gets jobs because that’s what the modeling industry wants now, to the worrying exclusion of almost anything else.

so when I read this:

“Topshop is proud of its heritage of celebrating individual-looking girls who offer an alternative more unusual beauty.”

Like this, but thinner

I sound a rueful yawp. Can you have a rueful yawp? Well, whatever I did it was loud and rueful. And yawpy.

No, Topshop. No you don’t celebrate individual-looking girls. If you did, there would be more than one body type in your campaigns. YOU, Topshop, celebrate tall, thin girls with faces that are half Eastern-European automatons and half dead-eyed child nymphets. The problem isn’t her body type, the problem is you only hire girls who look like Ms Young so these girls only ever SEE one body type. THAT’S what messes girls up.

There’s nothing wrong with the way Ms Young looks, and maybe girls would feel better about seeing her body shape along side a size 6, a size 10 or *gasp* even a size 16.

Your clothes go up to a 16 so ostensibly you want that business, why not show someone actually wearing that size…or is that too much “unusual beauty” for you?

You Asked For It: Miss Plumcake at Villa Plumcake

No that's not nipple action, I'm pretty sure I had my keys tucked into my bra. Klassy.Golly! When I updated the Manolo for the Big Girl facebook page (which I SWEAR I’m going to start using again. Scout’s honor) I had no idea I’d get so many messages about my outfit.

Okay, it was more like four, but that’s four more than I expected and because I love to love you babies, I thought I’d do a little featurette for those wanting to reproduce the Miss Plumcake at Villa Plumcake look at home.

I’m not shy by any stretch of the imagination, but I don’t often do this sort of thing. It comes across as a little self-indulgent, even for me.

Also, just in case you were wondering, that’s not weird nipple action, I’m just pretty sure I had my keys in my bra. That’s right mijas,  it’s all glamor at Villa Plumcake.

Here’s how to get the look:

HAT This is the exact hat in the photo, a crushable, abuseable, practically indestructible white fabric and wire sunhat.

I removed the ribbon and adjusted the brim into more of a portrait shape for maximum Joan Collins effect and wore it almost every day.

 

>SUNGLASSES Admittedly this is a bit of Advanced Fashion as the non-ironic white sunglasses can be difficult to pull off, but I love my mother of pearl Clubmasters (I also have them in a caramel jasper treatment) and really, when one is wearing All White All The Time, darker shades just won’t do. The variations and pearlescence of the frame stop them from looking hipster and land them safely into 1930’s glamor.

 

JOURNAL My grandmother kept a record of her Grand Tour of Europe, jotted down in a neat little notebook of Moroccan red leather with the most over-the-top rococo gilt swirls embossed along the cover.

Determined to maintain the travelogue tradition, I picked up a small but sturdy handmade leather journal on my first trip across the pond and have used it exclusively for my travel memoirs ever since.

Though the actual journal in the photo is a simple one-off I bought for ₤20 at King’s Cross Station in London, this travel-ready notebook has the same feel.

PEPPER PEN I never went anywhere alone without my pepper spray pen within easy reach, usually tucked into the neckline of my dress.

No one ever questioned why I always wrote with another pen.

It was a handy way to feel safe when I was walking around alone without openly insulting the locals.

BOLERO – I can’t remember where I picked up this Jessica Howard bolero cardigan, but I wish I’d bought a dozen of them.

The Pacific breeze can get a bit nippy and this, alternated with my wrap. kept me nice and snug.

The dress is an inexpensive Mexican-style white cotton sundress with a surplice neck and crocheted lace detailing on the skirt I picked up for almost nothing at Ross and the bra is the original (now discontinued) Lace Plunge from Lane Bryant.

So there you have it: Miss Plumcake at Villa Plumcake.

Add your own oceanfront lovenest, hot Latin footballer, mezcal (no worm, thank you) and shake. Olé!

Attn: Ladies of the East Coast

Due to unforeseen side effects, the Miss Plumcake Synchronized Belt Exerciser Class will be cancelled until further notice. The California schedule will continue as usual.

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