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Help a Straight-sized Sister Out | Manolo for the Big Girl

Help a Straight-sized Sister Out

Happy Monday, gang! How was your weekend?

I spent the whole thing on my back, and NOT in the fun way (okay, MOSTLY not in the fun way) having committed some accidental but apparently unforgivable sin against my spinal column sometime on Friday, which meant my anniversary weekend of futbol festivities with Hot Latin Boy went on as scheduled, except the role reserved for yours truly was played by the Mexican version of Lenny and Squiggy while I sat at home doping myself up on and then weaning myself off of one of the plethora of no-prescription-needed prescription painkillers offered at any one of the six million farmacias within hobbling distance from Villa Plumcake. Also I watched the first season of The United States of Tara. GOD I love Toni Collette. ALSO also I made cheesecake in my Crock Pot and it was so good I debated eating the whole thing warm and in one sitting (I didn’t, but I could have).

Anyhoodle. The other day, this plaintive e-cry found its way into my inbox and I thought I’d share it with the rest of the class in hopes that one of you will be able to lend aid and thus improve fatty/straight-sized relations for another day.

Superfantastic Reader Arabella wrote:

[Highly effective flattering paragraph about the manifold wit and charm of Miss Plumcake redacted for your convenience]
Although I’m in misses/juniors sizes, I seem to have a problem in common with a lot of ladies in the womens’ section: I have a substantial backside. No matter what my dress size is, the difference between my waist and hip measurements is a good 10-12″. While I appreciate said backside, and I think other people have occasionally done so too, it means that anything that fits around my hips has many inches too much waistband. I have a similar problem with tops, where things that fit my shoulders don’t fit my waist, and vice versa. Can you recommend any brands that play well with curvy girls that might also make things all the way down to my size? I would like to stop having to select pants based on how easy I think it would be to put three or four extra darts in the back.

And the short answer is “no”, I don’t know. I know some brands are leaning towards having different cuts, including a “curvy” cut (I believe The Gap and Levi’s both offer something in this vein) but as for a brand whose fit model is Jessica Rabbit…I got nothin’.

Readers, what do you have? I know I’ve got a whole mess of straighties out there. Shall we condemn our slender sister to a life full of stretch ponte and wrap dresses or can we help a girl out?

Put it in the comments and remember,  I always try to answer reader questions, so don’t be afraid to shoot your pal Plummy a little email (plumcake at shoeblogs dot com)

Okay gang, let’s do this thing!

33 Responses to “Help a Straight-sized Sister Out”

  1. Emi February 13, 2012 at 5:10 pm #

    I don’t have a solution, but I have the same problem. I have about a six inch gap in the waist in most pants I buy . . . so I wear skirts 90% of the time, and get things tailored when I need to.

  2. Ida February 13, 2012 at 5:27 pm #

    Not sure if they deliver to the US but I would check out Pepperberry.co.uk – they do (straight-sized) clothing, mostly for the chestially endowed, but it’s worth a try… they have their own sizing system depending on the curve.

  3. Meredith February 13, 2012 at 5:40 pm #

    A good tailor is your best bet. I just have the waist fixed on all my pants, costs about $8 per pair, no big deal. But I have luck with the following brands:
    JC Penny Curvy Fit Worthington Pants (Which also come in tall, which is AWESOME). And they’re cheap ($20-$30).
    Eddie Bauer has one fit that is cut for people with at least a 10″ difference between waist and hips. Can’t remember the name though.
    Brooks Brothers classic fit–you’ll have to get the back taken in but they fit great in the trunk if you know what I mean. (No talls, though).

  4. oliviacw February 13, 2012 at 5:51 pm #

    At least in the plus-sized lines, I find that Jones New York and to a lesser extent Elisabeth/Liz Claiborne are well cut for those of us with the generous back-side and smaller waists. I can usually find pants from them that manage the waist/hip disparity pretty well. Maybe their smaller sized lines have a similar fit approach? I always contrast them to the old plus-sized Tommy Hilfigger line, which I swear was cut for apple-shaped women with a waist bigger than the hips – I could never find anything that came remotely close to fitting me.

  5. Klee February 13, 2012 at 6:14 pm #

    I’m a curvy straight size, and gave up on pants a looonnnggg time ago. Wrap dresses are your friend, Arabella!
    When I do have to wear pants, a tailor is necessary. And stretch. A little stretch helps the fit a lot. As for jeans, I haven’t worn them for decades. Every once in a while I think I can find a pair THIS time, and then am disappointed.

  6. EmmyS February 13, 2012 at 6:17 pm #

    I have not personally worn either of these brands, but I hear both Apple Bottoms and Dereon (designed by Beyonce’s mom, I think) are designed specifically for shapes like that.

  7. Ali February 13, 2012 at 6:32 pm #

    The straightest size I’ve ever been was a size 18 but I did have/do have the same problem. I always had great success with Baby Phat jeans – though – it is hard to find a model that doesn’t give you a sparkly cat on the butt. Also NYDJ fit me like a glove. And GAP curvy jeans, so it’s been a few years since I fit into a pair.

  8. qbertina February 13, 2012 at 7:23 pm #

    Hey Arabella,

    The Eddie Bauer fit Meredith mentioned that you want to look for is Blakely. Absolutely the most plausible trousers for what you’re talking about. Also, you should have a look at Jag Jeans, which makes really great misses jeans for this shape (I don’t know about plus but I actually fit fine in their misses 16), and also Jag generally has a few non-denim pants. And I realize J Crew doesn’t sound likely to do you a lick of good but try on their pants and see.

    I also have found that (shhh, I know) Chico’s may need a place in the mix here. I did not actually buy their pants last month when I tried them on because I have this issue with plastic fabric but there was no denying that they pretty much kind of actually did fit and they would have made perfectly good office pants, if I’d urgently needed such a thing.

    (FTR I’m shaped like you and am a 16 misses/14W plus/not really either, it’s awesome)

  9. Arabella February 13, 2012 at 7:48 pm #

    EEEEE! Miss Plumcakes printed me! I am forever in your debt. Funny you should mention Jessica Rabbit, too — by sheer happenstance, I’m also a redhead, and I did that for Halloween a few years back. But I had no terrible fitting problems with that dress, because I made it myself. :)
    Just for everyone’s edification: I’m also a short lil’ thing, with both a really short torso and a really short rise. Hollywood-rise pencils skirt make me happy. For once, something is SUPPOSED to end halfway up my ribcage! I’ve been every “standard” dress size from misses 12 to juniors 3, depending on my weight and the brand and whether the designer planned for the possibility that I might have boobs and so forth. It is a gosh-durned mess out there, and it has gotten to the point where when someone told me that Marilyn Monroe used to have someone sew her into a lot of her nice dresses, I thought to myself, “That’s not a bad idea.”

  10. Booklover February 13, 2012 at 8:13 pm #

    Talbots also has a curvy fit available in misses petite up to 16P. A friend of mine is petite but long-waisted, so she still needs to get pants from there hemmed, but if you’re looking for work pants it might be worth a look.

    I also want Miss Plumcake’s crockpot cheesecake recipe!

  11. Bethany February 13, 2012 at 8:30 pm #

    Places with vintage inspired clothes might work. Try uniquevintage.com and pinupgirlclothing.com

  12. Rachel February 13, 2012 at 9:54 pm #

    My mom is much like this, and I finally convinced her there was no way she could get clothes to fit unless she had them made. She resisted for ages, but once she finally did it she realized it was much less expensive than buying lots of clothes that don’t quite fit (cliché, I know, but oh-so-true). She’s in the business world, so goes to a custom tailor where they measure you in the states and you get to pick everything just as you like it, and then they make your clothes in Hong Kong (she uses http://noblehouse.us/ but there are many others like it). She’s also had really fantastic success with http://www.indicustom.com/ for jeans.

    None of this is gonna be Forever 21 prices, but once you’ve got custom clothes you’ll be so happy you’ll want to wear the same four things all the time anyway. They also don’t fall apart like Forever 21 clothes do.

  13. Jacquilynne February 13, 2012 at 9:57 pm #

    One thing I’ve found helpful is to buy tall pants, even though I am not actually tall. That gives more rise through the backside to get around the curve, and means that even if the waist is too wide, at least it’s somewhere near your waist. Then you can have the waistband taken in a bit (or less attractively, cinch with a belt) and you don’t get that awful gap at the back of your jeans.

  14. Missie Sue February 13, 2012 at 10:46 pm #

    I have this same exact problem, but in a plus size. Check out PZI Jeans, they have straight sizes and are super comfortable. For the first time, I can find skinny jeans that fit my butt, but don’t slide down my waist.

  15. Arabella February 14, 2012 at 12:00 am #

    You are all fantastic people. I <3 you forever.

  16. Colleen February 14, 2012 at 12:14 am #

    I’m a size 18-20 on the bottom, but I have the same problem–an 11′ difference between waist and hips. I also have heavy thighs, no matter what my size. Usually by the time I find a size that will go over my hips and thighs, you could fit a family of four in at the waist–mostly at the back. It’s extremely frustrating.

    Pants buying tends to be something of an ordeal, as I will go from brand to brand and store to store to find something that fits.

    In slacks, I’ve had good luck with Ann Taylor and Jones New York.

    In jeans, Lee is surprisingly one of the better ones for fitting curves. Also, again, Jones New York, Ann Taylor, an obscure brand called “Spanner” and some cuts of Santana jeans.

    I’ll be watching this space to see what is suggested by others.

  17. Sara Darling February 14, 2012 at 2:29 am #

    Best suggestion that comes to mind is Boden just in general – I’ve got a trunk full of junk but with a relatively small waist and athletic thighs. I shop from the upper range (more 16-18) of their selection and find that they are cut much more generously for boobs and butt than anywhere else I shop – off topic but dear god I love them for their coats. It’s the best brand I’ve found for single breasted coats I can button without gaping over the girls. Their everyday prices are a bit cringe worthy but

    For jeans I’ve found Angels to be very booty friendly, both in styling and fabric stretch/springiness – they tend to be pretty inexpensive and the only store I’ve seen them in (aside from Goodwill and Amazon where I’ve gotten mine) is Ross. Plus, they seem to have only one inseam length which is pretty short for me (5’6″) so may be better for you. However, like the comment about Baby Phat, they do tend to be a bit glitter-spangled so if that’s not your deal (it’s not mine but I can understand the desire to bedazzle one’s bedonkedonk) shop carefully.

  18. Sara Darling February 14, 2012 at 2:31 am #

    And I didn’t edit properly. At the end of first rambly paragraph I meant to say “everyday prices are a bit cringe worthy but they have twice yearly clearances where the prices get cut pretty severely – at those prices the value is great”

  19. Heather February 14, 2012 at 3:46 am #

    Get the pants that fit your hips and tailor them down at the waist. Same with tops. That’s what Clinton & Stacey, from What Not To Wear, say… clothing doesn’t fit everyone perfectly, no matter what the size.

  20. ZaftigWendy February 14, 2012 at 5:01 am #

    Echoing those who say “fit the pants to the hips and have a tailor fit them at the waist.” I have been a tailor in a past life, and taking in the waist of trousers is one of the easiest tailoring jobs there is.

    As for tops that fit both the shoulders and the booty, that’s a bit more troublesome. The shoulder is the hardest part to fit, tailoring that area will be more expensive, but it can be done. If possible, though, look for tops that already fit in the shoulder, but have enough seam allowance to let out the sides, or ask the tailor to give you side vents or a shirttail hem, which will allow the hips to have room without pulling at the shirt.

    Oh, and please, with a waist like that, don’t wear long tops to try to “hide your hips.” It doesn’t work, but does make your lovely waist disappear. As an apple shaped person, I cry a little inside when people who HAVE waists hide them.

  21. harri p. February 14, 2012 at 11:50 am #

    Most importantly: tell us how to make cheesecake in a crockpot.

  22. Thea February 14, 2012 at 3:18 pm #

    I’m another short and short waisted girl who rocks a Hollywood waist.

    For jeans try these, I got the recommendation from someone here and they are trouser jeans with a bit of stretch so they will fit your waist. http://www.lee.com/store/LEE_STORE_US/en_US/style/46565.html?catalogId=10901

    Also, I find that shopping in stores that cater to the black and latina community tend to have more clothing that fit the small waist/bigger rump ratio.

    Now, about that Cheesecake recipe Plummie……..? waaaaant!

  23. Thalia February 14, 2012 at 4:38 pm #

    Another vote for Ann Taylor (and Ann Taylor Loft) — anything labeled “curvy” or “Julie” is worth trying. On the cheaptastic end, Kohl’s house brand Daisy Fuentes usually fits me pretty well.

    Levi’s curvy fit is a JOKE, a JOKE I tell you!

  24. Tiff February 14, 2012 at 5:14 pm #

    I second what a lot of other ladies on here have suggested: lean towards brands that offer a “classic” cut (i.e. a waistband that is somewhere near your natural waist). My main problem has been that the rise on most modern pants is so low that when I do manage to find a pair that I can get over my hips but isn’t three sizes too big everywhere else, it’s about an inch and a half away from showing everyone The Goods (also: try to find a ladie’s belt that will span 40″ hips.) The other day I tried on a pair of Gloria Vanderbilt classic fit jeans at Ross and was pleasantly surprised; I’ve also had good luck with Talbots.

  25. Arabella February 14, 2012 at 7:55 pm #

    @Thea: I’m wearing those right now, in fact! They… have four added darts in the back. Otherwise I could fit both fists and then some between the waistband and my back. They fit really wonderfully from the hipline down, though, which is why I took the risk of buying them even though I wasn’t sure I could tailor them without ruining the shape in the back.

    @ZaftigWendy: I am all on board with the “flaunt what you got” concept, which is one of the reasons I adore this blog so very much. Miss Plumcake kind of hit it right on the head with the Jessica Rabbit thing, though. I end up hiding my waist unintentionally a lot, because even stuff that’s supposed to be stretchy with a lot of ease doesn’t ease back in sharply enough if I buy the size that buttons/stretches nicely over the top shelf, so to speak, without looking silly. I find it gets worse at the lower end of my size range — the same people who think that anyone over a 12 is a shapeless blob also seem to think that anyone under an 8 is a yardstick.

  26. Arabella February 14, 2012 at 7:58 pm #

    @Tiff: I have a dear friend whose measurements were, when last we made Halloween costumes, 36DD/E-31″-42″. She loves low-rise pants and used to buy her belts at Hot Topic, of all places. They’re not very dressy, but they do sell plain black vinyl belts that fit her.

  27. Louise February 14, 2012 at 8:24 pm #

    Another vote for Lee brand pants. The Lee Rider trouser jean comes in several colors and is carried at WalMart, of all places. $18 or $19.

    You might also find a better fit in stores that cater to an African American clientele. This WASPy girl had that epiphany when a co-worker exclaimed as I walked away from him, “You have an a$$ like a sistah!” Not a work-appropriate comment, but it did help me find better fitting clothing.

  28. Stormy February 14, 2012 at 9:40 pm #

    As another straight-size girl (theoretically – 12/14 with a 14 inch hip-waist difference)…. *sigh*

    Yeah, the Levi’s “Bold curve” jeans would still let me smuggle a child across the border in the back of my pants. I’d love to try the new “supreme curve” but even though I work a block away from a Levi’s store, I’ve never seen it to try on. And no matter what they say at the store, I am NOT going to order it online and then return it at the store if it doesn’t fit.

    The Gloria Vanderbilt classic fit, slightly stretchy can be good, in both the jeans and the twill pants, with a caveat… you can’t count on them fitting the same when you go back for them later. If you find a good pair, buy two extras immediately, because they’re made in different factories. The two pairs of black stretchy jeans in the same style and size should be identical, but one pair was made in Bangladesh and one pair was made in Israel… four-inch difference in the waist. I currently have 5 identical pairs of grey Gloria Vanderbilt twill slacks, and pretty much wear them to the office every day because I have given up on finding anything else that fits… and I will cry when they finally fall apart.

    The best jeans I’ve found so far have been the Old Navy Dreamer style. I still have about an inch of gap at the back, but compared to anything else I’ve ever found that’s the best… and they go up to the natural waist, so I don’t have to worry about things shifting when I bend over.

  29. Cone February 14, 2012 at 9:46 pm #

    I’ve had good luck with the Gap curvy bootcut pants. I’m not sure if you have the same brands down there as up here in Canada, but I find that stores catering to more “mature” women tend to have pants that are a better fit for my rather substantial behind. Jacob, Reitmans, and Marks’ work warehouse- Mark’s has a jean with a wide waistband that’s kind of elasticized but not really…fits like a dream, and is super comfy.

  30. ChloeMireille February 15, 2012 at 12:37 am #

    Try Fashion Bug. They have the Right Fit jeans and pants like Lane Bryant, but they actually include Misses’ sizes down to a size 4.

    Right Fit Yellows are for hips 4″ larger than the waist.
    Right Fit Reds are for hips 8″ larger than the waist.
    Right Fit Blues are for hips 11″ larger than the waist.

  31. ZaftigWendy February 15, 2012 at 2:53 am #

    My own request – those of you who are Jessica Rabbit types? Can you help us Miss Piggy shaped hotties with lists of brands that you found that were too big in the waist for you? I have the opposite problem, which is that anything that fits in the hips squeezes my “waist” so hard that it feels like I’m getting an accidental appendectomy.

    I can and do wear Right Fit Yellow trousers and jeans and I have found that Gloria Vanderbilt pants fit me well enough (a bit of extra fabric in the hip, but not too much), but I have no idea what else to look for.

    Oh, and I’m not at all straight sized. I usually rock a size 22 or 24.

  32. Blaceyda February 15, 2012 at 9:39 am #

    My first thought was to get your clothes altered or to learn to sew and do it yourself. But so many people have already recommended that option! I stand by it, but just wanted to chime in that I think it’s awesome that Arabella is looking to find things that fit her body, and not berating herself for her body not ‘fitting’ the clothes. So many of us do this, and I know I did. It wasn’t until I stared reading things like this blog and “Lessons From the Fat-o-sphere” that I finally realsied that my body was just fine, it was the stupid clothes that were the problem.

    TL;DR: I’m applauding Arabella’s body confidence.

  33. Arabella February 16, 2012 at 1:31 am #

    @ZaftigWendy: Pretty much any brand nobody’s mentioned as being extra-curvy has the extra-waistband problem for me. From what I’ve learned from McCall’s patterns and just from applying a tailor’s tape and some basic math, the “standard” pret-a-porter pattern is cut for a “standard” woman who probably does not exist. This fictional lady is about 5’5″-ish, has a 8″-ish difference between hip and waist, and wears between a large B cup and a small C cup. After several years of trying to fit Halloween costumes to a 5’2″ 34D-26-37, a 5’4″ 36DD-31-42, and a 5’7″ 32DD-27-36, I have come to wish I knew where this magic standard dress form was, so I could set it on fire. The most baffling design was the year we all made those classic 1960s Star Trek uniforms. We only realized when we tried to zip the first one up that the proportions had been altered from the ones used on TV — that would NOT have fit Nichelle Nichols, a lady who has still has curves you could roll a sports car on.
    @Blaceyda: Thank you! I do know how to sew, and fix most of my pants by hand, but a lot of the styles that fit me well aside from the waist have things like yokes and fancy pockets that make it difficult to alter just the back without taking the entire pocket and panel apart. I also have that awesome problem where the front rise is too high and the back rise too low at the same time, making them a sort of a terrible inverse mullet — soccer mommy in the front, cheap stripper in the back. I’ve manufactured actual pants before, but I have to say that “inserting a covered zipper fly” is right up there with detailing the grout in the bathroom with a pencil eraser and recreational root canals on my list of things I don’t really want to spend my free time doing.