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Manolo for the Big Girl | Archive | July, 2012
Archive - July, 2012

Maxi Dresses for the Racktacularly Blessed

It’s gotta be hard out there for the spectacularly busty, those quasi-blessed girls whose sweater puppies are sweater mastiffs.

I mean sure there are some benefits, my BFF can balance a bowl of cereal on hers with neither froot nor loop crashing to the ground, and I’m pretty sure she’s never had a traffic ticket in her life, even though I’ve ridden shotgun as she’s driven the wrong way up a one-way road, singing Blondie at the top of our 19 year-old lungs.

I’m not going to bore you with stuff you already know. I mean honestly, how many of my readers need to be told that those little center halter things or smocked tube tops are not the way to go? With that in mind, here are some styling tips on maxi dresses for the emphatically bosomed.

Spread the Love

And by love I mean visual interest.

If you’ve got big breasts, you already know how much attention they get.

I mean, if my humble starter set has made people walk into walls, I can only imagine what your deluxe editions do. You can’t make someone ignore them, but you can trick ’em into looking somewhere else, too.

With maxi dresses, try something with a seriously eye-catching graphic close to the hem.

Anything that spreads out the attention over your body is going to make you look more proportionate.

This colorblocked maxi from JC Penney is a good example. With the slender model all the attention goes to the bottom of the dress, but on a busty girl, the boom boom on the bottom is going to be balanced with your natural top-heavy pow. Leave the giraffe wedges at home.

Go Big or Go Home

Strong structural elements like a major kimono sleeve or a well-draped asymmetrical shoulder can work to your advantage while little fripperies and those ubiquitous flaccid ruffles never do.

This dramatic black number would be best served on the confidently statuesque (the long necklace is a smart piece of accessorizing when it comes to a monochromatic maxi as it creates length and balances out the potentially overwhelming swaths of fabric) while the Charlize maxi from Kiyonna –honestly the best all-around example of the maxi I’ve found for pure wearability and glamor– would work  on any frame.

Remember, when you’ve got a serious sleeve and a plunging neckline, it’s perfectly fine to wear a cami. The weight of the sleeve will balance the look. A good sleeve is a busty girl’s best friend when it comes to proportionate dressing as it balances out the cleave even as it’s enhancing it.

 

Adjust the Volume

While not technically a maxi per se, the tiered prairie dress is close enough to count for our purposes. Many of us are taught not to wear anything that’s going to add volume because our bodies are big (and loud) enough.  Nonsense. Volume is just another tool. Learn to use it well it will serve you well in return.

Although I encourage you to judge prairie dresses on a case by case basis –the wrong tier placement for your body can be the difference between lovely and Laura Ingalls Staypuft– when done correctly, the tiered dress paired with a simply cut bodice can be an excellent choice for those who don’t fall on the Eva Gabor side of the Green Acres equation.

Adding volume at the bottom of the dress balances out any top heavy tendencies, just be sure to keep the frills up top to a minimum.

You want something clean and substantial with broad enough straps to give some structure and, of course, hide your intimate architecture. Look for something where the outer corners of the straps are set wider than your chest and a neatly-shirred bust to ensure your cups won’t spilleth over.

This tall tiered maxi from Simply Be (offered in three lengths) is a strong example. It’s not bust minimizing, but the overall proportion will look right.

Baffle ‘Em with Brilliance

You’re just going to have to trust me on this one, it’s the voice of experience over reason.

A family emergency called Hot Latin Boy and I out of town last week and while HLB was in the hospital attending to his equally hot younger brother (he’s fine –and I mean fine— now) I availed myself of a little retail therapy to sooth the savage breast and, in my exhausted state, tried on a maxi with a small, riotously busy all-over print reminiscent of the fabric my grandmother brought back from her time in South East Asia in the 60’s and 70’s.

Whenever I hit a dressing room, I make sure there’s at least one thing I’m just not even remotely sure will work. Usually I’m right and it goes back to the racks, but sometimes, as in the case of this psychedelic paisley in shades of orange and pink it’s a surprise home run.

While this dress from Macy’s might be problematic for the busty as it’s not especially bra friendly, it is a decent example of the sort of pattern I mean.

The print is so busy it could be one of those Magic Eye things, but it baffles the eye so thoroughly that the effect is to say “lalalanothingtoseehere” over nooks and crannies that might otherwise be accentuated. It made me look taller and more slender than I am and although I can’t find an example I like online, keep the print tight and the cut simple and you’ll be amazed how well it works.

 

 

 

Tomato Time!

There was a time when I didn’t get the big deal about tomatoes.

Sure, I liked tomato based pasta sauces, and I had no problem eating the occasional BLT… but what I liked best about that sandwich was the bacon, not the tomato. Tomatoes looked pretty. I like red. And cherry tomatoes were kind of cute, being all miniature like that.

Thing is, back then I didn’t really know what a tomato tasted like.

I ate them all the time, sure, but the only tomatoes I saw came from the grocery store. Large or small, there was a sameness to them. They were uniformly red, kind of hard, and more or less flavorless.

(more…)

I’d Just Like to Point Out…

… that for the first time ever, there are more women than men on the US Olympic team.

And

for the first time ever, every single participating nation sent at least one woman athlete.

…and now I can’t unsee it

Last week we chatted a bit about maxi dresses. I had a few more entries planned on the same theme, but since the most recent post got essentially no response, I ditched ’em.

I wanted to do a bit on caftans, which can be terrifically glamorous when done correctly.

They’re a bit Advanced Fashion so potentially not for the average user, although I honestly don’t think they’re as tough to pull off as most people think.

Right now I am in love with this caftan from Iman.

Iman is easily my favorite model of the post-couture era –Linda Evangelista  is a close second except she is constitutionally incapable of taking a good photo with her mouth shut– and she’s a whip-smart businesswoman to boot. She created one of the first high-quality lines of cosmetics for women of color –Iman Cosmetics launched in 1994, but she was famous for mixing her own compounds and demanding makeup artists use them for her shoots well before that– and, if I wore socks, I am entirely convinced she would rock them off.

The caftan above is positively made for the statuesque big girl with the personality to match.

The print is bold but the vertical design minimizes any added visual bulk, the chiffon overlay has fantastic motion and it’s pretty much everything you want in a caftan when you want to channel Elizabeth Taylor during the Burton years rather than Helen Roper during the Stanley years.

Only one teensy problem…

Recommended Reading: Of Another Fashion

I’m the first to admit I don’t really get tumblr.

I guess it’s like cocaine: easy to use, instantly gratifying, trendy to the point of omnipresence wherever Hip Young Things are found (I’d call them bright but none that I’ve met particularly fit that description, plus it’s Monday morning and I do my best not to make Evelyn Waugh take a rotating dirt nap until Tuesday after lunch at the very earliest) and totally, utterly lost on me.

Whither the allure?

Whither the context?

Okay okay, I dabbled for a while in the F*ck Yeah Xabi Alonso tumblr, but even that got old quick. It was, as we say in Texas, all hat and no cattle.

Then I came across Of Another Fashion, an elegantly-curated collection documenting “the not-quite-hidden but too often ignored fashion histories of U.S. women of color”

it

is

brilliant.

Brilliant and gorgeous and heartbreaking and empowering and thought-provoking (you must read the “For the camera, you smile”  on blog-founder professor Minh-Ha T. Pham’s decision to include images taken in the internment camps for Japanese-Americans the U.S. government set up in the wake of Pearl Harbor).

The experience of being a member of one historically underrepresented group in fashion (big girls) poring through a collection dedicated to another historically underrepresented group in fashion was…complex.

Of Another Fashion is a group-sourced blog and my favorite entries come with abstracts on the subjects, often the submitter’s own relative.

Go have a look.

 

 

 

Doing Your Homework Is Important

This is actually much, much prettier than the situation earlier in the week at Casa Twistie.

But let’s get a little background first.

When Mama-san Twistie died and we inherited the house, we also inherited Mama-san Twistie’s avocado green thirty-year-old fridge. I hated it. But it worked, and we didn’t have a lot of money to waste, so we kept it. After about four years, it finally bit the dust, and I did a little jig of delight at the thought of getting a refrigerator that wasn’t a decorator color from my long lost childhood.

Unfortunately, when a fridge dies there is little time to consider the options well. Mr. Twistie and I headed off to a Big Retailer That Carries Refrigeration Units, and pointed at the first one we thought would fit our kitchen made by a manufacturer who had been famed for years for their reliability.

Alas! Ten minutes’ research would have informed us that that once reliable manufacturer had become a well-known appliance puppy mill. We started having problems with it almost immediately.

Friends, that fridge has been through three motors in six years. And we didn’t opt for the extended warranty. Silly Twisties!

Earlier this week was the final straw. I woke to find that when I pulled my butter from the fridge to spread on my toast… it didn’t need even a nanosecond to warm up to spreadability. In point of fact, it was kind of melty already. For reasons passing all understanding, the freezer part was still doing just fine, though.

And that, my friends, is what we call the Last Straw. This camel was officially broken. I called Mr. Twistie at work and informed him we were going refrigerator shopping when he got home from work.

This time, though, I got online and did my homework. I checked out what Consumer Reports had to say about various models… including who is doing the actual manufacturing of lines. I read customer reviews. We found that these days Kenmore is made by Frigidaire, who has a good current reputation for reliability… but the Kenmore models have lower price tags.

So yes, it’s a Kenmore. It’s white. It’s basic. It doesn’t have an ice maker because we didn’t want one. It would be a pain to run water to where our fridge is and it’s one more thing to break. We wanted basic, simple, not too big, and reasonably reliable.

What was the thing that put us over the top for this particular fridge? Well, the 20% off sale was certainly a factor, as was the fact that Sears would haul away and recycle the old, dead fridge for ten smackers extra. But what did it was when I started reading reviews by people who had been living with that fridge. Sure there were dozens of people who had written their reviews in the first six months of owning it, and they were helpful. But the real test was that there were reviews from people who had owned one just like this for four, five, eight, even eleven years who wrote in to say they would buy the same one over again.

And that is why research is important. That’s the information you need. When making a major purchase like a basic appliance, a home, or a car, you want to talk to people (or at least read what they have to say!) who have lived with the item or in the neighborhood for a while. Double check where it comes from.

It never occurred to me that a refrigerator would die in six years… let alone four times! Now I’m older, wiser, waryer, and better at finding the info I need.

All the same, this time I jumped at the extended warranty. Now even if this one does turn out to bark as much as the old one, for the next five years, it will all be taken care of without further money coming out of my pocket.

Do your homework. Stay safe and sane.

Twistie’s Sunday Caption Madness: The Odd Pet Tricks Edition: The Result

So.

Last week I slapped you all in the gizzards with this deathless image:

… and dang if I didn’t stun nearly all of you into silence!

But one brave, foolhardy soul entered into the fray. Thus it is that the aptly named g-dog wins with this spot on caption:

I don’t know why they think I can only dog paddle….

Congratulations, g-dog! And thanks for playing.

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