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

October 23, 2012

Open Forum Tuesday!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Miss Plumcake @ 5:39 am

I know, I know. I’ve been a bad and neglectful blogger. The whys and wherefores are tedious, but only half as tedious as it would be to explain them. Basically I’m overtired, thirsty and covered in glitter which was acceptable back in 2000 when I’m pretty sure I expressed glitter through my pores, but now is irritating in both the literal and figurative sense.

None of that excuses my absence though, so to make it up to you, I declare an open forum Tuesday. You know the rules: ask any question you like for the next 48 hours and I will do my level best to answer it in the comments. No subject is off limits (within reason), so speak now or forever hold your peas.

No seriously, hold your peas. I slipped last time and still have a green stain on my jeans.


  1. Tell us where you’re going on your trip (just city names), so we can live vicariously through you.

    Comment by Margaret — October 23, 2012 @ 6:07 am

  2. How DOES one extract glitter from one’s pores? Or other clothing?

    Also… is it time to talk about winter outer wear yet? Maybe fall outer wear? Coats and scarves and hats and gloves and how capes/ponchos always SEEM like a good idea but are actually EEEEVVVIIIIIILLLL?

    Comment by leeapeea — October 23, 2012 @ 9:58 am

  3. Recently there was a post in the Manolosphere (was it written by you, Miss Plumcake?) about shoddily-made clothing and how to spot cheap shortcuts in garments. I wonder if you have any suggestions for spotting the same kinds of problems in shoes? I know there are obviously badly-made shoes, but I really hate paying for expensive shoes (over $100) and still having the shoe fall apart really quickly.
    I’d love a list of trustworthy brands, too, like La Canadienne that our own Manolo just endorsed.
    Thank you!

    Comment by OS — October 23, 2012 @ 10:52 am

  4. Can we address leggings? Specifically, do you know of any good plus size leggings that are nice and opaque and that don’t have a waistband that cuts into your belly?
    More specifically, has anyone tried those delicious wet-leather-look leggings from Asos Curve and can I wear them with boots without looking like a) a pirate or b) Bret Michaels circa 1989 (not that these things are necessarily bad, just not the impression I want to give my coworkers).

    Comment by Lauren — October 23, 2012 @ 10:55 am

  5. Hats….I love hats. Stylish hats, not baseball caps and stocking hats. But my family says I look bad in them, yet one paramour claimed I looked fabulous when wearing his fedora. Please share some guidelines about how to choose a hat (especially for those with long thick hair).

    Comment by -kathy- — October 23, 2012 @ 11:06 am

  6. How does one deal with passive aggressive insults? My sister is constantly at this “oooh, I love your blue pants. I could never wear colored jeans, you’re so brave” “oh, it’s great that you cut your hair so short, Ic ould never cut my hair short. you’re so brave”

    Basically, if she punctuates it with “you’re so brave” what she means is “are you sure about that?” or “I would never do that” means “I would never do that while fat.” I generally say something like “it’s too bad you aren’t brave enough to wear them, you are missing out” but it still gets to me even though I know what she is doing!

    Comment by Gryph — October 23, 2012 @ 11:32 am

  7. Maybe not in keeping with the fabulosity of this blog, but can we have some tips for those of us who got left at the station when the glamour train departed? Can you do the tomboy/casual look when you’re 5’10”, lumpy all over, tired (have a baby and work swing), have feet like boats, and yet somehow not look like a slob who’s given up? And if yes, how???

    Comment by Rebekka — October 23, 2012 @ 11:36 am

  8. Ohhhhh Bret Michaels imagery. I suspect you would not look like him as you would have better hair by default, and probably a lot more talent. Good luck with your leggings. I am not able to wear such things and thus of no use.

    What are you reading that is interesting in all these travels? I am reading Christ Stopped at Eboli by Carlos Levi, and it is in turns magical and horrifying.

    Comment by Lisa from SoCal — October 23, 2012 @ 12:35 pm

  9. I know I had a question for you, but I’ve totally forgotten what it was. So I’ll just go with a more immediate concern for the moment: How do I get black marks off my orange patent leather shoes?

    Comment by daisyj — October 23, 2012 @ 12:41 pm

  10. I’d really like to know about eyelash extensions. Can you feel them on your eyelids? Also, I like to swim, and I do water aerobics. Would they stay on, given the exposure to chlorinated pool water?

    Comment by Leigh Ann — October 23, 2012 @ 1:32 pm

  11. What should I wear with my prom dress? Prom will probably be masquerade themed, and I love anything Victorian, but I don’t want it to look like a costume.

    Look away from the hair. Selene was delivered early in the morning before I had showered.

    Comment by Bethany — October 23, 2012 @ 2:23 pm

  12. What are your thoughts on skinny jeans/leggings for us big ladies?

    Comment by Vera — October 23, 2012 @ 2:26 pm

  13. In a fit of enthusiasm for ALL THE FLATS currently available, I bought these:

    in “Deep Russet Leather,” second color from the right. I thought it would be a perkier alternative to the coffee brown shoes I usually favor for work.

    Now that I’m actually putting it on my body, I have no idea what or how to wear it with. It’s reddish enough that it almost matches my red clothes (but doesn’t); it’s brownish enough that it almost matches my brown slacks (but does it?). Or is this something that should be worn more with navys and whites and other neutrals far, far away from it on the color wheel?

    I’m assuming nude-ish hosiery, just because I tried dark brown socks and it was sort of BZZT thank you for playing.

    Comment by TeleriB — October 23, 2012 @ 2:57 pm

  14. @TeleriB: Ah, they’re almost codorvan. This is another story of having to pay attention to color temperature as much as hue.
    I wouldn’t wear them with red, but as long as the temperature of your other colors (brown especially) are the same temperature as the shoes, you can wear pretty much anything you want. One word of advice, don’t try to match your shoes too closely to your bottoms. Unless it’s the same dye lot of the same fabric, there’s always going to be some variation, and one of the keys to thoughtful design is “if it’s not the exact same, make it really different.”

    Comment by Miss Plumcake — October 23, 2012 @ 3:48 pm

  15. @Vera: It can be done, but carefully and with a few caveats. Read what I wrote on How To Wear Jeggings from about two years ago. The skinny jean itself is looking a little tired to me at the moment, at least the super skinnies. Generally I’d caution against them, but if you want to wear them, I’ve given you directions how.

    Comment by Miss Plumcake — October 23, 2012 @ 3:51 pm

  16. @Bethany: I am a huge proponent for complete wretched excess on prom gowns. You have the rest of your life where you have to worry about being tasteful and appropriate in evening wear. Prom marks one of the few times when you really don’t have to give a hoot about social convention. I say go all out. Get a reticule, wear a velvet band around your neck with an antique cameo pinned to it. Hell, take an evening fan if you’d like. Just enjoy it. I wore a Supremely Tasteful Gown for both of my proms and have regretted it ever since. Also, the cold truth is teenagers in contemporary formal gowns look costumey already. I did, you do, even the royal teenagers did back in the 90s. That ship has sailed, so enjoy the breeze.

    Also, please be mindful of what photos you post to sites, especially as you’re probably underage. Even sites like these, the internet is forever. I’m going to remove them, just to be safe.

    Comment by Miss Plumcake — October 23, 2012 @ 4:00 pm

  17. @Leigh Ann: It’s been about two years since I’ve had my lashes done. They’re expensive to maintain and somewhat addicting. No, I couldn’t feel them on my eyelids, but I could see them and there was an extra weight. I have very thick and long lashes naturally, so I could get away with wearing a heavier, longer lash. If you only get a light fringe, it might not even register weight at all. As for the water exposure, even though I’ve heard they’ve got new adhesives that are more water and oil resistant, I’m not sure I’d recommend lashes for anyone who does a lot of swimming, especially not in chlorine. You can shower and wash regularly (avoiding oil and too much steam), so that’s not a big deal, but I can’t imagine lashes would benefit from chlorine water with any regularity.

    Comment by Miss Plumcake — October 23, 2012 @ 4:07 pm

  18. @Daisyj: Mister Clean Magic Eraser, or rub some non-gel toothpaste on them. The Magic Eraser works faster and better, but the toothpaste will do in a pinch. You can also try using a good pencil eraser. Good luck!

    Comment by Miss Plumcake — October 23, 2012 @ 4:09 pm

  19. @Lisa from SoCal: I’m kind of having a Graham Greene moment lately, having just finished The Human Element, which I enjoyed in all its Cold War splendor. I think I’ll probably re-read Primary Colors now that I’m back in DC and –I’m not sure if you’ve heard about this or not– an we’re about to have an election.

    Comment by Miss Plumcake — October 23, 2012 @ 4:12 pm

  20. @Rebekka: Absolutely it’s possible. You just need to think like Henry Ford: Automation and monochromatics. Make everything as easy as possible for yourself. Decide on a uniform. For you it might be a slightly bootcut ponte knit pant, a solid lightweight v-neck sweater and a camisole or fine-knit tee. Buy each in three coordinating colors (ones that coordinate with themselves and everything else) and you’ll have an entire wardrobe where, no matter what you pull out, will look put together and you’ll have enough permutations that you can wear a different variation every day for months.

    Here’s an example using some of the colors I’ve been wearing recently:




    Comment by Miss Plumcake — October 23, 2012 @ 4:30 pm

  21. Promise when you are a broad abroad you’ll tell us what the Big Girls are wearing wherever you are – and where they shop if you see anything worth mentioning

    And have fun!

    Comment by Thea — October 23, 2012 @ 4:34 pm

  22. I am in interview mode now and suddenly nothing in my closet makes me look professional enough.

    I spent hours looking for button-down shirts in stripes or solids but nothing fits properly. I moved from size 18 to 20 and have hard time finding apple-shape-friendly shirts with good cut and long enough to go over a lumpy tummy.

    Any suggestions that won’t break my budget?

    Comment by Violet — October 23, 2012 @ 4:40 pm

  23. Also, I got this jacket in my infinite wisdom (or slight desperation),,default,pd.html?dwvar_303904_color=Black%20Tweed&start=20&cgid=AE-Apparel-Jackets

    It fits me way better than as shown on model, but I am having the same problem as that model with that mismatched black pants. Any suggestions to pair this up too?
    May be I should return this?

    Comment by Violet — October 23, 2012 @ 4:46 pm

  24. @Gryph: I’ll have to trust you that she’s being p/a instead of really just envying your willingness to step outside of her comfort zone, because it sounds more like envy than aggression. That being said, it’s an easy fix. Just answer as plainly as you can “Thanks, I’m going to slay a dragon in this later.” or something along those lines. My historic favorite response to that sort of thing has always been a slightly off-the-cuff “Well, I’m just naturally good-looking I guess.”

    If it’s systemic with one person, I’m all for confrontation. You’d be surprised how effective a bored-by-exasperated “Listen, if you’ve got a problem with the way I dress, either say it or just keep it to yourself. This passive aggressive stuff is beneath you.” They’ll either shut up or concern troll you. If they concern troll you, just refuse to engage. When they finish, answer “Okay, now you’ve told me what you think. Glad you got it off your chest so we can move on, since my XYZ is no longer a topic for conversation.” Good luck!

    Comment by Miss Plumcake — October 23, 2012 @ 4:48 pm

  25. @Kathy: I’m working on a hats post. It should be up in the next few week. If you wanted to send me a photo at I’d be glad to look at you specifically and give my thoughts.

    Comment by Miss Plumcake — October 23, 2012 @ 4:49 pm

  26. @Lauren: I’m on the hunt for a good legging too. I’ll share my findings if I hit anything good. I really liked the Avenue long-line legging they used to call a bike short or something, but I think they’ve discontinued it. I would strongly, STRONGLY suggest against anything that’s wet leather look unless you are capable of pulling off extreme advanced fashion and have the pockets deep enough to wear them on a serious High/Low outfit, because when one element screams Trashy Hair Band, the rest of it has to be haute haute haute or just be the sartorial equivalent of 80’s mall bangs.

    Comment by Miss Plumcake — October 23, 2012 @ 4:53 pm

  27. @OS:Good idea! I’ll try to get one worked up, but it’ll probably be either while I’m in Italy or after I’ve gone back to Mexico.

    Comment by Miss Plumcake — October 23, 2012 @ 4:54 pm

  28. @Leeapeea: Duct tape or strong painter’s tape. If you’re using duct tape, put it on a towel first, and then strip away your glitter. Good call about the coats and things. I wrote something a few weeks ago about some cute coats. They’re a blindspot for me since I don’t live in a place where you really even need to wear shoes, much less a winter coat. But I’ll work on something!

    Comment by Miss Plumcake — October 23, 2012 @ 4:57 pm

  29. @Violet: Unless you can afford to get a shirt made or seriously altered, skip the button down and go for a thin cashmere sweater or shell under your jacket. Neiman Marcus has good ones. Really do make sure it’s at least 80% cashmere. You’ll probably drop 100 bucks, but it’ll be worth every penny, and the idea that you can get cheap clothes to look expensive is right up there with I’m Just Stripping To Pay For Grad School on the implausibility scale. If you want to wear a stomach slimmer, let me recommend SQEEM perfect waist cincher. It’s the only one I use anymore.

    Comment by Miss Plumcake — October 23, 2012 @ 5:01 pm

  30. @Violet (part 2): Return it. And don’t buy suiting separates online. Buy the whole suit or buy it in person.

    Comment by Miss Plumcake — October 23, 2012 @ 5:03 pm

  31. Miss Plumcake,

    Thanks so much! Now I can concentrate my energies in trying to get a good shell and full suit.
    It has been too much confusion to make my current pieces work with what is available.

    Comment by Violet — October 23, 2012 @ 5:28 pm

  32. Yes, the coats article was great and I want more!!! I can we how it might be a bit of a blind spot for you… In New England it’s all I can think about.

    Comment by leeapeea — October 23, 2012 @ 7:31 pm

  33. Hi Miss Plumcake,

    I feel like everything I own is ugly and stupid and has mystery holes in it. I need tips on how to “brighten up” – first phrase that came to mind – one’s lackluster wardrobe. If it helps, I wrote this nonsense a few months ago about my ideal personal style hopes and dreams and fantasies or whatever:

    My ideal sense of personal style would be to dress like a mix of Katniss Everdeen (kick-ass boots and jackets; pretty and meaningful pins and necklaces; a bow and arrow wouldn’t hurt, either), Zooey Deschanel (DRESSES! RIBBONS! CARDIGANS! GLASSES! MORE DRESSES!), and almost every chick featured on Black Girls Killing It (ethnic-bohemian-hipster-feminine-preppy-animal print awesomeness).

    Thank you for your insight!

    P.S. – I’m super lazy and don’t have a ton of money seeing as how I ought to be renovating a condo so I can live in it instead of out of a “suitcase” (garbage bag) at my parents’ house.

    Comment by Ambrosia Jones — October 23, 2012 @ 8:27 pm

  34. OK well, since you said anything, here’s the one that always bugs me. How is it that following any given Oscar night, some individual invariably ends up on some expert’s Ten Best Dressed list and on some other expert’s Ten Worst. Is there really no objective truth in fashion? (Maybe there is, but those aren’t true experts?)

    Comment by Less — October 23, 2012 @ 8:35 pm

  35. Do you have any recommendations for mascara that won’t leave me looking like a raccoon after a few hours? Bonus points if I can get it from the drug store… I have very oily skin which apparently extends to my eye sockets. After about 3 hours I have a line on my upper lid where my lashes must hit and about an hour later I have smuges under my eyes too. Waterproof didn’t help just meant I spent twice as long trying to get the stuff off at the end of the day. I don’t need lengthening.

    Facial primer for the uber oily. I’m willing to either buy inline or shlep over to a mall for this one. I’ve tried Smashbox photo finish (kept me none shiny for a few hours) and L’Oreal Magic perfecting base (shiny quicker but my skin/giant pores looked great). And primer/bases out there for the super Exxon tanker truck spill oily people?

    Comment by Jeni — October 23, 2012 @ 9:06 pm

  36. Re: leggings – I know this might be heresy on this blog, but my favorite leggings are the spanx brand footless tights. They are so stretchy and don’t dig into my stomache.

    I am searching for some dressier, solid color Tshirts to wear with slacks and skirts to work. Preferably with some darts or gathering at the neckline, to be a little more interesting then plain crew neck. V neck would also work. I’d like them to be fairly fitted, and the fabric would need to be something other than straight cotton, to be dressier. I know I just set out a lot of conditions, but I am surprised that I’m having so much trouble finding what I want. Any thoughts?

    Comment by Jen209 — October 23, 2012 @ 10:34 pm

  37. @Less: No, there is no objective truth in fashion, and as for experts, assuming they’re really experts and not just personalities, they all have their preferences. Some folks prefer a more editorial look, some go in for the more standard red carpet fare. It all depends on what you value (prettiness vs artistic expression).

    Comment by Miss Plumcake — October 24, 2012 @ 12:30 am

  38. @Ambrosia Jones:

    Okay, the first step is to focus. To have any sort of chic, there’s got to be focus. Basically, your message reads like you want to wear All The Things and I’m not sure that’s the way to go when you pretty much want to expend no effort and spend no money. I’d suggest the first step would be to get rid of anything that’s got holes or you don’t love. IF that means you have three things left to wear, so be it. Then set yourself a budget and find yourself three things -could be anything, accessories, a top, a pair of pants– and buy them. Try to do that once a month and buying nothing else. You’ll have a wardrobe that makes you happy AND a remodeled condo, minimum effort involved.

    Comment by Miss Plumcake — October 24, 2012 @ 1:36 am

  39. @Jeni: Try any tubing mascara. I like L’Oreal Double Extension, but whatever you get, buy it from a place that accepts returns on cosmetics, just so you’re not out a ton of cash. I don’t really know much about the super oily skin issue, but try the Prime and Perfect primer from cheapo brand NYC (I know, but trust me) and mineral makeup. Good luck!

    Comment by Miss Plumcake — October 24, 2012 @ 1:40 am

  40. I could use some wardrobe help. I’ve been trying to get more exercise and I’ve lost a little weight. Basically most of my old clothes don’t fit any more, and I’ve been having trouble filling the wardrobe holes. I could use some advice on some wardrobe basics to tide me over as I’m kind of hoping to loose more. I’m having a heck of a time with pants! I know i’m probably never going to be thin, but after all this hard work I’d like to look good in my clothes!

    Comment by barbara — October 24, 2012 @ 2:03 am

  41. Any new sources for clothing, especially pants, for short apples? At the moment I have only black pants and only jeggings insead of jeans because I can’t find anything that fits the waist and doesn’t balloon out in the thighs. Tailoring is fine, but you’ve got to start out with something within the realm of reason.

    Comment by Gelinda — October 24, 2012 @ 8:49 am

  42. What do you recommend as the basic handbags/purses suitable for a big girl. I like crossbody bags but they don’t look good on me.

    Comment by retna — October 24, 2012 @ 10:30 am

  43. Favorite DC spots! I grew up there too, also went to a small private school there, and though it’s an obnoxiously specialized thing, always wish you would write more about it.

    Comment by rachel — October 24, 2012 @ 3:15 pm

  44. @Jeni I have oily skin and I’ve had a lot of luck with Dior Show mascara. It’s around $25 a tube, but I netted it out and it lasts longer than 3 or 4 tubes of drugstore mascara

    Comment by Thea — October 24, 2012 @ 3:53 pm

  45. Thank you, Miss Plumcake! Excellent advice. I may have been exaggerating my laziness (I hope), but nevertheless the tips are budget, space, and renovation friendly! And seem so easy and fun! Thank you for telling me to focus! I shall tr- Oh my god, look, a button!:-)

    Comment by Ambrosia Jones — October 24, 2012 @ 9:12 pm

  46. @Jeni – I have oily skin and am a sweater (a person who sweats, not a heavy outer shirt) and I recently tried Neutrogena’s primer for oily skin (charcoalish-navy blueish bottle) and it kept me pretty grease-slick-free during a costume party last weekend (I was a member of ancient Egyptian high society or Cleopatra if you’re dumb) at which a dear friend “surprised” me, his black BFF, with his Obama costume. Complete with blackface. Le sigh.

    Comment by Ambrosia Jones — October 24, 2012 @ 9:18 pm

  47. @Jeni: I second Thea’s recommendation for Diorshow–it’s the only one which doesn’t smudge on me. Periodically, Nordstrom does buy-two-get-one-free on any brand of mascara which brings the price down once you find one you like.

    Comment by Sarah — October 25, 2012 @ 8:21 am

  48. Thanks Miss Plumcake! Now that you mention the high/low extreme fashion angel, I remember that one of my early inspiration photo’s for going on a fancy leggings kick involved a $500 asymmetric deconstructed designer sweater…and I’m not sure my pockets are quite that deep! Although I think I could pull it off, even in an office setting. I have a way of making everything look a little bland and safe, that’s why I could never do hipster fashion, nothing looks ironic on me.

    Comment by Lauren — October 25, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

  49. @Gelinda, I’m a 5’3″ apple (size 20-22) and I’m having okay luck with Talbot’s Women’s Petites. They’ve got several cuts now – Heritage, Signature and Curvy, I think. Heritage works for me, but the short apple clerk helping me swore by Curvy – different strokes for different folks and all.

    I can’t exactly stroll in and confidently grab something off the rack and have it fit, but if I try one of everything I can usually find a pair or two that work.

    Comment by TeleriB — October 25, 2012 @ 2:46 pm

  50. Where is Glinda and is everything okay? I am missing my TeenyManolo and ManoloBeauty fixes!

    Comment by marvel — October 25, 2012 @ 4:26 pm

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