But the party’s just starting at afterplumcake.com
I don’t remember much about 2007, the year that Manolo for the Big Girl opened its virtual gates, so I certainly don’t recall what I wrote in my application to be one of two fearsome editrixes for The Manolo’s new plus-size project. I do remember my entry was late since a friend sent me the cattle call (as it were) week after the deadline passed. I also remember (spoiler alert) that I got it.
On my first entry I wrote:
The great thing about being the biggest gal in the room is that you can be the BIGGEST gal in the room: the fiercest, the most fabulous, the most confident. With a big attitude you can work looks that would overwhelm our slender sisters and make drag queens want to pull your hair from sheer glam envy.
Now as Manolo for the Big Girl, along with the rest of the Manolosphere, prepares to hang up our heels and close shop forever, I stand by that statement.
When I got the news on Friday, I was too jetlagged to say anything but “well, it was a good run.”
And it was, but it was also something else.
It was the chance to be the voice I wish I’d had when I was but a young fatling, trying to eke out an ounce of self-confidence, and a drop of glamor in an unfriendly world.
I thank you for that. I thank you for every comment (well, almost every comment) every email, every linkback and “you’ve gotta read this” message.
Most of all I thank you for the community. MftBG wasn’t a pretty blog, it didn’t fit nicely into any one category. I was never interested in being part of some fat blog clique or kowtowing to advertisers, but you stuck with me, with one of the smartest, funniest comments sections I’ve had the pleasure to read.
So what to do now?
Well, I don’t know about the rest of the gang, but I’m going to keep working on my book, enjoying life in Mexico and because old habits die hard, writing at my new blog, After Plumcake.
It won’t be the same as the big girl blog, there comes a time when even I have run out of things to say about pretty shoes and being fat, but it will have some of the same flavor, plus a broader range of topics, possibly shirtless footballers and if the past two days are any indication, way more f-bombs.
I hope you’ll join me there.
Oh man, do I love quinceañeras. They are all-singing, all-dancing explosions of almost invariably bad taste and I can’t get enough. Sure there are Sweet Sixteen parties and the prom, but those are small party potatoes compared to the pure unadulterated garishness that can only be achieved when an entire extended family gets together to realize the most lurid tulle-filled fantasies harbored deep in the rhinestone and zebra print corners of a 15 year-old girl’s mind.
I have always been a big proponent of youthful excess. I wore tasteful, elegant evening gowns to all my teenage soirees and now I regret it. Why? Because now that’s all I can wear, at least without suffering some unwanted social repercussions.
It is with fondness –and full admission I might wear this for my quince-themed birthday party next year– that I present to you the latest object for Whisky Tango Foxtrot.
You all remember the rules, right? Give me a situation, the kookier the better, where this would be an appropriate outfit. To make things a bit more challenging, this time we’ll rule out references to quinceañeras, Cyndi Lauper and Gay Pride Parades.
Hit me with your best shot! Fire away-ay-ay.
Greetings from Barthelona, home of incredible pork products, the second best football team in Spain and a whole lot of cool-looking melty buildings.
It is not, however, home to many big girls. Do they not exist? Are they simply not allowed out of doors? I’m not sure.
I’d like to report on the elegance of Spanish gorditas, but the handful I’ve seen so far seem to suffer the same fate as many of their American sisters: cheap clothes, especially the ubiquitous cheap graphic top with tackazoid metallic screen prints. Sigh.
I suspect it’s a question of supply. Their access to stylish plus-size clothing must be even more limited than in the US.
Sure there’s Marina Rinaldi, but I popped into their store on the Passeig de Gràcia, Barcelona’s equivalent to Rodeo Drive, and although the clothes were beautifully made, they do err on the side of elegantly mumsy with disheartening frequency.
That being said, I have noticed a certain out-and-about uniform here in the heart of Catalunya.
From the sweet young things trundling to language class to the stopped-counting-after-Franco doyennes walking their blue-rinsed terriers along the Carrer d’Aragó, long but tidy woven scarves abound. The older women tend to wear them neatly knotted in a cravat while the younger set goes for a more casual double wrap drape around the neck.
Fit is Everything
In the US there seems to be two fits: painted on or falling off. Most of us do our best to navigate the middle ground, but ours is often a tale of woe, with a top clinging like a needy ex one day only to be stretched out beyond recognition after the first wash. Although skinny jeans are still the pants of choice, they’re merely close-fitted, not denim deathgrips. Tops can be loose or skim without clinging and sleeves end where sleeves ought to end, not a foot south of the wrist.
I’ve got to say, this one threw me a little. Even outside their fashion institute, the cuts and colors were surprisingly conservative, much more along the lines of DC than New York or, God Forbid, LA.
Cleavage was virtually non-existent even on warm days and when it made an appearance, it was incidental, not integral to the look. As for speculum length minis, I’ve only seen two: both worn by drunk British girls. Which isn’t to say there weren’t short skirts, but they were paired with matching opaque tights –usually black for both– and loose fitting tops.
Another surprise, and I suspect a seasonal one. Barcelona embraces a very Donna Karan color palette with grays from heather to charcoal, soft browns from fawn to dark chocolate, muted pinks and blues and every possible permutation of beige. It might not sound exciting, but it looks fantastic. Bolder colors –if hunter green and rust are bold– come from the omnipresent scarves. The makeup is muted too, and women, especially women of a certain age, looked the world better for it.
What to wear in Barcelona to fit in with the locals:
- A loose but not sloppy thin sweater or knit top over a slimmer knit or button down shirt in complimentary neutrals. Lightweight moto-cut twill jacket if it’s chilly at night.
- Long woven scarf in an interesting color or pattern
- Dark slim-cut denim or twill pants either paired with boots or ballet flats. Precariously high heels look out of place for day, though I’ve seen a pair or two at night.
- Hair is either long and slightly unkempt or chic bordering on New Wave and accessories are about what you’d see in the states with big bags abounding, although there’s little to no 80’s or 90’s hipster irony, thanks be to God.
Oh Gang, I feel like I’m doing you wrong. I’ve been a little slack on the posting since I’ve been in DC and this week Hot Latin Boy and I are heading to Europe, for which we have done exactly no planning. Since we’ll be in Barcelona and Rome, our conversation went a little like this:
Hey, we’re going to Spain and Italy. We speak Spanish, right?
Does one of us speak Italian?
I can say “No, the old men are not swimming.” Considering there will probably be a lot of old men around not swimming, that will definitely come in handy.
Great. Looks like we’re set.
And that’s about it. Since we’re doing a combination of pleasure traveling, business meetings and scouting locations for our next humble abode once we decide to leave Mexico, we try to stick to living like locals do, even on a very short trip. It’s never served me wrong, and I don’t come home with all those same boring photos of standing in front of whatever historic landmark every other tourist feels obliged to take.
So what’s your favorite travel tip or quirk? I’m going to be thin on the ground this week, but I’ll try to post a bit more regularly and of course I’m moderating comments and answering queries here and at Manolo’s Shoeblog.
I’m not a clothes sharing sort of person. I will, on occasion, loan out a pair of shoes or an accessory –always documented and signed for– when a friend in need has a special event and I need to burn off a few hours of purgatory. I’ve even been known to let a job-hunting girlfriend borrow the Birkin for interviews.
The one exception is my best friend.
Although we are just about the same size and height, our looks couldn’t be more different:
She’s delicately featured with subtle coloring, cascading bambi-colored hair and an enviable sprinkling of freckles across her nose (I’m sadly sans angel kisses, and used to draw them on my face as a child with a Sharpie.) Her legs are long and trim, uninterrupted by waist, hips, or butt and it is a testament to the magnificence of her rack that she is the single most terrifying creature to have ever perched behind the wheel of a midsize sedan and yet her driving record is cleaner than a pig on Sunday.
I, on the other hand, have dramatic coloring, a nearly black Eton crop/pixie combo and a pear-shaped figure with all the dips and swells that body shape entails. Understandably, what suits one of us rarely works on the other. I look like a sack of wet feed in the sheaths she wear so well, and my beloved sternum-revealing necklines would get her arrested or at least gently escorted back to the nearest red light district.
It is with great interest, then, that we discovered how fantastic we both look in the Hazel Hi-Lo Peplum Top from Kiyonna.
I knew the neckline and emphasis on the waist would be heaven on me (not to mention the lalalanothingtoseehere effect of the peplum treatment over my stomach), but I wasn’t prepared for it to look just as amazing on my best pal.
I wear it styled in the traditional manner while she wears it with a camisole. The deep V is supposed to lie flat and is lined with some serious interfacing to make sure it stays that way, but on my busty friend they flip out to look like little lapels, which honestly is just as cute.
Kiyonna makes plus-size clothing the way they ought to be made: thoughtfully and with attention to detail in both construction and design. They’re also all made in America, so you can be smug at dinner parties, which is always fun.
Stay tuned for more reviews, and take a word of advice: if you’re going to take the Hazel top on vacation, buy two. I have a feeling the one I bought might not make its way into my suitcase ever again.