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

January 24, 2011

Thoughts on Capital F Fashion

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the exclusivity of fashion and I’ve decided I just don’t buy it.

That being said, we ought to differentiate between Fashion and the Fashion Industry.

The mainstream fashion industry and media has its head so far up its own emaciated backside that it can use its own lungs as convenient and ergonomically sound in-flight neck pillows.  That’s not going to change any time soon, so take whatever good you can find from it as a pleasant surprise and leave the rest. My current scientifically bangin’ measurements are 53-361/2-54 and I cannot buy ready-to-wear from any major designer.  That is screwed up.  I have –albeit on a larger scale– pretty the exact same proportions as Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren and the Venus De frickin’  Milo.  If you can’t design clothes that look great on my figure *coughMiucciaPradacough* the problem? Is not with me.

But Fashion? Fashion is by no means the exclusive provenance of 15 year-old Eastern Bloc automatons with bones but no faces. Sure that may be what we see on the runways right now –although admittedly with the revival of the early 90’s looks, we’re getting a bit more diversity of look on the catwalk– but after poring through thousands of editorial fashion images this weekend, particularly from the How to be a F**king Lady tumblr stream which is beyond fabulous I’ve decided one thing:

When you create something unusual, maybe even shocking, put it on your body and  sell it so hard that it becomes fabulous by sheer force of will, THAT is Capital F Fashion. It doesn’t belong to the thin or tall or blonde or rich or whatever actress has a new movie coming out. It belongs to anyone with courage and courage doesn’t give a damn about measurements.

Which isn’t to say there’s anything wrong with wanting to be pretty, but good Fashion –like all good art– is challenging and challenging ain’t always pretty.

So take this as a call to arms.

If we want to do Fashion, we can do Fashion. In fact, as big girls, we might actually even have a natural advantage because we command more attention with our physical presence. After all, there’s a reason Cadillacs are in parades but those little SmartCars aren’t. BE the Cadillac, girls and go commit some Fashion.

November 9, 2010

What Miss Plumcake is…

Filed under: Art,Books,Boots,Food,Movies,Music,What Miss Plumcake is — Miss Plumcake @ 11:24 am

Hello my turtle doves, how’s every little thing? It’s Tuesday, the sky is blue, the Scotch is plentiful and all is right in the world so it’s time to find out What Miss Plumcake is…

ReadingNabokov’s Butterfly and Other Stories of Great Authors and Rare Books by Rick Gekoski. Legendary rare book dealer, Man Booker Prize judge and semi-scoundrel Rick Gekoski tells the story of how his life has intertwined with several of the world’s most collectible books and literary objects J.R.R. Tolkein’s university gown (the books was published as Tolkein’s Gown and Other Stories of Great Authors and Rare Books in the UK) including Grahame Greene’s first edition of Lolita adorned with Nabokov’s signature hand-drawn butterflies.

WatchingSherlock. You guys. Seriously now, you NEED to watch this and do it fast because it’s available for free streaming on the PBS website until December 7. In this three-part series for BBC Wales and Masterpiece Mystery, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson are 21st century characters as gripping and real as any contemporary crime procedural. Benedict Cumberbatch (whose name I cannot help but read as Cummerbund Bandersnatch) plays the best detective this Holmes girl has ever seen or heard.

Hearing Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys. The best pop album of all time. That is all. Also, auto tune people people? THIS is how you do it.

SmellingMrs. Meyer’s Clean Day cleaning products in Geranium. Cleaning, like monogamy and parenting, is one of those things better left to people who aren’t me. I kind of morally object to having to clean up after myself. I mean, I DO it, because I can’t find a cleaning gal I like and the last one stole all my best prescription drugs, but I’m NOT happy about it. It’s hard enough to find the time to MAKE the mess, and now I’m supposed to fix it too? Why is life so cruel? Still, I find the job a little less offensive with these schmancy organic products that make Chateau Gateau smell particularly lovely.

Loving – All the new Manolo blogs! Our very own Twistie at Crafty Manolo, Glinda at Manolo for the Beauty and frequent commenter La Petite Acadienne at Manolo Jewelry. Does this mean Miss Plumcake might be expanding her Manolo Horizons too? Maaaybe.

Hating – Ice Cream. All of it. No reason, I just hate it. It’s hard milk, but not cheese and thus is of the serpent.

Wanting Jimmy Choo Crocodile Wellington Boots. There is NOTHING in that title the doesn’t make me happy. Fortunately for my bank account, there’s no way the calves would be big enough because if you think I wouldn’t spend $400 I don’t have on a pair of rain boots I don’t need because they’re CROCODILE WELLIES then you don’t know me very well.

BuyingMacaroons. I love macaroons. Not the mysteriously-trendy macarons, whose pastel allure has historically escaped me, but proper almond and coconut macaroons. I usually make my own or get them from Moonlight Bakery here in town, but if you wanted to send some to a friend, the folks at Scott’s Cakes do a fine job too.

So what about you? What do you have going on this week?

August 15, 2010

No Fat People in the Past? Not So Much

Filed under: Art,Historical Fats — Twistie @ 1:18 pm

People talk a lot about how there weren’t any fat people once upon a time. That’s why our bodies are wrong and bad and must be changed. Just go on Jennie Craig! Try Weight Watchers! After all, that’s not even a diet. It’s a Lifestyle Change. There weren’t fat people back in the wifty-wafty past that I just made up!

The thing is, that’s it’s not exactly accurate. There have always been thin people, moderate-sized people, fat people, and supersized people. We have always been around.

Want some proof? Take a look right here:

via See these four lovely ladies circa 1905? Notice the one in the rear on the left? Not precisely Kate Moss, is she? And yet, she exists.


June 30, 2010

Portrait of a (fat) Lady

Filed under: Art,Plumcake's Secrets of Fabulousness — Miss Plumcake @ 3:51 pm

I have crashed a party exactly once in my life.

It was New Year’s Eve and rumor had it THE most fabulous miniature gay man on the face of the planet –I mean he out-Capotes Truman Capote– was having a little shindig and I’d heard so much about his legendary house I simply HAD to go or I would just DIE.

So I charmed, finagled, and finally begged my way into being someone’s plus one. The big night came, my ticket had to bail. Well. By that time I was already in sequined cocktail gown and white Dior tailcoat and by GOD I was going to this party, so I waltzed in with my lynx coat and hastily gift-wrapped box of Walker’s shortbread and I crashed that party like a pro.

I cannot even begin to describe to you this house, other than I accidentally knocked my handbag against one of the many Picasso harlequins on the walls that were tessellated floor-to-cathedral ceiling with art. Because why have ONE Modigliani when you can have three, plus some Dali etchings to fill in the spaces and a few Cecil Beaton photographs OF YOURSELF just for good measure.

Above the story-tall fireplace in the great room was a huge painting of our host as a young man, painted by his brother who apparently was something of a Big Deal back in the 30’s. My friend –who had also finagled his way into a plus one– commented:

“It takes a certain type of person to have their own portrait hanging in their living room.”

to which I replied, slightly hurt but for no good reason “Hey! I have my portrait hanging in my living room!”

“…Of course you do.”

And this is why I’m of two minds when it comes to the art of Les Toil, the artist behind the Toil Girls, a series of mostly individually-commissioned drawings of plus-size women in the pin-up style.

Francesca was a fan. I am definitely not.

On one hand, I totally get it.

I understand why women –maybe women who don’t necessarily get a lot of positive feedback about their desirability– would want to be transformed into a cheesecake cartoon.  Lord knows I’m all about the vanity and as far as vanities go, it’s a relatively cheap and harmless one. On par with those tack-o but inoffensive Glamour Shots you get in the mall.

On the other hand…sheesh. Low. Brow.  Now I understand that for some unknown reason you all aren’t required to share all my tastes YET (say what you will about Fascism, at least they had a unified aesthetic) but…sheesh.

BUT, all indications to the contrary, I’m not here to hate on Les Toil.

He seems like a decent enough fella. He certainly loves the big girls and, perhaps more importantly, is willing to monetize that love.  More power to him. It takes all kinds.

And who knows, maybe he’ll be the next Art Frahm and then someday you can entertain your grandkids with the photo the same way Frahm’s models (if indeed he used models) probably tell their grandkids about how they had to pose drop-knickered with a bag of celery for a five cents an hour.


This whole thing just smacks of yet another case where instead of getting what they really want –say an oil portrait of your reclining nude self– big girls settle for what’s available and acceptable.




Houses settle, bets settle,  benches settle.

You? Don’t have to settle. Not about most things, and certainly not about this.

If your soul yearns to be a Toil Girl and only a Toil will do, by all means, get one. Get a dozen and make a freakin’ calendar and cherish the crap out of that hot kitschy mess.  BUT if what you want is a mixed media painting of yourself in the nude (and I firmly believe all women should sit for a nude painting or drawing at least once in her life) then kick the kitsch to the curb and get what you want.

“But what about the money?”

Mister Toil charges between $400 and $500  and to me that’s perfectly fair.  I know some women have this idea that if you sit for an artist you are being his muse and not only will he probably fall madly in love with your beauty, he will paint you for free.

These women are high.

BUT,  getting a fine art portrait (I view Mr Toil’s work as illustration, and there’s certainly no shame in the illustration game, but fine art it ain’t) doesn’t have to be that much more expensive. It just takes a little legwork.

If you want to drop a grand or more for a traditional oil portrait but don’t know where to start, you might try calling your city capitol building. Ask a docent who painted the portrait of the sitting governor. If he or she isn’t taking commissions, you might ask who they would recommend.

If you prefer a hipper more impressionist –though potentially less polished– portrait,  go to the coffee shops, teensy galleries, bars, wherever they display local artists. If there’s an artist you just loooove on Etsy, ask them if they’ll take a commission. Heck, even Craigslist works if you live in a relatively artsy town.

Meet with your potential artist, get a feel for the artist’s work and personality. I’ve found many if not most artists genuinely prefer to work with women with a more traditionally voluptuous build. If it clicks it clicks. If not, move on. It will help if you’ve got an idea of what you want and what you don’t want.

Just don’t settle.

In eighty years you (or your children or your great grandchildren) will love to see how gorgeous and vibrant you were in all your beautiful curving glory. Make it something you want them to see, especially above the fireplace.

May 19, 2010

It’s fabulous

Filed under: Art — Miss Plumcake @ 1:59 pm

…but is it a shoe?

Zaha Hadid for Melissa
Abu Dhabi performing arts center by Zaha Hadid

All by architect Zaha Hadid, of course!
Zaha Hadid

PSSST. If you’re just tuning in, our delightful weekend blogger Twistie is doing a new weekday featurette called Steals and Deals! It’s all the shopping codes and sales goodies you’ve been missing.

March 9, 2010


Filed under: Advanced Fashion,Art,Color Studies,Shoes — Miss Plumcake @ 1:17 am

proenza schouler antracite
Peggy G
proenza schouler nero

(click for shoe link)

March 8, 2010

This Post is Closed for Modernism

Filed under: Art,Color Studies,Shoes — Miss Plumcake @ 7:52 am

Paul Klee, Chess

Glory Chen

Paul Klee Red Balloon

red wedge

Composition A, Piet Mondrian

…but is it art?

click for links

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