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

June 13, 2011

Review Revue + How To Wear: Wide Leg Pants

Do you ever just get an image stuck in your head and declare “THIS. THIS is what I want to be wearing right now, and I shall never know another moment of joy until my dream is realized!”?

Well that’s what happened with me when I saw this:

It was exactly, exactly the feel of what I wanted for my upcoming adventure as a mex-pat. Not the exact outfit per se, but the breezy early 1930’s sportswear feel so I searched and searched until I came upon these:

Silk and Linen Wide Leg Trousers


70% silk, 30% linen, acetate lining. Obviously I would’ve preferred a silk lining, but we live in a broken and sinful world, so a girl can’t have everything. The silk/linen blend is lovely with an excellent drape and just a slight slub in the material. The lining isn’t bad either, a nice solid twill with good tailleur details you’d expect to find in a much more expensive piece.


When they say wide leg, they MEAN wide leg.

In fact, I’d probably categorize them as true tailored palazzos. Stay with me, I know we’ve been burned by palazzos before.

Are there words that strike deeper fear in the hearts of the big-boned than “polyester georgette palazzo pants”?

I think not.

Still, these are very good, just perfect for the loose, 1930’s Biarritz meets Marisa Berenson style I want while I’m in Baja.

We’ve been due for a resurgence of pajama dressing for a while, what with the natural order of things (the 70’s coming back), the undying influence of Poiret and YSL and Karl Lagerfeld bringing back the old Sara and Gerald Murphy trope a few years ago for Spring 2008, which was brilliant but ahead of its time.

Plus it’s not like pants can get tighter, so there’s nothing new or interesting fashion-wise to “say” there. Even Hermes got in on the (slightly more tailored) act for its most recent ready to wear collection.

The cut is elegant and thoughtful. Whoever designed these trousers knows their stuff. The front pleats (stay with me now) are sewn down through the waist and stomach so you don’t get that gut-level poochiness one usually associates with front pleats.  Instead you get an elegant trimness through the waist and hips. There are side pockets and besoms in the back. Nothing too distracting, but it adds a great sportswear look.


Long-legged girls, you’re in luck. On me these are entirely too long –I’m 6’3″ in 5″ heels and I’ll still need the taken up at least 2″ inches– so unless you’re half giraffe, you’ll probably need to get these hemmed.

The drape is excellent and although I would’ve liked a slightly higher, narrower waist, that could be user error since I’ve got a high, narrow (er, comparatively) waist to begin with and I really could have/should have gone down a size.

My experience with the plus size range in Spiegel is they run about a size small, so being a pear-shaped 18/20 I ordered a size 22W. I’d still err on the side of caution if your trunk comes with its own considerable collection of junk, but I don’t think you’d be led too far astray if you ordered true to size.

From the side they look like heaven. From the front it’s a little harder to get used to, but once you try them  on as part of an entire outfit instead of just “naked plus pants” it comes together beautifully.

How To Wear It:

One thing you want to remember with all dressing, but especially when you’re playing with dramatic proportions, is to stay balanced. If you’re wearing gorgeous billowy trousers, then your top needs to be slim and there needs to be some structure to it. Look at the American magazine and the Hermes still. 80 years apart, but still the same basic idea: wide, flowing pants require a slim, structured top and/or other elements to offset it.

I don’t have just a ton of experience wearing this silhouette, I don’t tend towards separates in the first place and palazzo pants can be a hard look to pull off in a way that looks chic before one is Of a Certain Age, especially if one is fatly, since fatties as a species have been done so grievously wrong by bad palazzo pants in the past.

Still, I’m determined to do loose, 1930’s Biarritz meets Marisa Berenson style while I’m in Mexico, just for my own enjoyment, so on with the show.

Current plans for deployment are with mile-high espadrilles –I’m going to be a foot and a half taller than everyone in the country anyway, might as well make it an even two– an absolute armful of thick lacquer bangles in solid brights (optional) and a scarf tied on the diagonal as a top which is surprisingly effective and flattering, covering all less-than-gracile parts of self, while putting my best features –my shoulders and neckline– on display, sans cleavage, with a cardi for modesty when I’m not on the beach or lounging at home.If you even have to ask if I’m going to be wearing a big hat I’m not angry, just disappointed. I thought we knew each other.

Parting Shots:

These are Very Good Pants Indeed, especially on sale for $29.99. It’s a lot of capital F Fashion payoff for a dead comfortable and effortless look that still has the whiff of “she took hours to look that effortless” about it, and who doesn’t love that?

You’ll probably want to give these a steam or let them hang for a while when you first get them, but after that, don’t worry too much about creases. Even though it reads more silk than linen, you still don’t want these to be pristine as crisp shirting. The key is easy, soft, a little rumpled and utterly, utterly fabulous. Kind of like me, actually.

October 5, 2010

Paris Fashion Week: Plus Size and “Plus Size” at Gaultier

Filed under: Fashion Week,Models — Miss Plumcake @ 9:34 am

Happy Monday and a Half, Campers! As most of you know, we have just wrapped up Fashion Month –the four major fashion weeks that show in September for the next spring’s ready-to-wear collections.

It’s New York first, followed by London, Milan and finally Paris and as of yet you haven’t heard a peep out of me on it. This is for a few reasons. First, this isn’t a high fashion blog. Secondly, these designers –with very few exceptions– don’t make ready-to-wear in our sizes. I’m much more likely to cover couture, which by definition is sewn on the body and thus comes in any size you please as long as you can afford it. So unless I see something major coming down the pike, I generally gloss over it.

Personally, I thought Milan was by FAR the best group of showings, although I was let down by some consistent heavy hitters: I didn’t think much of Dior or Prada or Fendi, and was pleasantly surprised by Gareth Pugh. Who would’ve thought? Lanvin gets Show of Paris for me, but there wasn’t much in the way of Directional Fashion coming down the runways this season.

There is a ton of white, white broderie anglais, battenburg (the lace, not the cake) and cotton lawn, especially at Dolce and Gabbana who sent out eighty exits and while it wasn’t QUITE All Killer No Filler, it was pretty damn good.  If you’re interesting in looking at the shows, go to or to watch the models in action, go to

The only plus size models I saw were at Gaultier who –after setting my face on fire for the gorgeousness of his last couture collection– left me absolutely cold with his rock n’ roll Joan Jett redux.

However, look who he anointed to open the show:

You know me, I’m the first one to call stunt casting, and we know Gaultier loves a stunt casted show –although I think it comes from a good place in his heart– but I actually think she was a great choice to open the show, which was all about bad ass rock chicks a la Joan Jett, whose songs blared and whose trademark dirty shag hair was on display on almost every model.

Including Crystal “Nipsy” Renn.

(Seriously, Crystal. I know you’d be mad to say no to a Gaultier show, but I swear I see your secondary sex characteristics more than I see my own.  Do you think that maybe at some point I could see a photograph of you without nipples or pubic hair? I mean just for the sake of novelty?)

and Mr Gaultier closed with La Ditto, as was fitting:

I think she looked fabntastic. I mean clearly not daily wear, but she’s got great gams and I hope this disproves once and for all the Fat Girls Can’t Wear Ankle Straps myth. If you’ve got a shapely ankle, and Ms Ditto certainly does, you can wear them to great effect.

June 3, 2010

Six really IS the new fourteen

Filed under: Chanel,Couture,Fashion,Fashion Week,Models — Miss Plumcake @ 2:18 pm

Remember in The Devil Wears Prada (which I liked despite being the only woman on earth apparently not in love with Meryl Streep) when our straight-sized heroine Andy is told by creative director Nigel that “Six is the new fourteen.”?

Well, life imitates art.

First, you must go and read Style Spy’s revelation.  She could be a plus sized model!

“But wait!” you say “Style Spy is a teensy tiny size 4!” and I say “I know. read on, my friends.”

Mme Style Spy posted a picture of one of Ford Models’ newest members of their plus division, Alyona Osmanova:

The new face of plus size
and remarked how they share almost the exact same measurements, except Aloyna is much, much taller.

Now, just for comparison, Ms Osmanova’s measurements are reported as 36″ 28″ 40″ and she stands at just a hair under six feet tall.

Cindy Crawford, one of the few TRUE supermodels, is only 5’9″ but her model card from 1992 had her measurements as 34″ 22″ 35″,  Naomi Campbell, same height, reported her measurements as 34″ 28″ 40″ on the Tyra show in 2005.

Once again:

Supermodel Naomi Campbell: 34″ 28″ 40″ at 5’9″

Plus size model Alyona Osmanova: 36″ 28″ 40″ at 5’11”


Say what you will about the plus divisions of most modeling agencies (get a few sazeracs in me and I will) but at least back in my day –and we’re talking the late 90’s here– the plus sized models were actually plus sized: 12, 14, 16.

But I don’t think it’s all doom and gloom.

At this point, these size categories have been so bended and skewed as to be meaningless, and I think for the fashion world, that’s a good thing.

When reviewing the Chanel Resort collection, Andre Leon Talley (whose memoir ALT you MUST read) wrote:

“Lagerfeld had cast the show with a slightly more curvaceous model named Crystal Renn, not seen on any Chanel catwalk before. This in itself was groundbreaking for the house, but there was also the return of personality models encouraged to be themselves instead of robotic look-alikes.”

What I’m excited about isn’t known fatty hater Karl Lagerfeld casting “slightly more curvaceous” Crystal Renn (and THANK YOU, Mr Talley for that bit of intellectual honesty) it’s that we’re seeing a return to personality models.

We’ve kind of been doing 15 year old Eastern European automatons for almost a decade now, and they do look like robots, and while I understand the appeal having faceless identical clothes hangers must hold for a designer who wants all attention to go to his concept, not her beauty, I think we’ve gone as far as we can go in that direction and I’m extremely heartened to see pretty models once again, some of whom might even have what are recognizably womanly shapes.

I think the general acceptance of size 6 models –and dare I hope for an eight or *gasp* ten OTHER than Crystal Renn– is a much more tenable step in the right direction in the modeling industry than plopping down a handful of true plus size models as gimmick casting.

So I’ll end this little fashion rant the same way I end all my fashion rants, with a hope that fashion will start to incorporate actual meaningful diversity, not just high-heeled tokenism, into its editorials and advertisements.

March 9, 2010

Fashion Musing (Plus gratuitous Rankin Bass reference)

Filed under: Couture,Fashion Week,Galliano! — Miss Plumcake @ 12:30 pm

So I completely ignored Couture back in January and I know some of youse (listen to me talk like a Yankee!) have complained about it, so here’s a little bit of fashion musing over the past fashion week doings.

So I’ve got to say I haven’t been moved thusfar in Paris, and I’m especially disappointed in the Galliano show. We love John Galliano. He is our Funky Little Fashion Troll. He loves women, his models almost always have breasts and hips and other lady parts generally shunned by the fashion industry.  I love him at Dior and I love the stuff he does for his own house.  That being said:



I just didn’t get it.

I mean, there are some amazing individual pieces like this coat.
Orange coat

I love this coat.

I want to LIVE in this coat.

I want to marry this coat and cook its dinner and emotionally blackmail it around the holidays.


September 29, 2009

What Miss Plumcake is…

Filed under: Books,Couture,Fashion,Fashion Week,Food,Music,Perfume — Tags: — Miss Plumcake @ 1:27 pm

It’s Tuesday, it’s rainy and I still cannot find the bottle of ten year-old Talisker I last set on the organ console at church.  That being said, let’s find out What Miss Plumcake is…

Reading: Fishing for Amber. A dreamy, phantasmagorical alphabet of short intertwining stories full of Celtic fairy tales, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Jack the Lad, the Dutch Golden Age, esoteric saints, curious historical incidents and a sentimental nod to his storytelling father.  Last night was D for Delphinium –retelling the tulipomania in Delft during the 17th century– and E for Ergot, the rye fungus related to LSD which was believed to cause St Anthony’s Dance, better known as Sydenham’s chorea, where scriveners tell of people literally dancing themselves to death.

Best consumed on rainy evenings next to a fire (p.s. you have to open the flue EVERY time. Whoops) with the single malt of your choice comfortably within reach of yourself, but out of reach of your surprisingly dipsomaniacal dog. You can pick it up at Amazon for essentially the cost of shipping, so get to it.

Watching: Green Wing. The second season is finally available on Hulu. Brilliant, howlingly obscene and very possibly the funniest show I’ve ever seen. Plus it features my secret ginger boyfriend, Julian Rhind-Tutt.  Not for the easily scandalized.

Hearing: Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). What?  Can’t a fat white Episcopalian chick with an enviable collection of millinery occasionally bring the ruckus?

Smelling: Shalimar by Guerlain.  Sable coat luxury in perfume form but less likely to get you splashed with red paint. A big scent –especially the glorious original parfum version– this is one I apply liberally before hitting the hay so it’s not overpowering for day. Get the parfum if you can, but the edt is nothing to sniff at (get it? get it?!) either.

Loving: Mentoring. Not only do you get to be completely insufferable when people ask you what your lunch plans are “Oh me? I’m mentoring an at-risk youth. But no, you have fun getting your mani-pedi. I’ll just be here saving the world.” but it’s fun too.  Plus you can totally rip off their one-liners at cocktail parties because they’re too young to drink and can’t bust you on it. NOT THAT I WOULD EVER DO THAT.

Hating: DSquared2’s stupid redneck-themed show in Milan.

Wanting: Greenling Local Organic Delivery.  One of the things about wearing high-end shoes is knowing  I could probably meet the person who cobbled my shoes, look around and not feel bad about myself.  I can’t say the same thing about my groceries.

So when I discovered Greenling — a service delivering local, organic food and produce to your door (in super fuel-efficient vans, of course) once a week– I thought, “I’m having that!”  At $50 for both the local produce basket and the Farmstead basket of dairy/meat/bread goodies a week, it’s about the same as I’d regularly spend on groceries, plus I know if I really wanted to, I could get in my car and drive down to see where my food is produced.

Buying: The Breton Shirt. Shockingly versatile,  always chic and improves with age. Sound familiar (notice how I kept out the part about “found on top of French sailors?” That’s because I’m a LADY.) Accept no substitutes. It’s gotta come straight outta Brittany.  This company has the best prices and offers free worldwide airmail delivery.

So what’s turning your pages this week?

September 28, 2009

Fashion Week: Dolce and Gabbana

Filed under: Advanced Fashion,Dior!,Fashion,Fashion Week,How To Wear It — Miss Plumcake @ 3:27 pm

We’re in Milan now. Well I’m not, but the shows are.

I’m still here in Austin, nursing what might actually be the hamthrax and wondering how long it will be before I can go home and unearth my jammeroos, which are the pj’s I wear exclusively when I’m sick.

I’ll go back and do London later and talk about the three “plus size models” used in a show that caused two stylists to quit. I say “plus size” because two of them were American 8’s and 10’s, there was one size 12. The show was awful and the clothes are ugly, but read Style Spy’s reaction to tide you over.)

I don’t really know what to make of the Dolce and Gabbana show. I DO know they had several bloggers sitting in the front row, which I think is swell, and since I’m in big drop-drawers love with dinner jackets right now I loved pretty much all of those.


Well, I didn’t HATE it, and I have a feeling it might grow on me, but as it stands right now? Meh.

I think the problem is, this didn’t really feel like a Dolce show to me. It felt like a mediocre Gaultier show with a splash of Dior. Now, a mediocre Gaultier show is still going to rock my casbah, but…I don’t know, I just didn’t love it.

Plus there were 63 exits. That’s a lot of exits. Up close the clothes are all amazing, but seriously, did they even edit at all? The show was all over the place. Do D and G ski *ahem* with Marc Jacobs?

There was the Latin cowboy look which was my favorite motif, providing some amazing jackets:

Loved this jacket, but can’t say I’m digging the pannier pants.

Very much want. But not the pants. It’s like a pumpkin is mourning in her crotch.


It’s tough for a big girl to do a whole severely tailored look, because our bodies fight it, but I do like –and often employ– a mess jacket over a feminine dress.

This look works better on apples than on pears, unless you’re quite tall or very comfortable with your legs since when doing a jacket/dress combo it’s best to keep the dress on the shortish side and wear a heel heavy enough to “anchor” the look.

I was not crazy about the widow’s weeds exits. It seemed messy to me,especially in the wake of Dior’s recent triumph with under-as-outer and lingerie fabrics, especially black Swiss, of which we see a lot in the Dolce show.

It either looked messy:


or just well, whatever the hell this is:

God, that’s a mess.

Which isn’t to say I didn’t like the show, I dug several of the exits including the unfinished one worn by Sessilee Lopez, my model of the moment. it’s just…it left me feeling vaguely dissatisfied. Like it sort of veered of into Givenchy In a Bad Way territory by way of Lady GaGa.


That’s one immaculately made bordello lampshade!

and did we really need what is essentially a cake wreck in corset form?

There weren’t any Enormous Ball Gowns so who knows what Vogue will do without them –I’m always glad to see them, but I’m just as happy they were given a break– but there were animal prints, because it wouldn’t be Dolce without them:

I’d say we’d see this on Beyoncé, but there isn’t enough gold lamé.

September 22, 2009

Fashion Week Round Up: Narciso Rodriguez, Mulberry, Max Azria, Matthew Ames, Marc by Marc

Filed under: Fashion Week — Miss Plumcake @ 3:00 pm

Narciso Rodriguez: I’ve never just loved what he does, although I guess I get it. I bet I’d like it a lot more if I could see it in person, but on the runway although I want to like it –I love playing with volume and cutting and shape– it leaves me cold. Mark my words though, Mrs. O is going to show up in that gray sheath (look 23) by this time next year.


 Mulberry: Hyper-twee 80’s redux. Some cute and wearable pieces buried deep (DEEP) below ruffle tiered skirts and crimped hair.

Max Azria: Donna Karan slasher film (doo dah, doo dah) but less blood, more beige. With this, BCBG and Herve Leger, does this make Azria the poor man’s Lagerfeld? I really want a cage skirt now.


 Matthew Ames: Is he Miyake? Loose, flowing, interestingly cut. Not a fan of the Issey homage, but it has its place and the color? Fab.


Although someone might want to tell Miss Tangerine that Preparation H isn’t taken orally. Geeze.

Marc by Marc Jacobs: Marc Jacobs is a genius. This show is not.

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