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.

April 15, 2011

Your Weekly Humpletter: Neither Weekly Nor Humply, Discuss

Over at Ashley Stewart they’ve got some interesting takes on linen, including this wide legged pant (note: it’s a ramie/rayon blend, not actually linen) which, while admittedly not effortless to pull off, could be a fantastic option for the statuesque big girl when paired with a slim bateau-neck knit top and either a foulard (if you’re a scarf-type person) or just the right statementy necklace.

Also piquing my interest is this fantastic striped linen-blend dress. Classic, not boring and sharp sharp sharp. Wearable now and all through the summer, layer it over a black 3/4 sleeve knit shirt and it’ll take you straight through fall.

The Avenue is giving you $10 off for every $40 you spend using the code AV111101. The Mini-Ottoman Seamed Dress is currently my front runner for Easter Sunday but I am really fixated on this Border Print Sheath Dress.

I know it would be great on apples, but I’m going to give it a go on my pear shaped frame, because if it’s good I think it will be very good.

For our fashion-forward sweet young things Dorothy Perkins offers 25% off your entire purchase with code DPVIPD. Sure Dorothy Perkins is across the pond to most of us, but they ship to the States for just about ten bucks. This charming open-backed ivory and black number might be a bit precious for those of us whose prom and pledge days are long gone, but women of any age can carry off the Red Brushstroke Belted Dress, highly reminiscent of both Prada and YSL in recent seasons.

Remember to check the size chart to make sure you’re getting the perfect fit.

Finally, from the “They Only LOOK Murderously Painful” files provides plenty of incredible discounts on high end shoes. If you’re making your first girlish (or boyish) foray into the world of high heels, let me suggest Pour la Victoire and Stuart Weitzman.

PlV makes some of the most comfortable shoes I own, including the Atman mary jane in gray patent leather, an exceedingly hot tribute (ahem) to Yves Saint Laurent (seriously, they have the best padded footbeds in the biz) and the Femina from Stuart Weitzman. I don’t know how Stewie makes a 5″ heel feel like walking on air, but he does. It’s magic.

April 14, 2011

Miss Plumcake’s Picks: The Only Jeans I’ll Ever Love

Filed under: Fashion,Plumcake's Closet — Miss Plumcake @ 10:10 am

Your pal Plummy has a hell of a time finding jeans.

The LB Right Fit ones are okay in a pinch, but I want something with a little more polish since I cannot now, nor have I ever been able to, carry off true casual wear.

My legs aren’t short, but my torso is long, so it’s hard to find a rise that comes within shouting distance of my actual waist.  Plus, my waist is 16″ smaller than my hips, which is excellent if you’re a Max Fleischer cartoon, but not so much if you want to do mundane day-to-day things like cover your backside with fabric on a regular basis.

Oh, and speaking of backsides: I don’t actually have one.

I’ve got legs that literally inspire poetry (okay one poem, and it doesn’t even have the word Nantucket in it!) and a rack that causes wonder and astonishment wherever I take it. If God in his infinite wisdom decided that it would be better to give me a large, undercooked pancake where a booty would traditionally go? So be it. I’m not trying to be greedy.

Still, it would be nice to have one, you know, for special occasions.


The other day I was wandering around in TJ Maxx on the hunt for an Easter hat –I don’t know why, but Marshalls and TJ Maxx have the BEST church hats. We’re talking like $600 British confections for $150– when I decided to peruse the clothing selection.

Historically, I have had precisely zero luck finding clothes at TJ Maxx and Marshalls.  I’ve found better fortune at Ross, which routinely gets Jones New York large dresses (I go there weekly because if you go on just the right day in just the right neighborhood, you can find hundred-dollar Barcelona and Real Madrid jerseys for $30) but TJ Maxx and Marshalls? To quote our pal Hemingway “nada y pues nada.”

However, I was determined not to go home without a good pair of jeans –my last pair having given up the ghost several months ago– so, driven by desperation, I checked out the racks.

That is where I met the Khakis & Co No. 030107 trouser jean, aka The Only Jeans I’ll Ever Love.

(at this point I would humbly request the reader to imagine a choir of angels performing  a selection of your favorite choral work from Handel)

They…they’re perfect. They make me look, long, lean and about twelve feet tall. Plus they give me a butt. Dear God they give me a butt!!!!

I don’t know anything about this company, but whoever designed these things were designing $200 jeans, not $40 cheapos. There were smart little design elements that you only really find in old-school tailleur.

Unfortunately, I can’t find them for sale anywhere online so I can’t show a photo –and yes, it means you’ll have to go to a store and try your luck– but let me give you some details (in alphabetical order) instead:

Back: Clean but merciful. The hidden front pockets are repeated on back, with buttons (no flaps). The yoke is low-profile and shallow (about 1 1/2″) with no unnecessary embellishments anywhere.

Color: deep steely midnight rinse. Somewhere between dark indigo and dark gunmetal. There’s no shine but it’s shot with a gray thread along the vertical which gives the illusion of a bit of dimension.

Cut: A true trouser-style, a bit wider than straight leg but slimmer than what I’d typically call wide leg.  They’re cut close through the hips and upper thigh (still plenty of room for curves though) and then appear to trimly shoot straight down. If they flare at all, it’s indiscernible on me. I’d say the inseam is about 33 1/2″ with an inch hem that could be let out in case of emergency. The inseam is perfect for heels on me, but I think I’ll get one pair taken up to wear with flats.

Embellishment/Details: Vertical seam down the front, and a slightly forward-set side seam for an extra long look. It’s a surprisingly couture touch for a pair of jeans that only retailed for $40. Two barely-curved hidden pockets. No grommets or embellishments anywhere.

Fabric: A trouser-weight denim twill with what feels like about 2% or 3% elastane. Not as bulky as a traditional pair of 501s, but not thin either. These are jeans that can and will move with your body while still holding you in. I’m well into the afternoon and there have been no signs of saggy elephant butt, which is often the case with jeans that stretch.

Rise: These hit me at my natural waist so they’d probably be a slightly “Hollywood rise” on most people.

Sizing: Kind of a moot point since you have to find them in stores anyway, but for the record  I have a 36″ waist and 52″ hips and the size 20W fit me like they were cut to my body. I felt held in but not constricted. The 18W fit with some squeezing through the waist and hips, but not so much that the buttons were in danger of putting out someone’s eye.

Waist: As I said before, these would probably be “Hollywood rise” –sitting slightly above the natural waist– on most people. There’s 2″ high waistband with several bands of stitching and low-profile double belt loops. Inside it’s finished with double stitching and crimson bias tape for extra stability, another surprisingly upmarket touch.





April 10, 2011

eShakti Makes Twistie Happy

Filed under: Absolutely Fabulous,Fashion — Twistie @ 12:40 pm

Have I ever mentioned that I love eShakti? I love the styling, the colors, the customizing… pretty much everything. And they have some great new items that continue to make me smile. This one, for instance. Now I don’t wear black, but this adorable polka dot dress with its festive red flower trim is making me smile from ear to ear. And at $79.95, it’s a good deal, too.

Best of all, while it comes in standard sizes, from 0 to 26, it can also be made (like all eShakti clothes) to your custom measurements. Even if you don’t use custom measurements, they ask your bra cup size and height so that your dress will fit you properly. With many pieces you can choose the length you want it to be, the neckline you prefer, and/or the sleeve length and style.

So what else from the current line is making me happy? Take a look and see.


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.

January 10, 2011

Who Missed Me?

Filed under: Fashion,Sports,The Monday Hotness — Miss Plumcake @ 8:41 am

Hello my little Monchichis! It has been too long! Although I had a big time on my little Come Undone –until you have watched Casablanca while being massaged with sweet almond oil massage by a hot not-precisely-clothed soccer player FROM Casablanca, you have not seen Casablanca the way it ought to be seen, and that was just my Friday– I have, of course, been nothing without you and I am sure from the hundreds upon thousands of tear-stained note cards delivered to stately Château Gâteau (by which I mean like six emails, but I know you MEANT to write hundreds upon thousands of tear-stained notes) that you have been absolutely nothing without me.

So let’s start this New Year right (if a little late) with Hot boys and shoes.

In the theme of smokin’ hot North African footballers, I give you Zinedine Zidane (who is actually from Marseilles, but his parents are Algerian) and Luis Figo who, while not from North Africa –he’s Portuguese– IS smokin’ hot, and that my friend is the international language of Plumcake. I like to imagine they’re reenacting the “hill of beans” speech from Casablanca, with Zidane playing the part of a young and tearful Ingrid Bergman.

Also pretty on the outside: D&G leopard print t-straps. I’ve always said “If you’re gonna do leopard, it had better be Dolce.” This is why.
D&G leopard t-straps (on big sale!)

and finally, perhaps most importantly, it’s time we take a moment from our busy schedules, pause and remember that no matter how hard our lives or how painful our toils, there’s always (siiiiiigh) Xabi.

November 30, 2010

What Miss Plumcake is…

Filed under: Accessories,Books,Fashion,Jewelry,Movies,Music,Perfume,Plumcake's Closet — Miss Plumcake @ 1:00 pm

Hello my little buttermilk biscuits, how’s every little thing? Me? I’m fab.

My shipment of strepsils, QI DVDs and Marks and Spencer English breakfast tea is well on its way from London via Edinburgh and Montreal (thanks Michael! You’re a pal) and I’m getting all breathless at the idea of an entire weekend alone with my tea, my imported medicated lozenges and Stephen Fry all to myself. That’s right, it’s all about the glamor here at Chateau Gateau.

However it’s still Tuesday which means my mentholated marathon is several days away, so let’s find out what Miss Plumcake is…

Reading: Born Round:A Story of Food, Family and a Ferocious Appetite by Frank Bruni
Watching: Les Biches
Hearing: The Lady Killer by CeeLo Green. I can’t help it. It’s a shockingly great Motown album from beginning to end.
Smelling: Attrape-Coeur by Guerlain
Loving: Rachel Leigh Peridot Drop Earrings
Hating: The Knock-Kneed Naif Look. Listen, you’re not Lolita or an extra in a Bob Fosse number. You’re a grown-ass woman so stand up straight.
Wanting: Michael Kors Asymmetrical Zipper Dress (on BIG sale)
Buying: Saks V Neck Cashmere Sweaters. You can NEVER have too many cashmere sweaters, especially on sale!

So what about you? What’s rocking your casbah this last day of November?

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