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Inspiration/Realization | Manolo for the Big Girl
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Inspiration/Realization: Something’s Gotta Give

Poor sweet Norma Jean died before completing the 1962 romcom Something’s Gotta Give, but not before leaving behind a few tantalizing test shots, like this wardrobe test featuring the radiant Miss M in a black and white bombshell dress.

The equally divine Miss Charles Busch admitted he had Marilyn’s dress in mind when he asked Michael Bottari and Ronald Case to design the famous black and white number for his smash satire Die, Mommie! Die! where he plays aging star Angela Arden whose career is as dead as her husband is about to be.

and now Coldwater Creek (I know, no I know, but I went through the whole catalog without coming down with early-onset menopause, maybe I’m just lucky) is offering a very pretty variation on the black and white floral theme.

This can easily be a four season dress. A pair of sweet heels and a clutch in sherbet colors makes it perfect for Spring. Little sandals for Summer, pumpkin skimmers (and maybe a thin ivy belt?) for Autumn and Winter is a no-brainer with screaming red stilettos and coordinating cardi.


You Asked For It: Miss Plumcake at Villa Plumcake

No that's not nipple action, I'm pretty sure I had my keys tucked into my bra. Klassy.Golly! When I updated the Manolo for the Big Girl facebook page (which I SWEAR I’m going to start using again. Scout’s honor) I had no idea I’d get so many messages about my outfit.

Okay, it was more like four, but that’s four more than I expected and because I love to love you babies, I thought I’d do a little featurette for those wanting to reproduce the Miss Plumcake at Villa Plumcake look at home.

I’m not shy by any stretch of the imagination, but I don’t often do this sort of thing. It comes across as a little self-indulgent, even for me.

Also, just in case you were wondering, that’s not weird nipple action, I’m just pretty sure I had my keys in my bra. That’s right mijas,  it’s all glamor at Villa Plumcake.

Here’s how to get the look:

HAT This is the exact hat in the photo, a crushable, abuseable, practically indestructible white fabric and wire sunhat.

I removed the ribbon and adjusted the brim into more of a portrait shape for maximum Joan Collins effect and wore it almost every day.


>SUNGLASSES Admittedly this is a bit of Advanced Fashion as the non-ironic white sunglasses can be difficult to pull off, but I love my mother of pearl Clubmasters (I also have them in a caramel jasper treatment) and really, when one is wearing All White All The Time, darker shades just won’t do. The variations and pearlescence of the frame stop them from looking hipster and land them safely into 1930’s glamor.


JOURNAL My grandmother kept a record of her Grand Tour of Europe, jotted down in a neat little notebook of Moroccan red leather with the most over-the-top rococo gilt swirls embossed along the cover.

Determined to maintain the travelogue tradition, I picked up a small but sturdy handmade leather journal on my first trip across the pond and have used it exclusively for my travel memoirs ever since.

Though the actual journal in the photo is a simple one-off I bought for ₤20 at King’s Cross Station in London, this travel-ready notebook has the same feel.

PEPPER PEN I never went anywhere alone without my pepper spray pen within easy reach, usually tucked into the neckline of my dress.

No one ever questioned why I always wrote with another pen.

It was a handy way to feel safe when I was walking around alone without openly insulting the locals.

BOLERO – I can’t remember where I picked up this Jessica Howard bolero cardigan, but I wish I’d bought a dozen of them.

The Pacific breeze can get a bit nippy and this, alternated with my wrap. kept me nice and snug.

The dress is an inexpensive Mexican-style white cotton sundress with a surplice neck and crocheted lace detailing on the skirt I picked up for almost nothing at Ross and the bra is the original (now discontinued) Lace Plunge from Lane Bryant.

So there you have it: Miss Plumcake at Villa Plumcake.

Add your own oceanfront lovenest, hot Latin footballer, mezcal (no worm, thank you) and shake. Olé!

We’re Having a Moment

…over white bathing suits.

I finally broke down and bought this white convertible swimdress from Roaman’s. The adjustable ruching at the sides lets you shorten it for a retro swim look like Norma Jean and the gang, or you can let it down for more coverage, whatever your heart and your legs desire. Remember to use code OSPCOUPON16 to take 40% off your highest priced item!

Weighty Katie

What did I say about being terrible at headlines? If the good Lord wanted me to be able to write my own headlines he would’ve made me a copy editor.


Is it wrong that I actually prefer the OSP Collection gown over the Jenny Packham? I’m a big fan of having at least one evening dress appropriate for summer’s less formal but still gown-requiring benefits and whatnots (which is about to include tomorrow unless I do some laundry in this place. Seriously, it’s like one pair of underwear, an Argentina shirt I got bleach on and my prom dress) and although I didn’t love it at first, this gown is growing on me. Plus it’s on sale. You can take an additional 40% off your highest priced item using the code OSPCOUPON16.

Five Great Shoes Under $50: The Hi-Top

Today is Brother Plumcake’s birthday.

Brother Plumcake is my favorite living person, despite his stupid goatee, but we do not share a common sartorial view. For example, at the anniversary gala of our beloved grandparents –where I wore a custom designed dress and Michael Kors heels made out of unglazed python with gold leaf on the soles– my brother wore what could only be described as a gangster pinstriped suit complete with VINYL FAUX-SPATS and a bifurcated goatee.  In the parlance of my people “I liketa died”.

Today’s GSU50 is an homage to my brother, who would probably wear these.

cheap monday hi tops

Graffiti-print hi-tops from Cheap Monday on sale for $29. Heck, I’d probably wear them too. In fact, I’m going to order a pair right now. Wear these with jeans and a chunky cashmere pullover and you’ve got a whole Jules et Jim 2.0 thing going on.



Elements of Style #1

While I believe firmly that some people are simply born with tremendous amounts of style, those fashionable freaks are the exception, not the rule.

Most folks with any sort of chic at all take a heavily revisionist hand to their early sartorial development.

Case in point: legend has it, moments after emerging from my mother’s womb I took one look at the delivery room wallpaper, said “Mauve? Really?” and popped back in until I could be brought into this earth surrounded by more suitable wallcoverings, perhaps something in a William Morris print.

What I fail to mention is the time in 8th grade history when Mrs Cheeseman made me go to the bathroom to wash the purple lipstick off my face, or my middle school years which were heavily punctuated by Liza-with-a-Z quality rayon “big shirts” (the bane of the Big Girl of which I still have the horrors) and deeply ill-advised trapeze top/leggings sets, the most famous of which was a head-to-toe Holstein print bestowed upon me by my grandmother who, despite all evidence to the contrary, really did love me at the time.

(this is less than ideal)
The point is: It’s a process.

As with most processes, you’ll naturally want to tweak here and there, otherwise you’ll end up in a rut and before you know it you’ll be That Lady. The most obvious examples of That Lady is the middle-aged woman who wears her hair the same way she did in high school or the sweet old lady who could stun a yeti with her “signature perfume” which she’s been wearing since 1954, immune to the idea that her nose is dead to the scent.

I can’t tell you how many folks I talk to get frustrated with their own ruts.

They complain how “it” seems to come so easily to some people while they struggle along and can’t add something to their wardrobe without feeling like it’s a costume. They shove the piece they love in the back of the closet because they felt uncomfortable wearing it, or like it was wearing them and then these poor souls feel they’ve let themselves down, like they can’t wear Capital F Fashion and might as well go back to the jeans and t-shirts, because at least then they won’t look stupid.

It just breaks the heart.

Because here’s the thing: a sophisticated sense of style takes practice and getting mad at yourself for not being good at it right off the bat is just, well forgive my language, doofy.

For the next few days we’re going to talk about the process from inspiration to realization of incorporating elements into your personal style so it feels like a natural, easy extension instead of a gimmick or costume. This is valuable for absolute beginners as well as folks who already feel they’ve got a handle on advanced fashion but want to branch out.

Stay tuned, it should be fun.

The Daily Kick: art travels

Roma street musician

14th Century Roma-made iron caltrop (weapon)

Anna Magnani (I think)

Repetto “Gitane” (gypsy) Mary Jane Pump

Iron Kettle ca. 1830

Tyrolean Woman

Rousseau’s The Sleeping Gypsy, interpreted by Gary Peterson

The “Gitane” mary janes from Repetto with an offset spout heel that just kills me.  If you’re sensing a theme, you’re not imagining it; gitane translates to gypsy although Nice Girls, when referring to the Roma and Romani people, would never use that word.

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