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Review Revue: Cheap Old School Granny Panties (you know you love them)

I’m just going to come right out and say it: I love granny panties.

Love ’em.

Not only do I love them, I love them unapologetically. I am thirty-three damn years old, I pay my taxes, I vote in elections (local and federal), and I deserve to be free of the underpinnings of the patriarchy, both literally and figuratively.

Give me a full cotton brief in solid neutrals and I’m a happy woman. Nearly everything else is, at least in some fashion, objectionable. My life is exciting enough, I don’t need wacky underpants.

Hipsters/Boy Shorts: Seriously, who is the plus size woman for whom these are constructed? Because they’re certainly not for me. They insinuate themselves into places where no insinuation is required, while the parts you’d prefer to have hitched up make wind sprints for your ankles.

G-Strings and Thongs: I appreciate the lack of panty lines with g-strings and thongs, but aside from the unpleasant appearance that you’re slicing a ham with an eye patch, when your trunkular junk is of the quality and quantity mine is, walking around with it unfettered is ill-advised bordering on reckless. It’s all fun and games until someone walks into traffic.

Bikinis are fine, but they’re TVW* for VPL and again, the insinuation problem rears (see what I did there?)  its ugly head.

Another bonus: Granny panties don’t have writing on them.

I’m as big a fan of Marcel Duchamp as the next gal, but MY Mona Lisa doesn’t need a mustache, especially not one that implies I’m an easily-distracted raccoon, a prostitute, or an easily-distracted raccoon prostitute:


Plus ever since I moved to Mexico, I seem to lose underwear like hockey players lose teeth.

Back in my pre-emmigration days, it was like the Marines. No one gets left behind (that’s how I know someone stole a pair of size 9 Delta Burke light control briefs my last night in Ireland) but now…I just don’t know where they go.

Does the washer eat them? Do the dolphins steal them to sell on the internet? Is some enterprising laundress creating makeshift windsurfing sails out of them? I couldn’t begin to tell you.

This has created a significant bloomer gap in my wardrobe.

Knowing I’m going to be traveling from October ’til December and traveling increases both my need for comfortable underthings and the likelihood I’ll lose them, I decided to get back to the most basic of basics, so I popped online to the Fruit of the Loom store on Amazon.

I was interested in their new Fit For Me plus-size line, so I decided to do my own little comparison test and bought two packs of what are essentially the same underwear.

I actually found the normal FotL briefs to be more comfortable than the Fit for Me specifically plus-size underwear.

The Fit for Me briefs have a thicker elastic waistband, about 1″ compared to the 3/4″ on the regular briefs, which is nice. However, the leg placement of the Fit for Me was considerably lower than the straight-sized ones, which meant they felt a little more binding than the regular pair, where the difference between the leg opening and the waist band allowed them to sit comfortably without hugging so far down on my thigh.

My review?

Well, neither of them are uncomfortable and even with the Fat Girl Tax on the Fit for Me pairs, you’re still paying less than $2.50 per piece.

I guess I’d say if you’re over a size 26 or an apple who carries most of her weight in her stomach, you might find the Fit for Me more comfortable, but if you’re a pear, stick with regular briefs. The size 10 easily fits a hippy size 24/26, and you’ll skip the Fat Girl Tax.

*The Very Worst

Victoria’s Secret: Very Sexy or Very Scary?

Happy Friday, readers, how’s every little thing?

I’m great. Hot Latin Boy is going to be spending the evening being a Positive Male Role Model to a handful of his nephews who are in duress and need male bonding time (using MY best-seats-in-the-house tickets, I didn’t really want to see the most exciting and highly-anticipated match of the season anyway. Worst thing is it was my stupid idea. Man, I wish someone had told me sooner that human empathy was a sexually transmitted disease, I could’ve vaccinated when I went in for cholera and typhoid) so I’ve got a whole glorious Friday to myself and as soon as I clean the kitchen –by which I mean set fire to it or let one of the six hundred women who ring my doorbell every afternoon offering to clean my house actually put soap to scrubbie– I plan on running as far amok as five hours of sleep and a quarter tank of watered-down gas will take me.

The other day, superfantastic reader Katydid sent me an email about this image:

It appeared on Wednesday as an advertisement for the Victoria’s Secret Very Sexy collection in the advertising sidebar of your very own Manolo for the Big Girl, like this:

Katydid wrote:

Was enjoying your latest blog entry when my attention was completely captured by the Victoria Secret model featured in an ad on your site. I attached a pic of how it was displayed on my monitor. She may be the thinnest model I have ever seen and to me the image is disturbing!

I was compelled to share with you.


First of all, thank you Katydid and everyone else who has written over the years about potentially problematic advertising.

I’ve mentioned before, Manolo and I have relatively little control over what advertisements Glam.com or Google run. A few years ago we were bombarded with fake Louboutin sites and then it was all diet programs, what a mess.

The funny thing is, Victoria’s Secret Angel Candice Swanepoel (I’m 99.9% sure that’s Candice Swanepoel) is a pretty healthy, curvy model as far as models these days go.

In the picture she’s got her legs forward, her pelvis and bottom tilted back as far as it can go and is leaning forward from the waist. It’s an old modeling trick which even your pal Plumcake is not above using once in a while. She’s also being photographed from above, which is also very slimming.

Oh, and let’s not forget for a second all the photoshopping that went into the final image.

Here’s another shot of the South African model, taken from one of the Victoria’s Secret fashion shows:

See? Fairly generic run-of-the-milkmaid male fantasy fodder.

She would’ve been a hot non-threatening blonde in the 1950s and is a hot non-threatening blonde now. Sure, she might’ve actually had a little more in the way of pubic hair and a little less in the way of bizarre metal waist contraptions, but hey, maybe not.

The thing is, I bet a model with her body shape who wanted to go into haute couture runway modeling would be told to lose weight.

Of course it’s just another mixed message courtesy of the fashion and beauty industry. If you want to wear the best clothes, you have to look like a model! If you want guys to think you’re sexy you have to look like a totally different model!

Gosh, it’s almost as if they WANT to make us confused and insecure so they could sell us products designed to make us feel less ugly. Haha, no of course not, because that would be insidious and twisted!


In my fantasy world, there would be room for the bouncy beach babe, the androgynous waif, the size 10 girl next door, the voluptuous plus size model and the just plain round on the runway. All ages, all heights, all colors and all orientations.

Maybe I’ll start holding my breath riiiiiiight NOW.

You Asked For It: Corsets for the Big Girl part 1

A corset is a lot like a handgun: Dangerous, powerful and ideally concealed in public spaces.

Unfortunately, you don’t need to be trained or certified before the state says it’s okay to have a corset.

Corsets are not Costume.

I mean, they CAN be, but you don’t need me or anyone else to tell you how to create that awful, desperate Platter O’ Boobs effect. So, just for the sake of my head not splitting in half with two even more judgmental pieholes growing in its place, let’s just forget corsets as costumery and focus on them as a piece of specialty shapewear.

For the purpose of this article, I’m going to define a corset as a piece of boned lingerie with laces that can be used to minimize the waist by at least 3″. I say that because there are a lot of cinchers, high-waisted girdles and other usually latex or rubber-intensive shapers that call themselves corsets.

Of course, if I learned anything from living in the DC metro area during the Clinton years, there’s boning and then there’s boning. A good corset has steel boning or something with the equivalent flexibility and control. Flimsy little plastic or fabric “bones” are less than useless, because not only do they NOT work most of the time, they’re also likely to roll on you (more on that later).

The two main mistakes I see big girls in corsets make (aside from the Platter O’Boobs) are wearing corsets that are the wrong shape for their body/the outfit and lacing the corset too tightly.

If you are very large-busted or tend towards the floppy, you want a corset that ends under the bust. Cleverly known as underbust corsets, they allow you to wear your own bra and avoid the POB look. They’re also my corset of choice because overbust corsets can ruin the side profile by making less-than-ginormous funbags look flat.

You should also consider the length of your torso.

I’ve got a long waist and a standard corset is usually too short for me, which leads to an incredibly alluring reverse muffin top where all the fat sploodges out the bottom. I usually fix that by wearing some manner of high-impact girdle so my hips and gut don’t burst forth like the mighty kraken, hellbent on destroying all in its path, or at least the lines of my outfit which –let’s face it– is more important.

A longline corset is the way to go if you want your lower stomach and hips to get some smoothing action as well.

They’re a bit more difficult to maneuver in and generally a little more expensive, but if you’ve laced yourself properly they’re no big deal.

If you’re quite short-waisted, a standard-length corset will probably work as a longline and if you want something for your waist only, look for a lace-up cincher instead of a corset.

Now the lacing.

It is so easy, not to mention tempting, to go overboard with the lacing.

But friends, the fat has got to go somewhere and when you over-lace not only does it look weird, disproportionate and fetishistic, you are almost guaranteed a nice bulging set of backfat puppies popping out of the top and bottom of your corset. Fabulous if you’re a dowager empress, not so great for the rest of us. Keep the laces at the top and bottom of your corset nice and open, focusing on creating a gently exaggerate curve, not overzealous Gibson Girl Gone Wild.

Monday I’ll have a selection of corsets I recommend as well as answering a few more questions about this seemingly most difficult piece of underwear. Until then I am being forcefully beckoned to Plumcake Central Command (my hammock) for an important meeting (a nap followed by a gin and tonic) before tonight’s busy schedule of…probably nothing.

Fast Fashion and Adhesive Bras

I am not Forever 21’s target demographic, I don’t do cheap and cheerful fast fashion and I didn’t want to be 21 when I WAS 21, so being 21 in eternum is more Kafka than cool for me, but good on them for at least allowing fatties in their store. Yes, they have their plus sizes tucked way in the Corner of Shame next to the maternity gear, but hey, at least we’re encouraged to share the same air as the straight-sizers.

And yet –as perhaps I’ve mentioned for the mazillionth time– I’m about to spend a month on the beaches of Mexico, so I want easy, effortless dressing that won’t break my heart if they get ripped off me in a fit of hot hot Latin passion by some fiery young thing with dark, smoldering eyes, lips like two very naughty pillows and the lightest dusting of freckles across his taut, bronzed* …wait, where am I? Dorothy? Rose? Sophia? Where’s my cheesecake?

Anyway, I picked up this dress:

And yes, it’s styled for hell and the model, while pretty, is not a very good model but the bones of a good dress are there. It’s rayon (I like rayon for summer, not everyone does) and is partially lined. That was a pleasant surprise considering how many designers at higher price points still don’t bother to line their dresses.

It’s also an easy dress to posh up.

I added a nautical-themed Hermes scarf as a belt, another one in a coordinating color as a headband, a pair of handmade Christian Lacroix espadrilles and all of the sudden this $23 dress would be at home anywhere along the French Riviera.

This is why I always bang on about investing in accessories.

Yeah, the shoes and the two scarves clocked in at just about $400 each, but I’ll have them until I die and can wear the scarves in a million ways with a million outfits and one tactfully deployed luxe piece makes an outfit look rich, which an expensive dress with cheap accessories kills a look deader than a Kennedy hooker.

Oh, you’ll notice it’s got an open back.

One could, I suppose, just wear it with a regular bra if you don’t care about your bra straps showing, or toss on a cardi, which you’d want to do if you were going to wear it to work or dinner anyway, but I wanted to be able to wear it backless so I took a risk and picked up Sin Bra.

For the record I teeter between a 38 DD and DDD, depending on the bra. Good genes mean I don’t have any droop, but I’m still not keen on traipsing around unfettered. I love the Sin Bra.

Basically, for $10 you get 6 sets of film-thin surgical adhesive cut outs and “petals” which you use like so:

And they worked. It was light and secure and although it didn’t give me that Foam Cups of Impenetrable Doom look, it definitely gave me the support I needed without feeling weird or uncomfortable like the silicone cutlets do, plus they’re waterproof so you can wear them swimming.

I can’t say they’ll work for everyone, but they worked a mint for me. They get two thumbs (among other things) up from Miss Plumcake. If you have the need, go git you some.




*Nose, they’re on his nose

Review Revue (and a sad adieu): The “Improved” Lane Bryant Push Up Bras

I might have mentioned The Dairy Duchess before.

She is a woman of a certain age and a life-long Episcopalian. She is also, as her name would suggest, the former Dairy Duchess of a small Texas town. The story of her coronation is not mine to tell, but it’s hilarious and involves giving the future Tyler Rose Queen ringworm.

To appreciate this story you need to know two things:

  • The Episcopal Church, is color-coded according to the liturgical season. Lent is purple, Easter is white and so on and so forth. A few years ago our parish decided to change the liturgical hangings for the pre-Christmas season from the traditional violet to the more historically accurate sarum blue. There was a bit of an uproar.
  • The Dairy Duchess has, in addition to a remarkable vocal pitch and timbre, perhaps THE most magnificent example of an East Texas accent to have ever punctured my eardrums. It is an accent for the ages.

Scene: A rehearsal of the Bless Their Hearts Choir, sometime before Christmas. Apropos of exactly nothing, the Dairy Duchess announces in her inimitable exasperated warble:

“Y’aaaaall. I’m upset. I’ve stuck with you through the women. I’ve stuck with you through the gays. But now y’all have done gone and changed the color of Advent!!!”

That’s pretty much exactly how I feel about the revamping (as it were) of Lane Bryant’s Plunge bras.

The traditional Lane Bryant Plunge Bra –affectionately known as the “What Seems To Be The Problem, Officer?” bra– has been my go-to boulder holder for years, regardless of size.

I am a big girl but I don’t have a huge rack, they’re high and wide-set, so most other bras I’ve found made for big girls make me feel like I’m being strangled. The Plunge was just right.

(old plunge vs new plunge…will the magic still be there?)

Each time I put one on, it’s like a warm handshake from an old friend. An old friend who gets me out of speeding tickets, makes new lines to open up for me at the grocery store and scores me drinks a-plenty wherever I so please.

Yet, when I went to pick up a new batch last night, my trusty pal was nowhere to be found.

I was informed Lane Bryant had discontinued them, and were replacing my beloved sexy black lace plunge bras with the removable air pads with foam-molded cotton bras “More like the t-shirt bras” according to the sales gal.


I hate foam molded bras, because they assume all breasts are created equal when that is CLEARLY not the case. I don’t need/want padding where someone else might, and those little air pads let me maneuver the gals around in a pleasing arrangement instead of following some Stalinist rack regime.

A quick jump to the Lane Bryant site shows the traditional plunge bra as still available, and there is also something called the Luxury Lace Plunge which I haven’t seen in stores yet that look very much like my beloved WSTBTPO one, but until I try it on I cannot be sure.

A friend of mine who works at Lane Bryant has informed me they’ve also redone the balconette and several other bras, making them much harder to fit in her opinion so if you’ve got a favorite, you might want to stock up before they disappear.

While at the store, I tried on their new Cotton Boost Plunge.

The good:

  • It fits really well. It’s comfortable, but sets firm boundaries. I don’t feel like it’s trying to choke me, the straps are relatively thin (I like that; you might not) and wide-set on the shoulders but don’t fall down. It’s seamless under a thin nylon jersey, the band stays put with three hooks instead of four and comes down on the sides enough to not cause indelicate rolls of splodgy fat.

The bad:

  • It’s slightly foam padded, which I hate. It also doesn’t actually boost anything, which would be fine except the word boost is kind of in the name, so a girl is expecting at least a little oomph. I also found the sizing to be weird. I wear a 38DD (the extra D is for Damn!) in every single Lane Bryant Bra except this one, where I take a 38DDD. I tried on the DD, and it gave me quadraboob. Not a good look.


  • I’d call this the t-shirt bra for the woman who hates t-shirt bras. It’s not going to revolutionize your rack, but it’s a good compromise for a girl who wants the look of a t-shirt bra but hates the Ginormous Foam Cups of Death. I picked up two and I have a feeling they’ll both be seeing a lot of service under my various soccer jerseys this summer where shape and smoothness count more than cleavage. But I’ll still drive the speed limit.

Your Weekly-ish Humpletter: Now Almost Never on Wednesdays!

Happy Friday everybahdy! I have been remiss in letting the weekly sales slip through my elegantly sausage-like fingers. Well no more!

At Lane Bryant you’ve got 30% your entire order until March 25th using code 000300384. I’m a big fan of the cargo jegging which is really more of a riding pant with cargo detailing than a legging. It’s surprisingly well-made and makes my legs look like ten miles of very good road.

I’m also digging the tissue-weight striped sweaters they’re practically giving away. They’re low cut but If you’ve got a defined waist and a good bust, this will be all about Brigitte Bardot on you.

From One Stop Plus you’ve got your choice of sales codes.

Use OSPCOUPON7 for 40% off a single item or OSPCOUPON8 for $20 off your $50 purchase, $25 off a $75 one and $30 off $100. Have you stocked up on slips? If not, now is the time. Whether you prefer shapers or full slips, get your underpinnings in order before those light spring dresses come out of the closet.

At  Avenue you can take 50% off your highest priced item using code JLE4473 and take 40% off your entire clearance purchase if you use code AV111081.

That’s right, you can double up on coupons. I’m liking this mini ottoman dress (get a better belt though, I’ve seen it in person) for your full-priced item and then clean up on denim with your clearance coupon.

If you’ve not been turned on to Amazon’s monthly $5 album downloads, you’re missing something good. There are some killers this month including The Velvet Underground & Nico, The Rolling Stones’ Let It Bleed,( featuring two of the most iconic album covers of all time. Everyone knows Andy Warhol’s “peel slowly and see” banana for Louie Blue and the VU, but far fewer people know the woman responsible for Keef’s cake was none other than Delia Smith)  OK Computer from Radiohead, Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On and The Score from the Fugees.

What Miss Plumcake is…

Hello my little gangsters of love, how’s every little thing? I hope you all are recovered from yesterday’s Monday Hotness, because now it’s Tuesday and time to find out What Miss Plumcake is…

Reading: Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair by Pablo Neruda – Dual Language Edition Do you want to know how good Pablo Neruda’s love poems are? They got me into a co…commi….into one of those things, with the two people and the feelings and the listening instead of replaying Gareth Bale’s jaw-dropping hat trick at the San Siro in your head until it’s your turn to talk again. That’s powerful mojo.

Watching: Turtles Can Fly I say watching because I can only get through about fifteen minutes at a time. The first movie filmed in Iraq after Hussein’s fall, it takes place on the eve of the American invasion and tells the story of 13 year-old Satellite and his young friends who clear minefields in a Kurdish refugee camp on the Turkish border. Equal parts Les 400 Coups, The Great Escape and Waiting for Godot, it’s not easy to watch but it’s as important a film that’s been made in the past decade.

Hearing: Cultura Profetica – DiarioHot hot babymakin’ reggae en Español. Sure back in college I owned Bob Marley “Legend” and watched The Harder They Come with a bunch of my trustafarian pals one night, but that’s about as far as I got. Until, of course, I get this dropped on me –in Spanish– by my…uh…person friend:

I would like to live in your legs
Creeping up you like ivy
Or sail the thousand leagues
fixed at the helm of your hips


Smelling: Serge Lutens – Ambre Sultan Let us make a hypothetical situation. Let us say that once upon a time, and definitely not like, the first weekend in January or anything, there was a girl who had a special friend (and that was totally okay because it was before her person friend came in the picture) and that special friend happened to be a scorchin’ hot former professional soccer player from Casablanca. And let’s hypothetically say that one day this special friend invited the girl over to his house for a homemade Moroccan meal and to watch Casablanca in the traditional way, which apparently involves a several-hour massage with sweet almond oil and some mysterious green stuff he got at the souk followed by some premier grade necking, something just highly ill-advised involving mint tea and eventually breakfast. With me so far? All of that, without the mint (which seriously, I give points for creative enthusiasm, but that was just poor planning all around). That’s Ambre Sultan. Or so I’ve heard.

Loving: Better Business Bureau Charity Checker (click here for a list of BBB-approved organizations doing relief work in Japan). Chip in if you can.

Hating: Everyone in town for SXSW. Listen, I get it. I love Austin too, that’s why I live here. But you and your girl jeans and your ironic facial hair can just go back to Cleveland now. Stand up straight, get that hair out of your eyes and get a soul-killing job like the rest of us!

Wanting: Jeanne Moreau’s buffalo plaid cap from Jules et Jim. WHY? WHY is it so hard to find this thing? I just don’t understand.

Buying: Dream Curves Seamless Hi-Waist Bike Short Man I love these things. Alluring? Not so much, but I like the way they smooth my stuff out without locking it down. There’s nothing worse than shapewear that pancakes your butt or causes the Vesuvius of all muffin tops. Plus they don’t roll, by which I mean they roll a little but not so much they make me want to die and or kill.

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