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

April 8, 2008

Good Deals From Over the Pond

Filed under: Fashion,Petite and Plus-Size,Sales,Women of Great Height — Francesca @ 8:52 am

Francesca wishes to turn our readers’ attention to the sale page at Evans, the plus-size clothing chain in England, which is similar in price-point to Lane Bryant. Few of the items are spectacularly pretty, but there are many good staple items which can come in handy. Many thanks to our internet friends who told Francesca about Evans before she left for London!

Evans has a fairly decent selection in the plus-size “Petite” and “Tall” categories, which Francesca appreciates, being only 5’1″!

Note for American readers: The shipping charge to the USA is only about $20 (presumably per shipment, not per item, but check this.) So if you order a few items, the shipping is worth it. Also remember that sizing works differently in Europe, so use the size chart!

April 7, 2008

Design your own dress

Filed under: Fashion,Petite and Plus-Size,Racktastic,Women of Great Height — Francesca @ 8:36 am

Internet friend Carol has written to tell us about Dress By Design, a website where for $189 you can choose from six dress styles, specify what type of sleeves, neckline, hem length, and material you wish, and have them make a dress to perfectly match your personal measurements! Francesca has not tried it and is therefore interested to hear from those readers who have  . . . on the surface this seems like a useful service for the Big Girl who is an unusual shape (eg much larger up top than on bottom or vice versa, or unusually petite or tall) or who simply has little time to shop in stores.

Carol points out that for $40 extra, the company also offers this service:

We will send you a muslin form of the dress style (sleeveless top through the hips) you would like to order. You can pin the form to your exact fit, send it back to us, and then it will be used by the seamstress to make your dress. We’ll keep this on file for any additional orders.

Happy designing!


February 18, 2008

How big is big?

Francesca’s last couple of posts, and the comments to them, leave her with an important question: For purposes of this blog, just how big constitutes big?

In recommending plus-size fashions, Francesca’s rule of thumb is that an item of clothing is fair game if it is available in a Size 16 and/or higher. Size 14 is often available in “regular” stores, albeit not as often as size 12, while Size 16 is usually the smallest size available in the plus-size stores. Francesca knows that one could write an entire blog on the travails of the girls who wear size 14, which is often considered too big for the regular stores and too small for the plus-size stores. But she has to make a mental border for herself somewhere. So, for this blog, size 16 is usually it. That is why she sometimes recommends clothing by J. Crew, who are not exactly known for catering to fat girls, because they do have an entire Size 16 section on their site (as well as fashions for the Tall girls, to whom Francesca sometimes wishes to nod and wink), though their failure to offer sizes 18 and up makes Francesca feel a bit squeamish about referring to them too often.

Then we come to the selections for the posts on “Big Girls in Art.” Several readers said that they do not believe that the woman (apparently Salome) in this painting is actually big:

Oh, oh, oh, now we have come straight into the hornet’s nest! For, though this woman  probably does wear a Size 16 or 18 on the bottom (she is a beautiful and voluptuous Pear, and very aesthetically pleasing, and probably has a hard time finding skirts and pants which fit her hips but are not too wide at the waist) Francesca fears, some readers may have looked at this image and thought “if that girl is big, what am I?” They may also have thought “Why is Francesca buying into the Big Bad Media idea that a woman with any fat on her is Big?”

Francesca will answer the second question first. In an ideal world, the Big Bad Media would not categorize people by their size at all. But the whole point of this blog is that our world is not ideal, and women’s whose hips or tummies or breasts are more than an arbitrary size are considered “Big” either in terms of where they can find clothes, or whether they are considered “too big” or “too fat” by others, or both.

The point of Big Girls in Art is to show that indeed that mysterious fault line (and Francesca chooses that term on purpose) is indeed arbitrary. There was a time when the woman with very generous hips was considered the ideal, and was celebrated in what was then The Media. There was a time when having a large butt was so attractive that women wore bustles to make theirs reach out to Indiana. In other words, Francesca wants to demonstrate that the problem is not us, it is this strange, arbitrary idea that thinner is better – an idea started, Francesca thinks, partly because thin women serve as better hangers on which to model the fashions on runways, and partly because having the time and money to maintain a perfectly flat belly indicates wealth in our age. The problem is not us or our genes or our class, it is the time.  Not so long ago, the woman whose genes made her predisposed to the waif-like frame was the one with the problem.

And in answer to the first question . . . if the woman in this painting is big, do you know what you are?


February 15, 2008

Oohs and Blahs

Filed under: Fashion,Racktastic,Sales,Women of Great Height — Francesca @ 12:39 pm

Francesca has been perusing the plus-size vendor sites and do you know, it’s a mixed bag this season. There are a lot of boring, uninspired clothes out there. But do not despair! For, first of all, there are some beautiful things available if you look hard enough. And second, sometimes you just want a plain red sweater in your size to stay warm in, or a simple dress to adorn with the fabulous scarf and ginormous pin you got last Christmas. The operative words here are “look hard,” “your size,” and “adorn.” Francesca hath spoken!

And now on to the sales!

Live near a Lane Bryant outlet store? They are having sales and specials from now through Monday, Feb. 18 in the physical stores (find outlet locations here). Save even more by going here and printing out the coupon before you get in the car. If you do not live near an Outlet, console yourself by going online and buying this black velvet jacket, marked down from almost $100 to just $30!

Do you wear Tall (not plus) sizes, or Large or X-Large? (Yes, Francesca knows that few of our readers can squeeze into an XL or a non-plus Tall size, but she is grasping at straws here.) Check out the new items in the J.Crew sales section.

Coldwater Creek has added 300 new items to their sales section. Some of them are superfantastic, and some are God-awful . . . but anyway at these prices it is worth sifting through their offerings to see what catches your eye! Francesca is thinking about ordering this silk and cotton voile blouse, marked down from $120 to $28. She also needs new sweatpants for the workouts, and for $12 they have some nice ones. (Yes! Fat Girls work out! Remember? You never know.)

Roanan’s is having a bra sale! Up to size 58J, isn’t that amazing? Bra party at Roanan’s! This “5-ways” bra which can be worn strapless or as a halter or criss-cross is available up to size 46F and is on sale for $28. Not too shabby! Be sure to enter code RD11646 (through the 18th of February) to receive 30% off your highest-priced item (whether it’s a bra or not). You can also enter code RD11257 to defer your payment until April (though Francesca is not sure whether they will let you use both codes at the same time).

And now a shout-out to our European readers: Beige Plus is having a sale at their stores in North and Central London. You can also shop online here. (Note: A British pound is currently worth about $2, so double the prices to convert to American currency.) A skirt which Francesca has formerly recommended is available for “only” $650. (But you know you want it.)

Happy shopping and happy weekend!


January 10, 2008

Sales! Sales!

Filed under: Fashion,Sales,Women of Great Height — Francesca @ 6:44 pm

Online: Sale on women’s apparel at Nordstrom! They have sizes up to 24W! Shipping is $5 online! Look at this lamb leather jacket, available through size 18 and it is 33% off. Notice the apple-friendly shape! Francesca likes!

Online and in-stores: Here is a “gift cheque” from Lane Bryant, good in stores through January 15. Details of how much of a deduction you get under different circumstances are on the coupon. To get the same deal online, enter code 025007343 at checkout. They are having a sale right now on bras and sleepwear – we all know how hard it is to find plus-size robes and pajamas. Here, this is on sale, from $99.50 to just $39.80. Use the coupon code and save even more. Francesca likes!

For Girls of Height: J.Crew has a (limited but quality) Tall department, and they are having a sale. And, now through Sunday night, you additionally get free shipping on orders of $175 or more if you enter code FREESHIP08 at checkout.

Kiyonna has added new items to their sale pages, including this very cute, Ssatin charmeuse wrap dress, which Francesca likes if you have the curvy hourglass figure! 30% off! Also, at Kiyonna, if you spend $100 and are shipping to the US, you get free shipping.

Online: Avenue is having a pants sale until tomorrow (I apologize for not telling you sooner), AND, until next Thursday, January 17, no matter what you buy, if you enter code AV81015 you’ll get 15% off your purchase. Here, from the pants sale, these chinos, also available in Petite and Tall sizes, are only $16.99 if you use the coupon code! A savings of over 50%!

In stores: Avenue is having their semi-annual sale, and items are up to 70 percent off. Save even more by clicking here, printing the coupon, and bringing it with you; it allows you to save an additional 40% on any one sale item. The coupon is good through Thursday, January 17 (next week)

Look! A plus-size section at Macy’s, having a sale! Ten web pages of nice things! Look, this beautiful red jacket is $78 off, in sizes 1x, 2x, and 3x! And, through January 13, enter code 99CENTS at checkout and get shipping for just 99 cents on all fashion items! Thank you to our internet friend The Dowdydiva for alerting us to this shipping promotion.

Online and in stores: Talbots is having their semi-annual clearance sale. Items up to 70% off. You all know how Francesca feels about Talbots. If you persist in imagining that the clothes are fuddy-duddy, now is the time to actually visit a store and see why Francesca raves about their Woman and Woman Petite departments. Also, now until January 14, if you spend over $100, you will get a gift card of $25, which you can use if you buy an additional $100 of items between January 15-February 2.

Sale at Sydney’s Closet (party and evening dresses, sizes 14-44) through January 15! Items are up to 70% off. Plus, if you enter code EXTRA10 at checkout, you get an additional $10 off dresses.

Not a sale notice, but of interest: Those of you who like the bohemian/hippie look will like HolyClothing‘s new Lucetta peasant skirt. They have made 50 of them, and they are available here on ebay. Also, their “gypsy flare top” is available in new colors.

Happy shopping!



January 1, 2008

Sales to start the New Year

Filed under: Fashion,Petite and Plus-Size,Sales,Women of Great Height — Francesca @ 10:07 am

Women’s apparel, including plus-sizes, X-large petite sizes, and their couple of plus-size petite and Large size Tall selections, are at least 33% off at Nordstrom. And shipping is $5 for your entire order. Ooh, ooh, where to begin?

Hooded coat through3X, 33% off.

White blouse – a staple, and great for Apples – through size 24, 33% off.

Crinkle taffeta wrap top. Buy now on sale at 60% off for next New Year’s! Through size 24.

Silk pajamas, through size 3X, 33% off. is having a stock-up sale on bras, panties, and shapewear, plus they’ve dropped the prices of some online items up to 50% off. And, Francesca has a coupon code for you: Now through January 5, enter code 71321 at checkout and get 20% off your online purchase, even from things already on sale and new items!

Lace applique corset (through size 32) is 20% off, and get an additional 20% off with Francesca’s code!

Reversible jacket is available through size 32 and is 50% off, plus 20% more with Francesca’s code!

Today and tomorrow, get 60% (SIXTY PERCENT) off your purchase at Coldwater Creek by entering code WLH4175 at checkout.

Jacket available through 3x, or petite 18. Now 60% off!

Velveteen Beatles-retro jacket, available in size 3x only, now 60% off!

Major sale at Lane Bryant, with most items marked down 50-80%.

Hoodie, available in several colors through size 28, is 50% off.

Chelsea pants, available through 24, 24 Tall, and 22 Petite, are excellent for the Big Girl of Height and are 50% off!

Major clearance sale at Woman Within, with coats up to 60% off, shoes and boots up to 50% off, and other items up to 80% off. Low prices while supplies last. Remember to enter code WWDEFER, and you won’t be charged for your purchases until March.

Cotton stretch pants, available in an off-white up to size 4X, at 63% off!

For your workouts, cute bike shorts for under $6, and matching shirt (available in red only) here. Buy the shirt, get the shorts for free.

Not on sale, but of interest: Igigi has brought back a lace top which had previously sold out. It is pretty, no? Sizes 12-32.

Happy shopping!



December 19, 2007

You asked for it: Fashions for the Tall girl

Filed under: Women of Great Height — Francesca @ 8:08 am

An internet friend writes:

Greetings to the lovely Francesca!

Banana Republic has long been my guilty fashion secret–guilty because I always feel bad buying tops, even off the sale rack, for my tiny-topped pear shape from a store that wouldn’t stoop to carrying pants in my size or shape if their profit margin depended on it. But I am quite tall with all my height in my torso, and not a whole lot of other stores on any end of the quality spectrum carry tops long enough to be comfortable (and not require a constant tugging-down to make them reach past the waist on my pants) and look proportional on my frame. I finally figured out why Banana has such a hold on me. While shopping online, I noticed that, though it is unmarked in the store, they carry “tall” designs/sizes, and not just in pants–blouses, suits, coats, and dresses, all cut to actually put the waist in the right place on me. The idea that anything but pants comes in a “tall” version was revolutionary for me. Do you and Plumcake happen to know of any other stores where I and other tall big girls might be able to catch a break–preferably ones that actually sell pants above a size 16???

Thanks so much and keep up the great work!! Your humor and advice are often inspiring on days when I feel like a caramel apple in a world of ice pops.



Leah, you are in luck, because yes, it is possible to find pants with long inseams above a size 16! And shirts! And coats! And robes! And anything else your heart desires!

First, check out the collection of pants for Petite and Tall girls at Avenue. In sizes starting at 14! Look, cuffed trousers, very nice for fall/winter, with a 35″ inseam, up to size 26!

Next, try, which provides tops, bottoms, shoes, lingerie, and outerwear for the tall, plus-size woman. Many of their pants go up to size 20 (though they run small, so if you normally wear a 16, try ordering an 18).

If it is just tops you seek, Francesca can point you to Design Elevations, which carries Tall sizes and a small collection of Tall Plus (but no tall-plus pants). There is something about this double-breasted jacket which Francesca finds fun, and it is available up to size 22:

And check out Tall Couture, which has many beautiful items for the Tall Girl, though, alas, not the pants size which Leah seeks. Their sizing system is different from most, so be sure to use their size guide. Here is a wonderful chiffon top, available through size 16:

Finally, J. Crew has an attractive Tall collection, which you can see here. (They also, by the way, have a collection of clothing in Size 16, but that is separate from the Tall sizes.)

A long list of clothing websites which cater to tall women can be found here.

Happy shopping!



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