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Yes. No. Maybe. | Manolo for the Big Girl
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Review Revue/Yes No Maybe mashup!

Because I love you all so very very much (and also because I needed underwear) I braved the mall and found myself trying on various pieces of Lane Bryant’s most recent collection and I’ve got to say, I was pleasantly surprised. I hope this is the shape of things to come.

Well, not THIS shape.

python jumpsuit

Python Jumpsuit

This shape is a disaster.

You know how sometimes you’ve accidentally injured yourself and you know you shouldn’t look and just wrap something around it until you can get to the emergency room (what? I’m clumsy) but you do look and it’s JUST AS AWFUL as you thought it would be and you fall down the stairs because you’ve passed out and bled all over your white furniture which, honestly, was a bad purchase in the first place and then you spend the next three weeks getting Concerned Looks from people who clearly think you’re a battered woman and not just a thirty year-old moron who should really know better than to try to use an electric staple gun outside when it’s windy?

It’s like that.

This, on the other hand, looked super cute in the LB visuals.  It’s sunny! It’s got French cuffs! It’s got a bow and  it kinda looks like you should be walking your pet lamb (in a good way)!

rosette dress

(it’s not currently available online)

Surprisingly, it was an EPIC FAIL!  I know! Who woulda thought?!  It’s such a great shape.

I think the problem here was twofold.

Fold #1: It was relatively new in the store and hadn’t been properly steamed so the ruffles and the rosettes and the whatnot all just were sort of this big smooooosh of wrinkled cotton. All of that, PLUS the darts PLUS the wrinkles in the dress –oh and this thing will wrinkle faster than a cold man in a speedo–  just made it look messy.

rosette dress detail

I like the rosettes, and I don’t really mind the tuxedo ruffles, and of course I love a nice big bow but it really could have benefited from some better editing at the design stage. There’s just a lot going on and as someone with a Loud Face (remember, I look like a cartoon frog in real life) it’s just Too Much Happening.

HOWEVER, this could be a godsend for the big girl with a  long neck and small bust or a very bottom-heavy pear (eggplant?) because all that visual folderol going on in  your bustular region would balance out your shape beautifully. Plus, if you’re a darker skinned Big Girl you can buy this and just swan around looking gorgeous and making everyone hate you for being able to wear bright yellow, NOT THAT I’M BITTER.

Which brings us to the big winner, which could not have been more of a surprise:

t shaped drama dress

T-shaped Drama Dress

I was shocked.

Listen, I know my own body and I know what looks good on it. There’s a reason most of my dresses have a deep V neck –I am not blessed with an overabundance of bosom so it’s not problematic for me– nipped in waist and a flowing skirt. It looks good on me. BUT, I’m also aware it’s important to not get into a rut about our bodies or our clothes.

If we try on a different silhouette, it reframes how we look at our bodies. It’s fresh. Interesting.

This thing doesn’t even HAVE a waist, it’s an extremely modest crew neck and it’s shorter than I typically wear. I would’ve bet dollars to doughnuts (although I don’t especially like doughnuts) that dress was the domain of the apple.

This might be Too Much Dress if you’re quite petite because it depends a good deal on the distance between the hemline and the shoe (by the way, this is about the first time Lane Bryant’s stylists have gotten a shoe close to right for a dress. You want something heavy to anchor the look) but I’d really commend it to anyone else looking for something new and interesting to wear that’s high drama but not a boobfest or clingy.

Yesses and Maybes from Igigi

Francesca has been mulling some of the new offerings at Igigi. (Yes, Francesca knows that their customer service leaves MUCH to be desired, but  there is no getting around the fact that their clothes are distinctive, feminine, and flattering for many “difficult” body shapes.)

What say you about the Ayla colorblock dress? In the back it is all black.

Part of Francesca is thinking “kewl,” and part of her is thinking “that episode of Star Trek.”

Here we have the “Brilliant Ideas” dress in green, which would look superfantastic on the top-heavy or hourglass woman, but is sadly terrible for the woman of apple-ness (the oval-shaped).

Look! The beautiful “Francesca” dress (natch) now comes in a gorgeous shade of purple:

Finally, before we head off for the weekend, what say you about the “Exceptional Ruffle Dress,” shown here in Chocolate?

Francesca loves the belt and thinks this would look terrific in the office, but cannot bring herself to embrace the ruffle.

Ruffles have been showing up with increasing frequency lately on the fashions, and despite her love of lace and feminine styles, Francesca is not excited. “Lacy” and “Frilly” are not the same and do not have to go together like love and marriage.

Anyhow, have a happy weekend! xoxo

Yes, No, Maybe: Torrid

As Francesca noted this morning, Torrid  has the following deals “for a limited time”:  1) Online and in-store, an additional 50% off clearance items(already included in listed price).   2) Free shipping online for orders of $75 or more – no code necessary.   3) Online: vote for your favorite jeans, and receive a code for $15 off purchases of $75 or more.  4) In stores: Try on any pair of jeans, get $15 off any purchase of $75 or more – see cashier for details.

Now, Francesca sees torrid primarily as a fun source of plus-size clothing for the teenage girl. This is partly because Torrid is heavily into t-shirts with all sorts of words and pictures on their fronts, and though Francesca does not think anyone, of any age, should ever, ever wear shapeless cotton t-shirts with words or loud prints in public – except, she will allow, to the gym class – she recognizes that 16-year-olds can get away with a certain level of forced grunginess which does not wear well on anyone over the age of 18.

It is also because Torrid sells adorable items with Hello Kitty on them. There are three kinds of people who can wear Hello Kitty: 1) Earnest little girls 2)  Teenage girls of goth irony and 3) women over the age of 50 who have a certain artistic flair, colorful glasses, and boundless energy.

And here we come to the crux of Francesca’s post today: With the right attitude and a good eye, women of many ages can create outfits out of Torrid offerings. If you are out of the high school, you simply must be able to overlook the Twilight tshirts and fallen-Catholic-schoolgirl plaid miniskirts with black mesh trimmings. For example:

YES

Torrid Cherry cropped cardiganThis Cherry Cropped Cardigan is perfect for the spring office outfit, with black dress pants or a red or white skirt. Soften the sweet factor with bold accessories like an oversize red purse, or maximize the spring atmosphere with pearl earrings and white sandals.

Torrid tweedThis Tweed Cropped Jacket with ribbon trim(and a removable pin),  is a good choice for the office. Francesca could do without the ribbon trim, but it is not bad, and with this jacket on double-clearance for under $20, it is a good choice for the young woman who is building up her work-appropriate wardrobe.

Torrid eyelet skirtThis Black Poplin Laser-Cut Eyelet Skirt can be made more conservative for work with black stockings and pumps and a matte black blouse, or given a bit of sex-kitten appeal with a pink cashmere cardigan. Or wear bare-legged with sandals and a sleeveless top for Sunday brunch with the girlfriends. It is on double-clearance right now for under $12.

NO

Torrid red teeThere are times and places for cleavage, and perhaps — if one stretches the imagination — a time and place for a red cotton t-shirt with blue roses painted on it. But Francesca cannot think of any time or place where both those things are appropriate.

MAYBE

Torrid swing coatHere we have the Faux Leopard Swing Coat(on double clearance) which is not for the timid. Who should NOT wear this: teenage girls; women who think this will make them look classy. Who SHOULD wear this: tall women with enormous confidence and flair, who are fierce and fun, who love attracting attention but are not b*tchy to others. (If you are not nice to others, Francesca does not care how you dress; you have bigger problems.)

 

So, browse carefully and have fun. xoxo

Yes, No, Maybe: Kiyonna

Kiyonna has a great collection right now. Almost everything on their site could be a “yes.” And right now they are offering free ground shipping on orders of $100 or more, and a free upgrade to 2-day shipping on orders of $150 or more.

Click on the pictures for comments and more information, or just to go to their website.

YES.

NO.


MAYBE.

Yes, No, Maybe: Fashion Bug

Happy, happy Thanksgiving!

Today we are pricing down, to Fashion Bug, which  sells Misses and Plus size casual-wear and lingerie. At the top of the home page, you can opt to shop according to size, including 16-34, 16-32 short (they couldn’t call it petite? Whatever.), and 16-32 long. (Warning: Short and Long selections are limited.) (Misses sizes start at 6). Their sale page is here.

Today they are having the Thanksgiving Day sale, online only, on all their Fall clothing here.

YES

Francesca had a hard time with the “Yesses” and “Maybes” because her personal idea of “casual” is “suede jacket with boot-cut jeans.” So let us get it out of the way: If you are looking for your basic turtlenecks (on sale today for $6 apiece), polo shirts, jeans, panties, and the like, this is a good place to go. It is a good value for the price.

And now for the slightly more Francesca-esque items. Click for outfit suggestions and/or purchase info:

NO

MAYBE

http://www.fashionbug.com/polka-dot-knit-dress/p45261/index.pro

From Francesca’s Inbox: Weekend Edition

Sorry Francesca was not able to post this yesterday. Happy shopping!

Liz Claiborne will give you 30% off your purchase through tomorrow with code FRIENDS. The same code gives you free shipping on orders of $50 or more.  Plus sizes here. Plus-size sale items hereFrancesca’s pick(pictured)

CJ Banks has taken an additional 50% off the price of sale items
icon, through tomorrow. Many very pretty tops now for $15, skirts now under $20, dresses now $20. Francesca herself will shop this sale. Francesca’s Pick
icon (pictured below).

Just My Size is offering Playtex bras for just $15 each, through December 22.

Nordstrom has pretty party dresses in plus sizes (Francesca says: 80% are pretty, and the other 20% are oddly dowdy!) Yes. No. Maybe. Free shipping on orders of $100 or more with code HOLIDAY09 through December 20.

Saks has new Louboutins! Francesca’s Frenzy.


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Ashley Stewart has taken an