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

The Perfect Purse is a Delight to Find

No, I don’t own this purse. But it’s a beauty, isn’t it? It’s the Florentine Toggle crossbody bag by Dooney & Bourke in Natural. You can find it at Nordstrom, along with a lot of other great purses. It also comes in black. I like it. This is a purse I could really fall in love with, use and abuse until we are both old and battered, and still really love.

See, this is what I personally adore in purses. I like something simple, but with good detailing and made of quality materials. I love a good crossbody, because my shoulders are narrow and sloping and I like to have my hands free to use. I like something big enough to carry some serious stuff without being so large it gets in my way.

In fact, my current favorite daytime purse looks a tiny bit like this. It’s actually a mustard-yellow leather, and it doesn’t feature the cool flap and toggle closure this one does. It just zips closed along the top. But it’s a good size, has pockets inside and out, closes securely, and sits perfectly on my left hip when I slip that strap over my head. I plan to carry that sucker until either it dies or I do. I’m like that with purses. I use them hard until they die in harness. Therefore, it behooves me whenever possible to get the best possible purse I can manage.

But everyone has a different idea of what makes the perfect purse. For everyone nodding happily at the concept of simple, capacious, and sturdy… there’s someone out there who’s dream is a tiny clutch with a rhinestone handle. For everyone who couldn’t imagine ever buying any purse that wasn’t a snake or lizard leather, there’s someone like me who would rather juggle all her possessions in her bare hands than do snake.

So I’m curious: what is your perfect daytime purse? Large or small? Leather or denim? Simple or outrageously ornate? There is no right or wrong answer to this. There’s only what speaks to you.

Twistie’s Sunday Caption Madness: The Virtually Living Edition: The Result

Well my pretties.

Last week I shared this inimitable image with you all:

… and six of you came swinging back with hilarious responses.

You guys didn’t make it easy, but in the end there can be but one winner. This week, said winner is Laura512 for this painfully pertinent response:

#rollercoasterhipster – The Judge Roy Bean was so much cooler before it sold out and went mainstream.

Congratulations, Laura512! And thanks to everyone who played.

A Small Announcement from Miss Plumcake

Hola amigos! Just a little update outside the realm of small fashion houses this week. Recently a whole mess of you have asked me in one form or another whether I’m going to be blogging about my adventures as I start my new and exciting life here in Mexico.

The answer is I don’t know.

I’d like to introduce you to a little concept called Mama’s Got Bills. Okay, I don’t have that many bills and the ones I do have I can afford by myself, but there’s a whole lot of Scotch and shoes out there that I don’t own and frankly, I’m not okay with that.

I’m only good at two things and I’m only allowed to charge for one of them (except for in one district of Tijuana, go ahead and Image Search “Zona Norte Tijuana” I’ll wait. Hint: those aren’t really Catholic school girls) so I’ve been keeping my scribblings to ‘myself with hopes that in the next year or so essays like “How Crossing the Border is Just Like the County Fair But With Slightly Fewer Piglets” and “How to Win Friends and Outdrink Waiters: a Beginners’ Guide to Being the Only White Girl in the Village” will amalgamate themselves into an actual book with pages and pictures and decent copy editing (my favorite part) a price tag (my  OTHER favorite part) and everything. Woo!

Stay tuned for more information, and if you’ve got any more questions or interests, shoot me an email. Otherwise it’s back to fat fashion from small houses tomorrow!


Domino Dollhouse

Yesterday we poked some gentle fun at budding hoochie conglomerate Eddy and Bri and used them as an example of a small fashion company geared towards a specific niche market.

I was actually surprised to see several folks defend the bottom two dresses, because I cannot conceive of any situation ever where a grown woman with a job that doesn’t involve picking up dollar bills with body parts other than her hands would think “Yes, what I clearly need is a ruched spandex and polyester tube dress that zips entirely  down the front with one tug.” Whither the dignity, y’all?

Anyhoodle, as I mentioned yesterday, it’s important not to throw the baby out with the bathtub gin, because little websites can provide big rewards if you can be bothered to check them regularly.

Case in point is Domino Dollhouse.

Even though I’m not interested in about 85% of what they make, these gals are near and dear to the place medical science says my heart should be and they’re on my “To Be Checked Regularly” list of plus size websites.

Their campy vintage-flavored offerings remind me of what Torrid used to sell six years ago when they had essentially three categories: Rockabilly, Punk and Other.

Basically you’re getting a lot of 1950’s stuff with some 1940’s by way of the 80’s (which, as Karen Walker so accurately said were “Just the 40’s with coke.”) with a smattering of young hipster paraphernalia.

I have a well-documented weak spot for a good midcentury dress, even better if it’s got a tiny twang of Grand Ole Opry and although most of  the stand-out pieces as styled still err a little heavily on the side of Costume not Fashion, thus making them a wee bit unsophisticated for my current look,  there are gems to be found for the girl who is willing to dig.

Even some of the costume-y dresses are awfully tempting and I have to warn my 32 year-old self away from them, reminding myself they are cutesy beyond all redemption and will never be Capital F Fashion no matter how hard I style them (I’d totally go for them were I ten years younger and could still play the naif card).

Is anyone else reminded of the Hefty Hideaway commercial from the original Hairspray movie? I’m not saying that like it’s a bad thing. Lord knows the early works of Miss John Waters influenced me as much as the later works of Yves Saint Laurent, and seriously, there’s always been a not-so-secret part of me that wants to dress like a John Waters heroine.

Still, for every dozen dresses that make you look like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade’s salute to history’s greatest picnic foods, there’s a jewel like this, the Ava Adorable dress (currently sold out, but was available when I posted about it on the MftBG facebook page).

This is a great dress.

I bought it to wear for New Year’s Eve specifically, which didn’t technically (by which I mean “even remotely”) because that’s the day I emigrated and I spent from 8 o’clock onward studiously examining my eyelids from the inside.

It’s a perfect party dress, especially for girls who don’t like to be too revealing, plus it fits nicely in that little cubbyhole for things like symphonies in the park or any sort of evening event, especially outside, where you want the feel of a picnic dress, but still subtly remind everyone about how much more sophisticated, elegant and all around better dressed than they are.

There’s a matching fabric belt which I’d probably wear it for when I wanted that extra bit of early Givenchy feel, but for contemporary styling I replaced it with a thin, slightly rock and roll Diane Von Furstenburg double wrap natural python belt in a subtle animal print.

Speaking of animals (though not of subtlety) I also brought home this little creature from Domino Dollhouse’s last sale:

Isn’t he divine?

I know a giant alligator isn’t everyone’s idea of a good accessory but I have a great and glorious love for almost all things crocodiliad, and especially this ring, which garners compliments everywhere I go AND looks as if it came from Madame Medusa’s private jewelry collection, always a plus in my book.

A word of caution:

Domino Dollhouse has several pieces that go in and out of stock with some regularity. That means if you don’t see the watermelon dress, the Ava Adorable or whatever strikes your fancy right that minute, it doesn’t mean they’ll never have it again. At the same time, if you see something you love, I wouldn’t suggest waiting for it because if it goes out of stock –and it might, quickly– there’s no telling how long it’ll be before you have the chance to order again.

Eddy & Bri

Happy Monday gang! How was everyone’s weekend? Mine was filled with home improvement. I just about survived.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret here: manual labor is not my strong suit. This would be fine if I ever once in my entire life actually REMEMBERED manual labor was not my strong suit before I went out and spent $300 at Home Depot but I never, ever do.

It’s always the same: I get an idea (I’m GREAT at ideas) and because I’m good at mechanical-type things, I think to myself  “Self, surely painting the entire walled garden three different colors, plus doing faux finishes on two walls in a Sunday is within your capable grasp, all you need is a friend who is willing to help.”

I think anyone who’s read The Wind in the Willows knows where this is going.

Thank goodness Hot Latin Boy is an excellent Rat to my Mr Toad, and while I was selecting the perfect painting outfit (chocolate leggings, brown and orange cowboy boots, a grey knit shift dress, vintage western shirt complete with embroidered deer heads and one of my beater Hermes scarves to tie my hair back) and playlist (Cafe Tacuba and Los Fabulosos Cadillacs for the major painting, Maria Callas for the detail work) HLB was, you know, actually painting.

In all fairness, I did my share of work, and I did it with as much gusto as I could muster considering my other partner in crime was a treacherous and not at all structurally sound stepladder whose rickety aluminum slats will be the first things I’ll see in hell.

All of that is to say it’s okay to have a niche.

I should never be allowed near a paint roller, as my dog, the tile floors of the patio and my own face will testify, but I can design the color scheme and decorate it like a palace once someone more competent than I has managed to get the color on the walls.

The same goes for small plus size fashion houses.

They’re not going to be All Things for All People, Everywhere. If you want that, go to Harrods (except don’t because the last time I went I couldn’t find grits for love nor money) so while it’s okay to mock bad construction, terrible photoshopping, questionable taste and shoddy design, calling a company out for designing clothes that don’t fit your lifestyle is like saying a restaurant is bad because you don’t like Chinese food.

Case in point:

Eddy & Bri

Yeah, I don’t really get it either, but I’m also not their target audience.

If you’re a young big girl without a lot of expendable income who wants the same sort of clubwear your skinny sisters wear, then Eddy & Bri is perfect for you. I’m not, so it isn’t. No big deal.

Clearly they’re still having growing pains –although I LOVE that model in the pale bronze minidress, girlfriend is throwing some serious shade– and their choice to offer the majority of their clothing in one, maybe two sizes is…unusual, but they’ve identified their market (it would be unkind of me to say their market apparently pays their rent in ones and quick handies at stoplights, so I won’t) and they’re sticking to it.

For the rest of this week I’m going to feature smaller design houses that are generally geared to specific probably-not-us markets along with reasons not to throw the baby out with the niche bathwater.



Twistie’s Sunday Caption Madness: The Virtually Living Edition

Well hellooooo there, everyone! It’s time once again to play Twistie’s Sunday Caption Madness.

You all know how this works. I find a picture that’s simply sitting up and begging for a silly caption or five. You provide said captions via the comments function. Next week I declare a winner and we all hail the conquering hero… virtually.

Today’s picture comes from the ‘wha…? huh?’ file and looks a little like this:

Ready… set… snark!

Suck It, State of Georgia

If you’ve been anywhere on the Fat-o-Sphere lately, chances are you’ve heard about Georgia’s new ‘Strong 4 Life’ campaign against childhood obesity. Don’t even get me started on state programs that use numbers instead of the homonym words they represent. We don’t have the next five years.


The real thing that’s getting my knickers in a major and painful twist isn’t the revolting assault on correct grammar, it’s the fact that this campaign boils down to government sponsored bullying of children ‘for their own good.’

It consists mostly of black and white images and short videos of children talking about their experiences being fat. They talk about being bullied, having no friends, and generally being miserable. And that’s when the message  begins that it’s all their own fault. If only they ate their vegetables instead of deep fried Twinkies, if only they played baseball instead of video games, if only they really cared about themselves, they would be thin and happy and healthy.

What message does that send fat kids who love broccoli and run around outside already? That these things are worthless if they don’t make you thin.

What message does it send fat kids who do eat some sweets and really prefer television to soccer? That they’re lazy, unloveable slobs who don’t deserve to live if they don’t stop what they’re doing and get thin,

What message does it send thin kids who eat some sweets and prefer television? That fat kids must be the laziest slobs on the earth and that they, themselves, are perfectly healthy and therefore morally superior.

What message does it send thin kids who can’t get enough spinach and love spending time shooting hoops? That if they ever eat a slice of birthday cake or spend a couple hours reading they might become fat and disgusting, so they’d better never stop even for a minute. Oh, and if  they bully a fat kid, that’s extra anti-fat brownie points.

What message does it send to parents? That the only thing that matters about their children is whether or not they are thin. That they must bully, restrict, and terrorize their children for their own good.

This makes me want to put on my Fat Avenger Super Suit and go knock some heads together.

Luckily, someone else beat me to the punch. There’s a petition up on Change.org asking the state of Georgia to end this public policy disaster. Regan at Dances with Fat and Harriet Brown at Feed Me have both talked about this petition, but it will take more voices to make change happen.

Sure, you’re just one voice, but yours could be the one that tips the scales. Sign the petition, spread the word. Let’s think of the children.