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

August 12, 2012

Twistie’s Olympic Wrap Up

Filed under: Absolutely Fabulous,Feminism,Sports — Twistie @ 1:30 pm

Friends, I have spent the last couple of weeks the way I spend every Olympic cycle: glued to the television spouting stats. That’s not the way I live my life, even though I do happen to watch a lot of television, if I’m completely honest. But sports? Not so much. If I happen across an exhibition or a competition in figure skating, I’ll watch. I have also come to find curling oddly hypnotic… but you don’t see that as often on American television, and it’s rare to run across it randomly.

But the Olympics, well, they’re something other than else.

Most of the world counts the Olympics in terms of medal counts and victories against traditional rival countries. I’m certainly not above rooting for the home team or hoping someone I’m not wild about loses, either. And yet there is a deeper meaning to these Games, one that I love – indeed, prefer – to celebrate.


July 9, 2012

Emergency Hostess Outfit or How To Look Great Even When You Want To Kill Someone

Filed under: Absolutely Fabulous,Be Super Fantastic — Miss Plumcake @ 2:31 pm

Because I am a lady, or at least I attempt to be, I will not mention the profane hour this morning at which Hot Latin Boy’s best friend Chango called us and announced he was minutes away from Plumcake Cottage, but suffice it to say it was early enough that Jem the mule–whose cranky bray serves as community alarm clock at 7:15– was still in his cold cream and bed jacket.

I do not have warm feelings towards unexpected visitors in the best of cases, and this morning my sentiments were particularly arctic because in the weekend’s excitement my normally pristine kitchen went from Health Inspector’s Fantasy to Trainspotting House and twenty minutes –HLB bought us some time– to make the house and myself presentable was pushing it.

Unfortunately, I’m still in that tenuous warming-up period with HLB’s friends which puts me a good six months away from being able to tell the possibly-still-drunk friend who has driven (and that’s another head explosion for another day)three hours to get here that he can turn right around and drive himself back home.

Thankfully, I have an Emergency Hostess Outfit.

I know we’ve talked about having an Emergency Funeral Outfit ready at all times because You Just Never Know, but having something you can just throw on and know you’ll look fantastic and guest-ready can be a lifesaver when your beloved’s bestie –who is a total baboon, a baboon with a heart of gold, but a baboon nonetheless– shows up with three minutes’ notice or someone important from the office is going to Just Swing By your place to drop off a copy of the memo about the new TPS report cover sheets.

Someone’s got a case of the Mondays!
(I will never not love Office Space)

You want to put your best foot forward but if you’re like me, sometimes the anxiety of an unexpected visitor can be paralyzing. Instead of getting a batch of muffins in the oven or gathering your underwear off the ceiling fan –it was our anniversary last night, don’t judge us– you’re stuck naked in your bedroom staring blankly into your closet which is now suddenly devoid of anything remotely appropriate.

A good Emergency Hostess Outfit should be easy and glamorous.

It should be casual but still have that extra bit of polish that makes a guest feel like their visit is a special occasion, even if it’s one for which you’re in no way prepared.

Maxi dresses are always a strong go-to option here, provided you’ve found one that works for your shape and isn’t encrusted with sequins or rhinestones. There’s a reason they were called hostess dresses in their previous life. They’re long, so if you got caught out of the shower with only one leg shaved no one will be the wiser, and easy to accessorize: just throw on a big cocktail ring or a tremendous pair of earrings and you’re entertainment-ready.

My emergency outfit is a tea-length cotton sundress with a vaguely Thai floral pattern in cocoa, caramel and cream, flat burnished gold sandals and a cream shawl. The pattern of the dress means if I get a tiny spill or splash myself doing some last minute dishes without having to rush back to the bedroom to change before guests arrive. I know that’s not ideal, but desperate times my friends..desperate times.

For jewelry I want something a little over-the-top to offset the casualness of the sundress without looking too Done, so I keep a pair of large amber and cinnabar 1940’s ear sparklies clipped to the dress hanger. Clipping them to the hanger means I won’t lose my mind rummaging through my bazillion pairs of earrings trying to find The Very Best Ones for the outfit which will lead me to reorganize my jewelry boxes instead of getting ready for my rapidly-descending visitors. Can you say “displacement activity“? I sure can!

For makeup, I suggest going for a sheer lipcolor a few shades deeper than you’d usually go for daytime wear.

When you’re doing a serious lip you don’t need much else, maybe a lick of mascara if you’ve got the time, but really you can just slap it on and go. I use Revlon’s Colorstay Mineral Lipglaze in Overtime Wine.

I know finding a sheer, highly-pigmented lippie can be problematic since deeper, bolder colors are usually reserved for lipsticks with matte or satin finishes, so here’s a quick and dirty cheat:

Apply a generous but not goopy coat of Vaseline or clear gloss to your lips, then go over it with your dark, matte color. It might take a few swipes to get the color intensity you want, but it’ll get the job done on the cheap.

As for Chango the unbidden visitor, he WAS sober (barely) and stuck around for literally three minutes before driving three hours back to go to work. It was just long enough for him to ask HLB if I ALWAYS looked that great (knowing which side his tortilla is buttered on, HLB wisely answered in the affirmative) and for me to affectionately threaten his life if he ever pulled that sort of stunt again.

February 28, 2012

Octavia Spencer and Tadashi Shoji, Red Carpet BFFs

Filed under: Absolutely Fabulous,Evening Wear,Events — Miss Plumcake @ 10:59 am

First the bad news: most of these lovely gowns from Tadashi Shoji were customized for Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer and aren’t available off the rack. Those that are, the lace wrap dress for example, aren’t available in plus sizes. Drag, I know.

That being said, Tadashi consistently offers evening wear with the same distinctive house DNA in plus sizes and later in the week I’ll feature a handful of dresses that, like Mo’nique’s Oscar dress from last year, are available off-the-rack and in big girl sizes, so never fear.

I haven’t seen The Help because I find the whole Benevolent White Person genre tiresome and at least borderline offensive. Also I hate the smell of popcorn, so I almost never go to the movies.

Still, I am thrilled any time a comic actress actually wins an Oscar and I’m doubly thrilled that this plus-sized Southern jewel has taken a play from the Audrey Hepburn playbook and aligned herself with one designer for almost all her red carpet events.

For Hepburn it was Givenchy and for Spencer it’s Tadashi Shoji.

I’ve always thought Tadashi Shoji is doing now what Valentino did back when Mr Garavani was still the big boss; making beautiful clothes that looked beautiful on the female form. Neither Tadashi nor Valentino reinvented the wheel, but why bother? Let Gareth Pugh make a cocktail gown out of machine gun parts and walrus hair. Not all designers have to be directional, there’s nothing wrong with pretty and elegant.

There’s also nothing wrong with wearing a dress that isn’t strapless, especially because I can barely utter the phrase “strapless skin-tight mermaid gown” without putting myself in a fashion coma.

Ms Spencer is 5’2″ (which means she’s probably really about five foot nothin’) and yet keeping the color simple and the hair and makeup clean, her stylist does an admirable job making sure she doesn’t drown in a sea of evening gown. Usually.

(a rare misstep, but barely. It’s just a bit too much dress and hair for the petite Alabaman, though I love the color)

I also love that she’s wearing sleeves so stylishly.

Too often you see a shrug or a wrap plopped on top of an outfit and it just screams “Hi, I don’t want to show my arm fat” but with Tadashi, the sleeve is proportioned so precisely to the waist (because the right sleeve length can emphasize or minimize your waist/bust/hips in very exciting ways if you bother to pay attention to it) that you don’t even think of the Fat Arm Shame.

What do you think of Octavia Spencer’s outfits? If just one could hang in your closet, what would it be?

February 23, 2012

Calling All Lesbians

Filed under: Absolutely Fabulous — Miss Plumcake @ 5:29 pm

Friends, I have been remiss. I’ve been editor of this blog since April of 1841 and during that time, I’m not sure I’ve done a whole lot to purposefully include my lady-lovin’ ladyfriends, and I know you’re out there.

I was at Saint Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral in downtown San Diego last night for Ash Wednesday services and I met a wonderful lesbian couple who had been married and whose nuptials fell victim a few days later to Prop 8.

The mind boggles. I plan on getting married at least once and the idea of having my wedded bliss yanked from me is so far off my radar I can’t even find it with GPS and a compass.

It made me think.

I know next to nothing about the lesbian big girl experience, especially not the single lesbian big girl experience. All but one of my lesbian pals are in long-term committed relationships (insert Uhaul joke here) and none of them are particularly big.

The plight of the Chubby Gay Man in the non-bear community is one I’ve heard all about (over and over and over, often while sitting next to me on the couch drinking chocolate bourbon milkshakes and watching Girls Will Be Girls) but my female friends of Dorothy are usually too busy living satisfying, productive lives in healthy, normal relationships to pour their hearts and livers out to me. Hmph.

So consider this a call for submissions. If you’ve got something to say; I want to hear it.

I usually put a hundred word limit on the comments, but for this post, have at it. Alternately, if you want to email me that’s fine too. I’ll post some of the more thought provoking comments either tomorrow or next week.

Oh, I’ll be monitoring the comments carefully, so visiting trolls might as well give up now.

February 5, 2012

Man in Diabetes Ad Has All His Limbs

Filed under: Absolutely Fabulous,Fighting Back — Twistie @ 2:25 pm

If you’ve been to New York City lately, you may well have seen these billboards telling us all that if we drink large sodas, we will get diabetes and have to have our legs amputated. It shows a headless fat man with crutches and his right leg amputated below the knee behind a row of growing soda cups, and informs us that eating less is the way to avoid developing diabetes.

Never mind that (a) no direct causal link between drinking soda and developing diabetes has ever been proven, (b) no direct causal link has ever been proven between eating anything in any amount and developing diabetes, (c) no mention is made of the fact that the bar has been lowered for diagnosing diabetes (much like several other ‘fat peoples’ diseases’ such as hypertension) in the past few years, or (d) the vast majority of people with diabetes will never face amputation of anything at all, there’s another aspect that’s even more shameful about this ad: the man in it has all his limbs.

You see, several years ago, California actor Cleo Barry agreed to sit for a professional photographer for $500.00. As part of the contract, Barry signed a release form that allowed the photographer to distribute or sell the images as he saw fit. The photographer sold this image (sans crutches, Photoshop amputation, or scare tactic message) to Image Source, a stock photo company.

Fast forward, and the New York City Department of Health chose Barry’s photo to buy for their diabetes awareness campaign. After all, what could be more likely to hammer the message home than a picture of a fat, young, black man… once they did a bit of digital surgery?

And young does enter into the equation. The vast majority of amputations among diabetes patients? Happen to people who have been living with diabetes for literally decades. They aren’t performed on people in their twenties, like Barry, but people in their sixties and upwards, who have had poorly controlled blood sugar for twenty, thirty, forty years. Even then, the rate is very small compared to people living with diabetes. You know, people like Mr. Twistie who was diagnosed nineteen years ago and yet still has all his limbs and his eyesight.

When Barry became aware of the ad, he was horrified. In fact, he stared at his computer screen and cried. He feared what this ad would do to his acting career.

But he has decided to fight back, folks. In a move to both bring attention to how exploitive this ad campaign is and bolster his career at the same time, Barry has made the following offer: he will lower his usual pay rate to any soda company willing to use his unaltered image in their ad campaign. He even says he’ll sing and dance ‘without charging an arm and a leg.’

In other news about fighting back, you may have heard about the Billboard Project. If you haven’t heard the news, Ragen Chastain at Dances with Fat (and if you aren’t reading her blog, I absolutely encourage you to do so last week!) has started a campaign to raise funds for an alternate billboard to put up in Georgia to rebut those appalling billboards telling fat children they are sick and bullied, but they bring it on themselves by being fat. On thursday, the Go Fund Me page opened for business. Ragen and those working with her on the fund were hoping to raise $10,000.00. That goal has been kicked to the curb, folks! It was beaten inside of twenty four hours. The new goal is $15,000.00 to fund not only the original billboard, but a host of other ways of getting out the body love message. There’s just over a thousand dollars left to go to meet the new goal.

But wait! There’s more! And it isn’t an incredible Ginsu steak knife.

More of Me to Love has offered $5,000.00 in matching funds… but there’s a catch. While the monetary goal was reached quite a while back, they stipulated that there must be a minimum of one thousand unique donors to unlock those funds. This is an incredible offer, and I love the fact that the agreement includes building a truly grassroots movement that includes a lot of people, rather than a few donations from people with a lot to spare. But as of Ragen’s last update, the project still needs nearly three hundred donors to unlock the More of Me to Love funds.

So please, if you have anything to spare, go to the Go Fund Me page and make a donation. Anything from five dollars up is accepted at Go Fund Me. If you cannot spare that much, or would rather use PayPal, you can go here to donate Solidarity Dollars, starting at quite literally one dollar donations.

Remember, every dollar is another blow against body shame and publicly funded bullying.

And every dollar, every refusal to buckle under, every act of individual body love is another chip in the wall of hate and prejudice. Let’s take that wall down!

October 26, 2011

Fab Four: Marc by Marc Jacobs

Filed under: Absolutely Fabulous,Fab Four,Jewelry — Miss Plumcake @ 10:13 am

Marc by Marc Jacobs Le Mouse RingMarc by Marc Jacobs High Heel Brogue
Marc by Marc Jacobs Classic Marc Zip Pull Earrings


Still having a Fassbinder moment.

September 21, 2011

How To Wear It: Statement Necklaces

Filed under: Absolutely Fabulous,Accessories,Advanced Fashion,Jewelry,You Asked For It — Miss Plumcake @ 4:21 pm

Good afternoon my little pumpkin mellowcremes, how’s every precious thing?

I’m dandy and am bringing, as promised, a more detailed post on the successful deployment of costume jewelry, including 10 Plumcake’s Picks (clicky click on the images for links).

So let’s talk about necklaces.

While all women can pull off a serious statement necklace given sufficient attitude and force of personality, big girls have a leg up on our more slender competition because huge gobstopper gems that can overwhelm a delicate swan-like thing look fabulous and proportionate on our bigger frames.

You gotta have a big canvas if you want to paint a masterpiece.

And before I get all you art history majors waggling your invisible fingers at me, I know that’s not technically correct.

But you know the deal: you don’t split hairs with my turns of phrase and I don’t roll my eyes and cough *shouldagonefortheMBA* whenever you complain in genuine surprise at the shocking lack of high-paying jobs requiring an advanced degree in upside down toilets.

Moving on.

Big necklaces can be tricky for the big girl.

We’ve got the bulk to carry it off, but we don’t necessarily have the neck. I know, I know. Just as I’m convinced my church exists solely as a place for me to lose my sunglasses, you might think this blog exists solely as a place for me to bemoan my lack of giraffe-like qualities.

That is a damnable misconception. It’s also a place for me to post pictures of Spanish footballers in compromising and slightly homoerotic positions. Whee.

Generally speaking, the shorter your neck, the longer you want your necklaces to be.

I’m not saying go for all lavaliers all the time, but chokers or extremely busy bibs close to the throat run a higher risk of making you look a little squatter than necessarily desirable, you want the necklace to enhance the beauty of your face. A too-short necklace is like a photograph that’s been too tightly cropped.

Also there’s the dreaded disappearing necklace, where the front vanishes entirely under my double chin when I talk with any degree of animation.

This is a Very Bad Look for me. It’s like, acid wash and mullet bad.


When you’re tall you can fudge a bit on length, but the sweet spot for short necklaces is juuuust below the hollow of the throat. It’s the prettiest length on almost anyone, and you can still get a lot of drama without the Campbell’s Soup Kid effect.

Now let’s talk about body shape.

Apparently we’re either apples or pears. While I slightly object to being described as any part of Cockney rhyming slang, let’s have a butcher’s at what suits the various fruits among us.

I’m pretty much an hourglass pear, but there’s definitely more time at the bottom than the top.

For me, most necklaces extending longer than the middle of my decollete (I’d say cleavage but my gals have a wide stance so there’s no actual cleave involved unless coaxed via specialty equipment and possibly the Army Corps of Engineers) get lost and are more distracting than anything else.

For apples however, especially short ones (crabapples?), the opposite holds true.

While pears are best served with chunky but clean bib-style ornamentation, those lucky apples can rock the long ropes, pendants and lavaliers like nobody’s business. They make short girls look taller and encourage the eye to travel all the way down the body instead of just hitting the rack or belly and stopping.

Basic styling advice for a statement necklace: Minimize distractions.

Wear your hair up or back if it’s long and you’re wearing a big piece close to the face and keep the neckline clean.

You can have an orgiastic explosion of ruffles OR an orgiastic explosion of jewels, but please, one orgy per outfit.

The last thing you want is to have a visual competition between Big Necklace, Big Hair and Big Neckline.

Go High/Low for day.

It’s really the most chic way for day.

Yesterday I tossed on a dead simple and cheap black t-shirt jersey dress, flat gold sandals and an enormous Bollywood-style necklace.

I added an understated but substantial ring to continue the look of casual glam and it was enormously successful.

For some reason people seem to think every article of clothing has to have the same formality level.

For evening okay, I’ll buy that, but for day and early cocktail, splashy jewelry with understated clothes (jeans, a little cute knit top) is the most fun combination since Ovaltine and compound opiates, and that my friends, is a lot of fun.

Okay ducklings, it’s time for Miss Plumcake to hit the showers. Okay, really it’s time for Miss Plumcake to swim in her pool of costume jewelry like Scrooge McDuck (but in a tiara) but either way, have a fantastic day and tell me all about your favorite necklace in the comments!

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