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

August 29, 2012

Colorful Camisoles from Eloquii

Filed under: Plumcake's Closet — Miss Plumcake @ 1:11 pm

Recently, I’ve entered into the exciting world of Skype meetings.

I’m not a fan.

First of all, call me old-fashioned, but when I attend a meeting I like to be fairly confident everyone involved is wearing pants. I’ve been on the internet for a good long while now and I’m pretty sure the number of men who voluntarily wear pants when working from home is on par, or slightly below the number of nymphomaniacal college coeds who really do want to meet you right now.

Secondly, as the tallest person in almost any meeting, but also the only woman, the camera always, always hits me at nip-level. Whether it’s by default or design, both Thelma AND Louise get more face time than my face does.

And that, boys and girls, is why Miss Plumcake bought some camisoles.

Years ago I had a fantastic cami from Jones New York, It was solidly constructed, nicely tailored and –miracle of miracles– actually hit the middle of my hip.

Unfortunately, it met a sad and untimely end at the hands of my grandparents’ neurotic whippet and I’ve been holding the torch ever since.

While the Eloquii camisoles aren’t quite as good as my dearly departed Jones New York number –we live in a broken and sinful world full of bad fashion and stupid whippets– they’re pretty great, and a fantastic deal.

The Eloquii camis come in a variety of colors from Frida Kalho fuchsia and emerald green to a pale French blue and butter yellow. Oh, and did I mention I got them on sale for about five bucks a pop?

My favorites are the pleated trim camisoles whose straight necklines are embellished with four tidy rows of trim reminiscent of crêpe de Chine. Sadly, the adjustable lingerie-style straps are not bra-friendly, but the armholes are fashioned nicely and the back is high enough to conceal your boulder holder without adding bulk.

Go get you some and be prepared for your next high-powered questionably-pantsed Latin American eSummit.

August 24, 2011

You Asked For It: Miss Plumcake at Villa Plumcake

No that's not nipple action, I'm pretty sure I had my keys tucked into my bra. Klassy.Golly! When I updated the Manolo for the Big Girl facebook page (which I SWEAR I’m going to start using again. Scout’s honor) I had no idea I’d get so many messages about my outfit.

Okay, it was more like four, but that’s four more than I expected and because I love to love you babies, I thought I’d do a little featurette for those wanting to reproduce the Miss Plumcake at Villa Plumcake look at home.

I’m not shy by any stretch of the imagination, but I don’t often do this sort of thing. It comes across as a little self-indulgent, even for me.

Also, just in case you were wondering, that’s not weird nipple action, I’m just pretty sure I had my keys in my bra. That’s right mijas,  it’s all glamor at Villa Plumcake.

Here’s how to get the look:

HAT This is the exact hat in the photo, a crushable, abuseable, practically indestructible white fabric and wire sunhat.

I removed the ribbon and adjusted the brim into more of a portrait shape for maximum Joan Collins effect and wore it almost every day.


>SUNGLASSES Admittedly this is a bit of Advanced Fashion as the non-ironic white sunglasses can be difficult to pull off, but I love my mother of pearl Clubmasters (I also have them in a caramel jasper treatment) and really, when one is wearing All White All The Time, darker shades just won’t do. The variations and pearlescence of the frame stop them from looking hipster and land them safely into 1930’s glamor.


JOURNAL My grandmother kept a record of her Grand Tour of Europe, jotted down in a neat little notebook of Moroccan red leather with the most over-the-top rococo gilt swirls embossed along the cover.

Determined to maintain the travelogue tradition, I picked up a small but sturdy handmade leather journal on my first trip across the pond and have used it exclusively for my travel memoirs ever since.

Though the actual journal in the photo is a simple one-off I bought for ₤20 at King’s Cross Station in London, this travel-ready notebook has the same feel.

PEPPER PEN I never went anywhere alone without my pepper spray pen within easy reach, usually tucked into the neckline of my dress.

No one ever questioned why I always wrote with another pen.

It was a handy way to feel safe when I was walking around alone without openly insulting the locals.

BOLERO – I can’t remember where I picked up this Jessica Howard bolero cardigan, but I wish I’d bought a dozen of them.

The Pacific breeze can get a bit nippy and this, alternated with my wrap. kept me nice and snug.

The dress is an inexpensive Mexican-style white cotton sundress with a surplice neck and crocheted lace detailing on the skirt I picked up for almost nothing at Ross and the bra is the original (now discontinued) Lace Plunge from Lane Bryant.

So there you have it: Miss Plumcake at Villa Plumcake.

Add your own oceanfront lovenest, hot Latin footballer, mezcal (no worm, thank you) and shake. Olé!

June 17, 2011

Five Great: Non-Black Swimsuits

Filed under: Plumcake's Closet,Summer,Swimwear — Miss Plumcake @ 11:42 am

You can have any color you want as long as it’s black. I knew that was the battle cry of good ol’ Hank Ford, but I was unaware it has translated itself to plus size swimwear as well.

On most people, black can a little harsh for the beach. Which isn’t to say I don’t have a soft spot for it –next week have a post dedicated entirely to black swimsuits– but those of us who yearn to wear something other than black, red or some teeth-grindingly awful hibiscus print, let me hit you with a few sweet suits I’ve come across recently.

Solid Sweetheart Neckline Swimdress in rose and white
See? Sweet. This could actually skew a little retro –it would on me, anything I put on my body automatically turns to 1925 except for the things that go 1955– but it’s not at all costumey. I like that it’s both bright and soft enough to do service for my fellow pale girls, but not so pale or vibrant that it washes us out. Plus how gorgeous would this look on darker skin tones? So gorgeous I just might spit.

Retro Convertible Halter in Blue
Now HERE is retro. It’s also my anointed swimsuit for this summer. Although I never wear halter tops otherwise, I find the visual interest up top balances out my hips for a more evenly distributed hourglass. Another thing I dig about this suit is the straps are adjustable, so you can convert it from a halter (plus however else you want to tie it) to a bandeau.

I think big girls tend to overlook the strapless swimsuit. I’m not saying it’s the most practical thing in the world if you’re chasing after rugrats and whatnot, but for apples and broad-shouldered pears it can be extremely flattering. Plus no tan lines on your shoulders and perhaps MOST importantly, it allows you to wear big ridiculous necklaces, and if there is anything more entertaining than wearing big jewelry on the beach, I can’t print it here.

Fuchsia Berry Shirred Miracle Suit
I love this suit because it looks so fashiony and yet it’s a really easy look to pull off successfully. Almost anyone could wear this and look like a million bucks. Pale girls? Yep, just remember to wear some color on your lips. Dark girls? Heaven. I’d only advise against it if you’re extremely narrow shouldered since that deep plunge will make them look even more narrow. Other than that, have at it and try not to act surprised when people drool.

Teal Jewel Halter Swimdress
Oh man, how effortless is this? It’s easy fitting but the jeweled halter makes it special and unexpected, plus it draws the attention up to the neckline and face and not the hips and belly. I don’t subscribe to the theory that everyone must spend all their beach time covering their “flaws” but it’s nice to get a little attention focused to where you want it, WITHOUT showing off a ton of rack.

Boho Print Swimdress
I almost wanted to call this a Liberty print because my grandmother had a Liberty scarf from the early 70’s that is very similar, but that doesn’t really have anything to do with the story other than it’s surprising she got a Liberty of London scarf in Thailand and kept it because, despite her many many fine qualities, all that woman’s taste was in her mouth. Anyway, It’s a refreshing break from All Enormous Florals All The Time and great for anyone who wants to nod to her inner hippie chick without busting out the love beads and roach clips.

June 16, 2011

We’re Having a Moment

…over white bathing suits.

I finally broke down and bought this white convertible swimdress from Roaman’s. The adjustable ruching at the sides lets you shorten it for a retro swim look like Norma Jean and the gang, or you can let it down for more coverage, whatever your heart and your legs desire. Remember to use code OSPCOUPON16 to take 40% off your highest priced item!

April 14, 2011

Miss Plumcake’s Picks: The Only Jeans I’ll Ever Love

Filed under: Fashion,Plumcake's Closet — Miss Plumcake @ 10:10 am

Your pal Plummy has a hell of a time finding jeans.

The LB Right Fit ones are okay in a pinch, but I want something with a little more polish since I cannot now, nor have I ever been able to, carry off true casual wear.

My legs aren’t short, but my torso is long, so it’s hard to find a rise that comes within shouting distance of my actual waist.  Plus, my waist is 16″ smaller than my hips, which is excellent if you’re a Max Fleischer cartoon, but not so much if you want to do mundane day-to-day things like cover your backside with fabric on a regular basis.

Oh, and speaking of backsides: I don’t actually have one.

I’ve got legs that literally inspire poetry (okay one poem, and it doesn’t even have the word Nantucket in it!) and a rack that causes wonder and astonishment wherever I take it. If God in his infinite wisdom decided that it would be better to give me a large, undercooked pancake where a booty would traditionally go? So be it. I’m not trying to be greedy.

Still, it would be nice to have one, you know, for special occasions.


The other day I was wandering around in TJ Maxx on the hunt for an Easter hat –I don’t know why, but Marshalls and TJ Maxx have the BEST church hats. We’re talking like $600 British confections for $150– when I decided to peruse the clothing selection.

Historically, I have had precisely zero luck finding clothes at TJ Maxx and Marshalls.  I’ve found better fortune at Ross, which routinely gets Jones New York large dresses (I go there weekly because if you go on just the right day in just the right neighborhood, you can find hundred-dollar Barcelona and Real Madrid jerseys for $30) but TJ Maxx and Marshalls? To quote our pal Hemingway “nada y pues nada.”

However, I was determined not to go home without a good pair of jeans –my last pair having given up the ghost several months ago– so, driven by desperation, I checked out the racks.

That is where I met the Khakis & Co No. 030107 trouser jean, aka The Only Jeans I’ll Ever Love.

(at this point I would humbly request the reader to imagine a choir of angels performing  a selection of your favorite choral work from Handel)

They…they’re perfect. They make me look, long, lean and about twelve feet tall. Plus they give me a butt. Dear God they give me a butt!!!!

I don’t know anything about this company, but whoever designed these things were designing $200 jeans, not $40 cheapos. There were smart little design elements that you only really find in old-school tailleur.

Unfortunately, I can’t find them for sale anywhere online so I can’t show a photo –and yes, it means you’ll have to go to a store and try your luck– but let me give you some details (in alphabetical order) instead:

Back: Clean but merciful. The hidden front pockets are repeated on back, with buttons (no flaps). The yoke is low-profile and shallow (about 1 1/2″) with no unnecessary embellishments anywhere.

Color: deep steely midnight rinse. Somewhere between dark indigo and dark gunmetal. There’s no shine but it’s shot with a gray thread along the vertical which gives the illusion of a bit of dimension.

Cut: A true trouser-style, a bit wider than straight leg but slimmer than what I’d typically call wide leg.  They’re cut close through the hips and upper thigh (still plenty of room for curves though) and then appear to trimly shoot straight down. If they flare at all, it’s indiscernible on me. I’d say the inseam is about 33 1/2″ with an inch hem that could be let out in case of emergency. The inseam is perfect for heels on me, but I think I’ll get one pair taken up to wear with flats.

Embellishment/Details: Vertical seam down the front, and a slightly forward-set side seam for an extra long look. It’s a surprisingly couture touch for a pair of jeans that only retailed for $40. Two barely-curved hidden pockets. No grommets or embellishments anywhere.

Fabric: A trouser-weight denim twill with what feels like about 2% or 3% elastane. Not as bulky as a traditional pair of 501s, but not thin either. These are jeans that can and will move with your body while still holding you in. I’m well into the afternoon and there have been no signs of saggy elephant butt, which is often the case with jeans that stretch.

Rise: These hit me at my natural waist so they’d probably be a slightly “Hollywood rise” on most people.

Sizing: Kind of a moot point since you have to find them in stores anyway, but for the record  I have a 36″ waist and 52″ hips and the size 20W fit me like they were cut to my body. I felt held in but not constricted. The 18W fit with some squeezing through the waist and hips, but not so much that the buttons were in danger of putting out someone’s eye.

Waist: As I said before, these would probably be “Hollywood rise” –sitting slightly above the natural waist– on most people. There’s 2″ high waistband with several bands of stitching and low-profile double belt loops. Inside it’s finished with double stitching and crimson bias tape for extra stability, another surprisingly upmarket touch.





March 11, 2011

You Asked For It: Review Revue Part Deux, Just Bitten Lipstain+Balm

Filed under: Makeup,Plumcake's Closet,Review Revue — Miss Plumcake @ 5:06 pm


Yesterday I did a review on the Revlon Just Bitten lipstain and devoted reader Lazydaisydays asked:

Any chance of a review of the various shades, and what types of coloring/complexions might be best served by each? Or any recommendations from others who have tried this brand? I’m AWFUL at picking colors for lip products, especially things like this which look a lot different on the lips vs. in the tube…and I suspect I’m not the only one who has this kind of trouble! Help?

Dearest Lazydaisydays,

Is there anything worse than lipstick remorse? Sure some would say genocide or stretch velvet, but I say NO. It’s hard enough finding a color you like and then you buy it and it’s totally different than how it looked in the store. Even when you try before you buy, it can be hard because cosmetic counter lighting is not the sort of light you’d find in your every day life. Unless of course you worked at a cosmetic counter or lived on the face of the sun. I hope the following review will be helpful!

Gin and Tonics,

Miss Plumcake

Passion – This is a Full On Pink and it looks just exactly like the visuals with Jessica Biel:

It does look like they layered the color pretty significantly, but I wouldn’t suggest buying this color unless you are willing to commit to a big unapologetic hot pink. It’s probably not going to be a neutral on anyone, but I think it would look most natural on someone who is a “spring”…I bet it would also look amazing on women with deep brown skin.

Lust – I thought Lust would be a deep easy-to-wear neutral, sort of a quasi-goth version of a nude lip, but on its own it’s surprisingly hard to carry off. The pen looks like a sort of mauved-out heathered cocoa, but it went a bit blue on my lips. I probably wouldn’t wear this alone, but I imagine it will see considerable service as an underlayer supporting a nude lipstick or gloss I want to make a little darker for evening. This would look great on women with deeper skin tones, but I think pale gals of any coloring might find this difficult to deploy worn as is.

Crave – More Big Pink, though much easier to wear than Passion. One of my favorite looks for day is a high-colored English rose thing, sort of Jane Austen meets the Fauvists and one layer of Crave on the lips works fantastically. I sketch it on and blend it a bit with my finger instead of lining the lip precisely, because you don’t want perfection. It also works well with an orange sherbet gloss on top if you want something a little more aggressive and chic.


Gothic – Like I said yesterday, this is a blue-red almost exactly reminiscent of the original Revlon red, the iconic Cherries in the Snow. It’s a toss up as to whether this or Flame is my new favorite red. The marker-style pen means getting that super-sharp, precise line that’s so necessary when you’re wearing a RED red lipstick is dead easy. This is definitely the better red for winter skin tones (who, let’s face it, wear the screaming reds best anyway.)

Flame – Pretty much the old formulation of Revlon’s OTHER legendary red, “Fire and Ice.” This is an orange-red and the only Just Bitten product that didn’t go on slightly bluer than the tube.

They’ve actually relaunched Fire and Ice but the formulation is way different than the original. Also, how AWFUL does Jessica Biel look in the visuals, especially as compared to the painfully fabulous Dorian Leigh? Seriously, WHAT were they thinking? (image and more reviews after the jump)

March 7, 2011

The Unbearable Heartbreak of Pants (and a glimmer of hope)

Filed under: Plumcake's Closet,Women of Great Height — Miss Plumcake @ 3:06 pm

Your pal Plummy is tall.

This in itself is not an issue. I would much rather be tall than short and while I would not go so far as to say short people got no reason to live (you get miniskirts and tall boyfriends after all) were I offered the chance to be shetland-sized, I would decline it in a heartbeat.

Now, many tall people tend to have long legs. I don’t. My legs go all the way up and all the way down (to nearly universal approbation, thankyouverymuch) but it’s my torso that covers vast tracts of land.

So this whole low-rise thing we’ve been seeing for the past decade? Nightmare and a half.

I essentially just gave up on wearing either until I could find something that could cover my bottom half without making me grand marshal of the 2011 Crevice Parade or subjecting myself and everyone around me to an unwanted dromedary-type situation.

Anyway, I was bopping around on the other day and as a lark ordered the Roam foldover bootcut pant.

My thinking was these were inexpensive, relatively well-reviewed and I was only going to wear them to Ireland anyway and frankly I’m not all that concerned about being liked in Ireland because come on, I’m a Southern girl who loves dark beer, pale men and comes with her very own magnificent set of great big American…teeth. I’m accepted more places than American Express.

Anyway, I figured these wouldn’t wrinkle and would keep me warmer than leggings, plus I could wear them with flats:

You guys, WHERE have these BEEN my entire life?

They should rename these the “Locks Your %#$ DOWN” pants.

The quality and construction of the pants are good, it’s a nice solid ponté knit, but what I LOVE about them is the foldover section.

Instead of folding it over (which I kinda don’t get, apparently it’s a yoga thing…does your root chakra need an extra layer for warmth?) I wear it with the foldover section up, and although I wouldn’t say it is a control panel (these aren’t exactly womens control pants), it does give a nice feeling of being held in, plus it makes the lines of my tops look nice and smooth AND I don’t have to worry about accidentally exposing myself to people who have not been made appropriately ready for my jelly.

They are a teensy bit short if your legs are on the longish-side of normal. The advertised inseam is 31″ but I think my pair might be closer to 30″ and if you’re wearing super lumpy industrial-grade underpants there’s a slight VPL issue.

I went by the garment measurements and sized down because I knew they’re quite stretch but I might order true to size if I went with any color but black.

A note: the seams of these pants curve in towards the leg as a theoretical slimming element. I kind of like it because it’s unusual, but it’s worth knowing these are not straight seamed pants.

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