Ratty Cardigans

Doesn’t that sound like a band name?

Would that it were. It is, alas, the condition of my favorite sweaters after three years of constant wear through all seasons. So although I’m kicking myself for not replacing my black and brown cardies with exact replicas last year, it’s time to let that go and seek a decent replacement.

I’m looking at these, on sale for $19.99 from plus-size store AVENUE:

[UPDATE 11.14: I SAW THEM TODAY IN THE STORE AND THEY’RE UNATTRACTIVE AND UNFORTUNATELY VERY CHEAP-LOOKING. YOU CAN DO BETTER – PB]

I must have a V-neck cardigan, and for some reason they’re hard to find. I prefer a lighter gauge material (’cause I like to throw them on in the summer, too), but these are the likeliest candidates I’ve seen in awhile. There are others here if you’re also desperately seeking non-ratty cardigans.

Larger Wrists Need Larger Watchbands

Uh-oh! PeaceBang is noticing a small but not insignificant problem out there among the more abundant-bodied among us: the wearing of watches that seem to have a tight, angry death grip on the wrist.

Why is this a problem? Because when I am worried that my minister is cutting off the circulation in her arm, it distracts me from my counseling session, committee meeting or worship service. A wristwatch that looks painfully tight says to me, “Is this person fully present in their own body? How can she not notice the way her wrist is caught in a vise-like grip of leather or metal right now?”

I am seeing this on women clergy only, which leads me to believe that men have a far wider range of sizes available to them in the wristwatch scene. Gals, if you can’t fit two fingers under the band of your watch, it’s too tight. Please make the effort to find something that fits and that is the appropriate proportion for your body. Uncomfortably tight watches with small faces do not work for those of us with meat on our wrists. If this is you, do yourself a favor and get yourself a watchband that fits.

She’s Not Going Back to Omar the Tentmaker

Darling ones,

This just in from a frustrated abundantly-sized clergygal:

Dear PeaceBang,
I just stumbled across your website. Boy, do I need you! I’m a plus size woman and can’t find any clergy clothes that don’t look like they came from Omar the Tentmaker. Do you know of any websites that feature clergy clothes for the full-figured woman that don’t cost an arm and a leg? Thanks!

Dear heart,
What, you don’t have an arm and a leg to sacrifice to the cause of looking decent in your ministry? Whatsamatta you? What kind of servant-leader ARE you, anyway? What kind of example are you setting?

All kidding aside, many of us are with you in this struggle and we do hope you’ll check the archives under “Vestments and Clericals” and “Plus Sizes.” Read not only the posts but the comments, for therein you will find your plus-sized comrades bemoaning the same sad fact (i.e., manufacturers of clericals are still thinking in terms of tall, straight up-and-down male bodies) and offering loads of suggestions. Try Holy Threads (mentioned this week on the blog) and see how her prices are. Let us know what you find. But if memory serves, there really is a treasure trove of information and help in the comments.

Good luck, hon, and thanks for making me laugh this morning about Omar. We ALL KNOW OMAR, don’t we?

Boots N’ Skirts N’ Stuff

A lovely colleague who just purchased some super riding boots asked me the other day how to wear them with skirts. Although we went over the Skirts and Boots Question at great length here, I just wanted to tell you about a gal I saw in the grocery store who was doing it all wrong. She was a fit, handsome middle-aged white woman who looked confident and put together except that she was wearing a pleated skirt well above the knee and knee-high boots with nude stockings. The big gap of flesh between her boots and her skirt made her look exactly like a drum majorette from the waist down. Not good, not good! Reverend ladies of all ages, stay far away from this look or someone may hand you a baton and big, fluffy hat with a chin strap and start following you around with a tuba.

In other Shoe Problems, one of my spies called to leave news of a Flip-Flop Sighting on my voice mail. His message was simple, and so right so I’ll just quote him: “It’s DECEMBER. You should NOT be wearing flip-flops!” Here, here.

PeaceBang is noticing that long, full skirts are still being worn by female Clergy of Size and she has to say precious butterbeans, if you feel at your best visually adding about 30 lbs. to your frame, that’s just the way to do it! Be plump, be flowing, be abundant if you absolutely insist! Or, if you’d like to show that you have a shape that’s actually lots and lots more interesting than voluminous fabric, try on a more fitted style like this one from Catherine’s. skirt.jpg

What’s so scary about that?? You don’t have to buy it or anything but seriously gals, if you want one change in 2008 that can be as Moses bringing you out of The Land of Frump, this is it. Shapeless jackets and skirts are out, out, out, and Why? ‘Cause although the world of fashion can be crazy at times, sometimes it makes changes because certain silhouettes are ugly and unflattering. Please give away your utterly shapeless skirts or take them to a tailor and have them taken in at the hips, or hemmed, or do something that will give them some shape. Will you do that for me? Because I just have an irrational need for you to look at least as beautiful in the world as Condi Rice. I don’t like what she represents but she consistently far outshines the female clergy in the polished image department, and that ain’t right.

Speaking of shape, and I was, PeaceBang is squeezing out of her favorite black blazer and noticed that her blouse was pooching out below her blazer buttons during tonight’s worship service for The Compassionate Friends. Oh sure, I was fine standing but sitting at the pulpit, Houston we had a problem . Good thing I could cover my poochiness with a combo of strategic placement of my leather binder of readings and good posture.

Certain items in our wardrobes are so essential that it’s important for us to make sure they fit appropriately at all times. If you have a tendency to change sizes throughout the year, be vigilant. While you work on slimming down (or fattening up, if that’s the issue), be sure you’ve considered what fits and what might need to be purchased or borrowed in a size up or down to get you through the transitional time. In my case, a classic black blazer is something I cannot be without. So while I work on losing the buttah, I’ll temporarily switch to the dreaded Unstructured Black Jacket and wear higher heels and dressier accessories to give my outfits the polish that I want to try to have. That and a good girdle should see me through the holidays.

Remember: NO SNOWMAN SWEATSHIRTS. NO SNOWWOMAN OR EVEN SNOWPERSON SWEATSHIRTS.

Lament Of The Plus-Sized Pastor (A Fashion Rant)

WHY oh WHY is it so hard to find beautiful, classic tailored clothing suitable for plus-size gals?

Lately most of what I see is this sort of thing offered up by designers who apparently think I want to go about looking like a knocked-up milkmaid.

milkmaid.jpg

and Queen Latifah’s design over at Curvation Apparel are even worse. Half of these garments look like what you’d get if you crossed Bo Peep with Stevie Nicks. I am way too old and experienced to play the ingenue or some sort of gypsy femme fatale. Yes, I like a little flair to my clothes. But you designers don’t seem to get the concept of “flair,” mistaking it for “hootchie-mama.”

Avenue’s fall offerings are only just sort of acceptable (she looks pretty, though) but I know from experience that their fabrics and tailoring tend to be downright shoddy.
They do get props from me for offering nice textured hose ; an item I’ve been looking for. They also offer a boot with a wide-enough calf that I think I can live with, having sought knee-high boots for two years. I did find a pair for $8 on the super sale rack at DSW Shoe Warehouse last winter, but the heel is incredibly tiny, which makes me look even more like a meatball perched on two toothpicks. These aren’t too bad, are they? I don’t love the detailing and they might look dead cheap in real life, though, so I’ll make sure to check them out in person.

There are a few items on this page that you might be able to snazz up with some great accessories. The colors are rather “eh” but I appreciate the clean lines and the attempt to fit, rather than to obscure, our bodies. So okay, Avenue, you get a PeaceBang pass.

Lane Bryant has some great stuff if you happen to work as a a go-go dancer (although to be fair, they have some really acceptable tailored skirts for sale this season), and I frankly don’t know what Abby Z. is thinking, aside from one really cute dress.

Listen up, plus size designers! Stop with all the diva nonsense (apparently every woman with a big bust and a big mouth now qualifies for that honorific) and give us something we can WEAR for an honest price!! We don’t need shiny, lacy tops, we don’t need empire waists that serve up our bosoms on a platter in such a way as to upstage our expertise and intelligence. We don’t need shimmering kimonos and flouncy sleeves and skirts with bizarre, jaggedy hemlines. We need beautiful clothing that fits, in clean lines and strong fabrics, and lovely, flattering colors. And we’d like a little flair and pizazz without looking like we’re off to our night job at the Sizzlin’ Lizard Western Saloon.
I do not work in Nevada as the madame in a house of ill-repute! I work in the house of the LORD, who will smote you down if you don’t quit designing this dreck for full-figured gals! Ya hear?

Whew. After all that looking at bad clothing, I think my mind is a little cloudy. Do you think I could wear these with a denim jacket and black pencil skirt?
JUST KIDDING!

Michael Kors designed a very pretty and fashionable cardigan for large and small ladies alike, thank you, Mike. A bit expensive for most of us, but at least you’re making an effort.