All On The Line S3E6: Domino Dollhouse

Posted on October 18, 2012

Better late than never, darlings, right?



Meet Tracy Broxterman, designer of Domino Dollhouse. It’s hard not to love her and not to root for her, because she’s got quite the uphill battle proving herself in an industry that tends to define beauty in a way that doesn’t include her or girls who look like her at all.

Tracy is very, very sweet and has a stated mission to help the fashion industry redefine what beauty means by offering stylish and fun clothes to all those ladies we all see walking down the street every single day (or even in the mirror), WAY more often than we see size twos (or fours or sixes or even eights).


The problem is, while she’s got some good ideas – and brings a much-needed sense of fun to plus-sized clothing – her work is rough, to say the least, and thus, not easy to sell to buyers.


Enter Doctor Joe, God bless him. We don’t know many fashion editors on his level who would even bother looking in this direction, let alone committing himself to help a designer like Tracy meet her goals. As he always does, he zeroes in on what’s  wrong with Tracy: Everything. By that we mean, she has no business plan or any understanding of how to put one together, shockingly little in the way of understanding the mechanics of fashion and how to utilize that knowledge to design clothes; and perhaps not surprising at all, very little in the way of self confidence or leadership skills.

Joe tells her she’s got a shot at making a dress for Octavia freaking Spencer, who’s turning into the queen of plus-sized fashionable ladies, it seems.


Octavia is adorably sweet to Tracy but, as kindly as she can phrase it, tells her that her dress has problems.


Namely, that it’s sleeveless and all in black, which is something Octavia informs her (and which has been largely true in our experience and after listening to our Bitter Kittens for many years) is something a lot of plus-sized ladies tend to get annoyed with, as if the rule about black being slimming is true in every case or that women of larger sizes need to be forced into a color-free style ghetto.


Octavia does note that the dress has some lovely detailing on it and tells her that she’d be happy to wear this design if Stacey made some of the changes she suggested. It is a nice-looking dress and we were impressed with how well Octavia was able to zero in on what needed to be done. Then again, it’s been our experience that stylish plus-sized ladies are EXTREMELY well-versed in fashion and what they require from it.


Then Octavia gave her flowers, which almost made us cry, it was so sweet.

Joe arranges a buyer’s meeting with Lane Bryant because, of course. Stacey is thrilled because she’d love the opportunity to inject some youth and a little bit of her own rocker style into the brand.

Later, he brings Ashley Falcon from People Style Watch in to see her progress and hear her pitch.As per usual – because the designers on this show have absolutely zero understanding of the value of press and the value of having a business plan – things don’t go all that well. Tracy is insecure and unsure of herself, and can’t answer any of Ashley’s questions; most notably the ones on price points.


Joe goes ballistic on Tracy and storms out. As much as we love him, it was really hard to watch. Seeing a thin, well-appointed, powerful fashion editor tear into a girl like Tracy is just painful. But Joe’s not a bitch for no reason and Tracy really needed his brand of tough love, he kept at her and kept at her until she tearfully shouted that she really wants this and she’ll do what it takes to get it done. Hard to watch, but the right thing to do. Tough love ain’t pretty, after all.


It’s buyer’s day and never before have we held our breath so hard, fearful of what was going to happen; not even with Korto, who we’d known (and rooted for) for years.


We gasped a little when this came out. We’re not a hundred percent on that top, but it was a fun and unique way to use colorblocking to… not so much make the model look thinner, but showcase her body to its best effect. We REALLY loved that take on the biker jacket. The size of the lapels showed an advanced sense of proportion for the plus-sized woman. And we never would have thought you could do a horizontally striped skirt in that size and have it look good, but it really worked because of the way she used contrasting stripes.


We loved this look for having some serious rockabilly style, which is not something you’d expect in plus-sizes. The Lane Bryant ladies didn’t like the neckline, rather stupidly sticking to the mantra that plus-sized ladies should only wear v-necks or scoop necks, which is just plain narrow-minded, in our opinion. Granted, the execution on the top was a little problematic, but still. It’s a cute look.


She lost us on this one. She clearly is a genius when it comes to utilizing stripes for plus sizes, but that skirt shouldn’t come up so high. If this was a simple A-line with a pink blouse, it’d look great.


She kind of lost us on this one, too. The skirt’s okay, but that top is really awful. Bad color, too shiny, the neckline in this case really did look too high to us, and the bows on the sleeves are a bit much.


What a fabulous look. We can’t imagine this wouldn’t sell like hot cakes. It’s pretty, feminine, sexy, with a little edge, and it gives her a great shape. The sheer cutouts on the bottom of the tights were a great idea.


Again: The girl is a flatout genius when it comes to utilizing stripes for plus sizes. We do think the waist sits a little high, though.


D’aw. We’re teary-eyed.

Of course they bought some of her pieces. How could they not? They still sounded awfully Lane Bryant-y, even when they loved some things; and by that we mean, they were annoyingly conservative in their thinking, buying into the idea that all plus-sized women want to dress in the same middle-aged styles. We wish Tracy all the luck in the world and we truly hope she wins the inevitable arguments with Lane Bryant and gets them to understand that big girls have a range of tastes, and some of them want to look like sexy rocker chicks, instead of like the mother of the bride or the senior executive assistant.



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  • DinaSews

    Lane Bryant was NOT the right company to call for this designer.  This designer is making fashionable youthful clothing, not old lady clothes which are the epitome of Lane Bryant.  Every time I go into that store I marvel at the lack of understanding of the plus size dresser.  If the 2 skinny women are the ones buying the clothes, I guess I have an explanation as to why their clothes are so unappealing.

    • xay

      I wish they had set her up with Torrid (if it must be a plus size brand).

      • snarkykitten

         Seriously. All of her clothes screamed Torrid (and that’s a good thing), not Lane Bryant

      • Exactly my thought, too.

      • Cathy S

        Yeah, I was thinking Torrid or Asos Curve. Lane Bryant is way too fuddy duddy for her style. Some of those pieces were great.

      • MaryAtRealityTea

        That’s totally what I was thinking. Even though Torrid is a little youthful. There needs to be something in between LB and Torrid. Is there? 

        • Sarah Thomas

          Simply Be is a good midpoint. 

    • Exactly, they should have called Torrid. At least her style fits with that brands aesthetic. 

      • yes! totally! torrid would have been spot on. or even modcloth – they do have a respectable amount of plus sizes – and could use more!

      • MilaXX

         Torrid, has similar quality issues and if they want to branch out Torrid wouldn’t encourage less costume-y designs. I would love to see her working with say Iggi, but they don’t have as many brick and mortar stores as LB.

    • MarissaLG

      YEP. There are so many other brands that are actually starting to have fashionable plus sized lines (ASOS, SimplyBe and Dorothy Perkins come to mind). Domino Dollhouse is not a good fit for Lane Bryant at all. Just because Rick Owens and Lilly Pulitzer make clothing in a size 4, doesn’t mean they should be sold in the same store.

      I am also having a really hard time with how “slimming or flattering” is always shown as the most important aspect of a plus-sized garment. When a size 6 woman goes shopping, she does so with a number of things in mind: style, price, fit, quality, etc. Yes, it’s great if the item also makes her look smaller (if that’s what she’s going for) but that’s not the main point. If I’m going shopping, I’m not going to buy an ugly POS just because the stripes are laid out in such a way that my hips look smaller. A size 10 dress isn’t cut differently than a size 2, why should a size 18 be cut differently than a 10? 

      •  There are a lot of sites that sell plus-size rockabilly-type clothing. Stop Staring, ModCloth, PinUp Girl, Trashy Diva. Tons of places besides Lane Bryant. I hate that LB is the default shop for plus size. Their clothing is really dull, most of the time, and hideously overpriced.

        • MilaXX

          Loads of site, but very few brick and mortar stores. I, for one would like to stop having 85% of my wardrobe delivered via UPS. Why can’t I have the luxury of going to a mall and getting a look?

          • kaycem

            exactly.  on one hand, i love the convenience of browsing and buying online but feel as if some brands (particularly ones that sell both straight and plus-sizes) are ashamed to have fat people seen in their stores or something.  there was a big push a coupla years ago to move all plus-sizes online, and luckily torrid parlayed online success into brick-and-mortar locations.  last february, my girlfriend’s grandfather died and i needed a black dress on short notice.  i had a backup just in case, but kept my fingers crossed that torrid would have something appropriate in-store: luckily they did.  but that incident reminded me that not having to wait a week to 10 days for my clothing is also a major convenience.

          • MilaXX

            I get asked all the time where I get my clothes as as last minute shopping is often unreliable and I live in a city where there are Lane Bryants, Avenue, Fashion Bug, Ashley Stewart, Torrid, all the major department stores and a Catherine’s flagship store. I can only imagine living somewhere without access to those stores. My own person way of dealing is to buy whenever I see a sale. I know I need at lease one dressy look a year, so I buy wen I see one on sale and then it sits in my closet until needed. I have however, been getting ready for a trip and praying for the mailman to come.

          •  We only have a Lane Bryant here. There used to be a Torrid, but they closed, which made me sad.

          • A lot of online shopping is still a crap-shoot for sizing anyway because it’s uneven between manufacturers.  I got incredibly luck that I live in city with a bra store that fits bands 28-48, cups D-II, and any combination thereof.  Before that I HAD to shop online, buy 3 bras and return the two that didn’t fit.  I still can’t find a band smaller than 34 in most stores.  32 if the gods are feeling generous.

          • muzan-e

            Amen. I live in a town that’s quite small and reasonably remote; if it’s not a pair of cheap flats, I’m probably buying it online – and good lord, the horror stories I could tell about sizing.  Banana Republic, for instance. ‘This top runs a little large’, they say, and I fall for it anyway because it’s the sort of classic, cream-coloured silk blend thingy that I’m weak for. And it’s so beautiful when it arrives. And the armholes only reach to a few inches below my bust…

            My sympathies on the bras. I still don’t understand why no-one seems to stock more than a few token 32s.

      • Size 10 dresses should be cut differently than a size 2 though.  I have such a problem with tent waists, because it seems like the industry thinks the higher up in size you go you’re just adding inches evenly all over.    Length will be added to a hem but not enough, so a dress that falls to the knees on a smaller size is sitting around mid-thigh on a larger woman, all because the hips are larger than they think.  I’ll have to buy up a size to fit my bust, but then everything else is too large, and then a bust that looks fine on that size 2 will look vulgar on me.

        Larger sized garments shouldn’t be created with only a slimming visual effect in mind, but I wish more designers would realize that you have to think differently about the body for other sizes.  It seems like fashion vacillates between “larger-sized clothing should be cut just like much smaller sized clothing” (even though you’re often dealing with very different proportions) and “larger-sized clothing should be cut like a tent because we don’t want to bother trying to fit all the variety.”

        •  I think “slimming” is the wrong way to go — balancing is better.  The size doesn’t matter so much as how proportional you look.

          • Oh absolutely.  I think generally, if you have a garment that’s properly cut to your size and shape and flatters the parts of yourself you like, you’ll look better than if you were wearing a garment who’s goal was to make you look “slimmer.”  Especially since a lot of “slimming” clothes work to hide things you might not want hidden (said every woman with larger thighs who still looks good in a short skirt, damnit).

          •  Or they are made for a different body type. I have several clients who are apple shaped and they don’t want to slim their hips — they’d rather have something that makes their hips a little wider to give more of a waist.

        • Sarah Thomas

          “Should be cut differently,” yes, in that once you pass a certain threshold in women’s sizes you don’t have consistent scalability. Fat women are fat in different ways – more different, in my experience, than thin women. 

      •  It shouldn’t.  The critical difference is how a look is proportioned — but not all women who are in plus sizes are plus proportioned, much like not every woman in misses’ has a misses’ proportion. 

      • MaryAtRealityTea

        I’m pretty sure slimming and flattering are always the most important aspects of clothes for women of all sides. I mean generally unless you are really into and able to pull off avante garde or super fashion-y looks. Most of us can’t for a variety or reasons, so slimming, flattering, and comfortable seem to be the go to directions. 🙂 

        • Flattering yes, but once you’re a size two and below, probably a four as well, you don’t really need slimming. That’s not to say we want baggy stuff (I am sick to death of having to take all of my trousers in if I want a slim leg without weird extra billowy bits) but they don’t need to make us look any smaller than we are. If my clothes make me look too slim I get really nasty comments from bigger women. (I am 5’1 and about 90lbs.)

    • Imasewsure

      Yes but Lane Bryant is a huge market for a new designer even if it is a little bit stodgy…. and if she got a toe-hold there and could introduce some more interesting styles (unlikely I know), that would also be a plus… pretty big deal for a relative beginner’s resume even if it is a boring store…but boy is it a boring store!!

      • If LB had more clothes that looked that hers, more of my legion of plus-size friends would shop there. (Especially if you still like fun/vaguely edgy and are over 40, which makes Torrid not so fun.)

        It would be great if there was something for other silhouettes of plus size women here, but it is the same one LB uses. (If you are plus-size with no rack, or long-waisted, LB is not your friend.)

    • kaycem

      THANK YOU!  my girlfriend and i both commented that torrid was more up her alley.  or even dorothy perkins.

      when the lane bryant bitch said “don’t cover up the cleavage — that’s the most beautiful part of a plus-sized woman” (or something to that effect) i literally double eagled the tv and shouted “oh fuck YOU!”  i couldn’t help myself.  it’s the perfect example of just how little LB understands / cares about its customers and what they might want.  ugh.  if it weren’t for their jeans, i wouldn’t ever shop there.

      it’s been my opinion for years that LB’s happy having a corner on a market that, for a long while, had little to no other choices.  their commitment to low style, low quality, high price point items is the antithesis of what tracy wants to do, and not representative of where the plus-sized market is heading.  hell, it’s probably a large part of the reason tracy wanted to get into fashion in the first place, based on what she said at the top of the show — LB is so tragic and limited.

      • CozyCat

        I agree.  I couldn’t understand their objection to the “rockabilly” blouse.  I thought it was cute, and used a different technique to accenting curves in an attractive way.  It also could be dressed up or down.  Sounds like a big seller to me.

      • Covering up the cleavage is also likely to be more work-appropriate, as well.

    • MilaXX

       In terms of market share however, LB has the biggest draw.

    • MzzPants

       Huh..after this thread, I guess it’s time to check out Torrid.

      • kaycem

        and forever 21, asos curve, dorothy perkins, eshakti…  there are a bunch!  hell, i even prefer old navy (either xxl in straight sizes or their women’s plus) for casual dresses and cardigans.  i am proud to say that in the last 6 or 7 years, i’ve only made 3 purchases from LB and all were jeans.  they just aren’t anywhere on my radar anymore.

        • Jennifer

          Yeah, I’ve only bought a couple work skirts and sale bras at LB, everything else is kaleidoscope/circus tent tops or way too short dresses.  I might’ve hugged the racks at Forever 21 when out shopping with my bff, so many things to try on in my size!

        • CozyCat

          I know it’s more conservative, but Talbots has a lot of plus sized styles too.  And their clothes are relatively well made for the price.   

    • RebeccaKW

       Yes.  I can’t stand that store.  I go in, and all I see are button down blouses for $80 and black wide-legged trousers for $130 and I think “who is this store for?”  Not me.

      • kaycem

        and what KILLS me is those (completely ugly) $130 trousers will drop their hem or lose a button within a week of purchase!  i am not an LB fan.

      • MilaXX

        I actually get some decent stuff from LB. Never their pants though. They pants are all cut for 5’7″ plus size gals. The proportion never work on me. I buy mostly dresses  from them.

        • RebeccaKW

          When I was in junior high years ago, I bought some oversize golf-style shirts from them.  I wasn’t really plus-size then, but I did have broad shoulders and a big rack.  I loved that I could wear them with leggings.  But other than that, I’ve never found anything that worked for me.

          I have a hard time with pants, at any store.  I barely have a butt, and most plus pants are proportioned for a big booty.  And they are never long enough.

          •  Oh I sympathize.  I have a curvy frame, widthwise, (no longer plus size, but I’ve been every size from an 8 to an 18/20) so I need something that will fit my 27 inch waist and my 39 inch hips at the same time.  When you find something that’s “curvy”, though, it always has WAY too much room in the butt, as I have an ass like the tundra — a flat, white expanse as far as the eye can see.  I actually found someone here in Chicago who does custom jeans, so I’m planning to see if she can make some for me.  (Though I make a lot of my own stuff, I don’t do jeans.)

        • 5’7″ – 5’8″, to be precise. If you are tall, you are also screwed. 

  • Rockabilly and pinup labels are actually really good for plus-sizes. Much more so than mainstream fashion, I have found!

    • Yeah, I was thinking the same thing – hence why Modcloth has such a good selection of plus-size clothing. Something about the exaggerated femininity really works.

      •  It’s that both styles tend to not only work on curves but actively require them.  I mean, there are many lovely parts of a runway model’s body, but it never works as well for pin-up looks. 

      • I’d also like to think that women who are a bit out of the mainstream in their fashion/lifestyle choices are more aware of the other people who are a bit less “acceptable” to the mainstream, although that may be a bit naive.

      • I have to ask, where does Modcloth hide the plus sizes, because I’ve poked around there several times over the last couple of years and have only ever found swimsuits. My cousin’s birthday is next month and it’d be cool to get her some sweet-ass blouse or cardigan or something.

        • They don’t really have a lot of true plus sizes. Lots of “junior” sizing, which tends to fall under the retro brands. They fit up to about an 18, a 20 maybe if you’re lucky and the cut is forgiving. They are trying, however, given that they’ve done a very large survey on how they can make themselves more plus size friendly. So there is hope!

  • I also loved, loved, loved her placement and use of intense colors to balance looks that could have gone awry easily without them  The lady really has talent and a terrific eye.  What issues she does have are all dealable stuff. But the important issues of talent and taste, are solidly in place.

    •  And most of the plus women I know really want saturated colors.  I think it’s much like print scale — when you have a bigger body, you need a bigger pop from your color.

  • yay! i was waiting with bated breath for this recap! her use of stripes is absolutely gneius. i’d buy that pencil skirt and skater dress in a heartbeat. i hope she’s able to succeed on that alone!

    but you’re so right on about lane bryant and their conservative ways. for a few years there – about 7-8 years ago – they were really on to something with a younger market. but in the past few years they’ve skewed back to the tent-like dowdy styles that they are unfortunately known for. they need to get off that train before they crash.

    • Agree 100%. I’d stand in line to buy that last dress. And Lane Bryant needs to get their sh#t together and snap it up.

    • miagain

       In quite possibly the most horrible fabrics ever produced…ugh!!

    • MilaXX

       They go back and forth IMO. I expect they’ll have some fun things out for the holiday’s.

    • alice20c

      Not only tent-like, but badly proportioned for anyone short or pear. And also agreeing with miagain on the fabrics. I won’t wear polyester, ever.

      •  There are some really good poly blends, honestly.  It just depends on how high the quality is. 

  • tereliz

    Way to go, Tracy, and thank the Lord for Joe Z! (Although I second the Torrid suggestion)

  • miagain

    I want the last dress!!

    •  You and me both. I gasped when I saw it. IT SHALL BE MINE.

  • mmc2315

    The Noir Moto Jacket is fabulous.  As is Octavia’s hair!

  • MarissaLG

    I haven’t seen this episode yet (I got into All on the Line via Netflix), but my experience with pre-Joe Z Domino Dollhouse has been very poor. The clothing is poorly made and at way too high a price-point for the quality of the garments. You can tell she’s going for a youthful, pin-upy kind of look, but most of it ends up reading clownish and cheap.

    I really hope that Joe has helped her to get all that under control. There’s so much potential in her work and I know that young, stylish plus sized women are SCREAMING for more options. 

    ALSO (haha this is something I’m very passionate about so sorry for ranting) Why would they use Octavia Spencer?!?? She is a mature, classy actress. Domino Dollhouse is not even close to an appropriate brand for her to wear. Are you gonna put Elle Fanning in Rick Owens just because Rick Owens makes clothing in her size? Never. They should have pulled Rebel Wilson.

    • Rebel Wilson would have been a better fit. But maybe a mature classy actress is going to give a more measured, thoughtful response?

    •  Because they are limited to who is willing to do it for Joe, and there are a lot less plus-size celebrities to choose from.  Sucks, but it’s true.  Maybe he doesn’t have enough of a relationship with Rebel Wilson.

      • MarissaLG

        Of course- I understand that they don’t actually have their pick of every celebrity out there, but I’m just saying that Octavia Spencer was not a good choice, and there are other actresses out there that more appropriately fit the brand. 

      • CozyCat

        Octavia was doing a photo shoot for Elle when they showed her the dress.  So it was probably very easy to persuade her to do it.  Also, he always chooses the celebrity to push the designer in a particular direction.  He was trying to make this designer more “classy” for want of a better word.  That made Octavia a good choice.

      • YoungSally

        Or maybe she wasn’t in LA when they were shooting.

    • LesYeuxHiboux

       Seriously, love Octavia, but someone like Beth Ditto would seem a better choice for this brand.

      • Ohhh, Beth Ditto would have been PERFECT.

      • MilaXX

        Ditto has her own line coming out soon.

    • As much as I love Octavia Spencer, you’re right:  Rebel Wilson would have been a fantastic choice.  Perhaps Octavia was hanging around the Elle studios, getting shot for the cover?

  • What silly creature said the boat neck was a problem neckline for ladies of size?  Boat necks are fabulous, especially if you’ve got narrow shoulders or a smaller chest; they perform a nice visual balancing act.  One of the things I hear more often from women shopping in stores like Lane Bryant is that they imagine one or two shapes of plus-sized woman and the rest can go hang.

    This woman should have been sent to Torrid, where there’s more variety and less concern about “fashion rules for size.”

    •  Lane Bryant assumes you are big breasted, apple shaped.  There’s no such thing as a waist line according to them.

      •  And if you are apple shaped, most of their silhouettes won’t work on you anyway.

        • librarygrrl64

          Preach, girl!

      • Seems like every dress I find with a “waist” these days thinks it sits four inches higher that where it really is.  When did the middle of your rib cage become your waist?

        • YoungSally

          I wonder…as my personal middle gets thicker…if it is a “appeal to the broadest audience” approach.  I recall reading something on the subject of plus sized fashion that pointed out how people carry their weight in very different ways…and cited it as one of the biggest fit challenges for the industry.

        • artsykelly

          Isn’t this one of those Stacy and Clinton things?  Make your waist the smallest part of your torso?

    • crash1212

       My shoulders are average and I’m rather chesty and boat necks look fab on me. Boat necks ARE fabulous and my go-to neckline….when I can find them.

    • kaycem

      i LOVE bateau necklines, and actually have a great plus-sized old navy tee with one.  if old navy can get it right on a $5 tee, and it’s not even on LB’s radar, they’re doing something really wrong.

    •  YES!  If you are pear-shaped, a boat neck is your friend, no matter what size you are! 

    • fashionzombie

      I do not show my cleavage in public, and I hate the idea that because I have a big rack, that I am somehow obligated to show it. I have never wanted to show cleavage, ever, and in a public service job where I already have a problem maintaining eye-to-eye contact with some males, I want to even less. I love the boat neck. Now I know who to blame for the lack of boat-necked plus-sized items.

      Please, please, give me good-looking options with higher necklines, because I basically wear men’s t-shirts (not the men’s sternum shirt, as seen on Project Runway contestants), or low-cut plus-size women’s shirts with something underneath, and I don’t always love the way that looks.

  • T LO, I’ve been waiting on your thoughts on this episode all week. I have a couple of Domino Dollhouse pieces that I like a lot. I want to like the clothes so much more and am really hoping Joe’s advice will help turn this line into clothes that I will be dying to buy. Of course Lane Bryant is the wrong place for these clothes and I was not going to be surprised if they rejected the whole line, not because anything was wrong with it, but just because the brand is based in a lot of fear and old rules about what fat women should wear. But I’m really happy they picked it up and are going to work together, because I think it could help Tracy become better at what she does and get some cool clothes in the hands of women who are dying for them. 

    And hopefully she can get through to them that we don’t always want to wear v-necks. My cleavage is amazing, I don’t want to show it off all the time!

    • RebeccaKW

       Exactly.  I love my cleavage.  But when I go to work, that’s not what I want on display.

  • Yay!  I was really worried that you guys were going to stop recapping this with the recent explosion to your recap schedule!

    • MilaXX

      I was too.

      •  Then I didn’t want to ask because I didn’t want to put pressure on them — “where’s the recap for MY show?!?” kind of thing.  😛

        • MilaXX

           yup. same here

        • flamingjune

          Exactly.  This is meant as a compliment and not a complaint.  Suddenly I realized how greedy I am for TLo’s opinions!  I couldn’t wait for this recap. 

  • Le_Sigh

    Holy cow – I was holding my breath reading these recaps.  

    So much to love about this episode – 😀

    (And damn our Olivia looks luminous in that screencap doesn’t she?)

  • mjude

    i love the last dress.  tlo do you ever get to interview designers on this show?  would love to hear what she has to say.

  • kaycem

    i’ve purchased several pieces from DD before and was sooooo thrilled to see tracy featured on AotL.  i was a little sad to see that joe didn’t delve into her lingerie pieces, which are the highest quality and best made parts of DD imo.  the longline bra and matching panty are TO DIE FOR, fit so well, and do amazing things for my tits.

    anyway, as happy as i was for her success at the buyers’ meeting, i was sad that LB snatched tracy up since they’re such a horrid, tragic representative of the plus-sized market.  although joe’s help was invaluable, i’d rather see it going to benefit her independent line, not a store i’d rather not patronize.

  • MilaXX

    I was really excited for this episode. I’ve following DD for years but only bought one thing from them. (A velvet biker jacket) because up until now I’ve found their things a bit too costume-y for my taste. I don’t really care for the 50’s retro look that a lot of her previous work consists of.
    Seeing how little she knows I was impressed that the company has been surviving for as long as it has. I am happy that Joe tackles this issue head on. I  may have misted up a bit when Tracey talked about her passion. I can’t wait for the day that a big get for plus size fashion goes beyond Lane Bryant, because as much as they do claim they want to add more youth to their lines, they are still a bit stuffy.
    I also notice that many of the designer seem to not on not understand the power of bloggers. They need to understand that these folks reach millions of people every day and a good nod from them can indeed make a career.
    LOVED Octavia! She is fast becoming my homegirl in my head.
    The buyers met; I actually liked every thing but that grey/teal/black look. I thought that was all around hiddy. However, I disagreed with the buyers on the heart breaker blouse. I don’t need my boobs out on display all the time. I would buy that blouse in a second. I also like the pink dress/stripped bottom. The waist needs to be more form fitting, but I’d definitely wear that.

    Lastly I was so happy to see big girls looking all fierce & beautiful and not hiding who they are.  Melissa McCarthy, please take note.

    • LesYeuxHiboux

       I liked the Heartbreaker Blouse as well. I have a plus-sized rack and generally stick to more open necklines, but I have found that as long as the visual line is broken between neck and bust (as it is by the black-on-teal colorblocking) higher-necked garments can look quite nice on me. I am wondering if I might be able to buy a blouse like that and have it tailored to fit my straight-size waist without the whole thing looking like garbage.

      I have gone to LB a few times looking for tops to fit my bust, and I have to agree that the style viewpoint of that store is dismal.

      • MilaXX

         I once read a blog that said that looking fashionable as a plus size gal is akin to slaying dragons. I won’t go that far, but it is a challenge. I have a mental list of hat store I can get what things from and whether I have to shop online or brick and mortar. LB for me is dresses, shoes, underwear and accessorizes.

        Torrid is shoes and jeans. I just find the quality of everything else they sell a bit cheap.

        •  I’m an 8 and I look at both LB and Torrid for shoes regularly — though I have occasionally had someone get really snippy with me because apparently it’s rude for a thinner person to shop at plus stores?  I have wide feet!  (Though why it was decided that misses’ size women have thin feet and plus size women have wide feet is still a giant mystery to me — I never gained or lost weight there personally)

          • MilaXX

            really? That’s stupid. Your money is still green.

      •  I am rather well-endowed through the bust, and when I was plus-sized I still couldn’t shop at LB.  I gain weight very evenly and very little in the gut — it widens but doesn’t protrude.  At 5’4″, every top or dress at LB was at least 4 inches too long on me, and most of that height is in the torso, so they were clearly accounting for a far more apple shaped woman.

        If you were to take in just through the waist, you might (I can’t really tell without messing with it personally) be able to create a really nice hourglass shape, with it.  You’d almost certainly want to shorten the length as well.

  • MzzPants

    Scroll down gasp on the first look for Lane Bryant!  I would totally wear that.

    And the last dress too.  I like the waist on the high side (or no waist seam at all) because anything lower gives me bad muffin top.

  • Anyone else love that Octabvia’s wearing slippers?  LOVE HER!

  • I’m plus-sized and I want that Geo Dress and Skater Dress SO HARD. I actually really like the higher-waisted look, as it happens to work for my body type. As many posters have said, plus-sized women still come in many different shapes and proportions. Some of us look better in higher waists. And while I agree with the LB ladies on v-necks and scoop necks in general, that particular top used the sweetheart color-blocking to achieve a similar effect and was still a winner in my book.

  • crash1212

    I would buy that last striped dress in a heartbeat! 

  • I am middle aged and plus sized (48 and a size 20) and I want her clothes!

  • kolokOlchik

    That last dress is wonderful!

  • I actually loved Joe ripping into her — because more plus-size designers need to be ripped into.  I think Tracey gets the concept of plus-size women wanting exactly the same thing thin women do in a way that few designers do, but she was making a lot of missteps (though in her case it was a lack of technical knowledge rather than sizism).  If plus size women want cheap fabric in poorly made garments, they can already get that. 

    And I could not love Joe Zee more — if he ever wants a surrogate, he can call me, because he has earned no end of loyalty from me with the plus-size attitude. 

    I thought the peter pan collar was a HUGE mistake — really high necklines require a long, thin neck with a firm jawline.  Most women do not have them, and that’s at any size.  The pink top/striped skirt dress could have been great with better tailoring. 

    The nonsense about the other top being too high at the neck was ridiculous, though.  And I wanted to slap a bitch when the buyer was saying “The prettiest part of a plus size body is right here” gesturing to her upper chest.  Yes, because every plus size woman is interchangable with every other.  None of them have great legs or a great ass or great cleavage or back or shoulders or even arms (though in my experience very few women have great arms).  It’s “we can show the collarbone because it looks like a thin woman’s” and that’s just insulting. 

    The first and last looks were fantastic.  Particularly for the plus market where it is very hard to look like you’re under 40.

    • MilaXX

       It’s just as hard if you’re over 40 and want to look fashionable. Then the dilemma becomes finding thing are neither too young or too old looking.

      • tinyredlocks


  • I NEED that last dress on my closet, rait naoo!

  • <3 I did my best to wait patiently for this post! I worry sometimes that if I don't mention that I want to see it, it'll get dropped like other shows where nobody really noticed they had disappeared until weeks later. But I don't want to be one of those nagging unborn fawns either. 

    Octavia Spencer looked BEAUTIFUL when she came on. Kudos to her and her stylists because that eggshell color really lit up Ms. Spencer's skin. I couldn't stop looking at her and wished the camera lingered on her longer. The slippers are a little funny though – I can't remember where they were meeting her (and didn't notice them at all during the show), but it looks like a photoshoot so that explains it (also, if that means Joe did the styling, kudos to him for the above). Also, girl has great calves and I'm glad she's unafraid to show them. 

    I love that Tracy used the pink of her hair as a sort of signature color in the collection; with the Schiaparelli/Prada show at the Met this past summer, it seems on trend, to my eyes (SHOCKING PINK!). Actually, I wish that Joe had taken her to that show as an inspiration challenge – he doesn't do the "inspiration" meetings as much as he did last season (I guess they've been replaced with the useful but as yet unfulfilled press meeting) and I feel like this designer would have been energized by such a thing – just looking at the construction and getting an eye for what materials to use to make certain looks. 

    I totally agree in re the Rockabilly dress (Heartbreaker Blouse). If you look at a site like Modcloth which often has plus-sized dresses by indie designers, those sweetheart tromp l'oeil dresses sell like gangbusters. It was disappointing to hear the neckline bullshit they spouted. That style of top would NOT have worked with a v-neck or scoop neck, and yet it was still flattering (construction issues aside). It looks to me like the Geo Dress was originally much more ambitious in its style from its sketch, and that it ended up being half-assed for lack of time. I wish we could have seen the original design fully executed. 

    I want that last dress for myself, it's so fabulous. 

    Great stuff, all around. But I do agree with the commenter below that Lane Bryant as yet fails to be the youthful brand this designer and plus size women generally want/need. Maybe she'll change that though. The only plus size brand I could think of that looks kind of like what Tracy makes is Torrid (which is maybe a little too Hot Topic and inexpensive for Joe Zee's taste or Tracy's price range).

    • kaycem

      i had to stop myself from tweeting them about it twice lol.  i’m always interested in what t.lo has to say, but i wanted to hear their thoughts on plus-sized fashion specifically, since there’s not much opportunity to do so whilst covering ladystars.

      eta: in regards to torrid’s price points, they’ve increased them. it’s irritating as hell, but there it is. pants that used to be $25 are now $60 with no change in quality or construction. so i think tracy’s line would fit right in, and maybe even add a much-needed shot of sophistication, now that joe’s done with her.

      • MilaXX

         My issue with pairing her wit Torrid is that there is no room for growth. Torrid’s quality is on par with where DD was pre-Joe. I am hoping that moving her production to the US means the quality of her garments goes up.

        • Yeah, that’s what I figured too. They’re more junior so the quality of material and construction just isn’t there in the way that would actually make the pieces worthwhile beyond throwaway trends. 

        •  A girlfriend of mine made a great point when we were talking about the episode.  She pointed out that a big part of why Tracey may not know fabric well is because of what’s available in the plus market — the price points for plus clothing are equivalent to much higher quality pieces in the misses’ sizes.  If she’s basing her choices on the fabric she generally gets when she shops for the target price, she would go for cheaper fabrics.

      • I confess I did tweet them today, just about 1 hr before they posted, as it turned out… But only because I was afraid I’d missed it or they weren’t gonna do it!

        And likewise, I LOVE what they have to say about plus sized fashion, and love Joe Zee just as much for his apparent commitment to it.

    • CozyCat

      The more I think about it, the more I think Joe Zee was pushing not only the designer but Lane Bryant as well.  He wanted her to “up” her level of style a bit, and her final collection certainly succeeded on that score.  But he also pushed LB to be a bit more “hip.” 

      I mean, was there any doubt they would work with her?  THEY WERE BEING FEATURED ON A SHOW WITH A BIG SHOT FROM ELLE!  When was the last time LB was mentioned in Elle?  My guess is never.  There was no way they were going to turn her (and therefore him) down.

      • Yeah I felt like it was a push at Lane Bryant to be more stylish in its offerings, definitely. 

  • I have to say that the dress Tracy is wearing for the meeting with Ashley Falcon does her NO favours and doesn’t really show much idea about dressing her own shape. I hope she sees it on TV and never wears it again. 

    • LesYeuxHiboux

       The dress she wore to meet with Octavia tells me she needs a bra fitting. She could really benefit from studying the technical aspects of fashion a bit more.

  • imspinningaround

    I’m so impressed by how perfectly she matched the stripes on the pencil skirt and the skater dress it actually brought tears to my eyes.  I hope to Jebus Lane Bryant (a store whose parent company this plus-size BK once worked for and STILL avoids at all costs) puts those two items into production–I will gladly pick those up.

    But Octavia Spencer, why are you wearing house shoes with that beautiful frock, sister friend?

  • PinkLemon

    LUV. her usage of those stripes is inspiring.

  • I’d buy the fuck out of that skater dress.  Girlfriend can work those stripes.

  • joything

    An influential office manager I one worked for was about Tracy’s size, totally rocker-office-manager style with a tattoo and a tongue stud, and so comfortable in her skin that I was mesmerized. 

  • Frank_821

    This was a good episode. I liked her and she wasn’t stubborn like some of these fools. she knew she needed help. I did think she would be the one person that would have enough sense to have a good presentation for the press.

    And those women from LB were idiotsOctavia was uber faboulous. I wish you had posted a screencap fromt eh photoshoot they were doing. She was rocking this terrific mod orange dress. we have to see that spread from Elle for sure.

  • I love that Joe ahs featured two plus size designers – and that he takes an interest in someone wanting to tap into a market base with money and taste and style that is sorely under served. 

    My biggest disappointment is that the higher end department stores did not want a piece of the action.  Saks & Neimans (Neimans more so) need more variety and spice in the plus lines.  Of course Saks just put Salon Z online only so I doubt they are looking to expand their offerings.

    So annoying – I have money to spend and love  good quality clothes and would even be willing to pay a premium for something that doesn’t involve leggings and tunics and crazy ass screen printing but no one wants my money.

    •  And has never told them that they need to hide parts of a woman’s body — he has said things like in this episode asking about how much of a market there is for bare arms, but that’s a demand question, not a judgment.  Even in the first season, he pushed Kara Janx — who is not a plus designer — to use a plus model (which is a size 8, but that’s a whole different conversation!) to show that she could dress every woman.

    • imspinningaround

      Salon Z is only online now?!?!?!

  • kimmeister

    One of the most stylish women I know is in her 40’s and probably a size 28.  Mad props to her, considering what’s generally available.

    Octavia ended up looking positively tiny in this ep!

    I was kind of dismayed at what Tracy wore to the buyer’s appt. Visible bra straps? So professional. I hated the triangle tank.  If the triangle had been upside down, it would’ve been much more flattering.  I liked the heartbreaker blouse and was irritated at the LB women for their closed-mindedness.

  • Love all the comments and insights here, both by TLo and their BKs.  I have to say, I was really impressed that Joe Zee took this designer on, treated her like he would any other designer, refused to spout nonsense (but then, the buyers did that:  show the boobs!), and made her become the designer she wants to be.  Like many others here, I think Torrid would have been a perfect match for her, not LB.  But all in all, a very good episode and again, kudos to Mr. Zee for including plus size.

  • BobStPaul

    Boy, do I wish I got Sundance channel.  From TLo’s recaps, this appears to be the best fashion show going.  

    • The first two seasons are available on Netflix streaming.

    • Lilithcat

      I don’t get Sundance, either, but I can watch this on my cable company’s “On Demand” free.

    • You can also buy the whole season on iTunes. It’s relatively inexpensive and there’s the bonus of no ads. They also notify you when a new episode is ready for download (which I do immediately). 

  • I want that last dress so much!  And I like the other one with the hot pink top, although I can’t wear hot pink and agree that the waist was way too high.

  • poggi

    I love you guys, Octavia, Joe and Tracy. More options and a broader range of styles for plus size women would be great. On,in shopping has improved things a bit ( dept store offering for plus size are so much better thn what it intend stores), but there is still a long way to go. Thanks to you and Joe and Octavia and Tracy (and even not Lane Bryant, albeit reluctantly) for Moving it along

  • kat89

    I find, as a “person of size” who shops in these types of stores, that Lane Bryant is trying for a market that doesn’t really exist. It seems to me that they just take regular clothing and make it bigger. The tops are always too short, the pants are all low cut, like they think clothes that a size 2 could wear are the same things a size 22 wants to buy. No large woman wants their muffin top or butt crack on display. Their dresses are made for a woman who is 10 feet tall. Nothing fits well. Nothing is stylish. Everything has horizontal stripes that are really unflattering. On top of all that, the clothes are overpriced pieces of crap that shrink an entire size once they’ve been washed. This is why I don’t shop at Lane Bryant. Torrid might be a better option for Domino Dollhouse, but their clothes tend to be cheap looking. There are other companies out there that are a better fit, but unfortunately, Lane Bryant is the best known name in plus-sized clothing.

    • alice20c

      I agree completely about LB’s fit issues! And yes, SO overpriced for a polyester fest. 

      As far as plus-sized cliches, I’d LOVE to find them hanging somewhere. All I see are crew necked, sleeveless, orange leopard print with horizontal ruffles and glitter that has no place in my life. Finding racks of unornamented, but well-shaped, plus-sized black, v-neck t-shirts in high-quality natural fibers would win my loyalty forever! I don’t care if I’m the cliche-iest plus cliche. Some shapes can’t divest those cliches as easily as others. I’m not a 5’10”, size 14 hourglass. I’m a petite-plus apple with a short, thick waist and no shoulders or chin. I am the silhouette apocalypse. I’ve always thought about going on “What Not to Wear” just to ruin their day.

      •  If you ever come to Chicago, give me a call, I’ll hook you up:)  I love the proportionally challenged.

  • OMG if that striped dress shows up at Lane Bryant I’m buying it on Day One!

  • MintaHallWriter

    That high waistline, just under the bust is an INCREDIBLY flattering look for a woman with a thick waist. usually that’s actually the smallest part of the body, not the “waist”.  Having that high waist is a GREAT choice for making a woman look smaller and her legs look longer and leaner.  Sorry, TLo, but those two high-waisted dresses are stunners.

    • librarygrrl64

      Agreed. I commented down-thread that they simply chose the wrong model for those looks.

  • I cried too.  Several times.

  • Trisha26

    I don’t know when you were last at Lane Bryant, TLo, but I’ve recently been to both mall & online shop to find an outfit for my curvy aunt after her job promotion. To my surprise their styles are super-junior, with a few work-appropriate looks as well, so I’m shocked the buyers hesitated at any of Tracy’s styles. They are indeed gung ho on bare necklines (something my aunt wouldn’t wear at work) and a great deal of their fabrics are clingy knits more suitable to size 0-12. I didn’t like Tracy’s color-blocked top or skirt and the sheer panels on the leggings were simply awful. The rest were very chic/fun – I wish her luck. 

  • MissMariRose

    the mantra that plus-sized ladies should only wear v-necks or scoop necks

    Ugh. I hate that. Even when I was at my largest and least confident about my body, I loved to rock a good bateau neck tee that screamed, “HEY BOYS, GETTA LOOK AT THIS CLAVICLE!”

  • I’ve never watched this show, but I love reading the recaps. She did a really nice job with the collection, even if some pieces weren’t perfect, and I hope that maybe getting some attention from people like Octavia Spencer will propel her forward.

    I seriously want the parallel lines skater dress, and I’m not a plus-sized girl. But I suppose that’s the point; it’s a dress that should and can be pretty and interesting and flattering, no matter what the body size. 

  • I have a few Domino Dollhouse pieces from the website and they’re fantastic, I actually think this is weaker than some of her other lines, but it definitely feels more toned down for the LB buyers. Forever 21 would have been a much better choice for her style, and it’s a shame Addition Elle is Canadian, because I can see a lot of her pieces doing well there, and her prices would have matched up a lot better than at F21.

  • This show has made me crazy lately. After this episode, I wanted to crawl through the TV and help her sew. I really did feel like here was a woman who was trying to do something for women like herself. I actually thought that her collection looked like a plus sized version of a NY&Company collection more  then LB. I don’t think NY&Co. has plus sized clothes, they do a lot of color blocked stuff. Maybe Avenue might have been a better fit.  I really liked what she did with stripes (breaking all the rules) and even though I was not a fan of the Peter Pan collar shirt, I liked that she tried to give another option (then the stereotypical V neck or plunging neckline), because some women want another type of neckline. I hope that LB does not make her stuff look too generic (and help her work on her price points….they seemed high).

  • sashaychante

    I LOVE the skater dress. I agree with the comments about the pink/striped dress.  This could really be a good look with just a few minor adjustments.  Also, I TOTALLY agree with the comments about plus size women NOT all wanting to dress middle aged.  I really enjoy the rockabilly influence in these clothes, and plus sizes need MORE options.

  • ThaliaMenninger

    It’s the real Tracy Turnblad!

  • librarygrrl64

    I disagree a bit on the Geo dress. It was shown on the wrong model/body type, is what I’m thinking. That model is pear-shaped with a very small bust, so the bodice looked out of proportion to the skirt. Heck, it WAS out of proportion to the skirt. On her, you’re right, a natural waist would have looked better. But on a plus-sized chick like me, who has big bust, I think that Empire waistline would have worked a whole lot better (as long as there was enough material to cover the coconuts). I would love the chance to try that on in my size, and I say that as someone who usually abhors pink.

  • Loved all the looks minus the “charming” blouse/skirt combo. I like the high waistline of the Geo dress- would’ve loved a bit more flowing a-line, but still cute.

    Minus a few personal changes (I hate wearing pink and brown as well), I’d rock any of these. I hate shopping at most plus size places because they tend to be uber conservative. I like a high waistline and cool/different necklines. 

    I’d love to model for Domino Dollhouse, great stuff, I wonder if they’re LA based?

    •  They are LA based from what they showed — like one of Tracy’s challenges was finding an LA manufacturer rather than elsewhere in the US because that would be no better than overseas.

  • Lisa Kramp

    I would buy the tunic outfit and the skater dress in a hot minute. Hope she makes it, the girl has serious skills.

  • Anna_Hilda

    A few nice pieces, but not really all that unexpected for plus-size clothes. A lot of items that are very Torrid, a couple that are more Asos Curve. By the way, rockabilly clothes are not at all hard to find in plus sizes. I think it’s sometimes harder to find good plus-size basics than plus-size alternative or “slutwear.” As a plus-size woman who strives for chic rather than edgy or sexy, this is the bane of my existence.

    For all that, I would wear the biker jacket, the tunic, and maybe the striped skirt or dress.

  • quiltrx

    I TOTALLY want to look like a sexy rocker chick!  Overall, with some tweaking, I really like her aesthetic.  I LOVE  the studded-shoulder tunic and the skater dress.  Both pretty and sexy and flattering.  Best of luck to her!!!

  • I’m so tired of Lane Bryant. I end up feeling fat and dumpy every time I try on their clothes, especially their tops. Then I go to some other store and realize, “oh yeah, I can still look styling at this weight. Look at me, I do have a shape.” Plus they already sell things with the same neckline as the Heartbreaker blouse so I don’t know what they are complaining about. I would wear that outfit and love it. 

  • Also, can I commend Tracy on using genuinely plus sized models and ones who show the variety of shapes we plus sized girls have? We’re not all the same silhouette.

  • Sarah Thomas

    It’s not that all plus-size women want to wear the standard Lane Bryant plus-size uniform. It’s that Lane Bryant has cultivated a very specific client; women who ONLY wear them or only feel well-dressed when following the dictums of their store style. Young, fashionable plus size women don’t predominantly shop at Lane Bryant – you might stop in for an Oxford to wear to work, but it’s not where you get your cute clothes. There were other plus-size retailers that were a better fit for her aesthetic – places where, for example, it’s not at all uncommon to see plus size rockabilly clothing – but none that had the name recognition. I think Joe got the right buyer simply because if he’d brought in Simply Be or Torrid for her, when he’d nabbed Macy’s and Anthropologie for his straight-size designers, it would have smacked of ghettoism.

  • LOVE that last look! I think that for a lot of girls with a big belly, that point just beneath the breasts will be one the smallest parts of their body and a good point to cinch in. The proportions didn’t work as well on the striped skirt/ pink top combo though.

  • It’s interesting to hear Lane Bryant complain about that neckline, because my biggest beef with their clothes (and I shop there) is that my boobs hang out of so many of their tops.  Yeah, it needed a little work, but that top would rock in my closet! 

  • Rei Carter

    Oh. man…I would wear the heck out of looks 1&2 and 5&6…loooooove. 

    I agree with many of the posters here that Lane Bryant was maybe not the best prospective buyer.  I really hope this generates a lot of interest for Tracy and keeps her in business. 

  • I love Joe even more after seeing this one.
    And I loved Tracy’s studio – that red wall with the framed art, the furniture, all of it.
    Hope she does well, and maybe she can evolve out of LB at some point. 

  • They are smoking crack at Lane Bryant for not getting that heart breaker top, I am plus size and completely adore it!!!! Actually I’m a bit tired of the real low necklines. Hope to find Domino dollhouse stores in the mall soon one day. For now online it is.