Being tall on the high street... doesn't work.

I could probably end the post there but it would be a bit of a short one. I'm 5'10, yes I'm tall, in fact I'm the same height as a lot of the models who display the clothes on the catwalk granted that's probably where the similarity ends but height wise we're around the same height.

Let me talk you through my usual shopping experience

F&F Dress
  • Walk into store, scan for dresses which look like they might fit
  • Don't see any longer dresses, start looking for the ones you like in the biggest size in the hope that they will fall a little longer if they're bigger
  • Realise that this shop doesn't go above a size 14 so you can't find one that is 'too big' for you.
  • Start looking at the hems of dresses you like, ponder if they have enough material to be let down
  • Ponder how much material is in the skirt, could you wear an underskirt with it to make it a little less short?
  • Give up completely move onto skirts
  • Skirts are all massively too short, as short is on trend and short skirt on me = arrest for indecent exposure.
  • Decide to peruse trousers
  • Tall trousers all gap at the back
  • Try and find belt
  • Hate legs in the one skinny pair they have in tall section
  • Decide to give up on trousers
  • Look at cardigans and tops
  • Spot lovely cardigan, try it on
  • Sleeves too short
  • Spot another less lovely cardigan but sleeves have a roll up that can be turned down #win
  • See lovely jackets for winter
  • Fall in love with one swing jacket across the shop
  • Go closer and try it on to realise the fitted waist is too high as it is designed for someone shorter, the coat you loved just throws body drastically out of proportion
  • Contemplate buying it and maybe making some tweaks
  • Decide not to as you have a wardrobe full of clothes that you thought you could 'tweak'
  • Spot murky tall section hidden at back of store
  • On arrival realise you don't need any work clothes and there is nothing but that in tall section
  • Decide to go look at shoes and boots
  • Fall in love with knee boots, heel too high, don't need any more height, put them down
  • Find a furry pair of knee boots for winter, try them on, they barely get above my calf
  • Deeply unflattering.
  • Hit accessories section HARD.
  • In depression impulse grab bag and few necklaces
  • Realise you cant be too tall for them.
  • Buy bag, necklaces and cardigan you don't really like that much but fits.
  • Still don't have anything to wear.
  • Do not pass go, do not collect £200

You see I know you all think I'm exaggerating but that is my shopping experience, the comical thing is like I said before, these clothes are all modelled on taller women yet there is no representation of that on the high street. My partner laughs at me when I tell him I've found a dress I like and I've bought two of them. It's standard practise with me. Buy two, one to wear normally, one for when the other wears out. Coming across dresses that fit well is like gold dust so I always buy en masse.

I would love to wear the dresses I see so many much shorter girls wearing, and for them to fit properly and be an appropriate length so I'm not putting the whole tea service on display but honestly it rarely happens.

Pearl Lowe Dress, Waistline that actually sits in the right place. Miraculous!

So what are the high street doing to meet my needs? Well I have two options I can shop at a specialist outfitter like Long Tall Sally where I can expect to pay rather high prices for clothes that aren't particularly fashionable in my opinion. Or I can look for the Tall lines in high street stores. You may not have noticed them if you aren't tall. They're usually consigned to a corner of the store, and essentially have the same contents every time. Grey work trousers, black work trousers, 1 style of jeans, work shirts, maybe a dress if you're lucky and a work skirt and always dodgy jogging bottoms and a dodgy hooded top. That for the most part is it. There are better retailers out there like Dorothy Perkins who have a range that encapsulates a little more of the shop and whose tall sizing in their jeans can extend through the range. But this isn't overly common.

Take something like tights for example. I love tights and I know many of the girls reading this do as well. Now I'm 5'10 so the large should fit me as I am tall, but here's the problem I'm also not skinny at all, I wear a 12 on top and a 16 on the bottom. Granted these fall into 'normal' proportions for the British woman I am not particularly specialist but tell that to the tights manufacturers. You see I can be tall but I'm not allowed to have bum or thighs to fit into these tights. I buy them they just don't fit and you get that hammock gusset. Yup really. As any girl who has had to endure hammock gusset will tell you, it is not fun. So I thought I'll buy an XL I figured it would add on to the Large which fits me as I'm tall but perhaps have a bit extra room. Alas no folks, the XL is for smaller girls than me who are larger in size. My mind is boggled. So I can be tall or over a size 12 but I can't be both?

In the end Evans saved the day, the only problem with their tights is they're too big for me and I frequently end up with Nora Batty ankles from the tights gathering. So again I feel a little under-represented.

Who are my saviours on the high street?
Pearl Lowe for Peacocks is one of my favourites, I have 4 of her dresses they're all brilliant lengths, work amazingly with curves and just make you feel brilliant wearing them.
Florence and Fred at Tesco, I have 2 dresses from F&F one a little print one that I love, the other is a red tea dress that I dyed last year to make it more versatile. It is a wonderful length and stands up to serious washing and ironing, it's one of my favourites.

Pearl Lowe Dress

Oasis, sometimes they can be hit and miss but sometimes they get it bang on. I have a lovely black wrap dress that I've had for years, washes impeccably and is a terrific fit.

I hate to say it but if you're tall and not naturally of slim proportions you do have a lot of trouble on the high street. Much slimmer taller girls can wear a dress that should be longer and not mind as they have slim legs, but if you don't want to show off your legs, or you want to have a dress that fits you proportionally like all the other women they design for, well jog on.

It pretty much leaves you with a few options, try to lose weight so that body fat is not an issue and you can wear anything (a tactic I'm currently working on at the moment), spend quite a lot of money of specialist shops for rather ugly pieces that aren't on trend, tinker with things, learn to make your own and sew (another tactic I've been working on at the moment).

Pearl Lowe dress (another one)

You see some of you may say 'well I'm petite I'm not represented either' but let me tell you this, petite is a lot easier to work with, clothes can be taken up or in, I can't add material to something. At least if you're petite a new hem on a skirt/ trousers/ dress can for the most part sort it out.Plus petite is often thought of as cute, feminine, adorable. When you're tall you get called manly, lumbering, beanpole, tomboyish, not very feminine, even sometimes as I have experience of- a drag queen.

I should be allowed to feel feminine and pretty, just because I'm tall shouldn't mean that the average British sizing shouldn't apply to me. I'm not asking for much, I'm not saying give me a huge collection, just give me some better pieces in tall sections that aren't work wear or ugly jogging bottoms.
There's a reason I don't pretend to be on trend and super stylish like so many amazing fashion bloggers, I don't have enough clothes! If I could operate a sewing machine with any level of dexterity I would create for myself a whole new wardrobe and say screw you shops, but alas I can't so I make do with what I have.

It is hard to have a positive body image when you're not really overly accepted on the high street. I'm not saying I'm freakishly large but sometimes it feels like it. I envy shorter girls, I envy the ease with which they can buy things and I am baffled by the fashion industry's double standards. I shouldn't be surprised but I still find it baffling. Yes they're catering to the average sizes, but models are tall, how can the epitome of fashion the model, be unrepresented on the high street? Now I'm no model but height wise it seems bizarre.

Just give me a decent collection to work with. It doesn't have to be this hard. For any fashion retailers out there who may be reading this, I mean you!

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