Sunday, November 19, 2006

One Rant For Tall Women Everywhere

Imagine you have been out running errands all day. It's cold - bitterly cold - outside. The wind has been slicing through every seam in your coat it could find, and your feet feel like you've been trudging through the icy, slush-filled puddles of the arctic.

You go home, get a nice hot bath, and when you put on your favorite pair of flannel PJs, you notice (with horror) that your pants are 2 inches too short. You pull them off, rummage through your pajama drawer, pull out another pair and... they're 2 inches too short, too.

"Nuts," you think. "I'll find my long underwear and wear those until I'm warm." Except, the lovely silk long underwear pants you bought are, alas, 3 inches too short as well. You frantically pull item after item out of your dressers, closets, even your dirty clothes hamper, only to discover that EVERYTHING is too short - the pants, the shirt-sleeves, even the shirts are all belly shirts (and while one or two would be fine, you didn't want to have an entire wardrobe of them). You reach for your winter coat, and - ACKKKK! It's too short, too!!

Welcome to my world.

Everywhere I look, lots and lots of lovely warm flannel items, pajama pants, etc., all with inseams of 28 inches. Sometimes I get lucky, and I can find them with a 32" inseam, but when your inseam is 35", well, it just doesn't feel so freakin' lucky! I'm tired of looking like a refugee from Revenge of the Nerds camp.

Thanks to Lee, I have jeans that fit. They are comfortable, long enough (until I wash them, after which I am afraid they might no longer be...longer), and they don't sit so low on my torso that I look like a plumber when I sit down. Or stand up. Or do anything except pose like a manequin in a clothing store. Unfortunately, the Lee people don't make sleepwear, or long underwear, or corduroy pants, or sweaters or anything else I could wear to work. And they're about the only ones.

Eddie Bauer used to be my friend, but alas. He got caught up in the mistaken belief that women stopped having hips and thighs. The pants he makes now are for women with no butts and pencil-thin thighs who apparently do nothing but stand in one place for hours without moving. Same at Land's End. (Don't get me started on L.L. Bean - that's a tale for another day).

Let me say it in simple words that even a clothing designer might understand: real women have hips. We have curvy thighs. We have waists. We do not like clothing designers who think we are stick figures and make clothes for said stick figures. We do not all wear a size 4. You're supposed to be talented designers - here's a challenge: design clothing that real women can wear. Yes, I know it will be difficult. You will have to make clothing that actually fits a woman's body, not a scrawny 11-year-old boy's body, but I think you can do it if you put your mind to it.

Please keep in mind that tall clothing for women is not just regular sized clothing with longer sleeves and legs, although those are helpful. Tall women can have longer rises, which means that pants and swimsuits and other things that have to fit properly "down there" need to be longer from the "down there" point to the waist to avoid injury or embarrassment. That doesn't mean "make 'Mom' pants and sell them as tall clothing." No. That means make clothing that fits those with longer rises.

Tall women also - and you should like this part - can have larger breasts and still be a size 6 or 8 or 10 in the body. In my younger days, I actually had a size 6 waist, even though I was a 32DD. Try to find clothes that fit and don't make you look like a linebacker with that profile..... In order for things to fit in the chesticle area, I had to go up, like, 2 or 3 sizes (because of the shoulders, too), only the waist part was blousing around me like a parachute because the bottom of the shirt/blouse wasn't quite long enough to stay tucked into the waist of my slacks or skirt or whatever I was wearing.

While I'm on that subject, there should be more items of clothing for tall women than just pants with longer inseams and jackets with longer arms. Tall women may have slightly wider shoulders (duh - bigger frames!), and no, going up a size is not the answer! If you think that works, try wearing a jacket that fits in the shoulders but is 2 sizes bigger everywhere else, and then look in a mirror. "Frankensuit" is the word you're looking for to describe what you see, and it is NOT pretty!

The other important thing to remember is that the waist in a dress for a tall woman is going to be in a different spot than a waist in a dress for a shorter woman. If you don't believe me, go to the petite section and find a dress. Then go to the misses' department and find the same dress. The "waist" of the dress will be in a different spot for the different sizes, right?

THEN WHAT IN BLUE BLAZES makes you think that just making the hem longer will make it a "tall" dress???????

Santa, here is what I want for Christmas. Every item in the L.L. Bean, Eddie Bauer, Land's End, Brooks Brothers and other catalogs/stores that sell reasonably-priced, work-worthy clothing to be also available in "real" tall sizes.

And while you're at it, could I please have some nice flannel jammies that are long enough?


O. said...

Amen to that. I was online searching for sweaters that are not fidgety (tug at sleeves, tug at hem - I'm currently wearing one) when I found your blog. I have had some luck with JCrew for pants and BR for some tops. But the selections at both these places are much fewer than in the "regular" women sections. Oh, and don't bother going to the store. You can only get these online and they can be pricey. But I've gotten to the point where I'll pay to not have to tug at anything! Oh, and since when did tall clothing become synonymous with ugly, lame, or plain?

lawyerchik said...

You're 1000% right on that, O. Tall clothing (not to mention shoes in any size larger than a 10) are apparently presumed to be intended for drag queens, so the issue of femininity and prettiness must go out the window of the design room......