Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Entrepreneurial Tall Sisters For The Win!

Do you have a tall sister?  I do and I've featured her here on the blog a few times.  I really miss living near my 5'11 sister for several reasons including the stealing sharing of clothes, fun (and sometimes frustrating) shopping trips and of course the special sisterly bond.

Since I'm now living on a different continent and I miss her sorely, here are a couple of my favorite photos of the two of us together during recent trips home to California.  In both photos, we happen to be posing on my magical little Balboa Island where I lived for a few years before I married Mr. L3.




As part of my Tall Specialty Shop Challenge, I'll be highlighting unique aspects of various tall specialty shops. While we're on the topic of sisters, I've noticed that there are a couple of tall entrepreneurial sister duos out there that are working hard to bring us tall ladies some fabulous items. Check them out!

Amali Talli - Sisters Amy (6'3.5) and Ali (5'10) opened a tall boutique in the Minneapolis area in late 2014.  Part of their shopping strategy involves attending market expos in various parts of the U.S. and personally measuring and trying on items to make sure they fit before ordering them for their store.  Isn't it cool to think that a measuring-tape wielding pair of tall sisters is out there scouring the country in order to supply us tall ladies with the latest trends that are guaranteed to fit? They plan to launch an online shop soon. Keep an eye out for it and visit their Eden Prairie, MN store if you're in the area.



Tallwater Jeans - 6'2 and 6'3 twin sisters Lynn and Kate are the 
founders of Tallwater which offers fabulous made-in-America jeans 
with an inseam of 37"-38" (so that you can tailor the jean to your perfect length if need be or wear 5 inch heels!), yoga pants and a cute maxi dress.  Since their teenage years, Lynn and Kate have been frustrated by the lack of clothing options for tall ladies.  They decided to collaborate with a veteran denim master and channel that frustration into creating a line of jeans that doesn't just have a longer inseam but also longer rises and runs, wider leg openings etc.  In short, the jeans are tailor made for a tall woman's body and with styles ranging from skinnies all the way to trouser jeans, they really do have something for everyone! I think this blurb on the Tallwater website sums it up nicely "The truth is, you can’t take a pattern that was designed for someone who’s 5’7″ and just enlarge it for someone who is 6’2″. It’s a different body type all together. You need to start from scratch. And since nobody else seemed to be willing to do that, we decided to do it ourselves”. Bravo!

I'll be buying a pair of jeans from Tallwater for my March item for the Tall Specialty Shop Challenge. Yay! 

Friday, February 20, 2015

New Tall Shopping Challenge (and Some Soul Searching)

Lately, I've been on the prowl to find as many tall specialty shops as I can. I don't mean big international brands that happen to offer a tall line buried somewhere on their website (although those certainly have their place in the tall scene).  I'm talking tall entrepreneurs who have noticed a gap in the tall clothing market and have taken a chance on starting their own companies.  I currently have 19 tall specialty lines on my Shopping List. NINETEEN companies solely catering to tall women!!! Isn't that exciting?

What are these "tallpreneurs" doing for us tall ladies?  Here are a few things I've noticed:
  • trotting all over the country in order to personally measure and try on clothing at markets expos to ensure proper fit for customers before they stock these items.
  • carefully and thoughtfully designing their own clothing lines (including a lot of really unique and beautiful pieces)
  • scouring their local areas for high quality manufacturers and suppliers 
  • promptly replying to any questions from customers

I've been doing some soul searching about my shopping habits and have decided it's time to re-focus on all of the fabulous tall specialty companies that are pouring their blood, sweat and tears into their businesses.  True confessions - I was not very good downright crappy at keeping up with all of these tallpreneurs in 2014. I fell into a habit of mostly ordering from the tall lines of international brands because it was so convenient to be able to return items to the stores.  As I mentioned above, the tall lines from bigger brands certainly have their place and we definitely need them in the tall scene.  But I've had my fill of big brands for now and am ready to dive into the world of tall small businesses to see what treasures I can find (and what fabulous tallpreneurs I can meet). 

New Tall Shopping Challenge

This brings me to my new shopping challenge.  Back in 2011, I embarked on a 4 month shopping challenge which involved only buying tall items from either tall specialty shops or big brand tall lines. I've decided to up the ante this time and only buy my clothing from tall specialty shops for 2015.  Yikes!  Do you think I'll be able to find everything I need for my wardrobe for the rest of the year by only shopping at tall specialty shops?  It might be tough but that's why it's called a challenge, right?

I hope that seeing reviews of items from some of the small companies will inspire you to give them a try.  After all, we need them to stay in business so that we can continue to have tons of options.  

And since I hate to do a photo-less blog post, I leave you with photos of a few of my favorite items that I've bought over the years from tall specialty shops.

Faux Leather Bomber Jacket from Talltique (This item just arrived and will be the first review in my Tall Specialty Shop Challenge!)




Fun Lace Tank from Tall Snob Store (Also shown in above photo under the Talltique leather jacket)

Lace tank from TallSnob.com
Workout tops from Elle Mayers Tall Activewear

Elle Mayers Everyday Jacket...Look at how long the sleeves are!

I have a grand total of TEN Elle Mayers tops.  Can't get enough. Woohoo!
Boyfriend jacket from Long Elegant Legs


Tunics from Long Tall Sally (The two on the left are still available on the LTS website)


Long Coat and 36" Joe's Twiggy Jeans from Tall Couture (Recently out of business...sigh!)

Joe's Jeans
Bought this coat several years ago from Tall Couture and it remains one of my fav tall pieces



What do you think? Am I nuts for doing this?  Leave me a comment and let me know. :)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ready for Spring! Vibrant Blue Long Tall Sally Tunic

Who is ready for spring?  Raise your hand!  Me me me...I am!!  It has been grey grey grey gloomy rainy snowy and more grey here, and I am in dire need of all things BRIGHT to cheer me up. 

When Long Tall Sally sent me the two pocket tunic from its new spring collection to try, the vibrant blue color of the blouse immediately perked me up.  You know a color is eye catching when you send your sister-in-law the below photo with only a hint of the sleeve and hem showing and she says "I like that blue. What does the whole shirt look like"?  (Yes.  I am about to devour some greasy Prague street food in the form of "hot potato on a stick"...don't judge).



I usually try to take new items for a test drive before reviewing them.  Luckily, the tunic arrived just before Mr. L3 and I dashed off to Prague for the weekend, and I was able to wear it whilst meandering up and down endless cobblestone lanes, across various bridges, on a visit to Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral...you get the idea.  Behold how grey and dreary the weather looks in the photos.  The vibrant blue really stands out against the grey backdrop, don't you think?

Posing on the Charles Bridge with Prague Castle in the background.
Note the Mandarin collar, two front pockets and longgg sleeves!
Boat watching
Getting my fix of quaint cobblestone lanes
The tunic is the perfect length in the back!
For my Prague adventures, I paired the tunic with my black J.Crew Reid jeans, black LTS long-sleeve tee, a black belt from WHBM, my trusty Aquatalia waterproof suede boots and a Marc by Marc Jacobs cross-body bag. Wearing this much black is all fine and good for winter but for spring, I will wear the tunic with lighter colors (and with white jeans if I can ever find some that fit me).  I would even wear it with a pink shirt underneath as shown on the LTS website.

Fit - Let's talk about the fit of this tunic for a second. I am wearing a US size 6 (EU38/UK10) and - true confessions - I could not button the last two buttons of the tunic thanks to my size 10 hips.  At first I thought I would have to send it back for an 8 but realized that would have been too baggy everywhere else.  After playing around with it for a bit, I decided I like wearing the tunic with the first few and last few buttons undone.  Just be aware that the tunic is basically a straight fit all the way down, so if you are like me and are a size 6 up top and 10 on the bottom, you may have trouble wearing it fully buttoned. I'm not always a fan of hi-lo hems but this one works on me.  The length in the back provides ample coverage for my backside and the front falls a few inches down my thighs. 

Special Details - To me, the Mandarin collar is more flattering and interesting on the tunic than a traditional collar would be so LTS did a good job there.  The two large pockets add some interest to the front and the button cuffs adds a touch of elegance. 

Wearability - This is truly a transitional piece to take you from winter to spring and again from fall to winter. You can easily layer a long sleeve top under it for colder weather or a tank for warmer temperatures. It can also transform seamlessly from a day look with skinny jeans and flats or boots to a night-out look (just add heels and some statement jewelry).

I've had great luck with LTS tunics and I find myself wearing the ones that I've bought quite frequently and in all seasons. I'm not the only one loving this tunic.  It has rave reviews on the LTS website and there's currently a 2 week wait for all sizes. If you want it, order quickly before they run out!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Updated Shopping List for Shoes

Since I have spring on my mind (wishing it would hurry up is more like it), I figured it was high time I do a spring cleaning of my clothes and shoes shopping lists.  You can find my clothes shopping list here and my shoes shopping list here.  These lists are also easily accessible from the tabs at the top of the website. 

New Additions to Shoes Shopping List 

Shoes of Prey - Australia-based Shoes of Prey allows you to custom design your shoes so you can literally create your perfect shoe. The shoes go up to a size 15 and SoP ships globally.  If you live in Australia, visit one of their stores. In November 2014, SoP announced an exclusive U.S. partnership with Nordstrom and will provide custom shoe design studios in 6 different Nordstrom locations!  I think I will have to send my sister to the Newport Beach location to do some recon once it opens on March 26, 2015. Stay tuned.

Poppy Barley -  Do you need wide-calf boots like me?  Do you need an extra-long shaft so that the boots actually go to your knee? Poppy Barley has you covered. PB is a custom shoe company with sizes ranging from 5-12. They offer amazing custom made boots and flats and are based in Canada with shipping throughout North America. If you're near Edmonton, you can make an appointment to design your shoes in person.  Alicia Jay from TallSwag.com has a great review of PB here.

Shoeissima -  London-based Shoeissima offers shoes exclusively in sizes 10-14 and ships globally.  Read a review by Laura on All the Tall Things here.

LLXLLQ - Gorgeous handmade Italian shoes in sizes 10-12. Ships globally. LOVE the looks of the red shoes shown in the review on Height of Style's website here

Uncommon Ground - Wide variety of shoes in sizes 10-14. Based in Australia and ships globally.   

The Higher Heel - Wide variety of shoes in sizes 10-14. Only available in Australia.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Updated Shopping Lists with Exciting New Additions

Since I have spring on my mind (wishing it would hurry up is more like it), I figured it was high time I do a spring cleaning of my clothes and shoes shopping lists.  You can find my clothes shopping list here and my shoes shopping list here.  These lists are also easily accessible from the tabs at the top of the website. 

New Additions to Clothes Shopping List


Leggy Threads - Thanks to Nache over at Tallook, I discovered Leggy Threads.  Three words - ruffles, bows and lace.  Intrigued? You should be!  Based in the UK, Leggy Threads was "created by Sarah Stoker, a 6ft Tall professional business Woman (and mother of 4 year old twin girls) who has spent her life on a mission to find the right fit for on-trend luxury clothing, deciding to set up her own exclusive luxury label in 2014".  Leggy Threads has produced a line of absolutely STUNNING blouses ranging from an oo-la-la sheer black blouse with leatherette trim to a romantic and ultra-feminine blouse with hand-pleated details.   From the hand-sewn buttons and pleats to the British-sourced lace and fabrics, it is evident that Sarah paid immense attention to detail when designing these blouses.  I can't wait to see more from this line!  P.S. Leggy Threads just started shipping to the U.S.

Model Atelier - I discovered another luxury tall line, Model Atelier, after reading a review on J. Enovy's The Tall District blog.  Based in Chicago and owned by fashion model Robin Harris, Model Atelier's inaugural collection ranges from a wear-to-the-office-and-then-out-for-drinks pencil skirt with a mid-thigh slit to a gorgeous, flowy floor-length skirt with a generous slit (in red, black or ivory) to a sassy moto jacket.  While you can always order online, keep an eye out for a pop-up shop near you.  Model Atelier already held its first pop-up shop in Chicago and promises to bring the collection to major U.S. cities (and possibly international cities as well).  As I perused the website, I discovered that Model Altelier encompasses more than just tall clothing - it is also a digital magazine and beauty line.

Sad Farewell to Tall Couture

As I was updating my shopping list, I was SO SAD to have to remove Tall Couture.  I'd been a customer of Tall Couture for at least 10 years and was always happy to buy from a company that offered a broad selection of trendy, designer clothes.  Seeing Tall Couture close its virtual doors after 12 years in business reminded me that I need to place an emphasis on buying from the small businesses run by all of the fabulous tall ladies out there.

 As an ode to Tall Couture, here are a few of my favorite buys over the years: 

Joe's Twiggy Jeans - My 2nd pair of Twiggys from Tall Couture
Hudson Denim Jacket

One of my all-time favorite tall coats

Beautiful printed top that I still wear a ton
To sum up this post in a nutshell, GO FORTH AND SHOP TALL! 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

First Visit to a Long Tall Sally Store


I remember when I was in high school, my mom and I made the 1+ hour trek to Pasadena, CA to visit a tiny little store that only sold tall women's clothing.  On one of the visits, I bought a beautiful floor-length red gown that I still haven't worn to this day.  I was just awestruck that a dress would actually be a little bit TOO long for me and I simply HAD to have it (you know...in case I ever needed to just throw a formal red gown on).  Miraculously, it still fits so if I ever need to bust that bad boy out for a special event, at least I'll be ready.  My point is, when I walk into a tall store or a tall pop-up shop, I tend to get SO excited and overwhelmed at having tall options right in front of my nose that I often make impulse purchases.  Anyone else feel that way? 


I am happy to say that, for the most part, I kept my impulse purchasey self in check during my first visit to a Long Tall Sally store.  This was no small feat however.  When you are greeted with this type of a selection ALL in tall sizes upon entering the store, it's kind of hard NOT to want one of everything, right? This was just the front part of the store by the way.  There were a bunch more items in the back.



What I really wanted/needed was a knee-length down winter coat since I managed to spill some European Christmas Market street food on my current down jacket resulting in a rather stubborn stain.  Unfortunately, the store didn't have my size. Undeterred, I went straight to trying on some faux leather jackets (because those are really going to keep me toasty in the winter, right)?  Not so much, but they were sure fun to try on.   


The white "Textured Leather Look Jacket" is a new arrival.  I'm definitely going to keep an eye on it and might snag it online once it goes on sale.  I think it would be perfect for spring.  I loved the snug, cropped fit, the longgg sleeves and the off-center zipper.

Wow! That harsh dressing room lighting is really not doing my hair any favors in this photo

You can tell I was really into the dressing room selfies, huh?  Once the very helpful sales attendant saw that I was loving the white textured jacket, she brought me a blue biker jacket to try on since it was on sale.  Again, I loved the fit and details (like the quilted shoulders, cuffs and back panel) but just wasn't prepared to pull the purchase trigger for a thin jacket in the dead of winter.  It appears I'm not the only one to love this jacket since it has rave reviews online (4.5/5 from 14 reviews).  As you can see, there's quite a disparity in the color of the jacket in the two photos thanks to differences in lighting.  The LTS website calls the color of the jacket navy but I would say it's more like royal blue as shown in the second photo.



LONGGGGGGGGGGG sleeves!!!

As you can probably tell, I LOVED LOVED LOVED both of the jackets but couldn't justify the expense when I wouldn't be able to wear them for a good 3 months.  Aren't you proud of me for resisting? 


So, what in the world did I buy? I knew I was in the market for some of the long-sleeve scoop neck tees for layering since I've basically worn my white one to death.  I bought the "tall essentials" tops in grey and black.  Total snoozer of a purchase but I've already worn both in the past week. 


On the more impulsey side, I bought this "Deluxe Laser Cut Blouse" to wear on date nights with Mr. L3.  I like that the cut-out detailing allows me to show a hint of skin but the top has long sleeves which makes it winter appropriate. The laser cut detailing is much more attractive in person than on the website.  In fact, when I was trying to find the blouse on the website, I breezed right past it the first time. I guess seeing items with my own little eyeballs in the store rather than online really does make a difference.

The top comes with a black camisole but I decided to use my beige camisole to better highlight the pretty laser cut detailing.  Last night, Mr. L3 met a friend for dinner and I wore it as shown below with my Banana Republic skinny jeans (although I knew we would be doing a fair amount of walking out in the elements so I wore my new long sleeve black LTS layering tee for extra warmth and black boots instead of the Corso Como plum heels).



The whole backside of the shirt has the laser cut detailing
I figure I can ramp things up yet another notch and pair it with my Loft tall leopard print pencil skirt, Hue tights and Corso Como booties.
Love the long long sleeves!
Overall, my visit to the Long Tall Sally store was quite pleasant.  The store was very well-organized, the sales attendants were friendly and I was thrilled to see several other tall ladies in there shopping up a storm.  I left the store a happy camper and definitely plan to pop into an LTS store again whenever my European travels take me near one.  Have your wanderings ever taken you near a store with tall offerings?  How was your shopping experience?

Happy happy happy