Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Fashion Irony

The average American woman is just over 5 feet 4 inches tall.  The average fashion model is 5 feet 9 inches, and many are even taller than that (think the lovely Karlie Kloss, at 6"1", and Elle MacPherson, at 6'.)  However, there are two initial problems with that 5+ inch discrepancy:
  1. The obvious one: the models do not reflect what most women will look like in the clothes. This is the problem most women find frustrating, and understandably.  If these models are the standard for ideal physical beauty, and height is nothing we have control over, then women are judging themselves in a comparison that was never even comparable to begin with.
  2. But the less obvious one--at least less obvious to anyone of average height--is that for those of us who are 'model' height, ironically the clothes actually for sale are not made for us.  We cannot assume because an item of clothing is photographed on someone we know is our height, that if we try on the same item it would fit us. 
Bet you didn't know being average height was actually a shopping blessing, did you?  I am 5'11". A good height for sports, yes, and a good height for modeling (if I were 10 years and 20 lbs lighter - and I'm only 140. I'm not saying I need to lose weight, its just the industry....).  But it's not a good height for buying clothes off the rack.  Pants are never long enough. And even if you decide 'hey, that's ok, I'll rock these regular length skinny jeans as crop pants', the proportions are off, so you can't pull them up past your knees. Try on a cute, fitted sheath dress, and the narrow of the waist is at your rib cage, and the width of the hips is at your waist. That look may have worked in the days of the bustle, but not so much today. A full length sleeve usually ends up being 3/4 length.

One of the wonderful things about this world is all the diversity of life; all the beautiful shapes and sizes and colors we come in.  So I understand, practically speaking, that mass-produced clothing cannot be made in every single size and shape.

Thankfully, many companies are beginning to make more clothes in tall length. Not just longer limbs, but longer proportions, so the waist is where the waist should be, and the knee-length hem is actually at the knee (and not pushing decency boundaries.)  ASOS is increasing their line, and I could not be happier about this. I honestly don't know how I dressed before I discovered ASOS.  They have super cute, affordable maternity clothes (which I shopped when I was pregnant, and will again next time) and their tall size styles are increasing. With free shipping on any order over $25, free expedited shipping over $125, free returns, petite, maternity, average and tall sizes, and a massive inventory, what more could you ask for?  If you're not shopping there yet, set some time aside and check it out (you will find dozens of things you love, I promise). You're going to have to start an ASOS wish list board on Pinterest.

Fitted dresses are always a tall challenge. These are so cute and in tall proportions. (Here, here, here and here.)  They have styles for work and play.

Peplum tops are always a tall girl challenge. Here's a cute one with longer proportions.  And a fun, tribal top that is long enough.

A beautifully colored shift dress that's not a mini; and while many brands carry basics in longer lengths, its often hard to find trendier pieces.  These plaid pants look great for the fall.


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