Category Archives: Interview

Video Blog: 90s Style and Gok’s Tall Tips

Hey ladies,

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been working with a female-founded production company called Zalia Films. They got in touch with me because Julia, a 6’2 film-maker, is a long-time reader of All the Tall things and was keen to collaborate on something.

Over tea at The National Gallery cafe, we decided to create a magazine-style video blog that was purely for tall girls, full of fashion, advice, inspiring stories and a little bit of silliness as well.

This is the first episode, in which we explore ways to work the 90s trend, and I fall a little bit more in love with Gok Wan (he ruddy loves a leggy lovely). Let us know what you think and what you’d like to see more of. If you like it, it’ll become a more regular thing. More celeb interviews, spotlights on new and emerging collections for tall women and advice from those in the know. And if you’ve got an idea or would love to get involved yourself, well… please drop me an email to laura@allthetallthings.com. The more the merrier.

You can also find links to the clothes featured below. If a link is missing, it’s because I’ve not been able to find the product online, or it’s an oldie I’ve added into the mix.

My Outfit

Outfit One (Pretty Sporty)

Outfit Two (Acid Grunge)

Outfit Three (Minimalist)

 

Luckily there is a team of fabulous girl creatives who work on this with me so I don’t need to take time out of blog posts. (I realise I’ve been mega slack lately, but that’s due to day-job craziness and not the Vlog eating up my time). So the idea is for video blogs to bring more content to the blog, not less.

Let me know what your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

L x

P.S. Special thanks go to Andrew Franklin Photography for use of his studio. Check him out if you’re in need of a super talented wedding photographer (who also happens to be my very helpful nextdoor neighbour).

P.P.S. More thanks to Specsavers for letting me interview Mr Wan. Check out their website for gorgeous specs by Read or Dead, Cheap Monday and Gok himself.

Tall girls get gold

I’m seriously missing the Olympics. There are no hot men in swimming trunks on my telly and I’ve got no idea what Kate Middleton is up to.

What an epic 17 days. I was immensely proud to be a Brit, but also proud to be a tall woman; events like the volleyball and rowing were full of incredibly fit and talented ladies using their long limbs to their advantage.

I screamed a lot when Katherine Grainger (6ft with size 10 feet) and Anna Watkins (6ft with size 9 feet) took gold in the Women’s Double Sculls final, so I was particularly honoured to meet them at Long Tall Sally’s flagship store on Monday. Have a read of our chinwag…

So, tell us how the tie-up with LTS came about…

AW: I got in touch because it’s the shop that I shop in all the time, and I know it’s the same for a lot of the other rowing girls so I thought it was a good match.

You’re all very tall on the team aren’t you?

KG: Yeah, the tallest is 6’4.

I’m 27, am I slightly too old to start rowing now?

KG and AW: No.

Even to get Olympic Gold?

KG and AW: No, really!

A lot of ATTT readers have been really inspired by the tall female Olympians… how can they get involved in sport?

AW: Sporting Giants recruits for several sports. There’s definitely still recruitment for rowing going on.

KG: They look for athletes over a certain height and wingspan. There are little meetings all over the country – they use different machines to test your potential.

That’s where I might fall short…

AW: No, the tests are designed to pick up natural ability…

KG: They don’t expect you to come fully-formed as an Olympian. Because that can be taught. The really nice thing is that there’s a range of sports that they’ll target you towards. It could be volleyball, it could be basketball, and they then guide you towards what you’d be good at.

When did you start rowing?

KG: Both of us started at university. I did a lot of sport before that, but never anything at top level. I just loved it, trying loads of different sports rather than focusing on one. I genuinely fell into it at university because someone said “You’ve got the right height and build for it.” Rowing is absolutely geared towards people with height and long levers.

Obviously the last two weeks have been crazy… what have you guys been up to? Have you managed to see your postbox?!

AW: I managed to see mine on Friday!

It’s gotta be those quirky things that are really exciting…

AW: It is. I grew up in a little town and everybody there is just thrilled to be a part of the Olympics, and they feel like there’s something special going on in the town and they’re part of the whole excitement. Loads of people are having their photo taken next to it, it’s really lovely.

Aaaah… and you get a stamp as well don’t you?

KG: Yeah, that’s the amazing thing about the home Olympics. We knew the crowd support would be so different being home games, but what we didn’t think was what would continue afterwards. This incredible enthusiasm to do anything to do with the Olympics. Things like the Royal Mail putting out our postbox within hours of us winning… the postal stamp was out the next day… it’s amazing how the whole country has embraced it and wanted to celebrate it. Because things like the postbox go to your own town, it then covers the whole of Britain so it’s not just London-focused.

Were you quite surprised by how much it took the country by storm?

KG: I think it was almost perfect timing, you almost felt the country was ready for something to really lift the spirits. Yes the build up had been: Will the traffic be too much? Will there be enough tickets? Will the Weather behave? We weren’t sure if we could really host it as well as we should. I genuinely feel from the moment of the opening ceremony, when everyone just sat back and went “Woah, we can do this well”, we then spent two weeks just celebrating incredible achievements and really iconic moments. I think people found it far more emotional than they ever thought. I don’t think any of us could have predicted how the nation would embrace it. Obviously we’re all about the Olympics — it’s our life — but to see other people get it was really special.

Are you thinking Rio?

KG: At the moment we’re still thinking London! We’re not finished with celebrating 2012.

You’ve got to beat Steve Redgrave though…

KG: It’s quite hard to beat Steve Redgrave!

Very true. Talking about the most important thing then… Fashion. Obviously you’ve gone through lots of Olympic games not being sponsored by LTS.  Have you had trouble in the past getting activewear to fit the rowing team?

AW: Well, clothes in general really. We spend a lot of time in lycra which fortunately is made for us but yeah… jogging bottoms that don’t flap around your ankles, and really nice snuggly jumpers that are properly long enough so they don’t finish half-way down your arms. Everybody’s so happy when they get something that fits like that and they just live in it. I’ve been wearing my LTS jumper all the time because it’s just nice to wear stuff that fits really nicely.

Do you like to glam up with heels when you’re off-duty?

AW: We’ve done so much fun stuff over the last two weeks, it’s been brilliant. I’ve worn more dresses in the last two weeks than I have in the last two years.

Have you had loads of glam celebrity events and parties to go to?

KG: It’s a whole range, from really nice local stuff at home or schools right up to a red carpet in the Westend tonight. It’s the full extreme. What’s nice is we’re so comfortable and confident in our sports-kit and that’s what we know, and you step out of that world and think “what do we wear now?”, and that’s what’s nice about being at Long Tall Sally. They’ve got the full range, so we can be put in casual-wear and go round our local schools and we can look great and comfortable, and we can step out onto the red carpet and we’ve got an outfit for that.

That’s true… unlike other athletes you’ve got a whole range of different clothes at your fingertips…

AW: Exactly, if we’re going to do a talk to a business we’ve got genuinely smart outfits…

KG: And what’s genuinely true is that it’s really really comfortable. When we’re working with [LTS], it’s not been like “You must wear that”, it’s been “Are you comfortable, does it look good?” and I think that’s where you get your confidence. That’s what makes you start to look good.

Have you got any favourite picks from the collection?

AW: All of the bodycon stuff is really flattering…

Yeah, when you’ve done the Olympics bodycon is really flattering…

AW: Noooo! I know so many people who’ve got those dresses, my mum’s got one and I think everybody looks better in that than they expect to. I’ve got the pink one and the spotty one, and I can see LTS has got more colours now so I’m eyeing them up…

KG: What’s really nice is that in the team everyone is different heights, but everyone’s quite differently built as well… long legs or short legs and longer bodies, and different widths, and genuinely everyone’s tried the different dresses and everyone looks good in them. That gives you a lot of confidence as an athlete — to step out in non-sporting kit and feel really good with how you look.

AW: It’s because of the fit… we’ve all grown up wearing things we probably shouldn’t, and then you get to the realisation that you’re gonna look the best in something that’s cut for the size that you are. What LTS do brilliantly is they take stuff that’s in the highstreet and on the catwalk and they make it into something that tall people can wear so you feel like you can wear anything and it’s all in the shop.

What about being tall, did you like it when you were growing up?

AW: I liked it until I was about 14… I was taller than my big sister, that was really fun because everyone thought I was the bigger sister. I got treated older than I was and probably got away with things I wouldn’t have got way with because everyone thought I was older than I was. But then I went through this stage where all the boys my own age were a lot smaller because they hadn’t grown yet, and when you’re 13/14 you can’t go out with older boys quite yet… so there were a couple of years of feeling awkward.

It’s the dancing at school discos isn’t it…?

AW: Yeah, that was the worst stage, and you’re so fashion conscious and that age and you can’t get the clothes that everyone else is wearing. Once I’d got to 16/17 when you can date boys a little bit older, then it was fine.

KG: Yeah, it’s always a confidence thing. I think everyone goes through a stage where they’re not entirely comfortable. It could be a height thing, it could be how you look… all those things. You also don’t want to stand out from the crowd.

You just want to conform…

KG: Yeah you do, and I think that’s incredibly normal, and I think when you do get a bit more confidence in your own identity, then you actually really embrace it. It’s probably later at school or university age where being tall gives you such an advantage. I do think for some reason you get taken seriously, you have confidence, you have authority when you stand well and hold yourself well. I really love being tall.

Do you have any advice for women who are less confident about their height?

AW: People are going to notice you anyway, they’re going to notice you looking bad if you’re slouching and trying to pretend that you’re not tall. So you’ve got to absolutely go with it and turn heads the right way and stand up tall. Pile your hair on top, wear heels and feel good.

KG: A lot of people would love to have height because you do make an impact. That’s why as an athlete it helps… standing well and walking well gives people an incredibly good impression of you. It might be something that takes a little while to grow into but it should give you a lot of inner confidence, and you do turn heads.

———————

(Yes, I had to sling it round my neck. And everyone on the telly was right… they are flipping heavy…)

Anna and Katherine are seriously lovely girls. And very down-to-earth too (Anna was using her medal as a tea coaster when I walked in). Looking for a fabulous tall role model? You could do worse than an Olympian…

L x

Great British Style

Hello leggy lovelies!

I’m back. Like, properly back.

Unfortunately my lovely hubby suffered some post-op complications (just a bit of excess fluid on his brain… I mean, what a drama queen. Does he know I’ve got a blog to write?). But he really is on the mend now. So while he lies on the sofa watching Homes Under the Hammer and doing his facial exercises, I thought I’d relaunch All the Tall things with something a little bit special.

Olympic excitement is bubbling for London 2012, and I’m pinning most of my hopes on the Women’s GB Rowing Team. You won’t find a greater display of leggy loveliness — all these gorgeous girlies are between 5’8 and 6’3 — so it seems rather fitting that Long Tall Sally has snapped them up to model its latest active-wear collection.

Three times Olympic medalist Katherine Grainger and her fellow reigning world champion Anna Watkins are the six-footers that inspired the range, and I got the scoop from Anna about body confidence, off-duty glam and the new LTS Row collection.

Hi Anna, you’ve been announced as one of the faces of LTS Row – the new activewear range from Long Tall Sally. How did that tie-up come about?

Anna Watkins, 6ft GB Rower

I approached Long Tall Sally because it’s my favourite shop and many of the women in the team also shop there. We were on a training camp last spring discussing the new seasons clothes over lunch and I thought that it’s such a natural choice for us rowers to shop there that we should have a conversation. Long Tall Sally agreed and it went from there. 

You’re both beautiful 6-footers. Had you previously struggled to find sportswear that was long enough?

Yes, especially tracksuit bottoms and vests for gym training. Our competition kit is made to measure but we struggled with general tall sportswear, until now!

What about when you’re off-duty? Do you still keep it casual or do you like to glam up and wear heels?

We spend a lot of time in casual tracksuit tops and warm snuggly tracksuit bottoms between training sessions, so it’s great to go completely the other way every now and again. We have to have a lot of early nights as athletes so when we do go out we make the most of it! I have lots of pairs of heels, I don’t care if I’m the tallest in the room. 

GB Rowing Team in Jersey Maxi Dress, Long Tall Sally £75

Yay! As athletes, you must find that height gives you an advantage over your opponents. What other sports did you enjoy at school?

Being tall is definitely an advantage for rowing as you can row a longer stroke. I played netball and swam and Katherine has a black belt in Karate.

You’re obviously both very determined and motivated individuals. What advice would you give to women who are struggling to embrace their height?

Hold your head high; have good posture and confidence and you’ll look great. The worst thing you can do is slouch. Fake it till you make it- pretend to be confident and you’ll feel better! We tall people look good in things that look funny on shorties so we have to embrace the things that suit us. As a tall person you can’t hide so you have to hit the world head on. 

The new faces of GB Row, Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins

Very true. And lastly… how much would it mean to get that gold medal?

For Katherine and I a gold medal would be the fitting title to put on the combination we have worked so hard at becoming. It’s been a long journey for both of us, and worth it for itself, but we know we are capable of gold and so we’re incredibly excited about the summer.

If you’re struggling to take pride in your similarly amazonian frame, then you’d best adopt Anna’s infectious “fake it until you make it” attitude. And if you’d like to check out the new LTS Row range of active-wear, click here.

Come ON the girls!

L xx

Science Geek to Footwear Chic

Uber pretty footwear label Amber and Jade launched its new collection last week. I got the scoop on life as a shoe queen from founder Catherine Owens (left)…

At what moment did you decide ‘Enough is enough… I need to create some bigger shoes?!’

Before starting A&J I was a microbiologist and, like other women, needed
shoes for work and play but being size 10 I ended up wearing trainers all
the time. I guess it was a realization that once in a blue moon when I did
find shoes, they were badly proportioned and a waste of money for the price
I was paying. Being scientifically minded it stumped me why no one was
making them well and when I realized how the features of a larger shoe
needed to work with higher sides, sturdier leathers and stronger styles I
couldn’t sit back any more.

What kind of woman does Amber and Jade design for?

I know its cliché but anyone with a larger foot.  We don’t want to
over-design our shoes because they are for women who may never have had a
decent pair before. Our Creative Director Ellora calls our 7 styles the
“Essential Range” as they are the shoes we think that a women needs in her
wardrobe to cover every eventuality. We are classic and we want to look high
end because we do feel our customers have an eye for fashion but have never
been able to indulge before.

What’s a typical day like at Amber and Jade HQ?

Every day is incredibly different and I love that about it!  During the week
we manage the sending out of customer orders, liaising with our factory,
updating our website as well as dealing with any customer queries.  I
discuss new collections and leathers with Ellora, our Creative Director, and
sales figures and margins with Scott, our Finance Director.  Last week I was
in our warehouse checking every single pair of shoes from our new
collection, to ensure no faults, and at the weekend I have very early starts
when working at Spitalfields and Greenwich Markets.

What was the first pair of shoes you ever made?

The “Ellora” shoe that was a simple, black patent pump with a detail on top.
Named after our Creative Director who wasn’t working with us at the time.
She and I go back a long way and was longing to see my first collection that
I hadn’t yet named.  She saw the shoes and immediately said this one would
be the best seller and so I named it after her – and she was right!  A lot
of our thinking still stems from this first pair of shoes.

What’s your favourite pair from the current collection?

Brigitte Antique, £89

That’s impossible to choose plus depends on what I am wearing! Though the most compliments I get are when I wear the Brigitte shoe boot – I cannot tell you how many women daily ask me where I got them and I get an inner
gleam when I say sorry that they are only available in size 8 and upwards and they are from my own collection.

Are heels a Do or a Don’t? And how high do you go?

Heels are definite Do for sure! I think it looks more desperate on a short
woman wearing giant heels than a tall woman who shows how confident she is
to make herself even taller. I don’t think there are any limits if you can
walk in them happily. However we did a lot of research on our current
highest heel, that I sculpted myself (along with a glass of wine one
evening!) and so made the height and thickness perfect to allow women to
wear them all day at the office or all night partying. As taller women tend
to need more support and strength, it was really important to get the
position and thickness of the heel right.

What are your other favourite labels for tall women?

On the rare occasion I’m feeling flush its Nicole Farhi for its generous
material and long dresses and skirts as well as Joseph jeans that are
fabulous although pricey. The high street is getting a bit better in longer
lengths and sometimes there are some random finds in H&M or Zara and M&S
autograph last summer was spot on with the long tunic dresses – we used
quite a few in our shoot for the new collection.  I do feel its worth
investing in 1 pair of outstanding jeans, 1 incredibly stylish dress
etc rather than continually buying high street clothes that often don’t last
or wash well.

What are your dreams for the business?

Where we are now is really special for us as we sell to all reaches of the
globe including Australia, the US as well as across Europe. The other day a
customer visited us from Canada, simply as she wanted to try-on and she
bought 4 pairs.  The joy is in women who finally find us after so many years
of nothing out there and being stunned that a pair of shoes can fit them so
well. We understand how it feels to have no decent shoes in our wardrobes
and so we hope to continue to reach as many women as possible – after all,
isn’t what women desire more than anything a great shoe collection?

What’s the best thing about A&J?

Seeing our shoe go from the drawing board to the box – and then finding it a
home with a customer and seeing the smile on their face when the shoe
finally fits!

Any advice for tall girls?

Posture, posture, posture and more posture! It’s hard that we stand out in
the crowd and our height can make us feel self conscious especially when
people mention it all the time. However we need to start standing tall, do
our backs a favour and do our image a favour. Just look at the catwalk
models for influence as the message is right there – tall is best!

Indeed it is! So start strutting like a supermodel ladies…. and to help you on your way, check out the latest styles on the Amber and Jade website. Here are my faves…

Aretha (with detachable bow), £79

…. How much am I wanting a detachable bow for EVERYTHING in my wardrobe now?

L x

Long Tall Judy

Judy Rich’s name might not ring any bells, but if you’re a tall woman, then it’s likely that she’s changed your life for the better.

Judy Rich

As the founder of Long Tall Sally, Judy created a much-needed range of clothing for women like us, and made the fashion industry recognise that there were taller women out there who were ready to buy in longer lengths. In 2005 she sold the company, but continues to enjoy success in her new career as a life coach and is a fabulously positive ambassador for tall women.

Indeed, without Long Tall Sally leading the way, this very blog might not be the celebration of leggy loveliness that it is… and really just a bit of a whinge about shopping. So you can imagine my hysterical delight when she kindly agreed to an interview for All the Tall things. Prepare to be well and truly inspired ladies…

Long Tall Sally is the most recognized brand in the world for tall women. Did you anticipate it becoming such a success when you launched it?

I never anticipated the business would grow beyond my first shop…. I had a great mentor/business advisor/friend who encouraged me to do mail order – and we never looked back. With the added publicity of having a very small mail order catalogue, we went on to open other stores in the UK.

Tell us a bit about your shopping experiences before Long Tall Sally… at what moment did you decide that things needed to change?

I came to London in 1974 and immediately got a job. I couldn’t find anything to wear to work in this wonderful city of boutiques and markets. I’d look for trousers with hems so I could let them down, and resorted to men’s stores for jeans and jackets. It was the early years of feminism, and I couldn’t tolerate that tall women were so discriminated against. It was my personal crusade to bring them quality, beautiful clothes in an attractive store… just like the many boutiques I visited in vain.

It must be very rewarding to have helped women find clothes that finally fit. Were there any memorable moments that kept you pursuing your dreams for the company?

Just all the wonderful tall women who streamed through my doors – each one with their own personal story. Also – I loved clothes and still do. I think what motivated me was making a difference in women’s lives, helping create confidence by knowing they looked good in the clothes they bought at LTS.

And what about the knockbacks… you were launching in a very niche market… did that make it tough?

British manufacturers were very supportive and helpful. It was a difficult time for manufacturing in this country, so people bent over backwards – even though it meant producing very small runs of longer garments. Catering to a niche market, though, is what made LTS successful – we did not try to be all things to all people. I always listened to my customers and what they wanted and was not high fashion driven – tall women just wanted what their contemporaries were wearing and we provided it.

As a successful businesswoman, do you believe that height has its advantages in the workplace?

Definitely – and recent studies are showing that. However, I can remember a time in my early career as a personal assistant that I was declined a job because I was taller than the boss (they couldn’t do that now!)

Obviously you’re still a tall shopper! Where are your favourite places to buy clothes now? Is it still Long Tall Sally all the way?!

I always visit Long Tall Sally – I love the atmosphere. And I shop in some individual one-off women’s shops in my area. I get to know the owner/managers and just ask them to show me what will fit me!

Since selling Long Tall Sally you’ve retrained and become a life coach. What advice would you give tall women who suffer from low self-esteem as a result of their height?

Every woman has something they are not happy with – from breasts to bottoms – feet to eyes. Height is just one of those things you have to contend with and tall women need to make the most of it. Clothes really help. I am always struck by the stunning tall women I see in an LTS store. And now there is so much more choice for tall women – they can actually shop the high street and find clothes that fit them. Mind you, no one does it as well as Long Tall Sally and I am thrilled the brand continues. From a coaching point of view I’d encourage tall women not to hang out in the “poor me” perspective and take stock of what they do have and get on doing what they enjoy in life. Height does not hold you back from that and it is often an asset.

What a wonderful piece of advice to start the week with.

Brilliant stuff, eh girlies?

L xx

Long Legs and Killer Curves — 5’11” Model Katie Green

Model Katie Green, a former face of Wonderbra, is a gorgeously lofty 5’11.

Originally signed to Premier Model Management, she quit after being told to lose 2 stone, and in 2009 launched a campaign with former Lib Dem MP Lembit Opik, asking the fashion industry to stop using size zero and underweight models on the catwalk.

I managed to bag an interview with the lovely lady herself about her experiences as a tall and curvy fashionista. Here she talks heels, standing out from the crowd, and having a good old rummage in TK Maxx.

5'11 model Katie Green. Pic: With permission of Anna Fowler

You’re a very beautiful 5’11… Do you enjoy being tall?

Thank you! I absolutely love being tall and I wouldn’t have it any other way! As I’m a curvy girl, (I’m a size 12) with big hips and a big bum, my long legs give me good proportions!

What about clothing… do you struggle to find clothes to fit?

I am pleased to say that I have never struggled with finding clothes to fit – you just need to look in the right places. I am a huge fan of New Look’s ‘Tall’ range – their dresses are spot on…. and I also love having a rummage in TK Maxx’s jeans section – I swear by the Calvin Klein jeans they sell and must have about 10 pairs of them!

Good tip! Have you ever encountered problems at work because stylists have supplied clothes that are too short for you?

The only problem I have faced at work is when the stylists have bought along mini dresses. Unfortunately, because of my height, they end up looking far too short and tarty – which isn’t a good look!

Do you enjoy the comments from other people about your height or is it a tad irritating?

I find it a massive compliment when people comment on my height… whether good or bad, it’s nice to know that I stand out from the crowd!

So are heels a DO or a DON’T?

Heels are a massive DO! I’m a girly girl and love my heels. Whether I dress them up with tights and a slinky dress, or dress them down with a pair of nice fitting jeans, they elongate my legs, make my posture look amazing and make me feel sexy and feminine.

My thoughts exactly! What advice would you give to tall girls or women who struggle with being tall?

I would tell all tall girls out there to embrace their height!  I feel that being tall looks regal, stunning and amazing! So shoulders back and chin up…. and ‘because you will never blend in easily, you might as well be drop dead gorgeous!’

Soooo true! And lastly, what do you think of All The Tall Things?

The site is fantastic and just what us tall and fashionable girls need to stay on trend! I will definitely be listening and sharing tips and fashion must-haves with you guys 🙂

Well, I can’t really argue with that ladies! Check out Katie’s official website www.katiegreenofficial.com and the BBC News interview about her Anti-Size Zero campaign.

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