Memo to the fashion industry – I exist

Attention fashion designers, buyers, and clothing companies: I exist. Not only do I exist, in fact, but I also like pretty things, and I am beautiful – at least on the inside. I have the right to feel beautiful on the outside too, but at 185cm tall, the fashion industry has declared me non-existent. Frankly, I am over it.

Today I tried on a floor length skirt – Target thought it was a long strapless dress, but what do they know? It was a skirt to me. It’s not just that I want floor length skirts and dresses (although please believe me when I say I yearn for them). I can consign them to the too hard basket if I must (and learn to make them myself if necessary). It’s all the pretty things that I can’t find. A typical day’s shopping reveals shirts with sleeves that barely make it halfway past my elbows. Bustlines that bisect my bust rather than underlying it. Pretty, lacy, feminine bras that only go up to size 14B. Socks in attractive colours in size 6-8. Oh, and jeans that only make it halfway down my calves, and do up somewhere under my hips.

The comments from sales assistants over the years have really impressed me. When asked if they stock any pretty bras in size 16C, one commented “Oh no. Some things just don’t look good in that size, you know.”  And when asked for women’s socks in a size 11: “No, they’re women’s socks.” I refrained from asking what she thought I was – never ask a question you don’t want the answer to. The ultimate comment came while shopping for a wedding dress: “Well you’re just too tall, aren’t you?” My bridesmaids were all for committing murder on the spot, but I was so used to that sort of comment that I hardly reacted.

It is perfectly possible to make pretty bras in my size (they have them by the handful in France, but it’s a long way to go for some underwear shopping). For some reason, though few companies do – and even fewer shops stock them. I have come to loathe shopping, as even browsing the racks to find anything worth trying on takes hours, and I often come up empty handed. Not for me the casual wandering in to a shop and trying on a stack of clothing. It’s a long and tedious trawl through the bottoms of the racks (to see which pairs of pants are a little longer than the others through some freak manufacturing accident). An endless rummage through rack upon rack of clothing that is simply not made with me in mind.

The odd thing is I am no longer unusually tall – there are plenty of women as tall as me these days, and some even taller. I know some teenage girls who are going to tower over me when they finish growing. It’s time the fashion industry woke up to this untapped market. To be fair, the footwear industry is slowly getting a grip on the idea. I recently bought a pair of tall boots (my first ever!) and a pair of court shoes. Both on special, and in both cases I had choices – 10 years ago I wouldn’t have found one pair, much less had choices. Progress is a fine thing.

This might all come as a surprise to those of you who are not vertically blessed – after all, isn’t the ideal model magnificently tall?  Sadly the clothes models wear on the catwalk are not the off-the-rack variety.  They are specially made, and impossible to buy. Also I am not a size 8. (Can you imagine? Size 8 and 185cm tall – you could slip someone like that under the door. Terribly handy if you forget your keys.)

Just because I am tall (never, if you value your life, use the words “huge”, “enormous” or “gigantic” – although “statuesque” is acceptable) does not mean I am unfeminine. I love frilly, lacy, pretty things. Fashion industry, hear this: I want to give you money. Why won’t you let me?

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8 thoughts on “Memo to the fashion industry – I exist

  1. Ole

    Ja, ja, die falschen Größen.
    Dass ich, so dünn wie ich bin, auch selten Hosen finde, die mir wirklich passen, kannst du dir ja vorstellen?!?
    Nun kommt aber ein Tipp, der von einem Mann nicht unbedingt zu erwarten ist.
    Freya (wir waren auf ihrer Wohnungseinweihung) kauft schon seit Jahren ihre “Bras” in Geschäften für Umstandsmode. Offensichtlich dürfen Frauen wenigstens in der Schwangerschaft trotzdem schöne Wäsche tragen…?!?
    Vielleicht gilt das ja auch für australische Frauen?
    l&h, Ole

    1. lindamciver

      Hallo Ole! Gut Gelest. :) Ja, ich kenne die Freya, natuerlich. Leider Umstandsmode in Australien sind noch schlechter als was nur fuer Frauen die Groesse bisst (man kann es kaum glauben, aber es stimmt!). Es wird langsam besser, aber es ist noch nicht gut!

  2. Julia

    Linda, if you want to, you can give the mall the flick altogether.

    I find online shopping a lot more enjoyable than scurrying about at a shopping centre. Online, long jeans and lingerie in rare sizes are no problem. Shoes can begin, instead of end, at size 10. Kiddies are asleep instead of squirming. :)

    I can relate to the dress-as-skirt concept. I have one which I grabbed in delight as a skirt, only to realise later it was meant to be a strapless stretchy dress. Well, it’s a nice mini to have.

    For salvation of happiness and well being, I recommend a dose of online shopping immediately! :)

    1. lindamciver

      Hi Julia,
      It’s a great suggestion – and I should probably look more online. But I don’t understand how you can be sure that clothes are flattering or fit properly when you buy them online without trying them on first. Sizes seem to vary so much, even from the one manufacturer, that it seems a terribly risky business.

      1. Julia

        The online shop keepers seem to understand those concerns and, in my experience, offer reasonable sizing information, and procedures for return or exchange. They want you to buy things that you’d normally wait to try on, so they make it easy.

        It’s even possible with bras. One place encourages people to order bras in multiple sizes and merely return the unwanted items. At another site, which was the only time I’ve got the wrong size in a bra, a company representative phoned me upon receipt of my exchange request, and talked me through to the correct size.

        It was a nuisance to post my clothing for exchange on this one occasion. Not nearly as annoying and fruitless as visiting a mall though!

        In contrast, when I visited a lingerie store in Melbourne which specialised in my size, I was sold some very expensive items without much choice. Okay, they fit, but they weren’t flattering. Better options awaited me, if only I had known before I’d spent up.

        I think the success of online shopping does depend on knowing what will work for oneself. I suggest people in this position test the waters with one item and see how they feel about the experience.

        Put it this way, if I had a large amount of money to spend on clothing, I am confident I could spend it happily and wisely in one evening at my computer. :)

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