When I see a pattern repeating in my life it is usually an opportunity for me to sit back and evaluate whether there is a lesson to be learned. This is true when I work with clients as well. Recently, in my image consulting practice I have been getting back to back clients who are petite women (5’ 4” and shorter). For those of you who know me or have met me, the fact that I am at the other end of the height spectrum (standing at 6’ 1”) working with petite women is more than a tad serendipitous. What is great though is that I have so much in common with petite ladies! I too struggle to find clothes that are the right length, properly proportioned for my stature and that fit well. So I relate very well to them because I actually demonstrate why being taller than average often times presents more of a clothing challenge.
For example, in my experience, trying to lengthen jacket sleeves, pant legs, skirts or dresses is sometimes impossible because there simply is not enough fabric to let out! Whereas for petite women, they can always take up as much as they need to (within reason of course). The other issue is that at least Petite women get their own section in department stores! You never see a section for tall gals like me. When I share this information with my petite clients it puts everything in perspective for them. They literally see how for taller women it is in fact often more difficult to find and fit in ready to wear clothing. And because I share that for me, I am up to the challenge and successfully find clothes that I can adjust to my body for a flattering fit it gives them hope, but even more importantly, a feeling of relief that they are not alone in the struggle.
Which brings me to the subject of alterations and getting a good tailor. I accept that when I buy certain items of clothing (most pants and jackets) I have to get them altered. I figure this in to my calculation of how much I’m paying for an item. Many women feel they should be able to buy clothes off the rack that fit perfectly. Sadly, for most of us, this is simply not the case. Petite, tall, full figured, plus sized, women of all shapes and sizes need to get their clothes altered in some form or fashion for a perfect fit. Having a tailor or seamstress as part of your professional service providers is a must. When I tell my clients first, to embrace their stature or figure and second, accept the fact that they will need to alter ready to wear clothing, it’s much easier for them to get to the next step of finding great fitting clothes they love. Once they understand their particular clothing challenges, they then know what alterations can be made to get a perfect fit. Shopping no longer becomes this burden or a dread as in, ‘I never find anything that fits’ because they are now armed with the tools that help them understand how to achieve a great it. But first they each have to accept that they will need to get alterations.
There is definitely a misconception that tall women have it easy. Coupled with my height I also have VERY narrow and very long feet. My feet are like mini skis—it’s ridiculous. And I have a narrow heel that makes it impossible for me to walk in anything that is over an inch tall. I have a VERY difficult time finding shoes let alone cute ones. Most of my shoes are ordered online because stores don’t even carry my size. And pretty much all my shoes are Van Eli because this is the only designer that understand that some tall women actually have narrow, long feet and don’t need to be parading around in 3” stiletto heels. And don’t get me started on swimwear! Before the advent of the ‘tankini’ (I now own like 5 pairs) I had difficulty finding swimsuits that fit (because I could not wear bikinis for a variety of reasons I choose not to get into in this forum). And for a girl who needs to get her beach in several times a year this was particularly frustrating.
So for those of you who look at tall women with envy, just consider that she too has a hard time finding those cute, fashion forward outfit she flaunts and more than likely she has a really good tailor on her team. Or a great image consultant. Check out this list of great tailors in the DCM: LIST.
Have a question related to fit or proportions? E-mail me at Natalie@elanimagemanagemjent.com.
The Image Diva, Elan Image Management