There's a lack of tall clothing in the fashion industry, and it's not good enough
It's time to do better.
By Georgia Trodd | 24 March 2023
The fashion industry has always had an issue with size inclusivity, and it doesn't seem to be improving at the rate in which we need it to. From the lack of plus sized models walking the runways at Fashion Week this year, to the extreme measurement discrepancies across brands, there is another issue I hardly ever hear anyone speak of; the absence of tall clothing.
I'm 6ft tall and I have never once walked into a shop where the ‘tall’ section (if there is one) is as big as the ‘petite’ or ‘standard’ ranges. Back when Topshop stores existed I can remember thinking myself lucky to find even a single rail of items that were targeted for tall people - none of my other high-street heroes were providing that - but it should have been (and still needs to be) better.
I can't tell you the amount of times I'll come across a summer dress, pair of jeans or pretty maxi skirt to discover its only stocked in petite sizes. What's so difficult about carrying items across the board? Retailers continue to bang the ‘one size fits all’ drum, but it's simply not - nor has it ever been - the case. It singles people out and reinforces the idea that women should fit into the same mould, and I'm beyond bored of it.
Why are tall women constantly overlooked? How many times do we have to argue for change?
I recently received a press release from a brand about their newly launched petite range, and my heart sank. What about me? Upon clicking on their website, it became very evident that they had forgotten plus sizes too. Catering up to a size UK 20 or XL only - which, according to YouGov, is a mere two sizes above the average UK woman's dress size - is, quite frankly, abysmal.
The average height of a woman in the UK is 5ft 3in, granted, and while I can totally appreciate that shorter women than me have the opposite issue (i.e. everything on the market is too long), at least they have the option to alter items and have the hems taken up by a tailor. I do not. There's no magic wand that lengthens items for me; if something is too short then it goes back on the rack, no ifs/buts/maybes.
I've always loved a mini skirt, but I cannot bear feeling uncomfortable every time I step out in one. Spring/summer 2023 trends insist that shorter than short hemlines are ‘in’ right now, but I don't think they quite had the ‘cheek skimming’ lengths that Daisy from the Dukes of Hazzard might debut in mind. There's absolutely nothing worse as a tall woman than having to pull whatever it is you're wearing down every five seconds for fear of revealing a little too much leg.
Some online stores now offer items for a wider range of body shapes, heights and differences, but its no where near as broad as it could be, and it often promotes a less sustainable approach to buying. When have you ever seen a designer label cater to tall women, for example? The answer is never.
We're reminded every day that we shouldn't shop at fast fashion brands and how bad they are for our planet, but if tall clothing is something that's only accessible via the websites that often sit under that umbrella, how are we meant to help?
The momentum I'm seeing behind the industry's issue with plus sizes needs to be extended to all areas lacking in diversity; tall clothing included. The world is a hard enough place to live in as it is right now, and shopping shouldn't add to that.
Do better, fashion.