Allison is a Renaissance woman—an avid traveler, sports enthusiast, nonprofit administrator—and a tall Titian-haired fashionista. She is in the process of starting RedWood Clothing—the fulfillment of her own dream that will help all of us vertically-inclined lasses build our “dream closets” full of clothing designs that fit, flatter, and look fabulous. Be sure to stop by her site and give some feedback—the first step in her design process is figuring out what her tall, stylish customers want!
Without further ado, onto the Q&A!
Q: Tell us a little bit about your background—where you grew up, whether you have siblings, where you went to college/what you studied, where you work, some hobbies/interests…
I grew up in Mount Vernon, WA as the youngest of three. I was always the tallest girl in class, and usually the school. I’m not sure it helped that my mom kept my red curly hair quite short…the faux-fro added a few inches! Not to mention how much the haircut encouraged comments about my resemblance to Little Orphan Annie.
After high school (and a short, unsuccessful stint as a college student) I spent time traveling for a few years. I lived in Guatemala and traveled throughout Latin America and Western Europe. It was an amazing, life-changing experience, but eventually I was ready to go back to school. I moved home to Seattle and got my degree in Latin American Studies from the University of Washington. To answer the question “What do you do with an LAS degree?”…I’m still not sure! So I got a job in disability advocacy, and am now the Director of our division.
Hobbies: I love travelling (and adventures in general). I love seeing things in person that I’d only seen in pictures. Whether I’m kayaking in bat caves or celebrating Christmas in Rome, when I’m travelling I feel like I’m taking advantage of every moment. I’m also a soccer fanatic! We have season tickets to the Seattle Sounders, and are die-hard Liverpool supporters. We also have season tickets to the Rat City Roller Girls…strong, confident women on roller skates with men in tutus as their cheerleaders? Yes, please!
To keep healthy I take Pilates classes three times a week and go hiking as often as possible. I love happy hour with the girls, date night with Scott (Yay Thursdays!), party games (Taboo, anyone?), getting mani/pedi, and SHOPPING. Shopping is my therapy.
Q: The million dollar question: How tall are you, and have you always been tall?
I’m 6’2”. I’ve always been tall. I hit 5’11” in the 6th grade – I remember that in particular because I had a huge crush on Jon Knight from NKOTB, who was also 5’11”. I cried when I caught up with him in height, since I thought that being taller than him would be the one factor that came between me and my future husband.
Q: What inspired you to branch out into the realm of tall women’s fashion/fashion advocacy? And how can we tall ladies help?
I’m passionate, and love feeling inspired and engaged. I wanted to identify what enriches my life and what makes me feel most invested and fulfilled. The answer: I love fashion. Not just clothes, but the way an outfit is put together and how it can tell a story about the person wearing it. I get a buzz of excitement when I see someone being bold with colors, combining hard/soft fabrics and detailing, etc. No to mention that carves, handbags, cocktail rings, and belts make me very happy. I love it all.
My dream has always been to start a line of clothing for tall women. (WOW…It’s hard to put that in writing, since admitting it to myself means I have to take a risk and do something about it!)
The moral of the story: I’m inspired by tall women who want fashion that fits. We don’t have to compromise anymore. We can come together, talk about what’s missing from our wardrobes, and then hopefully RedWood can help make sure that need is filled.
Tall women can help most by talking about their personal style, which tall clothing options are missing, the stores they love, and the style they find most inspiring. I feel a close connection to tall women who, like me, are ready for a fashion revolution!
Q: Would you mind telling us a bit more about RedWood Clothing?
My goal for RedWood Clothing is this: I want to make it the place tall women come to build their dream closets (I’d like it to be my dream closet, too!). I know I’ll start slowly and the line won’t be large at first. I’m building a business plan and laying the foundation, but I want to do this right, and that means starting with a conversation and talking with tall women about our biggest fashion needs. A valuable conversation is already taking place, and I’m thankful to be a part of it. Joining Twitter and connecting with other tall women who share my passion for style has been such a gift!!
Q: When the site is unveiled, what sort of features will it include?
One of the features I’m excited about is that each product will include measurements of all aspects of its design including shoulder, bodice, sleeve, inseam, and rise. I want women to have the information necessary to make educated decisions about what would fit them best.
I’m also committed to the blog, where tall women can share their best fashion advice, their inspirations, and pictures of their personal style. My main goal is to provide quality, fashionable clothes, an easy-to-navigate site, and the opportunity to come together in a community of tall women who celebrate style!
Q: What are some “style staples” for you? How would you classify your own style?
My staples are Fidelity jeans, embellished flats, and Anthropologie tops (with lots of gold jewelry thrown in to spice things up a bit!). I love classics, but play with fabric and color combinations that make my style a tad eclectic, too. If I had to pick a few stores that represent my style, I’d go with Anthropologie, JCrew, and Nordstrom (with ‘recycled’ antique jewelry from the Fremont Sunday market near my house).
Q: What are some of your favorite tall-friendly stores/boutiques in the Seattle area that have clothing catering to tall women? How about some of your favorite online shopping destinations?
There is only one store in Seattle that caters to tall women, but the clothes there feel dated and dowdy. Polyester as far as the eye can see! So I stick with typical-size stores. I am able to find tops, as long as I’m willing to layer with tanks, roll the sleeves, and/or not move my shoulders very much. J I love lululemon for my workout and lounge pants, because they have tall sizes in store! I love that! My shoe size is 11 so I’m able to find shoes at Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack. I do the rest of my shopping online. I get my suits, dress shirts, winter coats, and bathing suits at JCrew. My Fidelity jeans come from Tall Couture. The majority of my tops come from Anthropologie. I’ve recently started buying from Banana Republic again, and have been impressed with their dress pants (and my new favorite rain coat!). I just made my first Long Legs Canada purchase – a maxi dress – and am super impressed with the length and quality of the dress. There are other tall clothing resources out there, but many define tall as over 5’7” or 5’8”, which won’t work for me at 6’2”. I also really appreciate high-quality fabric and strong design, so I stick with the tall stores that represent my personal style.
Q: What piece of style advice would you give tall women?
Can I have three pieces of advice, please? :)
- Wear what makes you feel beautiful.
- If it fits, buy two.
- Height makes us unique, which is a gift. Let’s own it.
Thanks, Allison! The Height of Style loves you and RedWood Clothing!