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A Gem in Joules: The Cheery Brit Outfitter Who Holds Us Country Mice Dear to Heart

17 Mar

We all have those things in life—material and immaterial—that we’ll never outgrow, no matter how old we get. I’ve a perpetual distaste for raw onions, and get a shiver down my neck whenever I encounter one by surprise in a salad. There’s also a Seiko watch my parents gave me for my college graduation that I’ve since lost, but still hold out blind hope for finding. A pristine copy of Bartleby’s “Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson”—as much loved for the signature of my favorite librarian as the contents therein. And a preference for all spaces green, wild, solitary, and under-traveled. That last thing is the most paradoxically permanent. To the degree that even after having lived in cities for nearly a decade now, I still feel like I can only breathe—really breathe—when I’m at home in the country.

When I was a student living in London, I fell in love with Yorkshire—the moors, the sheep folds,  the horse farms, the chatty birds, the mushy peas and Cornish pasties, the tilted caps, the friendly nods, the lilting accents. Tall, ruddy, and substantial as I am, I probably looked as home out there as I felt, rambling through rain and sun. Probably because I was prepared for it—with a brown flecked wool sweater and muck boots bought in the Lake District. This is the uniform I have since associated with all things English and country. Now, in retrospect, it seems a bit desaturated for the lushness of these memories in my mind.

The ever-dapper Tom Joule, founder of lifestyle brand Joules

The ever-dapper Tom Joule, founder of lifestyle brand Joules

When I recently discovered Joules, the country brandchild of self-made businessman Tom Joule, I felt awash with the kind of sartorial excitement that I thought was uniquely reserved for big days where big dressing is required (weddings, for instance). Joules is a modern interpretation of what a country lass’  longing for the pastoral feels like, but updated with color, whimsy, nautical references, and bird and hound prints that bring some much needed British irreverence to a staid wardrobe typically filled with green, gray, dun, and brown. Whether you’re on the hunt for a jaunty cap, a quilted and waxed jacket, or a polka dot-printed pair of wellies for your weekend jaunts in the field or by the sea, Joules offers an ever-evolving (and always delightful) selection of leisurewear for women, men and children. And better yet, the women’s line is garnished with polished sheath dresses, blouses, and slim trousers in brights and florals that bring a bit of the dreamiest leisure weekends into the office.

Joules, shoppable across the UK and at (I'll take a pink sheep please too, Tom!)

Joules, shoppable across the UK and at (I’ll take a pink sheep too, Tom!)

Lovely pieces for natives and anglophiles aside, where Joules stands apart from competitors is sticking to its heritage and reputation for long-lasting, no-nonsense quality in fabrication and design. Those landmark pieces that Mr. Joule first brought in small runs to equestrian and country events in the ‘shires nearly 30 years ago are still offered today. These namesakes include impeccably printed and trimmed equestrian-style polos and a spectrum of candy-colored rubber wellingtons that appear in over 76 brick and mortar shops, on several international e-Commerce sites, and in specialty department stores alike.

Wellies and doggies for days at Joules

Wellies and doggies for days at Joules

This (hitherto undiscovered by me!) gem offers fits that not only cater to a range of body types, large and small, but also an array of singular wardrobe staples particularly well-suited to tall women—that even hit at the knee and the wrist on this particularly tall blogger (that is, where they should). Though we’ve had months of polar weather ill-suited to outfit photos, stay tuned for a post on the Joules 2014 spring collection and my top picks for the vertically-inclined—and all other ladies with soft spots for riding, rabble-rousing, and exploring the routes less traveled—accessible, of course, only by rough-hewn (and likely a bit muddy) country roads.


2013 Holiday Collection Picks from Peruvian Connection

16 Dec

Warm manta dresses and alpaca mittens. Coated black jeansmoto jackets that glisten. Brown jacquard gift bags with tissue wrappings—if you (like me) count these among your favorite things, you should most certainly get yourself to Peruvian Connection for the cozy delectables that will become your (or her) wintry wardrobe staples. Ranging from the diminutive and sparkly to the overstatedly luxurious, the 2013 holiday collection is full of the feminine alpaca knits you’ve come to expect from the brand, along with jewel-toned taffeta dresses, intricately beaded clutches, and Gothic-inspired baubles that you may not. 2013 has been a banner year for Peruvian Connection—new stores opened in Chicago and on our own Newbury Street here in Boston;  collections thoroughly brimming with pieces that are ageless; romantic, edgy, and versatile. What you’ll find right now in stores and online is suitably far-ranging and sartorially well-traveled.

A corner in the Newbury St. store, replete with taffeta and silk holiday dresses

A corner in the Newbury St. store, replete with taffeta and silk holiday dresses

I popped in out of the winter storm this weekend for a peek at the holiday displays, a chat with the lovely store associates, and to compile my top picks for every holiday wishlist (full of items especially well-suited to the vertically-inclined). If you’re nearby, stop in at 170 Newbury St. to scoop up some gifts, or visit—free ground shipping on your orders will continue right through the 18th (or just about the time Santa begins to pack up his sleigh).

The HEIGHT of Style’s Top 5 Holiday Picks from Peruvian Connection

1. Brixton Pullover ($159, XS-XL): In a airy baby alpaca and wool blend, this dusk blue number boasts  panel draping, rolled edges, and a long, lean silhouette. The Brixton is singular enough to stand out paired with jeans, and versatile enough to pair with a spangled skirt and strappy sandals for an artfully juxtaposed, fete-friendly look.

The view from the street, with the Brixton in the window...

The view from the street, with the Brixton in the window…

2. Stardust Dress ($389. XS-XL): Toeing the very careful line between ‘unabashedly evening’ and ‘everyday workhorse’, this 41″ Deco-inspired dress in midnight blue crochet laced with Lurex is the kind of number you’ll reach for to tuck under a navy-and-black slouchy blazer, or pair with absolutely nothing but jet earrings and evergreen velvet heels for a festive evening out.

The Stardust dress, and a curio full of gems and trinkets

The Stardust Dress, and a curio full of gems and trinkets

3. Teahouse Floral Dress ($199, XS-XL): This understatedly romantic pima knit dress is classic Peruvian Connection—flattering, warm enough for the coldest days, and polished for any occasion. In shades of olive, rust, mallard, and lapis with a flattering v-neck and near-knee hemline (37″ long), this frock would prove a tasteful surprise, perfect for tucking under any tree. (Santa, if you’re reading…this is at the top of my wishlist!)

4. Mongolian Lambskin Vest ($350 on sale, S/M-M/L): Impeccably on-trend and at a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it sale price, this mongolian shearling vest in natural or espresso is a luxurious piece perfect for a winter weekend, when you’re tucked in a chalet in the mountains…or equally at home paired with coated jeans, ankle boots, and a slouchy knit hat for a jaunt in the city.

Twinkly lamps and the Mongolian vest in natural

Twinkly lamps and the Mongolian Vest in natural

5. Corkscrew Scarf ($85, in rose taupe, cream, or sky blue): These are the scarves to fend off the chills, or offset earthy knit dresses and suede over-the-knee boots, in curlicues of sumptuous mohair. Perfect as stocking stuffers—even better when worked into an accessory package with the jangly Kings Road Cuffs ($39, $29) included.

Corkscrew scarves in shades for all

Corkscrew Scarves in shades for all

Happy Peruvian Connection exploring, and happy holidays, dear readers!


The Fanciest Pants for the Colder Months c/o Long Tall Sally

18 Nov

If 2012 was the year of the peplum, then 2013 is the year of the cigarette (peg, ankle, slim-cut) pant—it has been the ubiquitous shape sent down the runways by designers ranging from Stella McCartney to Caroline Herrera to Michael Kors. The silhouette is elegantly tailored, streamlined, and ever-so-slightly, ever-so-chicly cropped—and these darker, colder months have brought with them even more luxurious fabrications, from brocades to velvets to jacquards to flocked denims (and who doesn’t love a little more luxury?). I’ve used the heyday of this iconic cut to my stylistic advantage—disguising what should be an ankle-hovering style as a mid-calfer, time and time again, off-the-rack-pant after off-the-rack-pant. And it has worked. All year. Well, actually, it only really worked until about three weeks ago. When the first 30 degree day rolled in, my ankles—and calves—were left tinglingly, wretchedly numb. My jacquard crops felt paper-thin. And I was ungraciously reminded why we leggy ladies should never leave the bulk of our wardrobes to size ends or 32″ inseamed styles…especially when fall and winter roll around.

Loving Long Tall Sally's Jacquard Pull-On Skinny for the season...

Long Tall Sally’s Jacquard Pull-On Skinny to the rescue for fall and winter…

This year, the designers at Long Tall Sally have deftly anticipated—and translated—the top off-the-runway trends with particular elegance. LTS’ fall/winter collections are some of the most festive I’ve seen in years—full of ladylike lace dresses and blouses; beaded and embellished sweaters, dresses, and jackets; tapestry and faux-fur bedecked wool coats fit for evenings out or even wearing to work. And their takes on the cigarette pant are adapted perfectly for the tall frame—several of the styles are so good, they’re worth acquiring in multiples!

Long Tall Sally's Jacquard Pull-On Skinny ($65)

Long Tall Sally’s Jacquard Pull-On Skinny ($65)

Case in point is the Jacquard Pull-On Skinny. At a very reasonable $65,  this cigarette pant is somewhere between a legging and a trouser—more substantial than the former, and far more forgiving than the latter. The fabric itself is flexible and stretchy, with a slight sheen and a subtle black-on-black geometric pattern. And the shape is perfectslim, but not restrictive. Lower-rise, but not revealing. Flat fronted and smoothing, but with no fussy flies, buttons, or pockets to break up the lines. And, with the 37″ inseam—long enough to cover calves and brush over ankles.

In a velvet sequined tee, the Jacquard Pull-On Skinny, and my Cairns heels...

In a velvet sequined tee, Long Tall Sally’s Jacquard Pull-On Skinny ($65), and my Cairns heels…

The only drawback? The single black fabric option (flattering as it is). With a cut this perfect, just imagine the seasonal possibilities— deep navy and peacock-and-gold jacquards for winter; apricot and baby blue jacquards for spring; poppy red and white for summer. Long Tall Sally kindly sent me one pair—less than a week later, I was buying my second. The Jacquard Pull-On Skinny is a must have for work and evening—imagine it paired with the smart Lace Collar Sweater ($85) in burgundy and the Red Carpet by Aerosoles ($109) in black suede for an office-ready look, or with the Embellished Woven Jacket ($125) and the teal Wessex Wyvern by Indigo ($129) for an evening out. I paired mine with a velvet sequin tee, a satin-trimmed boyfriend blazer, and the Cairns low-heel from Upper Street x Nicole Smallwood…and I felt ready (insouciantly so) for any holiday cocktail party…

Long Tall Sally's Baroque Flocked Jeans ($99)

Long Tall Sally’s Baroque Flocked Jeans ($99)

Another phenomenal cigarette ‘pant’ is the Baroque Flocked Jean ($99)—a slim leg with a raised velvet ornate filigree. More forgiving than a skinny with slightly more room at the ankle, a generous 10.5″ rise and a 36″ inseam, this style is perfectly modern while being classic enough to transcend the more youthful (i.e. revealing) cuts that so readily come and go. For fall and winter, a notable bonus is the thickness of the denim weave—this pant is plenty warm for weathering any storm.

Long Tall Sally's Baroque Flocked Jean ($99) with chambray top, statement necklace, and black ankle boots...

Styled in the Long Tall Sally catalog with studded ankle boots and a jacquard blazer, I paired this sumptuous bottom (c/o Long Tall Sally) with a chambray oxford, statement necklace, and black glitter heel ankle boots for a warmer fall day. And I love the notion of mixing this glam-rock, elevated bottom with more casual pieces—like the Short Sleeve Satin Trim Scoop Neck Top ($35) in white, the incredible Leather Biker Jacker ($349) in wine, and the Parkers by DV ($129) ankle boot for a weekend ensemble that’s stylish and custom-fitted…or with the Long Sleeve Jersey and Mesh Top ($49)Sasha by Ros Hommerson ($129), and Boyfriend Jacket with PU Trim ($115) for a chic going-out look. Should you prefer a lower rise and arresting shade, the Leopard Flocked Skinny Jean ($99) in burgundy is quite a find, too. Thanks, Long Tall Sally, for a smokin’ fall/winter 2013 collection with many a cigarette pant in tow…and thanks too for the toasty ankles.


Long Tall Sally Holiday Collection 2013: Hurry Christmas, Hurry Fast…

5 Nov

(You may want a train that loops the loop—but I just want some LTS loot! )

Though I can hardly stand the wait (and certainly can’t stand not quoting Alvin and The Chipmunks holiday tunes come November)—I think Santa  is probably well aware  (by now) of my desired sartorial pal-late. Oops, and I think I may have surpassed my rhyming quota for the year…

When November rushes in on the heels of October, to the sound of crunching leaves and the smell of woodsmoke—the magic of the season to come seems to suddenly waft in on the icy breeze, as though to enliven the stark gray skies and  infuse a sense of anticipation into the premature dusks. Our first cold snap in Boston came this morning, as the thermometer hovered…and stuck…right around freezing all day. Though I could barely feel my nose and fingertips on my stroll into work today, my mind wandered…to imagine invitations to the most elegant holiday parties arriving by the dozens in my shabby mailbox,  sealed with monogrammed foil stickers and addressed to me in incomparably beautiful scripts. I imagined being invited to exclusive fetes in vast ballrooms bedecked in boxwood garlands and mercury glass orbs—to intimate gatherings in smoky lounges to the tunes of Bing Crosby, Perry Como, and clinking champagne glasses—and luxe weekend minibreaks  at cozy chalets with massive roaring fireplaces, and  very handsome waiters serving buttered rum in generous, cinnamon sugar-rimmed double old-fashioneds. But even the best fantasies stale like the extended honk of a Boston taxi driver when you have nothing to wear…

The perfect sequined tunic dress ($249)...

The perfect sequined tunic dress ($249)…

The lace and sequin wrap dress ($225) and cut faux-fur coat ($299)...

The lace and sequin wrap dress ($225) and cut faux-fur coat ($299)…

The embellished woven jacket ($125)...

The embellished woven jacket ($125)…

Fortunately, this season, leggy lovelies, you and I have so many things to wear to every party we could possibly attend—real or imagined. The designers at Long Tall Sally have dreamed up a holiday collection so luxurious and sumptuous, I could have been convinced that it was Vera Wang’s RTW collection for winter. Replete with an ornately-beaded fit and flare dress in black; a buffered bronze lace-and-sequin wrap dress; a sleek faux fur coat with generous sleeves and a slim silhouette;  a perfectly-embellished woven jacket, and even a lace panel black jumpsuit (!!!), these pieces are the stuff holiday parties are made by. Though I have a very modest holiday calendar, I can imagine donning the faux fur coat atop LTS’ leopard flocked skinny jean ($99) and colorblocked sequined sweater ($99), with Sam Edelman’s black suede Morillo ankle bootie ($145) on my feet for a cozy Christmastime outing  with friends—or perhaps that lovely bronze lace and sequin wrap dress with the premium animal ponyhair pump ($145),  topped by the stab stitch crepe jacket ($159) for a look that goes from work party to festive drinks, dinner, and dancing with that special fellow (or best ladies) in your life. But who could forget that stunningly singular, 20s-inspired sequined tunic dress ($249)—for the get-together in a smoky lounge with clinking champagne glasses; the elegant eve in a ballroom strung with twinkling  glass orbs and greenery; or that surprise holiday date out on the town to see the biggest Christmas tree for miles  being lit with thousands of tiny twinkle lights?! I couldn’t, and you shouldn’t, dear readers—it would be nothing short of magical on an elongated frame…

So be sure to get all your gorgeous party pieces from Long Tall Sally, and  check back in soon for my favorite pants, knits, coats, and boots of the season, all available from LTS for your Christmas lists. Plus—a little elf told me that Santa may be stopping by The HEIGHT of Style soon with a holiday shoe giveaway for two lucky tall ladies, so make your list, and check here twice!


The Poshest Pumps from Across the Pond: c/o Upper Street x Nicole Smallwood

10 Oct

Too often, runway-ready footwear styles in larger sizes are an afterthought for designers, leaving larger-footed, well heeled wannabes just…wannabes. The frustration of being relegated to searching for those particularly generous, perpetually rare size 11s is all too familiar for ladies with uniquely-sized peds—and certainly doesn’t leave much room for choice or imagination. But thankfully, the UK-born Upper Street shoes is making fanciful, high street style accessible for all with a bespoke ‘design your own shoe’ model using the finest materials and custom fabrication processes—AND a customer-centered designer diffusion line with large-footed ladies in mind.

The impeccably on-trend RTW collection from stylist-to-the-stars Nicole Smallwood launched last week, to much excitement and industry acclaim (Harper’s Bazaar, The Daily Mail, The Times, and Cosmopolitan). Nicole, at 5’10 and a size 11, had long felt the pinch of being sized out of her most coveted styles. After her successful partnership with Upper Street’s co-founders Katy Chandler and Julia Grinham through the ‘9-10 Club’, Nicole was pulled in to design a namesake line in sizes 40-44 (US 9-12.5). Featuring an exclusive array of perfectly strappy sandals, jewel tone metallic suede heels, plush d’Orsay pumps, and velvet and glitter-heel ankle booties —those of us typically sized out can’t help but feel that we’re finally getting a chance with all the shoe ones that had—previously—always gotten away.


The stunning Cairns by Upper Street x Nicole Smallwood, in a lovely mid-heel…

In particular, the one that had always gotten away from me was that stylish, versatile, luxe, modestly-heeled sandal that would take me from work to the most elevated evening occasions I’d find myself attending. In my case, the Cairns low heel in plush black velvet and reflective mirror leather ($300)  is that one—that shoe. It felt like the holidays when these lovelies arrived c/o of Katy and Julia in a fuschia bow-bedecked black box packed with extra inserts (didn’t need them, as the heels were so cushy) and a velvet dustbag. Suitably, once donned, the Cairns imparted that sparkly bit of festivity in my step, and made me truly feel as though I was missing…absolutely nothing! I’ll be gingerly wearing these heels tonight for an industry event (and many more to come), paired with my plummy velvet and black woolen dress—but I am looking forward to pairing them with tapestry peg pants and an insouciant, boxy tee for an enlivened version of my everyday uniform. Even better—they come in a sleek mid-heel as well!

Donning my stunning new Upper Street Cairns low heel sandal for evening...

Trying my stunning new Upper Street Cairns low heel sandal in an evening ensemble…

Lest my pixieish readers feel neglected, Upper Street offers sizes as small as a UK size 1.5 (US size 3) in four width fittings, as well as a gorge bridal line, on top of their custom design service.  Much love to Katy and Julia—the thoroughly charming, sweet, and perfectly turned-out co-founders of Upper Street who believe that every woman should have the highest quality, perfectly-fitted shoes of her dreams—right down to the most breathtaking details (assuredly, such shoes are worth every single penny).

My perfect shoe, c/o Upper Street!

My perfect shoe, c/o Upper Street!

Stay tuned for more news and collection launches around my favorite bespoke shoe brand to date, Upper Street!


Peruvian Connection: A Veritable Ruby of Modern, Bohemian Style

9 Oct

When most of us think ‘Peruvian Connection’, we think Aztec-print blanket shawls, fringed knit long skirts, and nubby wool sweaters. Born of the Hurlbut womens’ intrepid vision in 1976, nearly 40 years later, Peruvian Connection still is stocked with those sumptuous, ethically-sourced alpaca wool and pima cotton staples of yore. But today’s PC is far more age-democratic, modern-minded and boho-luxe. Think Anthropologie, if all their in-house lines were subjected to rigorous quality controls and on-brand visual acuity. Just take a look at (and get to your local store to try on) their fall 2013 collection of ethereal French and Italian silk and taffeta dresses in warm and luminous palettes, and you’ll see what I mean. (I am coveting them all, by the way…)

A peek inside the Peruvian Connection Boston store...

A peek inside the Peruvian Connection Boston store…

As Peruvian Connection’s Boston location opened just this spring, I got to try PC beyond catalog pages and parcels. Their store space on lower Newbury speaks to the senses with rough hewn wooden floors, exposed brick walls, velvet Victorian sofas, and displays tucked in architectural nooks and crannies for an experience that feels far more worldly and evocative than a mere Sunday outing. The charming sales associates helped me into the Lucia Silk Pinafore ($239, down from $279). This airy 100% silk crepe number showcases a jewel-toned Guatemalan huipil print, a fitted bodice, exposed back zipper, full skirt, and pockets—the latter of which is perfect for storing treasures from your travels. And it’s a universally flattering shape and of exceptional quality— I can imagine it looking just as fetching on one of you tall slender sylphs as it does on us hourglasses (though I especially appreciated the waist emphasis and the ample hip room). At 36”, it is long enough to hit mid thigh for us more vertically-inclined types, and would register as knee length for women 5’8” and under.

(Here I am wearing it with a Lulu Frost for J. Crew necklace and brown suede pumps on an unseasonably warm, early fall day. But it pairs perfectly with my tumbled black leather jacket, lace print black tights, and ankle boots or a strappy sandal and faux-fur jacket for evening.)

(Here I am wearing it with a Lulu Frost for J. Crew necklace and brown suede pumps on an unseasonably warm, early fall day. But it pairs perfectly with my tumbled black leather jacket, lace print black tights, and ankle boots or a strappy sandal and faux-fur jacket for evening.)

For similarly flattering and elegant shapes, be sure to check out the Pima Cotton Floral Sketchbook Dress, the Las Flores Silk Pinafore, and the Scarlatti Silk Dress.

If you’re in Boston, be sure to stop in and visit the new Peruvian Connection at 170 Newbury Street for artisanal, singular apparel that you simply won’t find anywhere else (especially stateside). Today’s Peruvian Connection is quite the  gem!


Lucia Silk Pinafore courtesy of Skirt PR.

You Can Never Have TOO Many Sandals…

22 Jun

…especially when they are are fabulously on sale! Today only, get your Dolce Vita, Corso Como and BFT sandals for 25% off! But  see another brand you like? Great, because Barefoot Tess’ summer sale allows you to take 25% off all sandals with no exclusions.  Use code:  SAND25.


And if you’re as big a Barefoot Tess fan as I am, be sure to cast your vote for them in a Baltimore-area #SocialMadness competition.  Vote now to get them through to the next round (they’re in the ‘Large’ business category), and then be sure to come back on the 25th and keep giving them your kudos. Vote here:

Have a lovely start to summer, my vertically-inclined dears, and happy sandal shopping!


The Gilt City Warehouse Sale Hits Boston!

5 Mar

Gilt-City Logo

It happens twice a year; you get tons of presents; and the libations, snacks, and tunes are suitably festive—that’s right, it’s the Gilt City Biannual Warehouse Sale at Boston’s Artists for Humanity! Snap up your tickets (the Saturday time slots are going fast), and head down to South Boston this Friday, March 8th and Saturday, March 9th for designer duds and accessories of all ilks at up to 90% off retail—better yet, there will also be home merchandise from Cunill America on site to choose from! Whatever your fashionable obsession, this hunt for the hidden gems is well worth it…and more than just a hunt-and-gather-until-thoroughly-exhausted, it’s really a shopping party…to wit, read below for all the great goodies you get with every ticket purchase…

Aisles and aisles of great goods at the Gilt City Warehouse Sale...

Aisles and aisles of great goods at the Gilt City Warehouse Sale…

Happy shopping, leggy Boston lovelies, and be sure to share any of your tall-friendly Gilt finds! In fact, if you tweet and instagram a photo of what you purchase from the Warehouse Sale by using the hashtag #RaidtheWarehouse, you can win $100 of Gilt credit. More Gilt? Yes please! And a few tips: 1) arrive early; 2) be ready to shop out-of-season and in advance; and 3) plastic, not paper (leave the cash at home).

An event ticket for one includes:

    • Complimentary coat check (guests must check all coats and bags before entering the sale)
    • Onsite bar sponsored by La Marca Prosecco and also featuring Whitehaven Wine and New Amsterdam Vodka with Vita Coco Coconut Water
    • Refreshments provided by AQUAhydrate and Coco Cafe
    • Snacks and dipping station provided by Pretzel Crisps
    • Onsite merchandise from featured Gilt Home vendor, Cunill America
    • Uber $20 gift card with purchase (valid for new users only)
    • Photo kiosk provided by SMART Pics
    • Music by live DJ


Barefoot Tess Review: Adore Those Ankles!

4 Feb

My sole-centric philosophy is that shoes make the outfit, and ankle boots make the outfit better. As a New England city girl, I place a high value on shoes that can tally many pavement miles, offer coverage and warmth in unreliable weather, and look intentional with everything they’re paired with. Ankle boots fit all these specs AND can be worn year-round…with everything from my favorite Rock and Republic skinnies and a sweater to a flirty sundress and little else (one of my favorite pairings, to boot, haha)! 80% of the time, you can find ankle booties on these very long tootsies of mine. But in reality, I only have 3 existing pairs of ‘em, 2 of which are sadly worse for all that wear they get…

Since I browse Barefoot Tess almost every other day, I had the 80/20% ‘Clyde’ ankle boots in the grey colorway on my radar since the moment they popped up on Barefoot Tess’ website. Barefoot Tess is my chosen destination for on-trend designer exclusives in my otherwise-rare size 12/13s—and since falling in love with BFT-exclusive 80/20% hidden wedge desert boots last winter (and wearing them into the cement), I was waiting for an update. The ‘Clyde’ is a Western-inspired bootie with a flattering lower-cut AND signature hidden wedge that adds a nice 2” boost in height—all in all, the most leg-flattering COMFORTABLE ankle boot you will find. And the grey and navy colorways are much more spring-friendly than black or dark brown booties…

Barefoot Tess' 80%/20% 'Clyde' Ankle Boot

Barefoot Tess’ 80%/20% ‘Clyde’ Ankle Boot

…in short…I had multiple justifications as to why I needed Clyde in my life. Now that I’ve received my boots from BFT, I simply couldn’t be happier with the style, the true-to-size fit, and the experience. I’ve been a customer of Barefoot Tess since 2006 and have kept coming back for their second-to-none attention to customer service and great editorial feel (check out TesSpeaks!). Plus, for any tall girl, it feels right to support the namesake business of Karen Williamson—she initially started the site to help provide her uber-fashionable, vertically-inclined daughter Tess with options in larger-size shoes…

The Clydes, styled for winter. Dress: French Connection, Tights: Legale, Necklace: Eddie Bauer, Shoes: Barefoot Tess

The Clydes, styled for winter. Dress: French Connection, Tights: Legale, Necklace: Eddie Bauer, Shoes: c/o Barefoot Tess


















I styled the Clydes with my fleece-lined tights and a dress from French Connection, but am dreaming of warm spring days when I can wear them bare-legged, hop-skipping my way down the streets of Cambridge. After all, when your larger-sized feet are treated to comfortable, stylish shoes like these, why not hop, skip, and jump for joy?

These booties are incredible on!

These booties are incredible on! (c/o Barefoot Tess)

Stay tuned for more BFT reviews of spring styles, and be sure to check out their newest arrivals and Photo Contest, going on now!


This One’s For the (Tall) Guys…

1 Feb

Okay, so I get that you guys will all tell me that you HATE shopping. My (6’8”) fiancé has even resorted to nonverbal assertions of this every time I pop into a Banana Republic for more than 90 seconds—mostly by pacing furiously outside the entrance—stopping only to intently stare at my movements as though scouting for an adult kickball league. And while I always chalked this up to him really just hating shopping (and potentially a nudist proclivity), I started smelling a fish when I spent FOUR HOURS trailing him through an L.L. Bean a couple of weeks ago—weighed down by armfuls of his try-ons.

Spurred by a sneaking hunch that I wasn’t getting the full story, I asked him why he hated clothing shopping post-‘The Bean Affair’. And this time, my answer was markedly different:

“Actually, I don’t hate shopping or clothes. I just hate going into stores when there will only be one ugly shirt that fits me. It’s not only frustrating—it’s embarrassing.”

Have you (unintentionally) been here? Read on, guys...

Have you (unintentionally) been here? Read on, guys…

And suddenly, I got it. While we tall ladies may complain that shopping off-the-rack is painful (it often is), we can usually squeeze in to size-ends; “put a boot on it” to camouflage short pants; choose fabrics with two-way stretch; or just wear tights for extra coverage when donning that knee-length (ahem, mid-thigh!) dress. But exceptionally tall dudes don’t have it so easy—they inherently have fewer options to choose from, and that one shirt or trouser they can pull off the rack in their size? Ugly. Dowdy. And usually wide enough to accommodate a sumo wrestler, but barely long enough to tuck or cover their ankles.

With that in mind, I’ve compiled my favorite online and in-store options beyond Gap’s ‘Big and Tall’ selection for you tall fellows looking for clothing to make you feel as good as you look. Shopping may never be a process you love—but I’d love to get you towering handsomes to a place of less frustration and more freedom…to express yourselves through clothing and accessories that actually fit and look cool too.

Some casual options for you tall guys...

Some casual options for you tall guys…


 1)   L.L. Bean Signature: The Signature line is the hip offshoot of Bean’s, helmed by Rogues Gallery’s Alex Carleton. Think modern, urban-rugged takes on Bean’s classic chinos, Chamois shirts and boots. In up to an XXL Tall, and 42” (waist) x 36” (inseam) pant—great for casual/weekend basics.

2)   Lands End: Chock full of high quality work staples and a great selection of tall outerwear at reasonable price points, LE offers the bang for your tall buck—and one of the most flattering dress pants I’ve seen for tall men—the Plain Front Tailored Fit trouser. The guy particularly loves the three-season Sportsman Field Coat—now on sale for $54.99.  In up to a 4X Tall; 54” (waist) x 38” (inseam) pants.

3)   Nordstrom: For the best selection of stylish shoes in up to a size 16 extra wide, hit Nordstrom—or better yet, Nordstrom Rack for racks and racks (literally) of cool, big-guy shoes at clearance prices.

Some business-casual options for you tall guys...

And some business-casual options for you tall guys…


 1)   Longshot Apparel: Simply the best option for USA-made, high-quality shirting engineered specifically to fit the proportions of tall men. Purveyors of the ‘Tailored Taller Fit’, these Egyptian cotton oxfords are perfect for looking good at work or at play. In 8 brand-specific sizes and length iterations—1-4L.

2)   Paul Fredrick: This retailer has been offering house-designed business and business casual separates in quality fabrications for going on 30 years. What it means for you? Snazzy designer looks without the designer-tag markup. Be sure to check out the tall 3-piece seersucker suits for summer! Up to a 54” (waist) x 38” (inseam) pant; up to a 4X/Extra Long jacket or vest; shirts can be custom-sized.

3)   Hats in the Belfry: This punny e-tailer offers a wide selection of  larger-size hats ranging from newsboys to fedoras to pork-pies. Great option for picking up some signature toppers to polish off your look.

Have a question? Need some help? Drop me a line or comment below!



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