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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 www.joules.com (I'll take a pink sheep please too, Tom!)

Joules, shoppable across the UK and at http://www.joulesusa.com (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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

Cairns

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!

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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!

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Lucia Silk Pinafore courtesy of Skirt PR.

Rockin’ Barefoot Tess’ Ella-Ella-Ella-Eh-Eh-Eh…

11 Mar

If it’s not clear yet—I adore ankle booties. With denim; with dresses; even with fierce pencil skirts and prim lacy tees—and year-round, too! I’ve tried the hidden wedge 80%/20 western-inspired Clyde ankle boot from Barefoot Tess (and loved it) for casual/weekend wear, but hadn’t come across a more elegant, elevated ankle bootie until….the Barefoot Tess Ella. Hey, Barefoot Tess may as well be my Footwear Fairy Godmother!

The TESS by Barefoot Tess ankle boot, c/o BFT

The TESS by Barefoot Tess ankle boot, c/o BFT

Barefoot Tess is my go-to resource for stylish, on-trend shoes in sizes 11-15. With the most comprehensive selection of designer-exclusive shoes from  favorites including Jeffrey Campbell, 80%/20, All Black, and Corso Como AND the fabulous in-house brand TESS, the BFT site is full of shoe-candy that ensures that we tall, larger-footed ladies don’t have to sacrifice style to get comfortable, versatile, made-for-us fits. Particularly, the Barefoot Tess brand offers classic, elegant, European-quality designs—each style in the house line has been meticulously crafted and fit-tested for that that Cinder’ella’ fit. The Ella bootie is certainly worthy of any modern girl in search of her own fairytale!

In sumptuous black and tan suede colorways with a curved vamp and 3″  stacked wood heel, the Ella is as classy and leg-flattering as an ankle boot can possibly get. I have the Ella in the sand suede—ensuring that I will get wear well into the spring and summer months—but I can only imagine that the black is equally magical. I should add that despite the not-insignificant heel, the Ella is incredibly, remarkably comfy. We’re talking wear-it-for-a-day-on-your-feet comfy or hoof-it-into-work-on-unforgiving-city-streets comfy. And at the current sale price of $89.99, this boot is a versatile, affordable, high-quality  ‘must-have’ for any tall girl’s closet. I’m pairing my Ella bootie with vibrant sheaths, tailored work trousers, and of course–jeans and nubby sweaters. And I recently donned this posh little shoe with a boyfriend blazer, silk minidress, and black tights for a photoshoot to promote Stilista, the Boston styling-agency I work for on weekends.

Check out those TESS by BFT Ella booties! Photo courtesy of Rita Rose Photography

Check out those c/o TESS by BFT Ella booties! Photo courtesy of Rita Rose Photography

And would you believe that the wonderful shoot photographer, Rita Rose, advised me to “change up my leg poses, to show off those AMAZINGLY cute shoes”?! She totally did. Try them, and you’ll be looking for ways to show off their amazing cuteness too, I’m sure!

Are you trying out ankle boots for the first time? Flummoxed as to more styling options for Barefoot Tess boots and ankle booties? Be sure to comment or email me, and I’d be happy to advise as to any shoe-centric styling conundrums. And thanks for all the bibbity-bobbity-boo on my shoedrobe, Barefoot Tess!

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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

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Love That (Tall) Body You’re In!

20 Feb

*This blog will be appearing exclusively in Statuesque Magazine. Though it was intended to run on Valentine’s Day, it is just as true a week later…

“To  love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.”-Oscar Wilde

Whether you adore or despise Valentine’s Day (I fall somewhere in the middle), February 14th is a great occasion to think about loving…yourself.  Tall women are revered worldwide as being some of the world’s most stunning specimens…and yet, I meet far too many gorgeous vertically-inclined ladies who are unrelentingly harsh with themselves and prone to critique the undeniable physical qualities that make them so unique. At the risk of sounding hypocritical—I am guilty of the same type of body criticism. I not-infrequently misconstrue my height as being a detriment to my femininity instead an asset, and thus wage a war on my self-esteem that can never be won…

So this Valentine’s Day, I encourage you to focus on what you love about your stunning physical presence. Whether it’s your mile-long legs, your elegant arms, or your athletic shoulders (or all of the above), try to focus on at least one aspect that makes you feel positive about your height; makes you feel beautiful; makes you love yourself.  And if you still are having trouble recognizing your own beauty—it doesn’t hurt to consider that men and women alike already perceive you as being more intelligent, capable, and successful just because of your physical gift!

A sweet boy-meets-girl tall ensemble for a night out!

A sweet boy-meets-girl tall ensemble for a night out!

And as a little gift to you, I’ve put together two stunning ensembles practically guaranteed to make you love that tall body you’ve got—especially as all the contained separates are available in tall sizes and extra long lengths. Much love to all you lovely, inspiring tall ladies, and be sure to check The HEIGHT of Style at www.heightofstyleblog.com for more tips, style advice, and product reviews for vertically-inclined fashionistas.

An edgy-chic tall outfit for drinks, bites, and beyond!

An edgy-chic tall outfit for drinks, bites, and beyond!

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Lady Mary Would Likely Wear(-y) Barefoot Tess!

12 Feb

Let’s talk two of my favorite things: Downton Abbey and Barefoot Tess. As an unabashed anglophile, former Victorian & Edwardian literature student, and 1920s style aficionado, my Downton obsession is arguably as natural and expected as my next breath (and as you might guess, as an eldest daughter myself—I am team Lady Mary…) About as precedented is my love for Barefoot Tess’ variety of fashion-forward designer exclusive shoes in sizes that fit me (and all my lovely tall readers) splendidly. So when I came across the new Jeffrey Campbell for BFT ‘Edna’ wedge sandal ($129), these otherwise disparate loves came together in happy, happy union…

Adorbs, is Edna not?!

Adorbs, is Edna not?!

Barefoot Tess carries the largest selection (literally and figuratively) of Jeffrey Campbell’s fashion-forward, inspired designs. Campbell is the mastermind behind the “Where HAVEN’T you seen it?” Lita bootie (available from BFT too) as well as purveyor of exactly the kind of  distinctly feminine, vintage-feel, comfortable heels that I recommend every tall lady have in her shoe wardrobe. The Edna looks straight-out of a 1920s shop window with its charming peep toe, teardrop cutouts, and mary-janeesque ankle strap. I immediately fell in love with the unusual dusty green leather colorway for spring and beyond (…and I say ‘beyond’ as these wedges are well-cushioned and versatile enough to wear every day!)—and then it occurred to me that the ‘Edna’ is exactly the kind of shoe that Lady Mary would fall for too. Perhaps to pair with a dropwaist, spangled dinner dress?

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The Barefoot Tess/Jeffrey Campbell ‘Edna’ wedge sandal in perforated green leather…

Since I don’t have a dropwaist, spangled dinner dress lying around, I channeled all my haughtiness and imperiousness to style the gorgeous Edna as a present-day homage to Lady Mary (and all you Downton-loving, leggy lasses). I love wedges with dresses and an updo for an easy, sweet, warmer-weather-please-come-soon look, but I think the Edna would look equally fabulous with skinny jeans and a striped tee…or even a wedding dress (post to come, but don’t tell my Mr. Crawley yet…)!

My ‘modern’ take on Lady Mary’s style. Dress: Anthropologie, Shoes: Jeffrey Campbell ‘Edna’ Wedge Sandal, courtesy of Barefoot Tess

My ‘modern’ take on Lady Mary’s style. Dress: Anthropologie, Shoes: Jeffrey Campbell ‘Edna’ Wedge Sandal, courtesy of Barefoot Tess

A note about sizing on BFT’s Edna: I sized up in this shoe, as I find that wedges tend to push my foot forward. I’d recommend sizing up.

Have any questions? Want a recommendation on which colorway works for you when selecting the right ‘Edna’ for your wardrobe? Send me a message or comment below!


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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

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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!

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