Contemporary Tailoring for Tall Women

Contemporary Tailoring for Tall Women

Contemporary Tailoring for Tall Women

Goodbye Long Tall Sally…

Long Tall Sally, for years the only supplier of clothing designed for tall women, has announced it is closing its doors. After 44 years of trading the company has said that the “changing economics of retail, along with fierce competition”, have made it very difficult to continue. The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated and compounded these difficulties, so the company last week released the news that it is to close.

That has left many tall women wondering where on earth they will find their wardrobe staples in the future. Here at Allta, we have discovered a number of tall-focused labels in the two years that we have been in business. Whilst they don’t have the profile of the big brands – and are not always able to match their prices – brands across the UK and Europe are offering individual styles for most tastes. We have compiled a list, below, which may help you find some new names and styles when you are next looking to shop (links not clickable, sorry).

Many of these brands are available from the online tall shop, The Tall Collective, which also lists footwear brands including Apavi 40 Plus. And you can check out the tall shoe brands, Otto + Ivy and Low Heels, both of which offer a great selection of shoes and boots for larger feet.

As many of you will already know, there are good tall sections also available at Asos, Next, Boohoo and New Look. And don’t forget, your Allta jacket will provide the perfect finishing touch to most outfits.

Allta’s Moreton blazer and Blewbury utility jackets

If you are interested in supporting small, independent brands, then don’t forget to sign up to the forthcoming event we’re involved with: discoverHer Goes Pop. As mentioned in last week’s newsletter, it’s a two-day online pop-up shop happening at the end of this month, which will feature over a hundred small brands offering bargains to new customers like you.

Sign up today to gain access to the directory of brands:  discovHer Goes Pop!

Once you’ve signed up, then a day or two before the 30th of June you will be emailed the link and password to the exclusive directory to access all the discount codes that will be available over the two-day sale.

The event kicks off on 30th June until 1st July so you’ll be privvy to exclusive discount codes from all participating brands. Why not sign up so you can treat yourself to a bit of luxury and support all the retailers who are struggling to get through this difficult time.

Just CLICK HERE to sign up (free of charge) to the directory!

There will undoubtedly be further retail casualties before we’re out the other side of this pandemic, but we hope that by working together and supporting one another, essential tall brands catering to women like you will survive.

Thanking the NHS – nominate a key worker

We heard at the end of last week that a new work of art by Banksy had appeared at Southampton General Hospital. The one metre square painting has been hung in the hospital foyer near the emergency department. It shows a young boy playing with his superhero action figures. He has chosen an NHS nurse over his Batman and Spiderman toys.

The new artwork by Banksy in Southampton General Hospital

Banksy speaks for the nation by depicting a nurse as a superhero, now more than ever. I have my own reasons to be grateful to the NHS staff – particularly those at Southampton General Hospital – and was pleased to see my story appearing in The Express newspaper today (print copy only, it’s not made it online, sadly, so I can’t share a link).

The piece tells of my cycling accident almost five years ago, when I fell off my bike and, because I wasn’t wearing a cycle helmet, suffered a factured skull and blood clots on the brain. I was rushed to Southampton General for emergency surgery where they performed a craniotomy (removing a section of my skull to relieve the pressure on the brain) and kept me in a coma in the Intensive Care Unit for 10 days.

I spent a further few days in hospital at Southampton before being transferred back to Oxfordshire, where I live and where Allta is based.

What a stressful time that was for my friends, family and particularly for my husband, who made the journey to see me in hospital and then afterwards at the Oxford Centre for Enablement every day for almost 10 weeks. All time time whilst running his own business, too.

It was during my recovery from this accident that the idea really took hold to launch my clothing business.

So now it seems appropriate to offer a little something to an NHS key worker by way of thanks for my recovery and for all the hard work they are doing treating the huge number of Coronavirus sufferers in this country.

If you know of a tall healthcare worker you think would like an Allta jacket, why not email me on emma@allta.co.uk telling me their name, size, height and why you think they should receive a jacket. I will choose someone at the end of this month to receive one, so may be in touch with you to discuss the details.

Remember, that’s emma@allta.co.uk and you have til the end of the month to drop me a line.

Tall Shopping Day in London

Were you one of our visitors at M Restaurant, Victoria in London on Saturday?

Lots of you braved corona virus fears to join Allta and Low Heels for a day of trying and buying all washed down with a glass (or two!) of prosecco.

Posing with Joanna from Low Heels just before we opened the doors to our first eager shoppers

It was great to meet so many of you and find out what issues you struggle with when shopping for tall fit clothing. Even within the tall niche, it is fairly true to say that everyone is a different shape and struggles with different fit issues, such as wide shoulders, big bust, long body or thick waist, to name but a few. We are all unique so it was interesting to find out which brands people have as their go to for a reliable fit.

We had lots of you trying on our Moreton blazers, Blewbury jackets and Aston shirts. Take a look at the pictures below to see how some of them looked when on:

And great to catch up with SheSoStyles, aka Sherene Morrison, who was telling shoppers how much she loves her Blewbury jacket. She gives some styling ideas on how to wear it here:

We had one lucky shopper win a jacket: we just drew the winning entry today and will be getting in touch with Maria (seen above in the pink blazer) to let her know she has won that jacket.

For those of you that weren’t able to make it along, or didn’t make up your minds on the day, we are happy to say that we can continue to offer Saturday’s discounts for online shopping until the end of the month.

To get 50% off the Blewbury jacket, just type the code BLEWBURY50 in at the checkout.

MORETON40 gets you 40% off any of our blazers and ASTON20 gets you 20% off any of our shirts (although we are out of stock on most of the size 16 shirts – only the blue/green version left in stock in that size). And there’s free UK-wide shipping for all orders over £100.

So don’t forget you have until the end of the month to take advantage of the offer.

Happy shopping!

Tall women under the spotlight as ‘Tall Girl’ comes to Netflix

Tall women are under the spotlight more than ever this week with the release of Tall Girl, which charts some of the difficulties faced by 16 year-old Jodi, a 6ft 1.5” girl in high school. The Netflix drama follows on the heels of Game of Thrones, which featured 6ft 3” Gwendoline Christie as the indomitable Brienne of Tarth.

But this year Long Tall Sally opted to close the last of its bricks and mortar stores to focus on online sales. Is it actually becoming harder for taller than average women to find clothes they would really like to wear?

We’ve spoken to some of you about your shopping issues and here’s what you told us.

Caroline Gill, who is 5’11”, says: “It’s difficult to just go along the high street and browse. I can just about fit into high street sizes but only in certain stores, and even then I have lower expectations for the actual fit.”

Aleesha Hansel is 5’10” and a professional model. Being a professional clothes horse doesn’t mean she finds it easy to find things that fit her tall frame. She says: “Buying trousers, jeans, jumpsuits etc. is an absolute nightmare because they are always too short. Even dresses with waistbands are difficult as they are often not at my natural waist.” And the fact that some high street brands to have tall sections isn’t always the answer for Aleesha, so she takes matters into her own hands. “Some high street stores do have tall divisions, but they only do them online, which is frustrating.  I actually get a seamstress to alter things for me.”

And she is not alone. Caroline’s experience is that the high street names do not invest in their tall ranges. “Rarely in the things that will obviously cost them more to produce, so usually the nice stuff doesn’t come in a tall version.” Like Aleesha, she has things altered. “Nearly every time with jackets or trousers.”

 Jane Anderson is taller still. At 6ft 1”, she says, “I hate shopping and go only if it’s absolutely necessary”. She has problems with everything from leg length to the position of pockets and finds that many stores don’t alter the cut and proportions when making clothes for taller women. “[They] just stretch things out without considering what would suit a taller person.”

The choice for tall women has improved in recent years with some niche tall brands popping up online and Allta is one of them.

As you’ll know if you’ve been following us for a while, our collection features a range of shirts and jackets made in London from high quality fabrics in natural fibres, helping to cut down on the microplastic waste caused by washing synthetic fabrics in our machines.

Our shirts are made from cotton gingham and our jackets are either cotton twill or Shetland wool and we use mother-of-pearl buttons to finish our garments with quality trims.

You can see our full range here and don’t forget to look at The Tall Collective for some other tall-specific brands you may not yet know.

And as well as selling online, we’re also getting out and about to meet you at various events across the country.

If you would like to come and visit us to try before you buy, Allta will be at the Blenheim Horse Trials, 19-22nd September and then at the Belvoir Castle Countryside and Horse Lovers’ Christmas Shopping Fair at Belvoir Castle near Grantham, 29th November – 1st December.

Feeling short at the Tall Society London Brunch!

When was the last time you felt like the shortest person in the room?

For me that was on Sunday at the Tall Society London Brunch. The Tall Society is the brainchild of Bree Wijnaar, a US-based 6’4” woman who has made it her mission to bring like-minded tall women together to network, share stories, laughs and clothing tips. Bree was back in London for the second of her Tall Society London Brunches on August 18th. 50 tall women gathered at the W Hotel, Leicester Square to enjoy some prosecco, a delicious buffet and do a bit of shopping.

From l to r: Laura Schofield of All the Tall Things blog and Otto + Ivy shoes, Emma Stewart from Allta, Bree Wijnaar the Tall Society organizer, Joanna Scott from Low Heels and Natalie Matthews from Height of Fashion

Allta was one of the five sponsors taking a vendor slot and we were there alongside other tall clothing and footwear brands: Tall Glass of Water, Height of Fashion, Sante + Wade and Low Heels.

What a great experience it was, too. After a bit of networking and retail therapy, the group was treated to a great speech from Laura Schofield, the brains behind the All the Tall Things fashion and lifestyle blog, who is about to launch her own footwear brand, Otto + Ivy. Laura spoke about the connections tall women make with other tall women: those who actually get what it’s like to stand out from the crowd. She spoke about ‘tall shaming’ and how it is, actually, a thing. You can see and hear Laura in action by going to her Facebook page, here.

I spoke to women about various tall issues they have from the struggles they face raising their tall daughters, how difficult it can be finding party clothes with a wow factor in longer lengths and how difficult it is, generally, finding good quality clothing that fits.

And that, in case you had forgotten, is why Allta came into being. We recognize that finding good quality clothing made from top quality fabrics that is designed to fit a taller frame is difficult and we want to help. After years of not being able to find shirts and jackets that weren’t either too short in the arm or made from a shoddy polyester blended fabric, we decided that enough was enough. We wanted to wear jackets that would actually fit us, flatter us, be made from great fabrics and come in different colours to the standard black, navy and brown.

Allta’s Moreton wool blazer in turquoise and pink, and our Blewbury military style jacket in olive green

So, here we are, one year on from our launch and with our gingham shirts newly released to add to our collection. The focus is still on getting things long enough in the arms and the body (and we’ve added a couple of extra centimetres on to both in our shirts to allow for the fact that they are made from cotton, which is prone to a little shrinkage), and on being made from the best quality fabrics.

Our Aston shirt is made from cotton gingham, a perennially popular fabric that is light-hearted and versatile enough to work either for a day out in the country or a day in the office. It always looks crisp and fresh and we’ve added contrasting button plackets and cuff insides as well as contrasting mother-of-pearl buttons for that extra bit of interest.

Allta’s Aston gingham shirt in blue, navy and pink

I was wearing one on Sunday, which is maybe one of the reasons why I felt ‘normal’ height: I am 6ft tall and was wearing a shirt and jacket that actually fit!

Shirt Giveaway!

Allta is teaming up with @Lucindervention to offer one lucky follower the chance to wine one of our Aston cotton gingham shirts.

Here’s Lucinda in the Aston gingham shirt last week (photo courtesy of @lucindervention)

Here’s how to enter: Follow @allta_clothing and @Lucindervention on Facebook and leave a comment about what is missing from your tall wardrobe. Sign up for the newsletters at https://www.allta.co.uk/ and www.lucindervention.com for additional chances to enter. Winner will be selected as random when giveaway closes on May 15, 5 pm EST. This giveaway is not affiliated with Facebook. Users must be 18+ and living in the US or the UK.

For full terms and conditions, visit: www.allta.co.uk/competition-terms-conditions.

Normal exclusions apply. Opens: 05/08/19 Closes 05/15/19 17:00 EST (22:00 BST)

Henley 2019: our first birthday!

Modelling the Blewbury jacket in front of the Allta shop at this year’s Henley Royal Regatta

July saw our first birthday so we went back to where it all began and took a stand in the Shopping Village at the Henley Royal Regatta for a second year.

This year, rather than sweltering in 30 degree heat for five days, we enjoyed some more comfortable temperatures and took the opportunity to watch some of the racing as well as meeting some of the thousands of people who came along to the riverbank to eat, drink, sunbathe – and shop.

It was great to meet lots of new tall women, as well as some who’d spotted us last year and come back to take a second look. We had a record-breaking few days of sales and stocks are now running low on stock, particularly in the smaller sizes (we are completely out of the size 10 in the navy Moreton blazer, for example, and only have two of that size left in the turquoise).

Here are a few pictures of the Regatta to give you a flavour of the event – and show you the view we had across the water.

From left to right: our view over the river, a race in progress, one of the competing crews and the crowds along the riverbank taking it all in.

If you missed us there, why not come along to the Tall Society London Brunch next month where we will be showcasing our new gingham shirts. As well as enjoying a delicious brunch and meeting a whole bunch of fellow tall women, you’ll also get the chance to take a closer look at Australian tall brand, Height of Fashion British brand, Tall Glass of Water, and the footwear from Sante & Wade.

Click on the link here to book your tickets.

And if you’re not in or near London, we’re going to be at the Blenheim Horse Trials in September. See our events page for more details.

See you there!

Think Pink!

Pink is getting all grown up. Once mainly seen as the choice of little girls for their bedrooms and princess outfits, pink has gone mainstream and become the go-to choice for powerful women, who want to stand out from the crowd and be seen as stylish as well as effective.

This year’s Fashion Weeks were awash with the colour and it may be no coincidence that Pantone named Living Coral as their colour of 2019. Away from the world of fashion, pink has also been making its mark in political circles. Nancy Pelosi, the US Speaker of the House of Representatives wore a hot pink dress when sworn in to the role, and followed this up by rocking a magenta trouser suit when sitting for a photograph with the Democratic committee chairmen a few weeks later. The colour has even made its mark in the fevered Brexit negotiations with the BBC’s high profile broadcasters, Laura Kuenssberg and Katya Adler wearing pink for numerous TV appearances.

Pretty in pink (l-to-r): Laura Kuenssberg, Nancy Pelosi and Katya Adler

So how can you make this look work for you and take advantage of the pink clothing on offer right now on the high street and here at Allta.

Here are our tips on getting pink right:

1.       Go for a shade of pink that will flatter your skin tone. If you have fair skin then a peachy tone may well suit you best. Olive or darker skin tones work best with brighter pinks. If you’re worried about flushing the same shade as your lipstick after a glass of wine, choose cool-toned (blue-based) pinks. If you notice that you are getting lots of compliments when you wear a certain shade of pink, you’ve probably found your best match.

2.       To avoid overdoing it, try wearing pink with more neutral colours. Choosing one pink statement piece, such as a shirt, a nice pair of pink trousers, or even a pink jacket will look great if you pair it with a more neutral colour like white, black, or khaki. For example, wearing a light pink jacket with a white dress or skirt will look mature and elegant. In terms of accessories, gold, black, brown, and silver all look great with pink.
Pink also looks great with leopard print.

3.       You can achieve a bold and striking look by colour blocking pink with another strong colour. Red, purple, black or royal blue all work well here, but again, make sure all the colours suit your skin tone. Fuschia pink and royal blue look fabulous on those with cool colouring, but a warmer complexion would suit a peachier shade and turquoise better.

4.       Alternatively, colours such as silver, orange, and yellow all contrast with pink without clashing.

On the catwalk at London Fashion Week (l-to-r): designs from Molly Goddard, Halpern, Christopher Kane and Ashley Williams

5.       Don’t go overboard. When wearing a colour like pink, try to remember that less is more. If you wear a pink top, don’t wear pink trousers, shorts, skirts, etc. in the same tone. If you do want to make your whole outfit pink, opt for tonal dressing, pairing a pastel pink top with a bolder pink skirt or trousers. Top the whole lot off with magenta shoes or a handbag. Choosing different shades of pink will make your outfit more interesting.

6.       Pink accessories can also be used to great effect to liven up a more neutral outfit: pink shoes, scarves or bags. If you do want to wear more than one piece of pink, try varying the shade of each piece to give your look some character.

7.       If you get the tone right, pink shoes can add a fun touch to most outfits.  High heels for a big night out might work well. Try flats for a more laidback day time look.

8.       Carry a pink handbag. If you’re wearing an otherwise neutral outfit, carrying a pink bag with you can add a bit of flair. Here again the shade and tone of pink can make all the difference. For example, if you are going for an elegant look, opt for a more neutral or pale shade of pink. If you want to go for an edgier look, find a bag that is in a bold, bright pink.

9.       You can also try pink hair accessories. Try a pink headband, clip, or even a bow if you like them.

10.       Pink doesn’t have to look sweet and demure. If you want a really edgy look, try layering a black leather jacket on top of a hot pink dress.

11.       And for that finishing touch, try using pink make-up, either on eyes or, as a safer bet, on lips, cheeks or nails.

Pink options at Allta (l-to-r): the Moreton blazer in hot pink and the Aston shirt in pale pink gingham work well together when paired over jeans

Look after your woollens!

As our followers will know by now, Allta is all about providing a touch of affordable luxury to the tall woman’s wardrobe. That means we use premium natural fibres that look and feel good to wear, and just as importantly, stand the test of time.

Our popular Moreton blazer is made from 100% Shetland wool. To ensure it gives you years of stylish service it needs to be treated with respect.

Keep your woollens looking pristine

We’ve put together our top tips below…

Here, we’ve put together our top tips and advice on how to care for your wool jacket. From rescuing your blazer from an overstuffed suitcase, to keeping pesky wool pests at bay, we’ve got it covered. And we’re offering you the chance to win some essential oil-packed anti-moth sachets to protect all your finest woollens below :

  • Wool will crease when folded or packed for transit (we’re quite sure you won’t want to be parted from your blazer; not even on the shortest weekend break), but most creases will disappear on wearing. Persistent creases can be removed by hanging up your jacket in a bathroom full of steam for approximately 10-15 minutes. Make sure windows are closed, then run the hot tap or shower until the bathroom is fully steamed up. You can also achieve the same result with a steam iron. Place the jacket on an ironing board and holding a steaming iron two inches away from the creased fabric, give the iron a blast of steam and watch those creases miraculously disappear. DO NOT iron the jacket.

  • We recommend you get your wool blazer dry cleaned once or twice a year to give it an overall refresh but any spillages, especially those that can stain such as coffee and red wine, should be tackled immediately. Dab the stain with a clean dry cloth before it has a chance to penetrate the wool fibres. Do not rub as you will matt or felt the fibres, and avoid using a tissue, or paper towels which easily shred when wet leaving a residual lint. One of wools unsung attributes it its ability to repel moisture so immediate action can save some heartache.

  • Once soaked, wool can hold a considerable amount of water. The smell of lingering damp on a wool coat is instantly recognisable and most definitely undesirable. So, should you get caught in a heavy shower, it’s important that you give your jacket time to properly dry out. Hang up in a well ventilated, warm room until it is fully dry. Your jacket will thank you for it.

  • Mud splashes (heaven forbid) should be left to dry and then once dry, brushed off with a good quality clothes brush. Any attempt to remove the mud while wet will only amplify the problem.

  • We quite understand that you may want to store your blazer for the short period we often refer to as ‘summer’ when the sun may or may not shine, yet nevertheless, the temperature rises. So, a blazer sabbatical is accepted. Do note though: wool likes to breathe so avoid storing in plastic bags which can encourage mould. Washable cotton clothes bags are a great option.

  • Last but not least, beware the munching moth! The bane of wool lovers worldwide, we wouldn’t wonder. And the blighters are on the rise in Britain, according to new research by pest control company, Rentokil, with a 110% increase in clothes moth callouts from April to May last year and a 60% rise from May 2014 to May 2018. It’s actually the larvae of the eggs laid by the female moth that cause all the damage. Those larvae actually prefer unwashed clothes as any grime means more nutrients for them to feed on. So be sure to only store laundered garments. Moths love warm, dark environments where they won’t be disturbed! That’s one big incentive to regularly clear out your wardrobe and drawers and give them a good clean (and possibly a declutter while you are at it). Empty all storage spaces and vacuum thoroughly. Then wash down with warm, soapy water. Certain essential oils repel moths; cedar wood, vetiver, long lasting lavender, lemongrass, peppermint and rosemary are popular and can be used individually or in a mix. These natural deterrents are available in a number of variations.

Total Wardrobe Care

These moth repellent sachets are packed with essential oils which makes them beautifully fragrant as well as perfect for keeping moths at bay.

To help keep the dreaded moth at bay we are offering you the chance to win some anti-moth hanging sachets for your wardrobe. These sachets, by Total Wardrobe Care, are made from an all-natural recipe of anti-moth essential oils, and not only smell beautifully fragrant but, according to the Total Wardrobe Care website, are proven to be effective at deterring moths. To be in with a chance of winning and keeping the munching beasties at bay, just go to the competition entry page on our website and tell us where you think our Allta jackets are all made.

 UK18+ only. Normal exclusions apply. Opens: 19/02/19 Closes 28/02/19 23:59pm. x1 winner will win a pack 5 anti-moth hanging sachets by Total Wardrobe Care. Winners randomly selected and notified by email within 14 days of the closing date. Full terms and conditions below. Promoter: Allta Ltd.

For a full list of our competition terms and conditions, click here.

Style trends for 2019

Well here we are already at the end of January 2019 and looking ahead now to spring trends to refresh our wardrobes for the warmer weather ahead.

According to the fashion editors at the glossy magazines, who all follow the annual Fashion Weeks like hawks, we’re all set to be seeing – if not actually wearing – one or more of the following trends this spring & summer:  overisized hats, sensible shorts, fancy flats, fringing and neon brights. Puffed sleeves and shoulders are here to stay and as for details, look out for plenty of sequins, pleats, ruched dresses, bows, feathers and ruffles.

Some of the styles we’ll be seeing in 2019 – from l to r – bows at Valentino, puffed sleeves at Rodarte and utility wear at Fendi

In terms of overall looks, tie-dye is a strong trend on this season’s catwalks, featured in collections from Dior, Prada and Stella McCartney. The functionality of the utility look, which includes boiler suits, combat pants and overalls, makes it a regular fashion favourite and it’s on the runway again this year in collections by Fendi, Dries Van Noten, Isabel Marant, Balmain, Givenchy and Hermès.

Tie-dye has been all over the catwalks this season – l to r – including at Stella McCartney, Prabal Gurung and R13

Tuxedos are also perennial favourites as chic alternatives to evening dresses and some elegant creations have been gracing the shows of Celine, Giambattista Valli and Givenchy.

Pantone’s Colour of the Year for 2019 is ‘Living Coral’, aka PANTONE 16-1546, described as ‘an animating and life-affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energizes and enlivens with a softer edge’.

Despite looking too pink for some tastes, coral is actually a very versatile colour. If clashing is your thing then team it with fuschia pink or purple. But the colour itself is subtle enough to wear head to toe, mixing pastels with stronger tones. Or it makes a stunning accent with a handbag, scarf or even lip colour.

Whether you favour bold colour blocking or head-to-toe tonal dressing, there is a look out there to suit everyone for the spring. Often, the more pressing question for us tall ladies is: how do I find (insert garment here) to fit my height/proportions/leg length?!

Well, fear not. We have teamed up with styling expert, Johanna Bolhoven, from Rag Trade Productions to bring you an essential list of tall styling tips. Johanna gives her views on what high street shapes and lengths can be adapted for the taller frame. Download her style tips here and if you have any of your own to add, drop us a line on info@allta.co.uk.

So, now we know what’s coming, it’s time to get out there on the high street and put Johanna’s tips into practice to see if we can find it to fit! Happy shopping!