Birthdays are wonderful, and this year there’s a big one—our tall girl favorite Long Tall Sally turns the big 4-0! Though I can’t say I have been a fan for 40 years (not quite there…yet), I was introduced to LTS when I studied abroad in London in 2003. Prior to that, I had never had the experience of being able to walk into a brick-and-mortar store and have multiple pairs of pants—let alone, every pair of pants I wanted to try on—fit. It was a revelatory experience (so much that I wanted to stay in the UK for the pants, the afternoon tea, and the history—perhaps in that order). I’ve been a fan every since.
Over the years, as Long Tall Sally has become larger, more diverse, and very much on-trend, I’ve increasingly been drawn to the staples that seem ageless. Timeless. Like I would have bought them in the 1990s, or the aughts, or as I already do today. What I end up wearing—day in, day out, and on the weekends—is a lot of neutrals (okay, black), an occasional stripe, and classic outerwear and accessories. Long Tall Sally has been—and continues to be—my go-to for styles that stand the test of time, and always fit me.
Here’s the story of how LTS and I became good friends.
1976: The indomitable Judy Rich moved to the UK from Philly in her 20s, and opened the first Long Tall Sally store after noticing how difficult it was to find pants that cleared her ankles.
1986: I was two, albeit a very sizable two year old. I had a taste (or Mom did) for striped tee-shirts and diapers. I distinctly *DID NOT* have a taste for my brown leather orthopedic boots to correct my inward gait, which is odd, because I’d totally wear those boots today.
1996: I was 12 and going through a phase where I liked wearing mens’ clothes. Just kidding—that’s all that was available. In the summer of ’96, I do remember getting to wear a loaner dress from one of my summer camp counselors for the week-end dance. It was black, too short, and really tight, but I felt unusually great wearing it. I wore it with my Adidas shower sandals, and the boy I kept pummeling on the basketball court asked me to dance…what I had wanted all along.
2006: I was working my first post-college job. Over the course of college, I had changed my style drastically every year, but had landed pretty much where I started: neutral wool coats, long sleeve solid and striped tees/blouses, straight skirts, and some trusty Long Tall Sally bootleg black pants—the first pair of which were lovingly procured when I studied abroad in 2003. This was my “adulting” uniform…and with few minor detours, it has stayed my “adulting” uniform.
2016: I get to choose my Long Tall Sally staples to wear for a post celebrating LTS’s 40th anniversary…dream come true! So I go for the outfit I would have worn, happily (although in mini size) in 1986, 1996, or 2006…including the best of the best: a striped tee, fitted black flares, a neutral coat, and comfortable boots.
I started with my Allegro black flares (already had a home in my closet). The Allegro is supremely stretchy, and has an amazing flat, pull-on silhouette—no pinching, no pulling, no buttons. At $55, the pant is a bargain, and a close approximation for my LTS black flares ca. 2003. I matched the Allegros with the Long Sleeve Breton Stripe Top ($39) from the LTS basics line—a stretchy, body-skimming staple with wonderfully long sleeves, a similarly long body, and an array of colorways. I went for the gray/white pairing, so I could match with black bottoms by day, and high-waisted jeans by weekend. [Disclaimer: I already have several LTS’ striped tees, and I keep going back to them because they wear beautifully–even after many trips through the dryer.] Together, the Allegros and the Breton Stripe Top made me feel like I did at that culminating summer camp dance in ’96: just great.
Sticking with the theme of ‘going-with-what-you-know’, I rounded out with the Boiled Wool Collarless Coat ($209) and the LTS Amber Suede Ankle Boot ($175). Though the coat was a bit warm for an 85 degree day in Boston, it is roomy, hefty, and will be a go-to through the fall and winter with the obligatory layers underneath. The boiled wool outer is nicely textured—adds interest to what would be just another gray coat—and the collarless silhouette is great to show off a scarf and/or visually lengthen the neckline. It is the coat I wanted in 2006, but hadn’t found…until now.
The Amber has a walkable heel; a flattering almond toe; and a rusty hue that is on-point for fall’s return to the 70s. But more than that, it will wear over the years—and wear well for someone who increasingly requires “sturdiness” and “style” in the same footwear package. In other words: just as comfortable as my toddler boots, but much better looking.
As I was out celebrating my new Long Tall Sally finds, I felt put-together, but mostly, I felt like myself 2, 12, 22, and 32. Thank you Judy and team for giving me—and tall girls around the world—the option for timeless, well-fitting staples that do something really special: let us shine, at any age.