Featured above: Lynn and Kate, Co-Founders of TallWater Jeans
Popular since the 1970s as a “bridge” staple (a sample of the luxury/couture space at a more accessible price point), designer denim today is practically ubiquitous, with Citizens of Humanity burgundy and gold labels marking the back pockets of bootcuts everywhere, as far as the eye can see (oh, but are you pear shaped? Try Paige. Long and lean? Try J. Brand. Apple shaped? Try AG.) Most of us have gulped down the Kool-Aid, in sugar-hungry anticipation of the release of True Religion’s latest coated denim skinny—I was very much guilty of designer denim coveting until I was able to see that that mainstream designer didn’t *really* work for me, and never really had.
When I was working as a stylist, I carried around a mental shortlist matching denim brands and body types to help my clients see the worth in finding the perfect, figure-enhancing fit that would hold up over time, becoming synonymous with each client’s sartorial signature. And yet, I was living a double life—recommending the designer denim investment while restricted to the same styles that barely fit but mostly didn’t. When I tried designer, the result was disappointing at best, demoralizing at worst. The length of the J. Brand skinnies hovered perfectly at ankle, but the “high-rise” was precipitously low (even on my short torso). Paige flares started flaring above the knee, if they rested comfortably between hip and waist. And the slim boot AGs—the veritable pajamas of designer denim—felt like a dream, and also felt like they’d be lost at the slightest contortion, the back pockets dragging southward. Instead of accepting that designer denim was not for me—a 6’4″ and not-tiny size 32— I continued to accept sub-par fits in exchange for great washes, substantial fabrications, and in large part, the satisfaction of being part of a club that didn’t really want me as a member.
I recently had the pleasure of trying TallWater jeans—a small tall-targeted designer brand, and the difference was revelatory, though now seems blindingly obvious—proportions just change the taller you get. Waists get longer, so rises need to be brought up. Legs get longer, but wider too on most women above 5’10″—room required lengthwise and widthwise for taller thighs and calves. Waistbands need more thickness to rest comfortably (and stay) between hip and midriff. Front pockets need reshaping, and back pockets need to take up proportionally more area relative to the back silhouette. It’s a job best suited to designers who intimately get that when designing for tall figures (not tacking on length and calling it “tall” as most high-street/mass manufacturing retailers will do), all of the details beyond length matter too. For me, trying TallWater jeans proved both a lesson both in body acceptance as well as a lesson in making the commitment to brands who genuinely want and appreciate us tall women as customers.
In the next week, I will be featuring an interview with Lynn and Kate, the lovely 6’2″ and 6’3″ twin sister founders of TallWater about how their denim company came to be, and feature a review of their jeans. In addition, I will recommend brands and care tips for tall women (and men) to ensure that you get the best fit for your unique shape (whether slim, athletic, or curvy) and can care for and maintain the style that works for you. So when it comes to picking out your next pair of jeans, consider investing in tall-dedicated designer jeans. They’re so worth the monetary savings that will come from not buying another pair of ill-fitting designer or mid-range jeans, as well as avoiding the mainstream designer heartache. Because you not only deserve better—you should expect it.