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Tall Ladies Wear Dresses

Tall Ladies Coat Dress working sketch by Derek Turner

Dresses for Tall Women

My venture into the world of tall ladies was serendipity at work. I was attending a social media workshop, adding to my arsenal of digital information, as we small business owners do, and happened to have the good fortune to be sat next to Luise.

Standing at 6ft 2″ tall, colour co-ordinated in varying shades of grey, I loved her sophisticated casual look, funky scarf, cropped pants, accompanied with linen top; finished off with a pair of Converse trainers. I spoke to her about fashion styling, in particular her look; imagine my surprise when Luise said she was nonplussed about fashion because of the problems tall women of her height and stature face when it comes to clothing.

Dresses for Tall Women
Toile in the making for Luise’s coat dress

“What was she talking about?”

I was under the impression that as the fashion industry has made a point of celebrating these Amazonian women, (according to magazine images anyone under 5ft 9″ is invisible), clothing in all forms especially dresses would be easily accessible. The saying ‘welcome to my world’ or in Luise’s case the world of tall ladies; dresses are more than adding a few extra inches, in fabric length to the hemline of a dress.

I’ve made customised evening dresses for ladies of 5ft 9″, not once thinking that anyone taller would encounter fitting issues with ready-to-wear clothing, there are fashion outlets that cater for tall women; the template of one size and style fits and suits all, doesn’t really cut it with tall ladies. It’s more than needing to allow for extra yardage of fabric; it’s also design, style lines and fit. You’ve got to bear in mind there is no hiding when you are head and shoulders above those around you, the whole surface area that is your body, is a walking billboard. In talking with Luise, I felt I was having a David Attenborough moment, only my discovery was of these gorgeous women, who don’t fit or conform to ‘an average’ anything.

Coat Dress for tall ladies
Toile back for Luise Coat Dress in progress by Coral Turner

Dress Lengths

Adding more fabric inches onto the length of a dress, when the waistline is in the wrong place looks as though you are wearing a dress that comes to an abrupt halt under the bustline; the gentle flow that is supposed to be happening in that area, streamlining the body, is simply not there!


Sleeves, well this was a huge eye opener, not just because of length, but more importantly the sleeve cap, (that’s the area around the top of the sleeve), too short a sleeve cap causes the sleeve to twist and strain, being out of proportion, especially if quite muscular in that area. One of Luise’s biggest bug-bears was the length of sleeves, some of which were three quarter length and not out of choice, but fit.

These were just a few of my tall ladies discoveries. I’ll be sharing with you in future writings my journey of fashion learning with tall ladies. The thrill of designing a coat dress for Luise, the surprising insights, in terms of fit, function, and design.

Stay tuned…

To talk with me about having a garment made to your measurements email and I will make an appointment for a consultation at my studio Thames Side Studios, or alternatively call 020 7732 7528

Fashion with a Conscious

By this time, you have all heard of the tragedy that took place in Bangladesh where a clothes manufacturing building collapsed, killing 1,129 people. The tragedy sparked worldwide condemnation about the shoddy business practices that ultimately led to the deaths of so many innocent people. But, in the aftermath, this incident has also sparked questions regarding the link between cheap fashion and worker safety.

There are many who love the thrill of bargain shopping. They are the great hunters who find the best deals on pickles, socks and all other things consumable; nothing wrong with that in theory, who doesn’t love a bargain?  But the question now becomes ‘who is really paying the price so you can get an £8.00 hoodie for your teenage son?’

I’m not a huntress. But that goes with the territory of being a couture designer—and working in the fashion houses, I began to realize that a deal is not actually a deal. It really means that someone else is not getting paid or is working in deplorable conditions.

The United Kingdom was once infamous for garments made to a high standard, in terms of workmanship, fabrics and finish. You only had to mention the names of certain key players and they were synonymous with workmanship of pedigree.

I appreciate that it is just not UK retailers that outsource their garment manufacturing to developing countries—the United States, Canada, France and many more do as well, but as a consumer, you do have a say on whether or not you will support substandard working conditions for those who work in developing countries. It is a question for your conscience. It is question for all of us because these people also manufacture our Smartphones, furniture, golf clubs, etc.

My heart goes out to those families who are left to pick up the pieces from a tragedy that was based on profit first, people somewhere down the line – eventually.  It is a shame it took the lives of so many people before it became an issue.

I want to assure you that my clothes are handmade by me, including all the embellishment work. I source my fabrics from ethical manufacturers. My clothes have a price attached to them to reflect the quality of workmanship, the fabric and the couture design. In my time on this planet and in good conscious I  work at being part of the solution to those things I see that ail humanity, equally I have strong beliefs in providing a luxury product that will last forever.