So we’re officially in September- the month that marks the end of all things bright, floral and beautiful, and the start of all things warm, leafy and wonderful. There’s something about changing seasons that always makes me do a little self-reflection, and over the last couple of weeks I’ve been reflecting on just how far I’ve come with my self-love journey over the past year.
One of the questions I often get asked is whether I like being tall and the answer to that question is… Yes, I do. In fact, I absolutely love it. It’s taken constant effort to get here, but I can finally say I’m at the stage where I’m pretty confident with most things about myself, especially my height. I’m aware that there are still so many girls and women who are struggling with accepting the benefits and the challenges of being tall, so I thought I’d share my top 10 tips for embracing your height with my tall sisters, while serving you one final summer look. This promises to be a hot one, so here goes…
1. Remember that you’re unique. Not weird. Not freakish. Not ugly. The average woman in the UK is 5’3. In the US, she’s 5’4. So whether you’re 5’9, 5’11 or 6ft plus, you are, quite literally, above-average… in the best possible way. Now, don’t get me wrong- there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being average, but one of my life mottos is, why blend in when you could stand out? So be kinder than the average person; more caring than the average person; more loving than the average person. And when it comes to height, you’re already taller than the average person, so embrace it. Be a flamingo in a flock of pigeons.
2. Walk tall. The thing about being tall is… just that: You’re tall. You missed the memo when God was dishing out the ‘petite’ and ‘average height’ labels and since that ship has sailed, you may as well catch the next one: a one-way ticket to ‘OwningYourHeight-Ville’. People have this way of picking up on your insecurities almost instantly, and when you’re a tall woman they’ll assume your height is your biggest one. Because society tells you that since you’re a woman, you’re not supposed to be tall. That’s a guy thing. And you believe it. So you slouch, trying to shrink yourself down from a fully grown sunflower into a budding buttercup and they think ‘aha! she hates her height.’ They’ll try and make you feel worse about it because they’re unhappy with themselves. But don’t let them, sis. Prove them wrong; own your height! Unless you literally walk on your knees, there’s no way you’re disappearing anywhere. So straighten up; hold that head high; let them know that you’re tall and proud.
3. Look for tall role models. It’s no secret that representation matters and as a girl who’s been tall her whole life, I totally get feeling like you’re the only tall girl in the world… and feeling pretty rubbish about it. But here’s the thing: despite the lack of media representation for tall women (I mean for those of us who aren’t, y’know… models), there are more of us. We do exist (I mean, sis, I’m here aren’t I?) So find people who look like you; who inspire you to feel, look and present yourself better. Whether it’s someone in the media, a girl you follow on Instagram or a tall sister you spot on the street, find someone who delights in their height and use their confidence as inspo to find your own. It’s so important to surround yourself with people you can relate to, which is one of the reasons I launched ‘She Walks Tall’; to create a space for tall girls and women to find fashion/lifestyle inspo and connect with each other.
4. Don’t compare yourself to (sh)o(r)t
(h)er people. No, I’m not saying you should walk around thinking you’re the same height as your 5’2 friends (we’re not tryna be delusional here, sis) but there’s a reason that expression ‘comparison is the thief of joy’ is so popular: ’cause it’s true. When I was growing up, for the longest time I didn’t even realise I was tall… until I got a bit older and noticed that people seemed to point it out at EVERY opportunity. That made me really insecure because ‘tall’ meant ‘different’ and I didn’t want to be different; I wanted to be like every other 5’5 or below girl out there. As a teen, I would literally spend hours on the internet googling things like ‘do guys like tall girls?’ ‘how to make yourself shrink’- heck, I even remember praying that one day I’d miraculously wake up several inches shorter. I began to compare myself to my shorter friends, wondering whether towering over everyone made me inferior in some way… and so began my hate-hate relationship with my height. Unlearning the negative feelings I had about being tall was a long and painful process, which trust me- you don’t wanna have to go through, so do your best to nip any feelings of comparison in the bud. Any time you catch yourself wishing you looked like your short friend, just remind yourself to stay in your lane. Petite Pamela’s over there doing her thing in the left-hand lane, and you, Amazonian Angela are here doing your thing on the right! And that’s totally okay!
5. Ignore them. Who? The haters; the ones who tell you you’re ‘too tall’; who call you names like ‘giraffe’ and ‘jolly green giant’. Ignore the negative voice in your head when she tells you that you’re ‘ugly’, and that ‘no guys will ever like you’. Because here’s the thing: Their opinions don’t matter. The most important opinion of you is the one you have of you; after that, it’s the opinions of the people who care about you. And let’s face it: those people care about you because you’re funny and clever and kind, not because you’re tall… but at the same time they don’t love you any less because of your height. Each time you hear someone make fun of your it, whether it’s someone else’s voice or your internal one, tell yourself that their opinion doesn’t matter because they’re not your friend. Friends don’t tear you down- they build you up, so start by learning to be your own friend, then deal with everyone else.
6. Stand up for yourself. When it comes to comments about your height, most people are simply in awe of just how tall you are… but sometimes their words just don’t come out quite right. With people like this, what they say will usually come across as awkward or insensitive rather than outright rude- like the ones who stop you in the street to let you know that “you’re so tall.” And I know. It might take you a while to get over the shock because of course you’ve NEVER been told this before, but when you do, just laugh it off ’cause these kinds of people are pretty well-intentioned. Then there’s the second category of people. The ones who tell you you’re ‘too tall’ or ‘manly’, or say they’d ‘hate to be as tall as you’. In case you’re wondering, no you absolutely do not have to take that. Being a ‘gentle giant’ doesn’t mean you’re also an emotionless one, so sometimes it’s okay to let them know that their comments are hurtful, and if they don’t respond to the tough love, layer on the ‘tough’ a little thicker. When they say you’re ‘too tall’, ask them ‘for what?’, and when they call you ‘giraffe’, playfully reply ‘yes, ant?’ As hard as it is, try not to be too nasty, but at the same time be aware that sometimes your silence can be taken as acceptance of their behaviour. Every once in a while, you can let them know that you and your 36 inch plus inseams. Are. Absolutely. Not. Going. To. Stand. For. That. Kind. Of. Nonsense. M’kay? Glad we got that one cleared up.
7. Learn to shop. I feel like like half the struggle of being tall is finding clothes that don’t either make you look like you’re wearing your little sister’s jeans as capris, or leave you in danger of indecent exposure. I know we’ve still got work to do in terms of tall fashion, but we’ve certainly come a long way since I was a teen *wags finger and goes off on one-hour-long ‘back in MY day‘ lecture.* I remember once ordering jeans all the way from the US, waiting weeks for them, and then being slapped with a hefty customs fee when they finally got here… Ouch. Thankfully, brands like Asos, Boohoo and New Look have upped their tall fashion game in the UK, so it’s time to unlearn the idea that being tall means having to settle for ugly, ill-fitting clothes. Instead, learn which brands, styles and trends work for your body and shop like the style-savvy tall girl that you are. I can do a post (or posts) on which places are best to shop for various bits (jeans, dresses, shoes etc.), so leave a comment or message me on Insta if this is something you’d be interested in!
8. Make ’em stare. As tall women, we’re often desperate to try and blend into the background, but the problem with that is… tall things always attract attention. Think the Eiffel tower; the London Eye; even the Statue of Liberty- people’s eyes tend to gravitate towards things that are way higher up than they are, and that includes you, sis. So sorry to burst your bubble, but that blending in thing probs ain’t gonna work out for ya. I feel you though cause let’s face it- we’ve all been there. I used to be obsessed with trying to make myself look as short as I could (which wasn’t that short, by the way). I’d shy away from high-waisted jeans, crop tops and heels because I didn’t want to make myself look any taller… but then one day I woke up and realised that I wasn’t actually making myself look any shorter by wearing boring shoes. So at the age of 18, I bought my very first pair of heels and never looked back. Life’s too short for you to keep trying to be, so show off those legs in your skinny jeans; wear those heels… ’cause what’s a couple of extra inches when you’ve already got seventy-two? They’re gonna stare anyway, so you may as well give them a view. When you catch them looking, smile, hold their gaze and stare right back.
9. Take advantage of your height. One thing I used to find the most annoying about being tall is, sometimes it feels like people just can’t let you be tall. Like your height always has to mean something, otherwise, it’s just a waste. But think about it: being tall is a gift. If someone gives you a gift, you don’t just leave it chilling on your mantlepiece in the gift wrap- you make use of it. Being tall is no different, so why not see the blessing in your height and use it to your advantage? If you’re not into basketball or netball (let’s face it: not every tall girl is the sporty type), then try modelling, or buy the cheaper tickets at the back of the concert hall ’cause you’ll be able to see over everyone else’s heads anyway. And if that doesn’t help you feel amazing about your height, start your own tall girls’ blog (like me!) I started launched shewalkstall.co.uk just over a year ago, and there’s something so confidence-boosting about creating your own content, especially when other tall girls tell you how much it helps and inspires them… which brings me onto my final point…
10. Share your experiences with other tall girls/women. I went to the tall society’s ‘Meet your tall sisters brunch‘ a couple of weeks back, and oh. my. gosh… it was one of the most uplifting experiences I’ve ever had. Even though I love being tall, it was so nice to be able to feel ‘normal’ rather than tall for just a few hours; to share experiences with other tall women- from the annoying ‘you’re so taaaaaaaall’ comments to swapping tips on places to shop. So connect. Pop along to tall women’s events; join online communities and share the gripes, the glamour and the good bits of your height with your tall sisters. And if you’re ever in need of some tall girl advice, need tips on places to shop or just want to say ‘hi’, please feel free to DM me on Instagram, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Love you, tall sister.
Stand proud, walk tall, be SWT always.