Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Conversation: Blogger Brittany Curran

Last week, I had the opportunity to chat with Brittany Curran, creator of the street-style blog Work It, Berk and the new lifestyle venture Twenty Two. Last April, Brittany photographed me for her Work It, Co-ops series about members of the Berkeley Student Cooperative. Let’s check in with her for more about the ins and outs of photography, blogging, and (of course) tall fashion.

All photos courtesy of Brittany Curran.

Why did you decide to start taking street-style photos?

After following countless fashion blogs for years, I wanted to start a blog of my own. I didn’t want to start a personal style blog because a) I’m too camera-shy and b) I honestly don’t have enough clothes. I realized that there were a ton of really stylish people on [the UC Berkeley] campus, so I thought, hey, they can be my subjects. Hence, Work It, Berk was born.

It can be pretty nerve-racking to approach people on the street with a camera. What’s your strategy?

This took me a while to get used to and sometimes I’m still a bit timid approaching random strangers. Basically, I just go up to a potential subject, compliment their outfit, and then ask them if I can take a photo of them for a fashion blog. It takes a lot of practice if you’re not used to talking to strangers.

You’ve contributed street style photos to the websites for Elle, Refinery 29 and Racked LA—how did you score such amazing gigs?

These were great opportunities and some of the best perks I’ve gotten out of my street style blog. Some of the fashion sites contacted me about doing freelance work and I contacted the editors of the others.

How tall are you? Have you photographed any especially tall women?

I’m 5’7”. I have photographed a few tall women—you’re probably the tallest—but most of my subjects tend to be a bit shorter than me. I realized in the beginning that a dramatic height difference between the subject and me can really affect how the photo turns out. So, now I’m really conscious of that and it completely changed how I take the photos.


What styles do you think work well on a tall frame?

Taller ladies can rock skirts and dresses that are a bit longer, but still complement their height.

What are you most excited to break out of your closet this spring?

Probably shorts. Since I’m back in Los Angeles and it’s basically warm all year long, it’s nice to be able to walk around in something other than jeans. Plus, they make biking a whole lot easier.

You’ve just launched a new lifestyle blog, Twenty Two. What was your inspiration for the project and what do you hope to get out of it?

I wanted to create a blog that allows for more creative freedom than my street style blog. I want to be able to cover a bunch of different topics, like fashion, art, sustainability, food, and entertainment, and highlight awesome things I find on various art, design, and fashion blogs. Since I’m also doing the blog with a few friends, I hope to give them an outlet to express what they’re interested in, whether it be music, food, or other topics.

Any tips for how to market a fashion blog?

I think a good thing to do is to get to know bloggers in a similar space. I’ve gotten to know a few of the Bay Area bloggers—a few of whom are also Berkeley students—at a couple of blogger meet-ups. Also, Facebook and Twitter are great tools to connect with your readers and fellow bloggers.

Brittany also picked my brain for her Twenty Two interview series. You can check it out here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Issues: The Bachelorette

Oh yeah, Mad Men Halloween costumes!

I’ve had significant others ranging in height from 5’4” to 7’0”. I know from experience that there’s nothing wrong with dating someone of a different height—even a radically different one. It’s never stopped the rich and famous. Still, being with a partner who is noticeably different from you (especially if you’re a taller women with a shorter man) can earn stares on the street and bad jokes at parties. My current boyfriend is 5’10”, and our two-inch height difference grows considerably when I’m in heels. He says he loves having someone to “kiss up to,” and I’m grateful that he isn’t self-conscious or insecure about how other people will see us.

I realized years ago that if I limited my choices to people 6’0” and above, I’d be excluding a huge portion of my potential dating pool—how many incredible people might I miss out on by being height-ist? I understand that it’s not easy to buck the trend. It’s my hope that social norms concerning the “proper” height ratio for couples (and what they imply about “correct” gender roles for men and women) are beginning to change, but we still have a long way go.


At the ruins of Ephesus in Turkey

What are your thoughts about dating someone of a different height? Do you use height to weed out a potential Mr. or Ms. Right? Is society ready to be height-blind?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Fashion: Maxi-mum Impact

As promised, here is the follow-up to my very first post all about skirts:

Maxi skirts and dresses are both bohemian and elegant, and I’ve heard time and again that they’re a wardrobe staple for tall women. Floor-grazing frocks elongate an already tall frame and you can’t deny that it feels good to have fabric flowing around your ankles as you walk. Maxi skirts look great with cropped tops that just graze the waistband or with long layers (tunics, cape coats, or long sweaters) that create a continuous, sleek line from head to toe.

In 2010, the New York Times reported on the rise of the maxi as a sleek, ascetic response to the mini-skirt trend. The author suggested that the conservative cut and muted colors of many maxis reflect a serious, edgy, recession-era mood. I can’t say that I agree, but designers and trendsetters have been bringing this 70s style back into the fold.

For fall and winter I gravitate toward straight (not tiered) jersey or chiffon maxis paired with combat boots, a military-style coat, and a draping, feminine top for a long silhouette and an interesting mix of styles. For spring and summer, I favor jewel tones and lighter-weight fabrics with tanks or tees and sandals. I bought this skirt in black from Urban Outfitters and shortened the lining to create a layered effect for warmer weather.

Even maxis aren’t always long enough for tall girls. has compiled a great list of extra-long maxi dresses and where to find them, including Long Tall Sally, Alloy, Boden, Banana Republic, and my all-time favorite BCBG Maxazria.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Street Style: 5’10”



Badass thigh-highs and platform pleather made this Ball-goer queen of the bazaar.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Event: Gorey Details

Top hats and tails, can-can dancers, corsets, cravats, and feathers. The annual Edwardian Ball at the Regency in San Francisco is a decadent celebration of steampunk and neo-Victorian styles and of the morbidly delightful illustrations of Edward Gorey.

At this year’s ball, I donned my best cameo and combat boots and perused stands at the Vendor Bazaar, proffering everything from handmade fedoras to necklaces and rings made of vintage watch innards (a la Etsy). Then my boyfriend and I headed upstairs, past the lurid green Absinthe Bar, to wait in the long queue for our seven seconds of stardom at the Flipbook Portrait Studio. We choreographed a quick twirl and dip, and got our mini-books printed on the spot.

The upstairs Museum of Wonders and Edwardian Odditorium—true to their names—featured a bizarre blend of performance art, shovel strumming, and taxidermy. We wheedled our way past the fortune tellers and living statues and back to the ballroom for the main stage extravaganza.
The Flynn Creek Circus’s trapeze duo flew overhead, linking arms, legs (and necks) in midair constellations, and no sooner had they finished than the crowd parted on the ballroom floor and an eruption of crinoline signaled the start of Le Can-Can Bijou. We had front-row seats for the Moulin Rouge, but like Cinderellas at the World’s Faire we had to leave before midnight, escorted back to the 21st century by the accordion, cello, and vibraphone of Ball founders Rosin Coven.


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Odds N' Ends: Britain's Tallest Family

08tall1 (Read-Only).jpg.display
Photo of the Van Nes family courtesy of the Dorset Echo
I remember watching the TLC documentary “World’s Tallest Children” and thinking that theVan Nes family reminded me a little of my own: my father is 6’8”, my three half-sisters and I are 5’11”, 6’0”, 6’1”, and 6’2”, my half-brother is 6’4”, and my mother (the family shrimp) is a cool 5’9”.
Of course, we’re short one advantage that the Van Neses have: a custom-built house with raised toilets, counter tops, and windows. The only things they haven’t scaled-up are their doorframes. Father Frank (6’10.5”) explains that if they got out of the habit of ducking to get through their doorways at home, they would all risk head injuries from bumping into standard 6’ 8” doors elsewhere.
This extra-large dwelling sounds like a great idea, until you consider that if the Van Neses ever decide to move, they’ll have to sell their home to someone in the Guinness Book.
Here’s Part I of “World’s Tallest Children (Britain’s tallest family comes in at 5:40). To see the full run-down of the Van Neses’ custom home, see the first 25 seconds of Part II here.
Photo of Jessica Pardoe courtesy of the Daily Mail

If you just can’t get enough of tall Brits, check out Britain’s tallest teenage girl, Jessica Pardoe, who at age 18 is 6’9” with 38” gams and size 11 feet. In an interview with the Daily Mail, she talks about special ordering clothes and shoes online and having trouble wedging herself into the driver’s seat for lessons. But, she says, boys don’t seem to mind her extraordinary height.