Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Odds N’ Ends: Oprah’s Height Report

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Andrea Grant, 6’1”

O Magazine ran a piece in 2009 with tips for dressing a tall figure. Via a slide show of women 5’10” and up, the author Lambeth Hochwald delivered fashion advice to tall women of various body types (how successfully is a matter of debate).

I agree with some of Hochwald’s prescriptions: high-waisted pants and skirts emphasize long legs, a sweetheart neckline flatters a larger bust, and wearing a belt at your natural waist draws attention to your slimmest point and makes curves look luscious. The most creative tip the author offers is to “solve the lanky-arms issue” with a three-tiered sleeve: “Find a tee with sleeves that hit the wrist, then add a cardigan and a jacket with pushed-up sleeves.”

However, I take issue with her suggestions that tall women need to deemphasize a long torso or wear asymmetrical tops to draw attention away from too-broad shoulders. And who says you can’t wear a monochromatic palate or a short skirt? It all depends on your level of comfort and where you are (in the club versus in the office).

The principal issue commenters had with the article is that one of its subjects, Andrea Grant of, is referred to as “voluptuous” and her dress as “svelte” because she’s 6’1” and wears a size 10.  The author suggests that feminine clothes “keep [Grant’s] height from being intimidating.” I’m sorry, but if a size 10 is what O Magazine writers consider plus-sized and unapproachable, they’re kidding themselves. I think Ms. Grant is gorgeous—why is it that fashion publications feel the need to reclassify women who are above a size 6 or 8?

What say you?

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