LIVING TALL IN A SHORT WORLD

When the world caters to shorter people - how do you live tall?

CONFESSION

Sometimes I envy short women. I'm sure they have lots of things they could list that are downfalls of being "height challenged" but there seems to be an assumption in our world in general that women are a certain height and clothing in particular is geared towards women all  being 5' 4" (164cm) and the rest of us just need to compensate for that.

PANTS

Now if you're a delicate little flower and short and slim, they make clothing in Petite sizes in a lot of stores. Then there is Regular - which fits most standard sized women. If you're feeling rich you can occasionally find clothes geared to tall women - but you have to hunt for them and pay extra. You would think they'd notice that women seem to be getting a bit taller in Western countries and wearing pants that are too short doesn't make for a happy customer.

I always think that if you're short, you can take up a pair of pants, but if you're tall, you are constantly tugging them down to cover your ankles. I hate seeing pants that sit an inch above the wearer's shoe - with a little frozen ankle stuck in between. I find that I can get away with it if I sit my pants lower onto my hips (meanwhile hoping the crotch doesn't hang too low in the process). My ultimate solution - when it's not Winter, is to wear crop pants and capris - although they tend to sit higher up my calf than they do on the shorter women they're designed for.

TOPS

If you're long in the leg (like me) you're often longer in the arm too. Seeing a lovely blouse or long sleeved top and then finding it's an inch too short in the sleeve when you try it on is a little disheartening. Do you wear it with the sleeves pushed up? Do you cuff the sleeve back and pretend it's ¾ length? Or do you walk around with your wrists hanging out like you're wearing a hand me down in a flashback to your childhood?

I tend to give up and buy ¾ sleeve tops. That way (like capri pants) the shirt fits and the sleeve length is less of a problem. I team them with a cardigan and the problem is largely solved - although it means I bypass a large selection of Winter tops when I'm shopping for something new each year. 

SHOES

Oh how I envy short girls and their shoe choices! To be able to teeter around in fabulous strappy heeled sandals that make your legs look lovely and your clothes look dressier! Or to be able to wear high heeled boots that are the right length on your calf and give that elegant leg line. I've been told - "just wear them anyway" and that's always advice from short people!

What short women don't realize is that when you're already tall, if you add a 3" pair of heels into the mix, you suddenly become the giraffe in the room. You stand head and shoulders above all the other women (and most of the men!) If you're a super confident model type that's fantastic, but if you're a non-life-of-the-party type like myself, you don't necessarily want to be the flamingo amongst the pigeons.

be a flamingo in a flock of pigeons

WHAT TO DO?

Well, I can't change my height so, I think I've resigned myself to capri pants, shorter length sleeves and low heels. You can still look well put together (even without those fabulous heels), and when it comes down to it, looking stylish is ultimately all about how confidently you present yourself to the world. I know there's plenty of short girls who'd love to be taller, and I also know that being taller means I'm less likely to look plump or dumpy - there's always a silver lining!

I'd just be happy to find an affordable clothing option for tall girls - and my affordable is probably a lot lower down the scale than someone else's definition! The trying times of a tall girl in a short world! (And I guess it really is a First World problem isn't it?)

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Have you figured out how to live tall in a short world? Or are you a short girl who wishes she had long legs? I'd love to hear your thoughts.


When the world caters to shorter people - how do you live tall?

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58 comments

  1. It's funny, as a short woman (5'3" and shrinking) I always feel as though the world is tuned to taller people than me. It's probably exacerbated that because of years of foot neglect, abuse and lower back problems I now can't wear heels. I do cop some (good-natured) teasing about my height - my husband is 6'1" and my daughter is about 5'8" but despite not being about to see over things & people crowding me out or not seeing me (which seriously annoys me) I actually quite like being short. It does, however, liit fashion choices in that things that look great on someone more lengthy swamp me. As you say, first world issues.

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    1. I think we should all choose to be 5'6" Jo - and I'm not sure why the tall men always marry the short women - but it happens every time! Maybe it's Mother Nature's way of balancing out the height issues or we'd all be basketball players! My daughter and I are the opposite to you and yours - I'm 5'8" and she's 5'3" (and married to a tall guy!)

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  2. I think I’ve solved my clothing issues (5’3”) by just not caring how I look anymore. Seriously! Isn’t that awful? I’m comfy in old hiking pants that I can roll up and I religiously avoid any event that requires dressing up. My dog has a nicer wardrobe than I have. She’s probably mortified to be seen with me. It’s a miracle I haven’t been picked up for being a vagrant. Yeah, I’m even wearing socks with sandals and it’s Autumn here. My mom is appalled. Sigh.

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    1. There's a degree of that "comfort clothing" in my life too Jean - but occasionally when I want to treat myself, it would be nice to be able to find some cheap and fun clothes that cater to someone taller than 5'4" :)

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  3. I think you must have inherited my long legs Leanne, just thank your lucky stars that you didn’t also inherit their girth! Yes, there is always a silver lining to most things, all we have to do is look for them.

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    1. Looks like I got the long body and long arms to go with them - and that's why I'm taller than you. But yes, keeping the size of my legs under control is an ongoing job.

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  4. oh tall lithe leanne, and here I thought the world was geared to tallies and that I was forever taking up my pants rolling up my sleeves and peering over high counters and yes even standing on tippy toes to look. I have often had the sense of being childlike in an adult world. try seeing at a concert anywhere there is a crowd the picture theatre even . so all a matter of perspective perhaps , if you're tall (oh lucky you) you want to knock a few inches off so you can wear the teetering numbers and if you are short you want to stretch and gain a few inches. so leanne you live tall and graceful and I''ll do the shorter look - maybe there is a balance somewhere.

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    1. I guess it really is a case of looking for the silver lining isn't it Sandra? I think we get caught up with the annoyances and forget that others have issues too - different issues, but still issues. At least I can reach the top supermarket shelves and don't get lost in the crowd - but I'd definitely grant you a few cm's if I could! :)

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  5. I can relate to this so much as i am 5' 2. #AnythingGoes

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    1. So, you're one of those petite stiletto heeled women I envy? I imaging 5'2" has its drawbacks too though :)

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  6. Oh dear, I'm sorry to say I'm a classic shorter woman at 165cm (5'3") and a petite size in many things. I do envy tall women like you - my daughters are all taller than me and my husband is 192cm (6'2") so I'm another short woman with a taller husband. I'm the smallest in the family and they all give me heaps about it. I'm always called 'cute' and never 'elegant' so it seems none of us are ever really happy :) I hope this doesn't end our friendship! Debbie from debs-world.com

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    1. My daughter's 5'3" Deb and we have discussions about this regularly. She would love to be taller - but she definitely rocks a pair or two of amazing heels! I have a feeling most bloggers are height challenged, so if we ever meet up I'll have to sit for photos :) Luckily we have enough in common to be able to overlook the fact that you get to be cute and I'll never be treated like a delicate flower.

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  7. Well I'm even taller than you! Ended up at 5'11" after always being tall for my age. And I've always HATED it, I remember once in year 7 a boy referred to me as "daddy long legs" and I just about died! But I was very excited to find last winter that Jeanswest make jeans in "long" length! It was so exciting to buy a pair of jeans that kept my poor ankles warm!
    And you know what, I'm actually grateful you're tall because if you weren't, maybe Jared wouldn't have ended up as tall as he is! And it is very nice having a husband taller than me :-).

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    1. I got called Parallel by a guy once - then he ended up becoming my boyfriend for a couple of years - the ultimate revenge :) Jeans West down here offered to "order in" the longer length for me - but I didn't want to commit my $ when I didn't like the shorter pair I tried. And you're welcome that we produced a tall son - imagine if we'd gotten a tall daughter and a short son instead of vice versa!

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    2. I love being a tall girl, 6ft here. It does irritate me that I can only find jeans at a few places, and those places are very expensive. I would just once like to walk into a store and be able to buy a coat that fit my shoulders and came down to my wrists. I have never steered away from high heels, loved them for many years. I do not wear them much anymore due to knee and back issues, and that makes me a little sad.

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    3. Cherie I didn't realize you were so tall - but yes you're right about the sleeve length on coats - I'm forever tugging them down over my wrists. High heels are still not on my radar - but medium ones get a look in now and then.

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  8. I don't mind being a short girl (155 cm) although I don't think that most kitchen cupboards are designed with me in mind! It's just dresses that get me - I like wearing long ones, but often I find something I like and it's on the floor. Not everything can just be taken up and look great! And there seems to be this assumption that short means petite as well. So many things for short people assume that you're straight down with no curves at the top!

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    1. Yes, I guess not every short person is a waif - much like every tall girl isn't a supermodel! Lots of annoyances for all of us - at least most things are easy to alter if there's too much material - a bit harder if there's not enough :)

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  9. Leanne, I've always liked being 5'8". Used to wear very high heels all the time. But my knees and feet are no longer happy when I do, so the highest heels I wear now are 2.75 inches. In recent years I haven't had a problem finding garments long enough. My big problem is finding shoes narrow enough--AAAA width!

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    1. I used to wear heels in my younger days Jean - then married my husband who's only a cm or so taller than me and I didn't want to tower over him (and everyone else) Now I occasionally wear a 2" heel for special occasions but always feel like I'm a head taller than the other women - I guess I have to work on my confidence!

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  10. I hated being tall. I was taller than all the boys in my class (Mind you, by our 20 year reunion, they had finally caught up!) I was fortunate in that I bought my jeans at western outlet stores here in Canada and you could always order them by hip size and length! But to find something that fit in a department store. Yep. Pay more and, maybe, we can help you! :(

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    1. I didn't realize you were tall too Diane - it's such a pain finding jeans that are the right length and don't cost an arm and a (very long) leg! I was tall in high school too and always felt like a bit of a stork!

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  11. I am a short girl getting shorter. I am not going to need the booster chair at restaurants yet but.. Of course I would just love an inch or two, not greedy at all. I don't care what my weight is when I go to the doctor's office my height is more important. I can loose weight, I can't grow! I bargain shop, charity, yard sales, with a good friend who is tall and long legs and she has the same problem as you, pants are just not long enough. The good news is this season ankle length pants are in fashion!!

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    1. I'm definitely looking at the 7/8 fashion pants Haralee - my daughter is short and she says 7/8 are full length on her! They'd be capri length on me! And why do short people shrink and tall people stay the same? So many conundrums in this life :)

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  12. So true, Leanne! As I am also tall, with a long torso, what usually does not work well for me are one piece bathing suits. My current mission is to find just one that fits...and re-home my other ones that simply take up valuable drawer space!

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    1. I wear a tankini Donna - with boy leg pants so I don't have the bikini line hanging out everywhere - the midrift gets covered without the pulling up of one piece suits. Happy Birthday! xx

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  13. 5'2" here -- sometimes 'hemming' pants leaves the knees at my ankles! I've never been one to concerned about clothes or shoes -- but I've been known to climb shelves to reach products too high up. I'll always ask someone else if they are nearby. And try size 5 double wide feet -- I lived with that until after my 3rd child when I could finally look for size 6 - but still just as wide!

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    1. I think there must be a blogging "thing" where you need to be short to be part of the club Janet! I totally understand the high shelf thing - my daughter can't reach her top kitchen cupboards unless she climbs on the bench - her husband has to get stuff out of them for her!

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  14. And I shall just bumble along being Miss Average. 5'6" In my own defense, I also have no waist - never have - so clothing on a budget that fits well can be a challenge in that regard. There's always something, I think, Leanne, but I also see a business opportunity for you here!! :)

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    1. It does seem like none of us fit the "norm" entirely Agnes. I'm not sure who decided what the norm was, but they certainly left a lot of us off the list when they made their decisions! Maybe if I was remotely creative I could try my hand in the arena but that won't happen I'm afraid - there goes my fame and fortune!

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  15. Another short one (5'2") and not waif-like. My legs are the short part and even petite pants or skirts need to be hemmed. I can't reach any high or or back of the midlevel cabinet in my kitchen, so everything I use regularly has to be on first shelf. Interestingly, a few of my close girlfriends are tall...5'10" to 5'11" and one of them always wear heels. She towers over me when we're out and I think I feel worse about that then she does.

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    1. You can be part of the 'short bloggers' club Pat - it seems like 5'3" or there abouts is the average height of a blogger! I do appreciate being able to reach the top shelf at the supermarket and in my pantry - but I'd still love to be confident enough to tower over everyone in sparkly stilettoes and not feel like a twit.

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  16. I can understand your conundrum but I see things from the other side. I'm somewhere between 152 & 154 cm's in height (or lack of). I'm not sure of my exact height but I'm basically just a smidge over 5ft. Buying clothes is a nightmare! Everything is made for an average height which is much taller than I am. I can't buy pants (without extra expense to have them altered and only if by doing so it doesn't ruin the look). I can't buy maxi dresses at all. There are very few brands that have petite ranges and very few brands that offer the short, regular, tall options for pants unfortunately. It drives me crazy spending money on something only to have to pay more to have a huge portion of fabric chopped off! Shoes are a problem for me too cos I'm between a size 5 and 6 and I have a very narrow foot. It's hard to get a well fitting shoe without having to add inserts etc. I often drool over clothes that I'd love but know I can't have but I've gotten used to it I guess and tend to stick with those brands that do cater to the vertically challenged. I think there are issues are both ends of the spectrum. There is a market there! We should get on to it - we could get rich, except I can't be bothered! lol xo

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    1. We should be able to gift each other our spare inches Min - we have a lot of women who come to see the surgeon I work for to have their breasts reduced and I often wonder if I could have a couple of inches taken from them and added to mine (that are sadly lacking after breastfeeding!) I could give you a couple of inches of my height and then we could both buy clothes and shoes to our hearts' content - and not have to bother starting that clothing design company that neither of us could be bothered with! :D

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  17. Hi Leanne, such a conundrum. If it makes you feel any better, I was at a conference once where a professional stylist talked about how our clothes need to be altered to fit right and make us look great, no matter how tall/ short or average we are. Of course that would cost extra money. I found a few stores or brands that I like and stay with them. Fortunately, I don't need to buy clothes that often any more so one frustration-induced item off my list :) #mlstl

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    1. I think that's what it boils down to Natalie - the "norm" isn't really anyone's exact size - just a generalized middle of the road guess. The solution is that we all need to be independently wealthy so we can have our own seamstresses on hand to customize whatever we buy - imagine the quality of the fabrics and the perfect fit - I feel like royalty just thinking about it!

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  18. I am not overly tall but I also struggle to find clothing. No matter how much I swim, I have bat wings on my arms that refuse to go away. In the summer I struggle because everything is sleeveless and it is too hot to wear little sweaters. Every dress has short sleeves too. My daughter is getting married in six weeks in Mexico and I still do not have a dress! I hate clothes shopping because I can never find things that work.

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    1. Mother of the Bride outfits are as big a decision as the bridal gown I'm sure Michele! I bought three dresses for my daughter's wedding - the first two were compromises and the last one was what I'd wanted all along but couldn't justify spending the money on. Then the boutique had a HUGE sale and the only dress on the rack was the one in my size - the angels sang and I was happy. I hope some angels sing for you in the very near future xx

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  19. This has been a common complaint for me Leanne. I've spent most of my life wishing I was shorter. But now I'm thankful for the extra height.Shorter girls worry about extra kilos more as those kilos show very quickly on their bodies. My partner is over 6 foot tall so I can get away with heels if I want. Now that I have no interest in wearing heels, I find I'm quite comfortable with my height, these days. Having said that I'm thinking of a dress and heels for the coming Christmas party season. My opinion could change very quickly! #MLSTL Shared on SM

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    1. I like that the extra few inches helps me look slimmer too Jennifer - maybe I should have thrown true love away and waited for someone over 6' to come along - then I'd only tower over my friends and not my husband if I wore heels :) I think a dress always looks better with a bit of height in the shoe so I hope you find your perfect match for Christmas.

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  20. haha - interesting! As a shortie myself, I'm a bit like Jo Tracey and always thought the world was geared for the long-legged. Maybe it's a case of the grass is always greener. I'm with you though on the capri pants (saves taking pants up) and flat shoes, and I always wear my sleeves rolled up. We shorties don't do well in crowds though!! haha Christine

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    1. My daughter is a shortie Chris and she says that 7/8 pants are long pants for her - I can't even begin to imagine! I love a good capri and have a couple on order for this Summer - I rejoice when I can put the jeans away and not worry about whether my pants are long enough + I get to wear short sleeves again :)

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  21. Leanne I struggled for years with clothing because of my height. But a few years ago my doctor noticed I had lost almost 2 inches, I have osteoporosis. While pants used to always be too short now they are either to long or just right. lol I say now I am not overweight I am under tall. lol

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    1. So there's hope for me yet Victoria? I just need to get osteoporosis so I can wear high heels! I'm not sure that the trade off would be worth it, but the idea of finding pants that are too long is still a dream.

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  22. Oh, how I can relate to this post! Especially about the arms. I have very long arms, and I get so frustrated with many tops, especially tab tops, because they don't fit in my arms...they are too tight. I also hate that I can't wear heels without towering over my husband. I don't seem to have any issue with the length of pants for some reason. My torso is very long, and quite often pants that are suppose to fit mid-rise are low-rise on me, but they usually fit in the leg length. Did you know it's actually fashionably correct (at least in America) to show one inch of ankle skin from your shoe/bootie and pant leg?

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    1. Tab top sleeves don't work well for me either Amy - the button closure always makes them a bit tight. I quite like the look of 7/8 pants that are designed to show a bit of ankle - but they have to be cut right - otherwise you end up with pants that just look wrong because they are too wide at the base for just above the ankle. It's a continuing dilemma - and I'm glad someone can relate to not wanting to tower over their husband!

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  23. I enjoyed reading this again Leanne and shared for #mlstl

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  24. I can relate Leanne. I am 5'8" and had most of that height by 7th grade. I was really the giraffe in the room back then! And my best friend was 5' nothing, so we made quite the pair. I'm resigned to my height now and even quite happy with it, but I do sometimes struggle to find pants the right length. If I buy regular, just a little too short; if I buy tall, a little too long and I'm forced to put on heels--but not too high, or the pants are too short again. As you said, First World problems. Still, it would be nice to have tailored clothes made exactly for my leg length. #MLSTL

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    1. One day when we're rich we can get the tailored pants we need Christie. I was tall from 7th grade too - and always felt like I needed to slouch to be the right height. Now I try to stand tall, but there is still that thing where I lean on one leg more than the other so I end up being a bit lop sided (and hopefully a bit shorter!)

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  25. Lol Leanne! And there was I like Jo above thinking that the world is geared for tall folk! I'm 5feet 3 and a half inches. That half is everso important to me! My husband is 6 foot and my son is even taller. My daughter is also taller than me, by a little and I'm shrinking as I get older I reckon! Shared on SM :)

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    1. That's the thing with short women Jo - they all seem to marry really tall men. I'm sure the population would not be as even as it is if shorties married shorties and tall married tall - we'd be a world of jockeys and basketball players!

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  26. One of the short ones here...and even shorter than most are claiming. I'm 5 feet 1 inch and I live in a world in which most pants need to have 4 or more inches chopped off. I just buy capri pants now. They usually hit right at the ankle for me. My arms are also a little bit shorter, but I prefer sleeves that come over my hands because my hands get cold. I used to wear heels to make myself taller, but I don't both anymore.

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    1. My daughter says the same thing about capri pants Jennifer - they're full length on her (while I'm trying to find ones that fall a few inches below the knee!) She also says that heels need to be in proportion to her short legs too - so I guess we all have our burdens to bear :)

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  27. I can SO relate to this post! I am about 5'8" .... too tall for average length pants and too short for the "tall" option. My arms are long. My midlife belly (how I loathe gravity) renders most inexpensive tops too short. The cut is quite unflattering. But I want to dress smart. I do not want to be a frumpy grandma :)

    So I am slowly transitioning my wardrobe. I have recently discovered Chicos here in the States. The clothes are cut fuller for our demographic, yet the look is still stylish (or at least I think so).

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    1. I've heard good things about Chicos Molly but we don't have them in Australia (maybe they'll find their way down under eventually??) I wear a lot of clothes from Millers - which I think has a similar philosophy - clothing that suits women who aren't 20 anymore. Just because we aren't teenagers doesn't mean we can't dress fashionably without breaking the bank.

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