February 21st, 2013
A decade ago I had no idea what life held in store for me. I had just met the man of my dreams: Mr. Tall Dark and Handsome. The bright side is that we have two kids and a happy home. The downside, which ultimately led to the launch of this business, is shopping for a tall man. Obviously clothes are the first thing you think of, but consider other items where size matters such as cars and furniture (I’ll delve into these in another post).
dictionary.com defines adventure as:
1. an exciting or very unusual experience
2. participation in exciting undertakings or enterprises: the spirit of adventure
3. a bold, usually risky undertaking; hazardous action of uncertain outcome
In my experience clothes shopping for a Tall Man is definition #3: a bold, usually risky undertaking; hazardous action of uncertain outcome. In general shopping for me has always been a thrill, a hunt, a sensory rich experience which always ends in a satisfied purchase. However, shopping for my Tall husband rips away all the pleasure I associate with the activity. I find I have to psych myself up, think optimistic thoughts, prepare for a long day and stay determined.
Whether we are shopping at stores or in cyber space, our routine and outcome are generally the same. We go through store after store, nothing fits quite right, some items pass the “yeah it sort of fits if you don’t count the too short sleeves or the boxy too short length”, during the course of the day I have to shake off the defeat by stopping at one of my own favorite stores (a Tory Burch or Nordstrom will do) where I can satisfyingly fit anything off the rack. But then we’ll get back on course and continue the Tall clothes hunt. If we go into a normal store my husband will try on item after item that won’t fit in length. If we go to a Big and Tall store the length will fit great but he will swim in the shape of the clothes. They are all made for big and tall men, not one or the other. Seeing rack after rack of clothing, that your husband will never fit, is forever deflating.
I recently helped my husband on a quest to find a winter jacket. I have broken down our Tall Adventure into 3 Acts below. The results were surprisingly delightful.
Act I: The Problem
After relocating from California to Massachusetts, my husband decided he needed a real winter jacket. The jacket he currently has is faded black wool and fits him in the length but was meant for a man a lot rounder. We optimistically set out to find a jacket in a store.
Act II: The Journey
Day 1 – Road Trip:
We drove to several stores: Coach Men, Barbour and Polo Ralph Lauren. He tried on jacket after jacket and they all almost fit. We could have easily given in and made a purchase just to get something (we have done this before and the evidence still hangs unworn in the closet). At the end of the shopping adventure we were both frustrated, jacketless, but remained committed to finding something.
Day 2 – Cyberspace:
We decided to try a different tactic. No stores this time; instead we shopped online. We visited Banana Republic Big & Tall section, L.L. Bean, Patagonia and Lands’ End Big, Tall, Big & Tall. When we explored the Lands’ End site we liked what we saw but were weary of the description for the Tall section. It said for men between 6’1 – 6’3. Despite this we took a chance and purchased two jackets.
Act III: The Destination
After a week the box arrived. This was the moment of truth.
Here is jacket #1. It fits! The body is comfortable, overall and sleeve length is perfect.
A true test of sleeve length and fit is what happens when you lift your arms
Here is jacket #2. A grey herringbone wool jacket.
And it FITS and passes the sleeve and overall length tests!
My husband was so excited and exclaimed “Wow, the pockets are actually at the thigh instead of at my waist!”. I was shocked and couldn’t believe that all this time he’s been used to wearing jackets with pockets set at the wrong place! Another concession that Tall Men put up with. Not only were we elated that both jackets fit, but also there would be no trip to the Post Office to return clothes. Incredible. A first. Thank you to Lands’ End Tall!
It was worth the road trip across two state borders, time spent searching online and waiting for a week. This destination is complete joy.