I’m here to get something off of my chest, because it’ll never fit on my legs.
I’m a tall woman. Not super tall, but at 5’10” tall enough. I often hear from shorter women how nice it must be to be tall. How awesome it must be to slam dunk, and reach stuff on high shelves, and rescue kittens without a ladder. But as a woman of a certain stature, I’m here to say it’s not all apple-picking, Christmas tree-topping fun. There’s a grave injustice that’s on the rise (pun intended) called PANT DISCRIMINATION. Allow me to explain.
Most women like to wear pants. Skirts and dresses are great, but sometimes you need more. As a tall lady, I’ve spent most of my life trying to find pants that are long enough. And by long enough I mean LONG ENOUGH. It’s common for most clothiers to offer petite and regular sizes, but uncommon for them to sell long. And increasingly, companies claiming to sell tall sizes are reducing the length of their long inseam, rendering them useless.
The zipper on my favorite pair of jeans recently broke. They’re an older pair of Ann Taylor “Modern Skinny” and so I bit the bullet and ordered 3 new pairs from the Ann Taylor website. Even on sale (40% off) each pair cost over $50. As soon they arrived, I eagerly tried them on. The fit was the same in the waist, hips, and rise (identical to my old faves) but the length was off. They barely touched my ankles. I checked each tag, twice. They said “Tall.” But they were NOT tall. I got out my tape measure (the one I keep in my purse*) and checked each pair. Sure enough, the new jeans have an inseam that’s 2 inches shorter than my old pair. 32″ (new) versus 34″ (old).
Somehow my old favorite jeans that’ve been laundered for years are still 2 full inches longer than their brand new counterparts. WHAT THE HELL? 32 inches is not tall. Many over 5’8″ will find it inadequate, as will shorter women with longer legs. So those specifically seeking “tall” sizes for a longer-length inseam will not be able to wear Ann Taylor “tall” pants. It’s hard enough trying to find and maintain inseam length as a tall woman. Why shaft us beforehand? 32-inches as a tall inseam is a cruel, disappointing joke.
I put the new jeans back into the packaging and looked at the receipt, which stated I could return to any Ann Taylor store per the return policy. So I headed south to return them. At the Ann Taylor Factory Store in Kittery, Maine (an hour away from my house), I was sent away, frustrated. The jeans couldn’t be returned there because although it’s an Ann Taylor store, the merchandise is different (outlet vs. “regular”). I was told to try a different store. So I drove north again (another hour) to the Ann Taylor LOFT store at the Maine Mall in South Portland, where I was again told I couldn’t return the jeans because of the “same parent company/different merchandise” problem. I asked the salesperson what I could do and I was told to either drive south to the closest “real” Ann Taylor store in Peabody, Massachusetts (another 3 hours round-trip) or mail the jeans back myself. So I went home. I printed out the return slip (which of course I had to pay for, not having been punished enough already) and I shipped the too-short jeans back via UPS (another 15 minute drive from my house).
To say this was a disappointing experience would be putting it mildly. The feelings of frustration stayed with me for DAYS. I lost my favorite pair of Ann Taylor jeans to a faulty zipper, ordered expensive replacements that are inadequate, and then wasted half a day because of an archaic return policy. Kiss my grits, Ann Taylor. I’ll never shop with you again.
*Because when you are a lady of a certain stature, you need to check inseam length always.