Film ID: NEFA 21834 TODAY AT SIX: FASHION FOR TALL GIRLS 1971 Visitor TabsDescription Charlotte Allen reports from London about fashion for tall women for the Tyne Tees TV news programme Today at Six broadcast on 4 October 1971. Reporter Charlotte Allen, dressed in a mini skirt suit and wedge platform-heeled shoes, walks through London’s West End heading for the Tall Girls Shop. In voice-over, she talks about the difficulty of buying clothes when you do not fit into stock sizes because manufacturers do not bother to cater for minorities such as tall girls in the fashion market. She passes a Brook Street Bureau office and the Bewlay Pipes shop, probably on Davies Street. General view of the Tall Girls Shop sign. Charlotte Allen goes inside the shop. An extremely tall assistant greets her. She is introduced to the short male manager. She asks for help finding a winter coat with long enough sleeves and points to the blouse she is wearing, the sleeves stopping well short of her wrists. She explains the problem she has in getting clothes to fit and says she ends up looking like an orphan. The manager starts to show her a selection of coats. She shrieks happily as she tries on a faux fur-trimmed green midi coat and the sleeves fit perfectly. He shows her a camel midi coat. She quizzes him about the height of his female customers. He says one customer from Holland is well over 7 foot, and he has Scottish customers that are around 6 feet 11 inches. The business has about 40,000 customers over 5 feet 9 inches. A shop model shows off a faux snakeskin trouser suit with wide flares. A redhead models a long classic evening gown for tall women. Charlotte Allen talks to the manager, requesting some basic fashion do’s and don’ts for tall girls. He suggests no downward or cross stripes. Bold large patterns are better. He says that fashion goes up and down (hem length) and longer lengths are fashionable now. He talks about the proportion of clothes. The redhead model now shows off a yellow midi dress, followed by a front-buttoned red dress. Charlotte Allen explains that a friend had pointed out that she wears a lot of ‘sludgy’ coloured clothes. The manager speaks up for bright colours on tall girls. He talks about a young girl who refused to leave her house for 3 months because she became too self-conscious about her height. He offered to pay her fare to travel to the shop. He explains how the visit served as therapy. Georgina, the assistant, now models trousers with wide flares. Allen now tries on some trousers and is delighted to find the length perfect for her height. A montage of shots of Allen’s new set of clothes focus on a trouser leg, the length of her coat sleeves, the length of a boot. She finally poses in the shop whilst stretching a pair of tan panty hose. Charlotte Allen and two other tall women leave the shop in their new purchases, one in a shiny red wet-look raincoat. The three link arms and walk confidently down the street to the words of the country music song ‘Walk Tall’, the camera tailing them. Context Walking tall with Charlotte Allen Tyne Tees reporter Charlotte Allen travels to London to find the latest fashions for the taller women. At 5’ 11”, Canadian born Tyne Tees reporter Charlotte Allen was noticeably taller than the average woman, presenting a dilemma when it came to keeping up with the fashions of the day. Entering the ‘Tall Girls Shop’ in London’s West End, she is introduced to a world especially designed for ‘women with longer-limbs’. By the time she leaves not only has she found an outfit of choice, but learned some important fashion ‘do’s and don’t’s’ for the taller woman. Since the 1950s a change in lifestyle and diet has seen the average shape and size of women altered dramatically. In 1957, for example, the average woman was 5’ 2” in height, where as in 2017 she is 5’ 5”. Even today, more than 30 years after this Tyne Tees report was transmitted, fashions for taller women continue to be seen as a niche market, with few of the major retails providing outfits for women over 5’ 7”. However, the internet has opened up new worlds of fashion for men and women of all shapes and sizes not available to 1970’s consumers.