Local clothing company Amalli Talli describes its mission with a provocative tagline: “We strongly believe that tall isn’t solely defined by height and comes in a variety of shapes and sizes.”
Wait, tall isn’t defined by height?
It’s a piece of the larger fashion trend of body positivity, of accepting that we’re not all built like supermodels and that every body is different. Amy Rosenthal and Alli Black, two sisters who stand 6’ 3.5” and 5’10.5” respectively, understand this on a personal level. Despite both being tall, each sister found different challenges in shopping the “tall” sections of women’s clothing. Some women carry their height in long torsos; others with long legs. Because of this, one tall size doesn’t always fit all.
The sisters opened Amalli Talli in an Eden Prairie mall in 2014 to provide clothing that met both their own needs and those of other tall women. “We needed a solution that represented the full spectrum of women,” Rosenthal says. They borrowed concepts from men’s clothing sizing, labeling their selection by inseam length and other measures of proportion instead of the ambiguous numbers that plague most women’s clothing. The sisters describe the store’s style as “approachable,” offering both staple pieces (jeans, black dresses, activewear) and trendier clothing (the type of thing you’d see on Pinterest, Rosenthal says).
During their time as a brick-and-mortar shop before going exclusively online last year, Rosenthal and Black say the emotional response to their clothing was unexpected. Women would laugh or cry with relief at finding clothing that made them feel at home in their own body after feeling self-conscious about their height for so long. They describe a long-legged woman who was still too short to shop most “tall” shops, and her excitement over finally finding jeans that fit. “We want to create a community where women feel comfortable,” Black says.
In order to expand this community, Amalli Talli closed their physical store and went online-only. It’s a sign of the times, not a sign of defeat: it’s simply easier to reach a wider audience if your customers can shop from their homes. So far, the sisters say they’ve received messages of thanks from women as far away as Australia. “It speaks to the time that we’re in,” Black says. It also allows them to grow their private label, in addition to their curated selection of clothing from other designers.
As the business grows, the sisters hope to make a positive contribution to the self-esteem of tall women everywhere. As Black writes on Amalli Talli’s website, “Nothing is more rewarding than giving people the opportunity to feel good about themselves.”
Photos courtesy of Amy Rosenthal/Amalli Talli