Marylebone has long been a centre of fashion in London. However, it is not only the high street that has become home to some of London’s most best established fashion specialists. Chiltern Street, home to the renowned Chiltern Firehouse, has seen a number of independent boutiques thrive. In particular boutiques specialising in providing elegant shoes and clothing for tall women that have often struggled to be catered for by your standard retailers.
Long Tall Sally is a Marylebone success story. Since opening its flagship store on Chiltern Street in 1976, it now has 11 stores in the UK and a further 13 worldwide. The clothing range is designed exclusively for women 5’8 and over and the shoe department stock between sizes 7-11. They have their own shoe designs as well as stocking brands including French Sole, Hush Puppies, Converse and Sam Edelman.
Right across the road is Crispins Shoes, offering size 7 and above. Named after the patron saint of shoemakers, the store was opened by Dawne Gutteridge as an answer to the vast numbers of women with longer narrower feet unable to find well-designed shoes.
Just a couple of doors up is Magnus, which, as well as stocking arguably the best selection of casual, everyday styles, it is the only shoe shop on Chiltern Street to go to size 12. It is on the higher end of the price range, though a smaller room at the back of the store has a selection of more affordable modern styles (including Converse).
Finally there is Totally. The shop is a perfect example of how comfort for larger feet and style are entirely reconcilable. It has a selection of smart, casual and dressier styles, and focuses on creating carefully proportioned shoes to ensure support and balance. In Totally’s own words – “No longer will large size women’s shoes fall outside the style brigade, the time has come for a revolution”.
Admittedly I was at first dubious about demand for fashionable shoes in larger sizes – what I assumed would be a fairly niche market. After visiting Chiltern Street I was proven wrong. The shops I visited were clearly thriving and what’s more, their clientele expanding. Chiltern Street is undoubtedly the place to come for women’s fashion for the tall – especially footwear. The stores have a growing online presence, however it is the quality of service and superb range of brands and styles that makes Chiltern Street the ideal shopping location for tall women.