BETHESDA, Md. (AP) — When tall men need clothes, they go to their nearest Big & Tall store.
When tall women need clothes, they try on the "tall" sizes at the mall. When those are still too short, they go online. More often than not, they end up sending at least some of the items back because they aren't as flattering as they appeared in photos.
That's according to 27-year-old Helen Pappas, owner of Talltique in Bethesda and graduate of the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University.
Standing at 6-foot-3, Pappas can recall frustrated shopping trips with her average-statured mom and sister.
"They would be able to find everything and I would end up buying, you know, a belt or a hat or a purse," she says.
In high school, she would frequent a shop for tall women at a nearby mall, but it eventually went out of business. Sometimes she would have things made by a tailor, an extremely expensive option, and other times she would buy plus-sized items (because they were long enough) but then have them taken in several sizes. Eventually, shopping online became essentially her only resource for stocking her wardrobe.
Although she doesn't like it, Pappas understands the lack of options for tall women.
"I don't think it's profitable enough for large chain stores to focus on ladies that are over 6 feet tall," she says. "But there are still enough of us to make it an issue."
Her firsthand experience is why she decided to open her own store.
"Not having clothes that fit well or make you feel confident, that's a big problem," she says.
Talltique has been an online shop since 2011 and, in October, Pappas opened the doors to her Bethesda appointment-only boutique, which she calls a "showroom." She plans to have a full-time store open in the next few years.
Talltique carries Pappas's own favorite brands, and she's in the process of developing a line of her own, too.
She likes having a brick-and-mortar location, because she gets to interact with her customers and they get to interact with the clothes.
"They can feel it, touch it try it on. And then they're sold on it. They buy one in every color."
She says about 60 percent of her in-store customers cry, because "they're relieved to have found a solution."
Information from: WNEW-FM, http://www.wnew.com