It was a normal day, I got up, popped the frozen waffles in the toaster and got the kids ready for school. I opened up my emails and started to scroll. That is when I saw the email that would put me on an incredible journey. One of my favorite clothing stores for tall women, The Elevated Closet (formerly RG Maternity) was going up for sale. At 6’ 4” I have always struggled to find clothing that fits and secretly had a dream to someday own a clothing company that caters only to tall women. I was flooded with emotions, fear (can I really do this?), excitement (I can make clothes for women like me, women like my daughters!) and a deep realization that everything in my life had brought me to this moment. Here is my story.
I grew up in a small town in Southern Nevada, called Moapa Valley. We were about an hour from Las Vegas, but we were far from city-like. We had maybe 10,000 people in the entire town. My dad was the town mechanic and my mom was a jack of all trades. She started out as a waitress and worked long hard hours. Later, she took over the business side when my dad opened up his own shop. We didn’t have a lot of money but my parents did the best they could and to this day are some of the hardest working people I have met.
I always had a side gig as a kid, whether it was babysitting, weed pulling, or car washing. I had a jar under my bed where I kept all of my earnings to go school clothes shopping. My parents didn’t make a ton so it was up to me to make enough money to buy clothes that I wanted. I was thrifty though. I went to thrift stores to make my money stretch and found clothes that were gently used and was happy that I got more than just one outfit. Then puberty hit! I grew almost 7 inches in middle school and had the longest legs! My inseam was 36″ and I was 6’1′ my freshman year in high school. Now I had to get creative! I found that I could buy Wrangler jeans because they made the inseams longer to account for boots. Are you picturing it yet? A 6’1” bean pole with Wrangler jeans on in Nevada heat…yeah I was stylin’!
“Why don’t you wear shorts?” my friends would ask. Enter the dreaded dress code. When your legs are 36″ long and they make shorts for girls that are 5’5″ with a 26” inseam, I was doomed for failure in that department. Don’t get me wrong, I was modest but my fingertip length shorts were like the new bermudas today…and not in style at the time. You probably guessed it that the bullies started to see me as any easy target. I won’t say that I was constantly bullied, it was hard to bully someone who was super quiet and just wanted to be nice to everyone, but I definitely dealt with bullying.
I think this is what drove me to sports. First, it helped with the clothing problem. Remember late 90’s basketball attire?! It was baggy enough to fit anyone, and got me out of the Wranglers! My success in athletics helped build my confidence, it just gave me a reason for being different. I know not all tall girls play basketball, but I decided to do it and I gained a lot from it. I can’t imagine what my confidence would have been like without it.
I ended up becoming one of the best athletes in my high school and went on to college at the University of New Mexico on a full ride scholarship. I had my ups and downs, but in the end, I left with tons of accolades and became the only female basketball player drafted to the WNBA from my university. After college, I traveled the world playing basketball. Korea, France, Greece…sounds great, right? I loved seeing the world but playing overseas was a hard life and just wasn’t for me. In the early 2000’s, we barely had internet and Skype was super new and just didn’t work. My only entertainment…box sets of Friends DVDs (remember those?). Still to this day, Friends episodes are my happy place! Playing basketball and living in foreign countries was a sexy job, but it was lonely. I would meet a guy and then have to leave the country again. I actually met my husband during one of my trips back to the US. We dated for a summer and then I left. Fortunately for him, we stayed in touch.
It was around this time that I met my biological father (story for another time). I never knew him my whole childhood but at 6’10’ and a former professional basketball player himself, we had a lot in common. Since he was a Canadian citizen it gave me the ability to play on the Canadian National Team and extend my playing career a few more years.
It was a hard day, when I decided to stop playing basketball, I was in a serious relationship, I wanted to be a mom, to have a normal life. My fear was that if I was not a basketball player, who was I? I continued to keep basketball in my life, becoming a D1 coach in Southern California but it was a matter of time before I closed that chapter for good.
This brings me back to that day, now a mother of 2 beautiful daughters, on their way to be 6 footers themselves, thinking about what I was going to do with my life when they went to elementary school. It was that email that made my dream come true; to help tall women find clothing that fits their bodies properly! I know that looking good and feeling good are linked and every women should feel confident in the body God gave them!
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