EXCLUSIVE: Team GB's SIX FOOT tall Olympic gold rowers Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins say finding trousers that fit is the toughest challenge of all
07:33 GMT, 21 August 2012
Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins had no problem hauling themselves to victory in the women's double sculls at Eton Dorney.
But finding trousers that fit has often been a different story.
Standing 6ft tall a piece, the Olympic champions who took gold for Team GB in their race on 3 August are not the sort of girls who can casually stroll into Top Shop, pluck a pair of jeans off a hanger and trot towards the till.
Team GB's Olympic Gold medal-winning rowers Katherine Grainger, left, and Anna Watkins, right, have been appointed brand ambassadors for fashion label Long Tall Sally
'Trousers are especially tricky to
shop for as a taller woman,' Katherine Grainger tells FEMAIL. 'They are never long enough and no one
wants that ankle-swinging look.
'It's the same with most athletes: we
tend to have very long legs, very long torsos or very long arms, so you can't just buy
clothes off the hanger because they are generally made for very different body types.
'That's what's nice about places like
Long Tall Sally – the clothes are made specifically for the taller woman. It feels good to pick things off a shelf and think that maybe you're not so much of a freak after all!'
Grainger and Watkins have been appointed brand ambassadors for Long Tall Sally, lending their bodies to model the clothes and acting as the inspiration behind the brand's new LTS Row capsule collection, a long-length leisurewear collection and the official clothing supplier for the GB Rowing Team Women's Squad 2012.
Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins say they have worn more dresses in the past two weeks since winning gold in the Olympics than they have in the past two years
KATHERINE AND ANNA SHARE THEIR GOLD STANDARD SARTORIAL TIPS FOR TALL GIRLS
1. BE COMFORTABLE
'People who wear clothes they are comfortable in carry themselves much more impressively (and therefore look better) than those who have nice clothes but aren't comfy in them.'
2. DON'T HIDE YOUR HEIGHT
'You're tall, so trying to make yourself look smaller isn't going to work. Instead, flaunt your assets. Show off your long legs.'
3. AVOID ANYTHING TOO FRILLY
'Pretty-pretty girly frills look silly on tall, Amazonian women. Go for something less fiddly and more bold.'
3. SACK OFF SPAGHETTI STRAPS
'Swap delicate, fussy straps for thick ones or a halterneck. They will show off your muscles much better.'
4. DITCH BUSY PATTERNS
'Keep it simple, which isn't to say don't use colour. Use bold colours – just not all of them at once.'
5. BE BRAVE: WEAR HEELS
'Heels are great, even if you're tall, but you need to wear them confidently to pull them off.'
6. FIND CLOTHES THAT FIT
'If clothes fit you well, with the waist in the right place, they will suit you and you will feel comfortable and more confident.'
7. AVOID EMPIRE LINES
'A big no-no as it stresses an athletes large ribcage and completely misses your waist'
But now that their role in the London 2012 Olympics has come to an end, the girls are enjoying being out of Lycra and leisurewear and dressing up for a change.
'I've worn more dresses in the past two weeks than I have in the past two years,' giggles Cambridge graduate Anna Watkins, 29, referring to all the post-Olympic parties and events she and Katherine have been attending.
'I'm enjoying wearing all kinds of
different things and having a completely different lifestyle to the one we've had for the past four years. I've been a real girl-about-town!'
Glaswegian Grainger, 36, agrees: 'Since we've finished racing we have spent more time in normal clothes
than we have in years.
'Leading up to the Olympics we were pretty much permanently in tracksuits, Lycra, trainers and flip-flops for four years.'
Out of the boat, Grainger, who studied at Edinburgh and Glasgow Universities and Kings College, London, is more of a 'smart/casual kind of a girl'.
'Jeans are my best
friend because they're so easy – you can dress them up or down very simply.
'And comfort is a big, big
thing for me: I don't just want to look great, I want to enjoy wearing clothes.
'I really believe that if you are comfortable in what you are wearing you will look better.'
Grainger counts herself lucky that – thanks to similarly tall parents and a tall sister just 18 months older – she didn't stand out as a child.
But Watkins, a self-confessed 'jeans and T-shirt girl' – wasn't quite so fortunate when she was growing up. And up. And up.
'My older sister Louise is now 5ft 4in, and when we were kids we were the same height until we were five and six.
'Everyone thought we were twins, which Louise hated and I loved it. And then I overtook her which she was not pleased about.'
'But then when I got to about 14 and was a lot taller than my friends I do remember it being difficult – especially because the boys my age were still short!
'I remember getting really upset during those awkward teenage years that I couldn't wear the same clothes and shoes as my friends.
'But as I've got older I've learned to dress for my shape and athletic build.'
Happily, being the same size and
height as each other, Watkins and Grainger often share clothes – even
shoes (though Anna wears a size nine to Katherine's ten).
And despite already being pretty lofty at 6ft tall, both enjoy wearing heels.
Anna Watkins, left, and Katherine Grainger, right, have enjoyed getting out of Lycra and into dresses since they finished competing in the Olympics
'I'm wearing more heels now and I'm having fun relearning how to walk in them,' says Grainger, while Watkins informs us that her heel guru has been another member of Team GB's rowing squad, Vicky Thornley.
'I went through a phase of not wearing heels but then realised that Vicky – who is a total knockout and used to be a model – wears them everywhere, even though she is 6ft 4in.
'She has a fantastic figure and a bright blonde crop and just turns heads wherever she goes. So I've learned that it's really fun wearing heels, so long as you wear them like Vicky does: with loads of confidence.'
Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins have swapped lycra for lipstick since they hauled their way to victory in the women's double sculls at Eton Dorney
As brand ambassadors for Long Tall Sally, the girls are big fans of the label's ethos.
'I've learned a lot of things about dressing for being tall and athletic,' says Grainger. 'And it's nice at Long Tall Sally because the people who work there know them too.
'They make clothes that don't hide your height or put your waistline in the wrong place. They keep clothes simple while still being bold and colourful.'
Dressing is all about finding your own confidedence and wearing what looks good on you rather tha following fashion. It's all about confidence.
So is she confident enough to do a Victoria Pendleton and bare all for a glossy magazine
'Oh, I don't know!' she laughs. 'But perhaps that's because no one has ever asked me! I'm not sure I would be very comfortable doing it – though I do think that when strong, physically healthy women do it tastefully it does send a very positive message to young girls and provide them with good role models.'
Olympic champion Anna Watkins outside Long Tall Sally in London
The girls celebrate winning gold in the women's double sculls at Eton Dorney on 3 August
Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins looking Amazonian following their thrilling victory to gold at Eton Dorney on August 3