An executive coach, professional communications facilitator, wife, mother and one of our most loyal clients. Hear a little bit about Rita’s life experiences, how she has embraced her height and as a result, how she curates elegant, timeless silhouettes that compliment her elongated frame and her busy lifestyle…
MARGE: Tell us about you - your life growing up and things you feel would be relevant to fellow MARGE women.
RITA: Well, you saw me when I came in. I’m six feet tall. I’m an extrovert and I think my height contributes to that. I’m fifth generation Northern California so I’m very, very native Californian. I’m from a tall family so for us, height is part of our identity. And even though I’m the shortest person in my family (my mother is six five) being tall was a privilege. We attracted other tall families, and people knew us as the “Talls”. So it was cool; it was kind of a club. In fact, I spent a lot of my childhood years standing on my tiptoes at holiday gatherings trying not to be the shortest person in the photo. I’m proud to be tall, and it feels good. I understand, though, that not every tall woman has had the same experiences as me. I feel fortunate. With all of the features we inherit with our DNA, I can genuinely say that I do the best with what I have and try to honor what I was given in this life. I honestly feel like being tall is one of the luckiest features that I received from my parents.
MARGE: So it (height) really has influenced your identity and how you see yourself as a woman.
RITA: It absolutely has. And I believe that if people who know me a little bit or even a lot, were asked to describe me, “tall” would probably be one of the first three words out of their mouth—whether you asked them to describe me physically or to characterize my personality. Because my height is so much a part of me.
MARGE: It’s inspiring to hear that growing up tall was such a positive experience for you. What challenges have you had with your height, if any?
RITA: Without a doubt, there are shopping challenges. I’ve probably saved a lot of money because I was tall, and I’ve probably diverted my interests to other areas because shopping was such a challenge. That’s why I’m very excited to have discovered a line of clothing that is stylish, upscale and fits me properly. So far, my experience with MARGE clothing is that it suits me so well, and I just feel so special in the clothing. I’m really excited to someday just have a closet full of MARGE.
MARGE: If you were to describe your personal style, what adjectives would you use?
RITA: I’m not a seasonal, every season shopper that updates. I would never have “trendy” in the list of descriptors about myself. I like classic, elegant, polished looking clothing that wears well in San Francisco in the summer and in the winter. I want clothing I could wear in 2010, 2015, 2020. And maybe it will need to be altered, but I’ve been the same size I was 15, so I’m pretty lucky. And I tend to not want to fill my closet. I tend to want the clothing that I have, and wear it. It’s rare that I get rid of something that I think of two years later, and wish that I had it back. I probably need a little bit more color. But I like the classic, elegant, timeless look.
MARGE: Is there anything about yourself that you would like to change and if so, what would it be? It doesn’t have to be physical, but it could be related to your personality or a life experience of yours.
RITA: I wouldn’t change my height, that’s for sure. For me it’s exactly perfect. But two things come to mind. The first place my mind went was that you’re not going to catch me in sandals because my toes are not very pretty. I have two brothers, which means I grew up being teased about my toes. So whenever I went to the beach, I would either wear socks or I’d bury them in the sand immediately. But I’m lucky to live in a city that doesn’t require a lot of sandal wearing. On a more serious note, the other thing that comes to mind is a feature of my personality that I have been working on for about 20 years—more intently, in the last 5 years since I’ve been married—patience. I’m not making that much progress there. But having a child helps.
MARGE: Because it puts you squarely in the here and now, right?
RITA: Exactly. My husband, Dennis, is very patient and I admire that; I respect it. I try to let it rub off on me when I notice it. But it hasn’t yet. I’m still very ingrained in my past behaviors, my passion for getting where I want to go quickly. And sometimes it’s too much about the destination and not about the journey. I miss things that way. I miss connections, and I miss details because I just get really focused on where I’m going. But I’m continuing to work on it; my eyes are open. I sometimes wish that I could just wave a wand, and be more patient.
MARGE: Having that self-awareness is very powerful.
RITA: It is, and it’s very in my head when I’m saying to myself, “Okay this isn’t going fast enough,” and I just can’t concentrate, because I just want it to go faster. It could happen anywhere, even at a dinner party that is running behind schedule, when I should just be enjoying myself.
MARGE: Speaking of social gatherings, what types of clothes, colors or fabrics make you feel your best when you’re out and about?
RITA: For me, it’s been less about the color and more about the fit and the feel of what I’m wearing. I think this is because I’m a neutral dresser who pulls in a pop of color here or there. I love soft fabrics that feel great on my skin when I move. Silks, satins and cashmere. I’m allergic to wool, but I can do a really, really fine cashmere. But when I think of transitioning from day to night, whether I’m headed from work to go out with my husband, or coming from a casual day in jeans, and I want to feel good, I want an outfit capable of making that transition. I don’t want to just run around all day and end up somewhere in my yoga pants. When we have a special night, and I make that effort, which isn’t every day, and I put on a different outfit and it fits me right, I know it. I know that my husband will notice. When he says, “Wow, you look great tonight” that makes it worth the effort.
MARGE: What advice would you give to a tall woman who has just learned to embrace her height? What can she look forward to in the years to come?
RITA: Well I think height is ageless. So unlike other features that go, that slip away and change over time, you may lose an inch or two in your seventies, but you still have that stature. Nothing else lasts as long. I think that this feature is different. So I would say great for you that you’ve finally embraced it, because that feeling is going to last as you get older. And depending on the person and stage in life, I also think not everyone wants to be the CEO, not everyone wants to the leader. Not everyone wants to command a room. I do, I’m just a connector. In my communities, I usually end up rising to some kind of leadership role. And my height allows me to do that and it fuels my confidence. And so if she has that in her, I would say, now that you’ve found yourself, now that you’ve found your presence, take advantage of it in all areas of your life: in motherhood, in parenting, in your career. One of the reasons my mother is a matriarch for a large overarching family, is because she’s the tallest. She was the taller of her sisters, taller than my father. Everybody looks to my mother as this, the top of the pyramid. Very, very literally, she is the top of the family pyramid. And so if, for that woman, being a leader was something that she wanted to represent in her communities, it’s a gift. Because height is such a natural symbol of power.
To Rita - A special thank you for sharing your elevated perspective with the MARGE Community.