How to shop when you are tall

Kate McKibbinFashion 64 Comments

Want to know my nickname growing up? It was stilts. Want to know the most common thing I get asked, even today? “Do you play basketball” (closely followed by “Can you get that down for me”).

In case you haven’t had your coffee this morning, what I am trying to tell you is I am tall. Very tall. Six foot one and a bit to be exact. And I also adore fashion. Two things which don’t seem to naturally go hand in hand.

“But aren’t models tall?” I hear you say. Sorry to break it to you, but no they are not. Usually only about 5’9″. Which is practically miniature when compared to me (I usually feel like Godzilla, even when surrounded by models, probably why I avoid wearing green).

Now personally I consider myself lucky to be a tall lady right now, and not back in my mum’s (she’s taller), or worse my grandmother’s era. With both usually being forced to wear either men’s clothes and shoes, or learn to sew quick smart so they could whip up their own.

Yes, things are definitely better these days, but they are still not great. There are still a lot of brands I will never be able to wear, because for reasons I will explain below it would be practically indecent for me to do so. There are also lots of styles which don’t suit us. Yep, I can hear those tiny violins now. Being tall, and shopping obsessed, can really, really suck!

But, before you throw your two-inches-too-short-everything out of the pram, let me help. I have had a bit of practice with this whole shopping caper, and I now consider myself somewhat of an expert in it, particularly when it comes to tracking down the best buys, styles and stores to suit those as vertically blessed as myself.

So let me share some of my wisdom with you now!

Styling You clothes for taller women

1 – Skinnies are your friend

I remember when skinny jeans first became “cool”. I was about 18 and I remember thinking “I’d rather wear [insert anything Miley Cyrus wore in 2013] than those”. More years than I’d like to admit to later, and I love them so much I was almost married in a pair (but that’s another story).

The real benefit of the skinny pant or denim is that, unlike a wide or boot-cut leg, it doesn’t matter if they are a little on the short side. Or even a lot. Which, as any tallie (it’s a word!) will know, is most of the time. Because it looks like they were supposed to be (thank you Audrey Hepburn, thank you!).

They also look fantastic with a ballet flat, which is another tall gal regular.

And even if you don’t feel confident in something super tight, pretty much anything that tapers in at the end will leave people thinking you are skillfully rocking the bang-on 7/8ths look (even though we all secretly know they were supposed to be full length, but shh!)

2 – Fitted dresses do not fit

I know a lot of tall women have issues with really fitted frocks, usually as most manufacturers seem to think our waists should be where our nippless are, and that a standard tasteful mid-thigh skirt length is really only about as long as our bonds knickers. Not a good look on either occasion.

Shirts and skirts as a combo seems to be more forgiving, and allow you to mix and match to suit your body shape as well. Also a curve skimming sheath or shift or even kaftan, basically anything without an accentuated waist or bust area is usually a safer bet for the vertically blessed.

3 – So, speaking of boobs, yours are kind of eye level; awkward!

Another common complaint I have heard from taller ladies (although not one I suffer from as I am more a member of the itty bitty titty committee), is that your lady lumps, are, well, making eye contact with a large portion of the community.

Now you could try wearing a “My eyes are up here” t-shirt with a giant arrow on it, but that can be a bit limiting style wise, so why not try and draw the eyes up a little higher with a fantastic pair of statement earrings, or a bright lip. Oh, and maybe do up that last button. Simple, but it works.

4 – Your legs are awesome, show them off

I don’t care what the number is in the back of your undies, if you class yourself anywhere in the range of kinda-to-very tall then your legs are going to be awesome. They just are. When it comes to gams the fact that longer is better is just, well, a fact (and a universal one), so pretty please show them off.

And if you still think you pins need a little encouragement, add a pair of ankle-strap-free heels to give them extra shape, and let the compliments roll in. You’re welcome.

Ok, so now you all loaded up with some do’s, don’ts, and lots of things you never wanted to know about me (and my undies!), now comes the really hard part. Where the bleep do you find things to even fit in the first place? Luckily, I’ve made a list!

styling-you-tall-outfits

Best stores for: Long pants/jeans

  • ASOS, some styles go up to a 34 or 36 inch leg, including maternity.
  • TopShop have a whole tall section. Hooray.
  • Urban Outfitters, just filter the search by inseam length.
  • Jeans West, a little closer to home most of the classic denim styles can be order unfinished online and you can hem them to whatever length you like.
  • GAP also have a tall section, although I have found it not to be quite as tall as others.
  • 7 For All Mankind denims also come in long-leg friendly lengths.

Best stores for: Big shoes

  • Wittner now go up to a 42 (11 Australian)†in most flats (and some heels)
  • ASOS again have an 42 (11 Australian)†in some styles
  • Jeffrey Campbell, has weirdly become a cross-dresserís regular, which means they go up to menís sizes in many styles!
  • Target and Kmart Australia now both stock a pretty decent selection of shoes going up to an 42 (11 Australian)†in most styles.
  • Mollini offers some styles (mostly low heels and flats) up to a 42 (11 Australian)†as well.
  • If you really want to splash out Jimmy Choo and Manolo Blahnik do offer a 42 (11) as well, but they are on the small side.

Know any other tall-girl friendly style hints, brands or stores, I’d love you to share them with me via the comments below!

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kate mckibbin copyKate McKibbon is the editor at dropdeadgorgeousdaily.com where you can find fresh fashion ideas daily.  Before launching DDGDaily.com she worked for a whole bunch of women’s glossies both here and in the UK including Shop Til You Drop, New Woman (RIP), Grazia.com.au (also RIP), Cosmopolitan UK, and she even had a column in FHM (she is wondering if she’s jinxed!). And before all that she was listing shopping as her number one hobby from about the age of five. She counts herself as one of Australia’s biggest shopaholics, which was made worse when she launched ddgboutique.com.  Find her over on Facebook  here.

 

Comments 64

  1. rosenbergshoes.com.au in Melbourne are fantastic for large mens and womens feet.
    I have been buying from them online for the last 10 years or so. Really really great shoe store, and they have a big variety, frequent sales, and great customer service. Buy online with easy returns.

  2. Just catching up now! Thanks so much for this article! I’m 5’11” and my 13yo daughter is 6’1″ and still growing… I agree with everything you’ve said, Kate. No dresses for me until the last couple of years (and even then, only styles with just a suggestion of waist). Bought men’s jeans in the past, but now get Country Road or Jeans West. Have a few suggestions to add: Postie is a party plan type company that do very long styles in pants and maxis – they are online too. For shoes I go to Glamazon in Essendon (Melbourne) – they go to a size 15 in some styles. They are also online. Thanks again!

  3. Hi Kate, I was so glad to read your post on tall people and our issues in clothes. I’m between 6″ and 6″1′ and I have a very long body and short legs. I sadly wear singlets under pretty much anything (except for tunics, my life savers!) And all of the pretty dresses that are around show the bottom of my undies hanging out. I’m in between a size 14-16 and here are my hints to add to your list: Gap and Forever 21 Plus (F21 online) their dresses are shaped very well as well as long in the torso. City Chic (I understand that it’s a plus sized store but I fit an XS perfectly so if you’re a similar curvy shape don’t be afraid to try it) and for shoes Hush Puppies are amazing. Their boots are excellent and their flatties are a wide fit and incredibly comfortable. Keep up the great blogging and hints!

  4. I’m not tall but I ordered some leggings from Tees by Tina in the US (teesbytina.com) because I had heard they were fantastic quality and came in a range of colours. They were so long I gave them to a friend who is 5’11” and even she felt they were a little long.

  5. I acutally find Jacqui E is pretty good. I’m 6″2, but with the added problem of HIPS! Total pear shape. I think Jacqui E takes this into account, as well as making skirts (and pants) on the long side – ie knee length, not “bonds underwear” length 🙂 – and they are also in styles other than pencil skirt which does nothing for us pear shapers.
    Oh, and Jeans West – their unfinished hem saved my life. I love jeans, but never had a pair that actually fit until I found these. Would literally be close to tears every time I had to go looking!
    I actually disagree with your first point about the skinny jeans. I find that they look terrible on me! Any anything that’s a bit short – 3/4, 7/8th etc all seem to make my hips look bigger and my legs shorter – not attractive. But I think that’s because of my hips, not my height.

  6. Thanks for these reminders of hope! For boots and shoes I am in love with duoboots.com – up to size 43, with a range of calf measurements/sizing too for boots
    Free shipping from uk and no VAT- so they are actually cheaper than price quoted!

  7. I’m 5’10 (and a bit) with all my height in my legs. It makes buying pants an absolute pain. Jeans West are generally good for jeans, and I will be hitting up Long Tall Sally in the UK for some skinny leg black pants for Winter. I try to wear longer tops to balance my short torso.

    There have been so many gorgeous dresses around this season but they’ve been way too short! Thanks for this article – it’s always good to find fellow tall people 🙂

  8. 5’10 here too! I have the worst problem with dresses… usually waistbands are around my boobs. I avoided wearing dresses for years because of it. I lived in pencil skirts for work.
    Then I found the stretchy, bandage type dresses and shift dresses. Problem solved…. no waistband!
    Sussan and Dream Diva are the only stores I can buy jeans in that fit properly and are flattering. Jeans West, Forever New and Sussan are all great for Maxi dresses. Avoid mini skirts and buy midi skirts, as they end up being knee length anyway.
    Tunic tops are a great length too.

      1. They are, Kate! And the waistband around the boobs looks like you are pregnant as the dress isn’t sitting properly.

  9. Hi – I’m late to the party, but catching up today has been great. I am average (ick what a word) height – but my son is 6’7″ and with slim build, long arms and legs and big shoulders and we have terrible trouble buying shirts and jeans. So thank you ladies for all the tips on where to shop for tall (but not wide) men!

  10. I even have trouble finding dresses to cover my bum and I am only 5″8 (though granted, I have a pretty big bum 😉 Great tips for those extra tall. My husband is 6″5 and always gets the ridiculous ‘you’re tall, do you play basketball?” comments. Its so temping to reply “You’re short do you play mini-golf” 😉

  11. Lululemon for fitness clothes, they have really long sleeves on their jackets and they also have an extra tall size in their pants. It’s a nice label, not cheap, but they have a good sale on at the moment!

  12. Thank you for this great post Kate,I am normal or short but both my children are tall my son is 6ft4 which does not really matter being a guy but my daughter is about 5ft11 and she finds it hard to find dresses that actually cover her bum! She is 23 but does not want to flash everyone when she goes out especially if it is a wedding or something dressy.i will pass on your greats tips to her,I am sure being tall is as much bother as is being short.

    1. I think it is definitely problematic for both! And (not to sound old), but most of the really fashionable styles for the “youngens” are really short even on an average height person, so tall girls have no hope!

  13. Thanks for the great article! I’m 6’3 and have become obsessed with finding retailers offering stylish options for us Tallies. My favourites are all overseas but luckily ship overseas and usually for free if you spend a reasonable amount. My recommendations are Long Tall Sally (can be pricey but regularly do good sales and now have an Australian returns address), Topshop Tall, Dorothy Perkins Tall (cheaper), New Look Tall (really quite cheap), Tall Couture (great for long jeans and fantastic customer service), Loft (have never ordered from there but often enjoy browsing their range online), Next Tall (super quick shipping and offer an Australian returns address). A also love American Eagle for their tops, they’re not specifically tall but are often really long in the body and arms, and are a lovely soft cotton. And for shoes, go see Carol at the Shoe Garden in Brisbane or online, she’s the best!

    1. So many new ones here, I am adding them to my list 🙂 Might have to do some scouting *cough… I mean shopping* this weekend now! x

  14. Thanks so much Kate. A few months ago I discovered long tall sally in Edinburgh and I can wear dresses, tops that fit, jeans the right proportion… ok I will stop raving. Postage free over $100 and returns only cost postage to Sydney… hope it helps others too….

  15. Thanks for profiling some of the fashion issues that “tallies” face! My biggest problem has always been shoes as I wear a size 12 so around 1.5 years ago, I decided “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” so I opened my own shop in Brisbane called The Shoe Garden that specialises in women’s shoes from size 10 to 12 in every style and whenever I can get them, in sizes 13, 14 and 15 too. One of the things I promote is that I stock “long” shoes for “long” feet, not “big” or “large” as those words come with connotations. I always tell my customers: you can change your body shape if you wish to, but you can’t change the length of your body or the length of your foot and that’s nothing to be ashamed of.

  16. Thanks for this post-I am 5’10 & size 10-11 feet, while I love shoes, I hate shoe shopping. I think Perth/ WA stockists are getting better but for a while it was a bit depressing. Thanks to everyone for the brand names & online shops I am off to check them out. I am now off to follow Kate’s blog xx

  17. Tall girl jeans its always a dilemma argh!!! Before the skinny I always liked when 3/4 styles were in as I just bought the full length and they were perfect. At 6’2 I’ve tried many online places and mostly been disappointed when the parcel arrives but then J-Crew started to ship to Australia they had loads of 36″ but seem to now believe a 33″ leg is Tall!!!!! but still some good styles at 36″and often have free shipping. Their tall range also has shirts, dresses and suiting and they have tall men’s range as well, bonus of being in opposite hemisphere is sale stuff is what we are wearing now.

    1. I didn’t know J Crew did long legs, that is awesome. The US brands have always been much better at it than the aussies ones, although I don’t know why, I have been to the US a few times and they didn’t seem that much taller to me? x

  18. Hi Ladies, love this article!! We are always hearing from ladies with longer feet loving that we have them covered! Here at FRANKiE4 Footwear we also go up to size 13 in ladies shoes so if you are looking for comfort and style in your shoes FRANKiE4 can help from that angle. Our new range launches in the next couple of days too so you will have even more selection of styles and colours to pick from (ballet flats, boots, court shoes and funky lace ups – all good for your feet).
    There are also shoes stores out there such as Rosenbergs in Melbourne, The Shoe Garden in Hawthorne (Brisbane area) and All Podiatry & The Shoe Co (sports and comfort shoes) in Brisbane who stock longer shoes for women (some go up to size 14 too). Hope this helps!! Love the team at FRANKiE4.

  19. I am a shorty so have the complete opposite problem. I would love a long pair of legs to show off and spend plenty of time and money trying to create that illusion! But I must admit – it is much easier to take something up then add material so I will be grateful for that!! Great post and I hope this helps all the tallies.

    1. I have been shopping with lots of my more petite friends, and I know the problem seems to go both ways. I think stores should offer unfinished lengths on everything, and you can just get them adjusted to suit, then it’s fair for everyone 🙂

  20. I’m a tallie (love the word, by the way) of the long-torsoed kind. I remember in the 90s, before layering was cool, I owned five or six boob tubes. I’d wear them under t-shirts, singlets, everything, with the top part sitting just under the boob line. It was the only way to stop flashing that bit of skin between the end of my top and the start of my pants!

    And I had to do it again recently while pregnant, when even maternity tops wouldn’t reach past the extra bit of tummy! Thank goodness for belly bands.

  21. Hi, I’m nearly 5’11” and my beautiful 14 yo daughter is already just over 6’0″ and expected to get to nearly 6’2″. She is really happy about this and doesn’t seem to suffer the embarrassment that I did. The main problems we have are that most of the dresses made for young girls are extremely short and it is difficult to find big young looking shoes locally (size 11-12 and still growing). I buy a lot from the USA – Gap, Banana Republic. Most have tall sizing which really is tall. I am borderline tall enough for it. I 100% agree about the skinny jeans. We love them too. Thanks for a great post.

    1. Hi Louise,
      My little sister is almost 6’3″ and she is just 18 and has the exact same problem. She also seems to adore being tall though (wears 6 inch heels quite a bit!), which is fantastic. I know she shops from stores like Modcloth quite a bit, not sure if that’s because they are longer or just because she likes the styles though x

  22. I find (at 5ft 10) that jersey dresses work as the lack of structure allows them to work better with a longer torso. A current favourite is Leona Edmiston. I’ve also found that Veronica Maine pants work for me. Banana Republic (US Brand but you can buy online) also make a lot of their clothes in different lengths and I stocked up on their pants when I was last in the states.

    1. I adore jersey (also because it rarely needs an iron!) and Leona Edmiston seems to just know how to make clothes for women’s bodies, not matter what your height or size, so flattering. Great tips! x

  23. Get in early! I have size 10-11 feet (depending on style & width) and by the time I get around to shopping for something, all the sizes I can fit have sold out of every store.

  24. Great article. My mum was 5’11” (born in 1931) and she had to make all her clothes – luckily she was a great sewer and had the most glamorous outfits to wear when she worked in London. I am 5’5″ and she says “thank goodness”! I used to work for a modelling agency and all our girls had to be at least 5’10” but that was back in the 90’s. I do however wish there were more boutiques for women of ALL heights and sizes and models were portrayed as such.

  25. My 2m tall husband struggles to find clothes that don’t double as tents, so thanks for those tips. Any more ideas for blokes who are tall but not big?

      1. My son has this problem at 6 foot 6. I have bought him slim fit Sportscraft shirts on sale but he complains that they are still too generous, probably as the target group is older than him. He is not skinny, just not overweight! I think he has found jeans at Jeanswest that are good lengthwise and he goes to some place at the Airport DFO in Brisbane that he found really good for shirts and t-shirts but he can’t remember what it is called. Googling DFO may help. And it may be a brand that is available Australia wide. Another reader may know what it is. He warned me not to buy him clothes for xmas as he really needs to do it himself.

    1. For guys – try Scotch and Soda. They’re a Dutch brand and their clothes seem to be longer so you can get the length but not the unwanted width.

    2. My 6″5 very slim husband has this issue too. More of a problem for him as his legs seem to be normal length but his torso is extra long which is frustrating because shops will often do different lengths in pants (mainly jeans) but never shirts so he ends up with shirts that show his whole stomach when he lifts his arms (what his friends call ‘blouses’! lol) More modern mens stores like Tarocash, industry etc often stock ‘slim fit’ t-shirts and shirts so you can go up a size for length without getting too much extra width

  26. I can totally relate to everything you write, especially the jeans and dresses. I’m 5’11 but have size 8 feet so think I look a bit out of proportion, sometimes I can fit into 7 but never buy it in case it looks odd (which it usually does!). I swear by Country Road jeans. They are always a great length and fit on me. They do a lot of 7/8 length as well which are often quite long too. I will make a note to start following your blog. Just going to find you on FB now…

  27. Great post! I have struggled for most of my life to buy nice trendy shoes in a size 11. I have recently found that Nine West stocks size 11 and have a huge range to choose from. Also Country Road, Sandler, Diana Ferrari and Miss Shop.

    1. Thanks Jo, will have to add some of these to my list (although I can’t believe I forgot Diana Ferrari, I wore them as my back up wedding shoes, because the actual ones for the ceremony were made to look pretty in, and not to actually stand in for very long!)

  28. Great article. I’m garden gnome height, and will now cease whining about trying to find midget clothes forthwith! Good to have some perspective and what it does demonstrate is that designers need to understand we come in all shapes and sizes!

    1. Gabrielle, I’m about average but it wasn’t until I talked to a couple of my girlfriends (former models) that I really understood their problems with jeans and skirt lengths. Now, I just get on with it and take up anything I need to, knowing my tall sisters could possibly wear the same garment un-hemmed!

  29. What a great article, I can totally relate – I’m 5ft 10! I find maxi dresses are the hardest things to find long enough – but Aussie designer Sacha Drake always makes her maxi dresses super-long! (she is quite tall herself so she understands)

    1. I gave up on Maxi dresses a long time ago, but will have to check out Sacha Drake, thanks for the tip (I know Nikki is a big fan!!)

      1. I worked for Sacha for years!! (It’s how I met Nikki actually) – almost every single maxi I own is hers 🙂

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