Thursday, October 7, 2010

Clothes for the tall woman

Oh yes. We're going there. When I was a teenager, I had to figure out clothes on my own. I wore men's cowboy jeans from Farm & Fleet for years because I couldn't find girl pants long enough. I wore men's shoes all the time (I still do actually. Just bought a pair of sweet oxfords online!), which was fine for sports but not so much for school dances, etc. I'm a real grown-up now (technically. I have a full time job and everything, but sometimes I eat microwave popcorn and cheese for dinner, so.) and I'm proud to say I've finally learned to dress myself properly! This is thanks in part to the fantastic powers of the internet. There are tons of forums out there that can help. Tallwomen.org is one of the best for conglomerating a big list of sites. There's one for shoes there too.

Specialty shops
I've had the most success with Tall Girl. I know they're owned by Long Tall Sally now, and I haven't bought anything from LTS yet, but it looks like little has changed from what was in Tall Girl stores so I'm hoping it's good.
I bought all my dress pants at Tall Girl, and they fit well and have held up well. I also bought a couple of blazers there. The fit was a little weird, since I have wide shoulders and tiny boobs, so that, combined with the fact that my workplace is uber casual, means I don't wear them much. I definitely need to find a tailor, though, because they're nice. I also bought all my sweatpants and workout gear there during my track and field years (and am still wearing the sweatpants to lounge in and go to the occasional yoga class).
Overall, some of their stuff was pricey but there were also good sales. LTS looks to be the same, so here's hoping.
There are a large handful of catalogs and sites catering to tall women's clothing that I watch, but some that I've tried have a weird fit or iffy quality (I'm looking at you Long Elegant Legs). I would suggest ordering one thing from a new company to see if you like it before purchasing a whole new wardrobe.
Shoes are a big one too. When I first took to the internet looking for large size women's shoes, I was about 13 and my mom was sitting right next to me. We promptly entered the wonderful world of 5-inch clear plastic stilleto platforms and thigh-high pleather boots. Drag queens can rock that sh#@, but it's not really my style. Thankfully, we've come a long way in only 10 years or so and there are tons of sites devoted to large size shoes for the ladies. I used to buy most of my dress shoes at www.designershoes.com, but lately their selection has been boring. **Actually, I just checked it and most of their stuff is Barefoot Tess anyway.** Barefoot Tess is great when it comes to catering to the tall ladies. I wear a 14, and they have more styles and cute options than I've found anywhere else. Their shipping costs are ridiculous, but I still order from them. (See those Jeffrey Campbell heels down a few posts? Totally bought them this summer. A-maz-ing.)

Buried Treasures
Specialty shopping is easy and you're likely to be disappointed when you find the perfect item in a department store only to realize it's too short. But honestly most of my clothes aren't from a tall shop. Today I'm wearing a striped sweater I got on sale from the Gap with a thrifted scarf and a khaki green jacket from Lands' End with jeans from Tall girl and shoes from Payless. Shirts are definitely the easiest thing to buy in mainstream stores. The long, tunic length is all over the place and I buy a lot of tops at TJ Maxx, Old Navy and Target because I'm poor.
The aforementioned Gap sweater was a bit short when I bought it but I'm in the habit of stretching the sleeves and body of shirts after washing them, then airdrying, to lengthen them out. This might not be great for the clothes but very few of my clothes are so high quality that I care.
If you didn't know already, Payless has women's shoes through size 13. I get sandals there a lot, and you can order online and get them shipped to a store for free.
If you're looking for trendy, cheap jeans, you should probably just do this now. Yeah, it's kind of embarrassing when I get ads for Proactive and the latest YA novel catered toward tween girls with every order, but seriouslyyouguys. $20 jeans with a 37" inseam is not something you give up because they're trying to sell them to 16-year-olds. I know buying jeans from a catalog or online makes some people nervous, but I've bought probably 20 pairs of jeans there since high school and have only returned 2 or 3. If you're a tall teen or young adult (or mature adult with hip style!) check out Alloy if you haven't already.
Two final notes on shoes: Zappos.com is pretty reliable when it comes to large sizes and they have great customer service. And finally--I almost don't want to let this secret out and if any of you readers start raiding the Northtowne Mall is Spokane, WA taking my shoes I will find you--Nordstrom Rack has size 13 and 14, quality shoes at really discounted prices. I can't afford to buy most brands in the regular store but they're really high quality. I stop in there every time I'm driving by and almost always find something. Leather ballet flats for $20? What? You have them in black and metallic bronze? I'll take them both. This spring I bought a pair of suede leather boots, originally $180, for $50 and am reaping the benefits of my thriftiness with this fall weather. It's definitely worth a look.

Of course, every body is different and the things that work for me might not work for you. But hopefully this list will help.
To end this super-long post, I urge you all to add your shopping suggestions to my list. Where do you buy your workout gear, your school clothes, dress clothes, coats? Let's all get together and help the next generation of tall girls avoid the world of man pants and too-short sleeves!



17 comments:

jheri said...

I grew up in Canada and used to travel into Calgary to get clothes at Tall Girl. Now I live in KĂžbenhavn and sometimes buy from Long Tall Sally in London. I think LTS is much better than Tall Girl when it comes to being stylish and good in quality. It may be a good thing.

The places I use here won't be that helpful and I use a tailor a lot. I lucked into finding a retired woman who is really good at it and she considers me her project. The trick is to get to the point where you know how much something can be modified by an expert.

To spice things up a bit I like layering, wearing scarves and I also frequently wear hats like berets and fedoras. You can find a lot of this for very little money.

It looks like you have some great advice - thanks!

jenny_sixtyfour said...

I also live in Calgary (used to live in Denmark) and yes, LTS is a great place, however a bit expensive. I have found that (being a bigger woman) some stores are starting to carry longer pants. PENNINGTONS have long dress pants 14+ sizes. RICKI'S also carry 36-38" inseam dress pants.My new favorite place for tops is GIANT TIGER, not great quality but at least the sleeves are long enough.
Is there any tall ladies in Alberta who want to share information?

Rhi said...

Hi Becky!

I'm another tall girl like you (I'm 6'5") and it's great to hear all your tips. I too love Tall Girl for clothing, and was very grateful when the tunic trend hit! The good thing about LTS now being with Tall Girl, is that they do have a larger variety as they are a larger company.
I also have my own blog (which is very very very new!) so if you have any tips or advice, I would love to hear it.
Thanks! - Rhi

jheri said...

I like to wear unusual tshirts as I find they make people smile and cut down on the strange questions and comments. My favorite shop is Threadless in the US. Getting them sent to Europe isn't too expensive. The basic shirts are well made and the designs are great. The regularly have sales.

What makes Threadless great is they ask people to submit designs and the community can vote on them. The best ones become shirts and the artists get a nice check. It is very competitive and there is great stuff.

They are reprinting one that is *wonderful* for tall women. A friend just sent this link and I ordered it.

There are also a lot of interesting things a tall girl can do with cheap jewelry and accessories, so maybe another post?

Mary & Adam said...

i have not been keeping up my tall blog, which is mostly about clothing. but there are lots of good resources there. check it out.
http://tallorder.typepad.com/

MIDWEST MAMA said...

Hey girl! Wanted to let you know that you have a Stylish Blog Award on my blog. I love to read you! Have a great weekend!

PS: I am only 5'9" but I come from a tall family and my 5 kids are HUGE compared to their classmates. I love to read you thoughts on the whole height deal. Good work!

Simone RC said...

Also a Tall Gal 6'1'' and thin...painfully thin when it comes to shopping! Grew up in Kansas, wore alot of men's clothing until I moved to Chicago to model. You'd think a model could get clothes that fit, right? No! For the Runway, of course, for everyday life...buy socks that are color coded to match your pants! Now, I live in Toronto, Canada, still modelling but found a AWESOME store thru a photo shoot! Long Legs Fashions! Their website is great, the owner is 6'4'', the manager is 6'2'' and the whole staff is friendly & knows how to help a Tall Gal shop! Check them out! http://www.longlegs.ca/

Sarah was here said...

I'm like 6'1" and buy all my jeans at American Eagle...They not only have Long length jeans, but also extra long. And there's an actual store, so I can go try them on instead of buying them online. And sometimes they're on sale for like 30 bucks! Woo!

Greengiantlady said...

Hey, I'm 6'2 and I'm in the UK, the local clothing shops have all discontinued their tall women ranges. I'm really mad because I'm not tall and skinny, so I still have real trouble finding anything that fits that doesn't look like I'm just wearing a pair of curtains. The thing is I like to be able to try stuff on before I buy it and also that all this tall stuff is still really expensive. For now, I wear a lot of loose dresses! Thanks for writing, it's really nice to hear about other tall ladies :) x

Mimi said...

I am 6"2 and live in the Netherlands. We have a lot of tall women over here but the shops for tall girls are horrible, like when you're tall your big as well...I am not!

I share my stories since this week on tall-talks.blogspot.com
and as well on Facebook, just look for 'Tall Talks' and become a member :)

jhon said...

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Robert Kent said...

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Nicole said...

I'm "only" 5'9", but my sister in laws are in the 6'2" range and my husband is over 6'8". His mom is an expert at shopping for tall clothing. She mostly uses Eddie Bauer since you can get everything in tall, you can return things easily and they have stores you can take things in to, they don't usually carry the long in stock but can order anything from there, catalogue, etc...We found he's an XLT not XXL...Makes a difference. And their pants he orders in regular but 36" inseam as to avoid the longer croch in some styles for tall people...My husband randomly found a great long pair of jeans at Dillards for his birthday. Some of the discount stores like Ross' will often have the larger sizes, especially in shoes since they don't sell as fast at department stores, so size 16s are often in stock in a variety of styles, I'm sure it would be similar for womens, but you have to do some searching:). I will definitely look into LTS, looks like its a great resource.

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Arijus said...

In my opinion wholesale women clothing online is the best choice to buy clothes for tall women. Because there is everything what you need!:)

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