As a Tall Girl™, I struggle firsthand when shopping for denim that extends past my ankles, or sweaters that cover my wrists. Dressing for summer is feasible, but cold weather present stylistic, shall we say, shortcomings, for taller women. The U.S. Department of Health determined that the average height for an American woman is 5’4”, and many of us drastically exceed that. No one should be left out of the season of layering. I, too, deserve to have clothes cover all my limbs in freezing temperatures.
Read on for four solutions to cozy weather conundrums, as detailed by a personal stylist and a rep from a store that doubles as heaven for us for taller women.
Know Your Brands
“I think the biggest misconception for people that are shopping for taller statures is that there are limited options,” says Molly Nelson, head of national sales for Nordstrom’s Trunk Club. Nelson believes fashion and fit aren’t mutually exclusive, it’s just about bracing yourself with the knowledge of what works for you. You can use a personal styling service like the Trunk Club to get expert tips, and they can connect you with brands and products that suit you. As someone who stands at 5’11,” I also listed my favorite designers at the bottom of this article.
If you’re looking for a one-stop shop, familiarize yourself with Long Tall Sally, a retailer that caters specifically to taller women. Founded in 1976 by Judy Rich (“The only experience I had was being six foot tall”), LTS carries all your winter clothing needs like boots with a wider size range and tights in longer lengths. “We believe that a tall lady should have exactly the same choice as any other lady,” chief product officer Cathy Carrington Birch says. “We can make clothes fit for all tall women.”
Find Your Perfect Jeans
Jean shopping for anyone can feel like a war between body and garment, but they are a staple that everyone needs. Taller women struggle with the wader pant syndrome, where almost every style is cropped whether we like it or not. Nelson suggests investing in a pair of designer jeans, since they tend to offer longer lengths. Brands such as DL1961, Paige, and 7 For All Man Kind, are a few she suggests with inseams that start at a baseline of 32 inches and above. “It’s all about proportions,” Nelson explains, who suggests pairing skinny jeans with a belted cardigan or flared jeans styled with a crop jacket in order to accentuate the waist. Legs for days? Try years.
Use a Tailor
Pro tip: retailers aren’t always honest about the height of their models. I’ve been wronged too many times by a website’s promise that a model in a mini skirt was 5’10. In reality, that mini could double as a crop top. Birch says a key to solving this problem is finding a brand whose team is “obsessed about fit.” LTS, for instance, utilizes a technical team and 6’0” models to fit every single garment during bi-weekly sessions.
If a brand isn’t as meticulous, enlist help. “I think a tall woman or a petite woman’s best friend is a tailor,” says Nelson. She claims that the process of customizing a look to your exact dimensions can be empowering. You can buy clothes up a size so it fits your length, then ask a tailor to trim it closer to your body. It’s an investment, but in the long run you’ll have a wardrobe literally made for you.
Do the Math
Shop smart and armor yourself with information about your own measurements. (Here’s a handy guide to get you started.) Midheaven Denim is a savior for tall legs, with inseams well above 33 inches in various cuts and washes. Brands from ASOS to New York & Company also provide extensive sizing guides, labeling everything from sweater lengths to skirts’ hemline. Match these up against your own calculations so you can figure if it’s right for you.
The same game plan should be applied to your footwear. For too long, I made peace with the fact that over-the-knee boots would forever sit in the middle of my kneecap. Too short to be considered knee-high, too long to masquerade as a riding boot, According to Birch, OTK boots are a popular search item at LTS, so they carry them in heights that sit twenty inches and above, as opposed to the typical fifteen inches of most available styles. Thigh-highs do exist for tall women, we just have to bust out the measuring tape.