Getting the right fit when you are tall
For many women finding clothes that fit properly is a perpetual challenge, which is why petite, plus-size and tall clothing ranges exist. However, being tall can be particularly frustrating as it’s hard to increase the length of clothes when there is no material to work with. Some women get around this by turning to the men’s section but this can mean that they end up with wide, baggy, and shapeless items giving unflattering results.
In my experience tall women of 5’9″ and above want to wear clothes that fit well, in styles that they choose to give them confidence for all different occasions. But with most high street brands only carrying clothes in regular or petite sizes, finding well-fitting clothes for tall women can be a challenge – although the number of tall ranges is increasing year on year.
Whilst this is of course a welcome development it’s important to note that some brands which have tall collections only add a few inches to the body length and do not properly consider the overall proportions such as the position of the knee or waist line. Below are some of the other issues tall women deal with when buying new clothes and some tips on how to shop when you are tall.
Trousers that are too short
Some trousers are meant to be worn short, like ankle-peeping capris, but generally full-length women’s trousers should not show your ankle. For taller women, it can be challenging to find tall trousers, jeans, khakis and even leggings that are long enough, leading to an eternal frustration that your outfit does not look quite right.
One way to get around this issue is to look for full length trousers that have turn ups as these can be let down to achieve longer lengths. This will help you achieve a proper full length trouser style with only minimal alterations required. This is a cost effective way of finding stylish trousers or jeans that fit all the way down to your shoe line.
If you are not afraid of trying something more creative you could also consider adding a contrast material to the hem of your trousers to lengthen them and add interest. As you are blessed with long legs you don’t need to worry about this effect shortening your proportions.
Poorly fitting tops
Just like too-short trousers, too-short tops are a common struggle that taller women face. Whether it is a tailored shirt, a classic tee or a cashmere sweater, tall women are often stuck wearing tops made for those many inches shorter than them.
For shirts and blouses choosing a made-to-measure option is probably the best solution as there are many companies to choose from who offer this service at a similar price to buying and having a shirt altered.
If you do find a top you love that needs a few extra inches in the torso to fit you well you can again consider adding a contrast trim across the waistline. Adding a waistband can add length as well as break up your longer torso to create a balanced look.
Too short skirts
Midi skirts have been on trend for a while now and for tall women finding one that is the correct length is difficult. Look for skirts with deep hem allowances allowing it to be let out or consider whether there are materials elsewhere that can be repurposed. For example a self-fabric belt could be used to add the missing length.
Working with a good tailor helps as there might be other alterations required to achieve a good result such as changing the curve on the hip or the position of pockets.
Made-to-measure and bespoke skirts are also good options to consider as they are not as expensive as you might think and allow you to have control of the cloth, details and style.
Know your measurements
Knowing your own unique measurements is one of the best ways of ensuring you wear clothes that fit you correctly. It is the best way of getting an accurate picture and could make all the difference between something fitting incorrectly and fitting perfectly. Please find some tips below:
- Measure around your waist at the point where your natural waistline sits. This is usually the smallest part of your waist or if your waist is not defined roughly in line with your belly button. Make sure you keep the tape measure taut to get an accurate measurement.
- To measure your hips, stand with your feet together and put the tape around the fullest part of your bottom.
- To measure length, measuring from your natural waistline to where you would like a skirt hem to fall on your leg; thigh, knee or ankle.
- To accurately get measurements for tops, measure around the fullest part of your bust making sure that the tape measure is parallel to the floor. Doing this in front of a mirror helps or ask a friend to assist you.
- For sleeve length, lift your arm parallel to the floor and place the tip of your tape measure in the dip that is created between the shoulder and the arm. Then drop your arm again and measure down to your wrist bone over a slightly bent arm.
Take time to study the measurement charts of your favourite stores and try to find those that cater most to your own unique measurements. Try not to get hung up on the size labels and choose the size that most closely matches your own. Each brand has its own sizing set which can vary greatly as there is no universal industry standard. As I always say – there is no perfect size, only the perfect fit.
Off the shelf
Long Tall Sally is a good place to start looking for clothing for tall women. Having been established in London in 1976, they have seen a few other stores come and go, but are still standing tall today. Their ranges are well cut for tall ladies, with most designs available in sizes 8 to 28, with inside legs lengths of 32” to 38”.
As mentioned, there are tall size ranges offered by high street brands – in this article, the Independent has produced a comprehensive roundup of hero pieces from top labels: 10 best tall clothing brands for women that don’t fall short.
Made to Measure
As you will no doubt know, with tall items of clothing, it is not as simple as buying an item and having it tailored because it is often not straightforward to lengthen dresses or trousers. The tips I have given above will help, but even so, you might not always be able to turn a hem down or gain as much length as you need. Once you add the cost of alterations to your off-the-peg item a made-to-measure piece may end up being a similar cost.
I would therefore invite you to consider having your clothing made to fit as the result really makes a big difference to your overall look. With a Made to Measure garment, you will be able to choose from a variety of garment styles, and the patterns will be adapted to your personal measurements.
You will be infinitely more comfortable if you are in clothing made especially for your height and not trying to fit into a piece made for someone much shorter than you. With made-to-measure clothes, you can achieve the right fit for you whether it be trousers, tops or skirts.
I offer a variety of tailored styles in quality materials and a broad range of colours, where you can choose linings, buttons, pockets and even edge finishes. You will end up with a superior fit, exactly right for your height and size.
A bespoke service
In addition to my Made to Measure tailoring, I also offer a Couture Tailoring Service. Whether you require a one-off item for a special occasion or would like to build a full capsule collection of perfectly fitting pieces, I am here to help. My Couture Tailoring Service encompasses day dresses, perfect-fit trousers, stunning bespoke overcoats, women’s tailored tuxedos and more.
Consultations and fittings can be arranged at my Central London showroom or in Isleworth, where we can discuss your tailoring needs in the relaxed comfort of my garden studio, at a time that suits you with evening and weekend appointments available.
To discuss bespoke tall clothing please get in touch here to find out more.