Guest Post: Tall Girl Shopping and Resources

Reader Megan e-mailed me with this question:

I was wondering if you could take the time to post a blog about how a tall college (aka broke) girl can go about finding dresses and skirts that cover up the you-know-what. I feel like I miss out on summer because all the cute summery (and every other season) dresses, skirts and shorts don’t give me enough coverage – my butt ain’t that big! I also don’t get to do the cute tunic trend because all the tunics are just regular shirts on me! I’ve tried Ann Taylor Loft for Tall skirts and dresses, but many of their options, while cute and do a much better job of covering up, don’t fit into my price range, and I don’t want my entire wardrobe to be from there!

I’m 5′ 5.5″. As my husband constantly reminds me, the fact that I count that half inch makes me decidedly NOT TALL. So I called in an expert: Thrift goddess, style maven, and all-around fantastic woman, Gracey of Fashion for Giants. Who is tall. And knows it. And knows how to shop for her tallness. Take it away, Gracey!

* * * * *

Hello Already Pretty Readers!  My name is Gracey and I blog over at Fashion for Giants. And I’m super excited that Sally asked me to help out with Megan’s question. Being six foot tall and a wearer of clothes, I consider myself a bit of an expert in finding clothes that fit a taller frame.

Shop Online

While there are several retailers who offer tall sizes, all of them offer longer lengths online only. And most of them only offer the longer lengths in pants; it is far more difficult to find skirts and dresses in tall sizes. My top suggestions for tall skirts and dresses online are Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic. I’ve found that these three carry the most options in tall sizes.

Two other good options are eShakti and Modcloth. Neither of these online retailers offer “tall” sizing per se, but they do carry skirts and dresses in longer lengths.  And eShakti allows you to select the length on most of their skirts and dresses, even if it’s not the length shown or you have the option to customize the piece for an additional fee.  I have two dresses from eShakti and they’re both the perfect length. Modcloth is great because they actually offer a “Longer Lengths” section so you don’t have to wonder if something will cover your heinie or not.

Thrift

My favorite place to find longer skirts and dresses is the thrift store. This is an especially great option if you’re on a budget. Of course, I’m not saying there are more tall sizes in the thrift stores, I’m saying there is a fabulous alternative. Petite dresses and skirts! Yes, that’s right; I’m advocating petite clothing for tall women. I know it seems counter-intuitive, but think about it; a mid-ankle length dress for a petite woman is the perfect midi-length for a tall woman. And a midi-length skirt for a petite woman is the perfect knee-length for a tall woman.

Want proof?  Here are few of my favorite petite thrift store finds:

And now for tunics. As with the skirts and dresses, a lot of retailers that carry tall pants don’t necessarily carry tall tops or tunics, because, apparently, most retailers are under the impression that being tall only means you have a longer inseam, not that you have longer arms or a longer torso. Therefore, you have to get a little creative.

Dresses as Tunics

Even with the new midi-length trend, many dresses nowadays are scandalously short. Take advantage of that fact by wearing those short-short dresses as tunics. You’ll find they often hit in just the right spot, unlike actual tunics. And you can find them reasonably priced at retailers like Target, Forever 21, Old Navy and H&M.

Here are some examples of regular dresses I bought to wear as tunics:

 

Add a Mini

If a tunic still feels uncomfortably short to you and/or you don’t want anyone to think that you believe leggings are pants, add a mini-skirt. Both H&M and Target carry great, knit mini-skirts that work as perfect layering piecea when a tunic isn’t a tunic on a tall girl.

 

Thrift

I’m going to offer the same advice here as I did for the dresses; thrift petites. In this instance, look for shorter petite dresses to wear as tunics. An above-the-knee dress for a petite woman is a perfect tunic for a tall woman.

For example, the polka dot tunic in this picture?  It’s a petite dress that I thrifted:

Thank you all for reading, I hope this was at least somewhat helpful.  And thank you, Sal, for including me!

Gracey

  • http://versatilestylebytracey.com Tracey Jennings

    I am only 5’3″ but I meet taller women all the time and hear of their challenges. this advice is priceless and much needed. I have learned a lot and am ready the next time I run into a tall women complaining about these issues.

  • http://viktoriasbookshelf.blogspot.com Viktoria

    I´m not a tall girl, but Gracey´s attitude to shopping “outside the box” is always inspiring me to do my own thinking!

  • Jennifer M.

    Your advice to look for petite full length dresses to wear as midis is excellent – too many times I just see the (P) on the tag and move right along. Thanks for the post!

  • Amy

    Also, if a dress is just a little too short to wear as a dress, hem it a little shorter to wear as a tunic. Modify long sleeves that aren’t long enough by cutting off the cuffs and making them 3/4 sleeves. Or short sleeves. Start with thrift store items for practice, but these are simple things to do.

    A good blog for inspiration is New Dress a Day. The author takes outdated thrift store finds and remakes them. Although NDAD is not specifically for tall girls, the makeovers can be a great help in getting ideas of what a person can do with less obvious candidates for alteration – and she makes the process of making the alterations totally non-intimidating.

  • Helen Strother

    I am 5’11″ and a size 6. Many stores that offer tall sizes, both online and off, offer only mediums and above. Stores for women of a certain age (I’m 52) offer smalls in tall but the smalls are for size 8 to 10. Loft tall small fits as does Athleta. I also find that more expensive brands tend to have a little more length. Even though I like the clothes, Target, Charter Club and other more reasonably priced brands are never long enough. I do pretty well with the more expensive brands like Jones NY and wait for the end of season sales.

  • Anneesha

    This is helpful! I’m 5’9 and have been using the dresses as tunics idea as much as I can. You have some great combinations here. Thanks.

  • Natalie

    Great advice! A note: wearing long petite dresses works best if most of your height is in your legs, or if the dress has a lower waistline. Otherwise, the waist hits your boobs, which doesn’t work so well (I’ve even had this problem with “regular” dresses!).

    Another good option for tall dresses is Athleta. Their stuff can be pricey, but it’s higher quality and often great for active ladies or travelers – much of their clothing looks great just out of a suitcase, and offers enough coverage to, say, ride your bike to class in a dress. I regularly check out their sale dresses, and can occasionally score big on a clearance dress that they still happen to have left in a tall my size. This takes patience, but it’s worth it.

  • tina

    I love Gracey’s blog and was thrilled to see her on this blog!!

  • Tia

    I am short 5’2 but my daughter is 5’9 and growing. For jeans and pants JCPenney is our go-to place. She shops in the juniors dept. and is usually able to find her size. They have tall sizes and are reasonably priced when they are on sale. I like to shop online because I already know her size and if I don’t have a coupon I can usually find a coupon code.

  • Jenn

    Some great ideas here! I am 5’10″ and really understand the struggles involved in finding clothes that fit. I do want to recommend Boden – they offer tall sizes for most of their skirts and dresses. They can be pricy but watch for sales!

  • http://brightsidedweller.blogspot.com/ Chelsea S.

    Gracey is the awesomest. I’m a fellow tall-y, though only 5’8″, but with longer legs compared to torso. I find the petite stuff fits pretty well given my shorter torso. And I loooooooove tunics.

  • Andi

    I’m tiny, under 5’3 but this advice was so good I had to comment! I will share this with my one tall friend!

  • http://breebronsonsbabies.blogspot.com Bree Bronson

    Thanks for this! I’m quite tall and skinny but I have wide shoulders and hips (so I’m an X-type). I’ve noticed that many shirts don’t fit at all: they’re either too small for my shoulders and the sleeves are too short for my long arms or they’re hanging around my waist and tummy like tents. A tighter fit would flatter me, does anyone have tips about good brands etc?

    • http://pacificrain.blogspot.com sarah

      Bree – I’m 5’11″ and I FEEL you on the shoulders thing – big time! I don’t know what your style is, but I just bought a “perfect shirt” from J. Crew factory this autumn and it FIT in the shoulders (and the ribcage), which hasn’t happened before. Check it out!

      If, like me, you also like pretty/feminine clothes, I recommend culling ebay for older pieces from Odille. I’ve found that the short-sleeve blouses I have from them accomodate my big ol’ shoudlers without pulling across the collarbone.

      Otherwise, most of the time I just wear sleeveless tops (for this reason!) and throw on a cardigan sweater over it.

      • http://breebronsonsbabies.blogspot.com Bree Bronson

        Thank you Sarah! I’ve realized this first recently and found out how hard it can be to find shirts that would actually fit. I’ll absolutely check out your tips! I often go sleeveless as well but I sort of have the same issue with cardigans – many of them make me look much chubbier than I actually am!

  • Susan

    I agree that Gracey is a real style maven–and she is so cute! I love the last outfit pictured on her. I’m 5’8″ but do have issues finding long enough pants, skirts and dresses. I’m not suitable for petite sizes, so find that buying midi skirts works for me.

  • Kelly

    I think J Crew is much better for tall women than Modcloth. But both places have quality control issues.

  • http://chiralcraft.wordpress.com Laura

    I agree with Gracey; Old Navy especially is a wonderful place for finding tall sizes online at a low price (they even have tall tops, sweaters and jackets, which are remarkably hard to find for some reason). AT/Loft is also manageably priced when you can get a discount or sale. I have found Target has an increasing number of tall pants both in store and online (they’re the only place where I can reliably find tall jeans /in store/.)

  • Zelda

    Given that the average height of a woman from the USA is 5’4″, I am perplexed by your claims that you are short – are you comparing yourself to the real women that your blog targets, or the gazelle-type models of high fashion?

    • http://www.alreadypretty.com Sal

      Husband Mike signed in as Sally – She didn’t say she was short. I did. at 6’1″ most people are short to me.

  • http://lovemylonglegs.com Sheri Daniels

    I’m so glad I found this post! At 6’0 myself, I’ve been wearing dresses as shirts for years. I know a lot of people that go thrifting but I’ve never gone because I just knew nothing would fit my height. You have given me a reason to go now! There’s also Delias and eVanity that carry long inseam pants/jeans and are not expensive.

  • http://www.meganmaedaily.com/ Megan Mae

    Hello gorgeous Gracey!

  • http://pacificrain.blogspot.com sarah

    Megan, I totally feel your pain! One thing I would add to Gracey’s suggestions here is to get to know your preferred hem length (just as you know your measurements) so that you can instantly know if something is going to fit or be too short when you are shopping online. I’m 5’11″ and 36″ long is the BARE MINIMUM length for me – and I have to be careful about bending over!! I’m much more comfortable at 37″. I currently see hemlines starting to trend longer, which is a relief for us amazons. For the last two or three years, it seemed that most dresses were 32″ long – a short, but acceptable above-knee dress length for women of average height (about 5’4″), but for someone like me, who is 7″ taller than the norm, that would be completely inappropriate. Check the length on a dress with a hem that you like: measure down the center back, from the base of your neck (easy to find on a shirtdress, you might want to just put the dress on and have someone else measure if it isn’t a shirtdress) to the hem. Then you’ll always know – and it makes trolling for dresses at all those online post-holiday sales a lot easier!

    • Thursday

      This is great advice. At 175cm (about 5’9″, I think) I’m on the taller side and find so many dresses and skirts too short – I like my knees to be covered at bare minimum. So I know the best dress length for me is 42″, skirts from 26″. Those lengths seem to be getting harder to find. It’s worth remembering that buying something too long and learning how to hem to your right length is very valuable. Especially with so many maxi lengths still in fashion.

  • Missy

    Yay Gracey! I’m 6’2″ but plus size so a lot of her suggestions don’t work for my body type (see advice above about waist/boobs) but they are still great suggestions. It pays to try it and see if something works for you. If it doesn’t try something else.

  • http://sparrowstudios.etsy.com Jackie

    An important factor in trying these options (great ideas here!) is to consider “where” you are tall. I’m on the short end of tall at 5’10″, but long in the torso and arms. I find the regular size pants at the Limited almost always fit, and Penneys has good options for us middle-sized talls–but finding dresses and tops with proper placement of waists can be a nightmare. No thrifted petites for those of us on whom most “natural” waist garments look Empire! Eddie Bauer has some okay options, as long as you aren’t broad-shouldered.

    And why ARE the dresses so short these days?

  • http://franish.blogspot.com Fran

    I love Gracey and her tips. Her post about all her belts and skirts made me wish I had even a percentage of her awesome pieces. Great advice girl – if only we lived closer so I can make you be my personal shopper ;)

  • erin

    if you haven’t tried alloy or delia’s, they are a cheap place to get pants. their customer service is not stellar, but they’re cheap enough that it might be worthwhile to risk it. long tall sally is another good one, although they are definitely expensive unless you catch a sale. the lady at the limited swore to me that their tall would be tall enough the last time i was in the store, but i haven’t tried it yet (i’m 6’2″ and mostly legs). the gap brands are usually just barely long enough, as is ann taylor, and all of those offer tall dresses and shirts. i also have quite a few things from eshakti, and their customer service is excellent. good luck!

  • http://butaneanvil.blogspot.ca/ Amber of Butane Anvil

    Fantastic feature – Gracey is amazing!

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  • tierra

    Im 6’2 with hips and a butt and i buy all my clothes from http://www.alloy.com there jeans go up to 37 inseam which is long for me and they havev extended length dresses for tall females