Let’s Get Serious About Fit

Clothing doesn’t look good on you if it doesn’t fit properly. Do you know why? Tall women have to consider the length of everything: torso, arms, rise and legs.

The Length

The best clothing is super expensive right? Buying designer clothes will ensure you have a quality garment, right? I mean if you are dropping a lot of money on the latest trend and it’s the perfect color it will be amazing. Right?

No. You have to understand fit because tall women have a different fit than average sized women. If the garment is not specifically designed for tall women it may not fit properly.

We have all done it. We try to save money by buying tops from a standard fit retailer. A T-shirt from Walmart will be fine. A blouse from Dress Barn or Maurice’s will work. Pants from Old Navy will work, most of the time.

Don’t get me wrong, if you can find the fit you want from anywhere you’re golden. Buying all of our clothing from the tall women’s store can be super pricey.

It’s not fair. We can’t help our genes. And let’s be honest, the T-shirt from Walmart will shrink and be too short, the long sleeve version is really a three-quarter sleeve in the long run and you can’t throw your Old Navy jeans in the dryer. The blouse, blazer or dress doesn’t exactly fit because of something you just can’t put your finger on but it’s fine. DO you want to know why? It’s all about the length.

Let’s look a petite sizes just for one quick second. Petite sizing is all about the length not size. Every aspect of the design has a proportional amount of consideration for where certain areas of the body will be.

Petites are shorter in torso length, rise, leg and sleeve. The bust line will be a shorter distance from the shoulder too. The designers take this into consideration when making a sloper and build everything around it.

In average sizes the length is a little longer. Tall sizes are longer still. Let’s look at it more closely.

Flat Lines and Curves

The human body has no straight lines or flat surfaces. It has to move and bend. Measurements of the body tell us where the curves are so a flat piece of fabric will fit over the curves properly. It’s taking a two dimensional object and putting on to a three dimensional form.

Please excuse my crude drawing talent but it’s one way of showing you what designers do.

There are several length measurements to consider: Arm length upper and lower, waist length front and back (yes they are different and that’s measured from the shoulder about where your bra strap would be to your natural waistline), shoulder to apex, apex to waist, shoulder to whatever.

What’s the apex? The apex is the point of your breast. We have to measure the distance from your shoulder to the apex of the bust then the distance from the shoulder over the apex to your natural waistline. Remember, the “natural” waistline is the narrow part of your torso about where your belly button is not somewhere around the hips.

Let’s go further and measure waist to high hip, waist to lower hip, waist to knee and waist to floor.

These measurements are only half of the equation however the horizontal measurements would be the same as a woman of any height. With that in mind, the greater the circumference the greater the length covering the area will be too. Your designer needs a three dimensional representation of you.

The reason this is so important is simple; when flat fabric has to be altered to fit over a curve, such as a bust line, something has to give. Usually this is done with ease, gathering or with a dart, but it has to be in correct place.

Let’s use a dart as an example. When the dart is too high or too low on the bust it will be noticeable. It may even be uncomfortable for the wearer. Technically the point of the dart will be one inch away from the apex. We do not end the dart directly at the apex of the bust line anymore. This isn’t the 1960s. But I digress.

My point is- know your measurements. You will find designers or large scale commercial garment lines that have a good fit for you or you can buy tall clothes.

Apex / Bust Line and Length

How does the apex make a good fit?

Here is another fantastic drawing by yours truly.

Everyone has a different physique. Men will not have the variations women have for several reasons but the most obvious difference is the bust line.

The length from shoulder to apex and shoulder to waist over the apex for the bust line gives a designer a guide. Where will the measurement be the largest? Where will the pattern have to be altered to fit over the fullness of the bust? This answers that question.

You can avoid this by purchasing clothing with little to no structure thereby eliminating this measurement altogether. Knits solve the problem nicely by stretching over the area but you will want a structured blouse, dress or suit at some point in your life.

The greater the bust circumference (horizontal) the longer the length measurement will be. It takes a little more fabric to go over that greater circumference. This is why we (designers) need so many measurements. It may not be much of a difference but it will make a huge difference in the fit of the garment.

Consider swimwear too. None us like a one piece that is too short in the rise.

While we are on the subject of rise, this drawing depicts how the measure that too. We talked about that in a previous post.

Shopping for the Fullest Area

We always look at size charts online or tags when we are shopping off the rack. Actually the size tags are a lie. Vanity sizing has been around a long time. The size charts can be deceiving as well. When shopping online consider the origin or manufacture. Asia has a completely different idea of what makes a Large size than we do in the United States not to mention the definition of ‘tall”. When the design and manfucaturing all comes from Asia, bless their hearts, it will not be what you are expecting.

You are shopping for the fullest part of your body. If it’s hips or bust whatever. Shop for that area. You can work from there.

Knowing the length of all your areas is a key component to a comfortable fit. If the sleeve to too short you really won’t wear the top as often. When the bodice (torso) is too short or long you won’t be as comfortable wearing the garment. Obviously short pants are out of the question and you’ll know pretty quick if the rise isn’t right.

Buy for your bust line and make sure the darts, if there are any, are in the right place; just under the bust line. If you have a bust line that is higher or lower than ‘normal’ consider that when purchasing tops.

Don’t shy away from the tailor shop for small alterations. I’ve mentioned this before, they should only have to lengthen or shorten the sleeve of pant length. If you need more than that your in trouble. They can also take in the waist because you’re buying for the hips. The tailor can do anything but will it be worth the money?

Length is Everything

I could go on about fit and I will in future posts. I want to make sure we are getting the most out of our hard-earned money by buying clothes properly for long term wear. By knowing more about the clothing industry and how it pertains to you, you can make smarter purchases.

Knowing the pitfalls of buying clothing with the wrong length is power. But it’s more than only leg length. The length of every area of your body makes a difference in comfort and appearance. When you look good, you feel it. When your clothes look good on you, the public sees that too.

Let me know if you find this helpful. I tend to get technical but it is important. Give me your thoughts with a comment on this site. I will respond in kind.

Until next time, go shopping. The seasons have changed.

Peace and love

Theresa

 

 

 

 

Tall women buying men’s clothes, 5 reasons why you should do it.

Why buy women’s clothing when a man’s garment would work?

The reason women’s and men’s clothes are different.

We tall ladies have to stick together. When tall women find something that works we have to share.

I always had trouble finding clothing to fit my height and fixed by learning to sew at a young age. Making my own clothing did solve a lot of problems for length and fashion. But even I don’t want to make everything. I want a hoody that is long enough in the sleeves and torso but I don’t want to swim in it either. I want to have jeans that are long enough too but they need to fit my curves.

Many articles of clothing such as jeans, blouses or shirts, jackets, suit coats and cardigans have specific rules regarding gender. Women’s clothing overlaps right over left. Men’s clothing is left over right. Even pants are built this way.

The story goes something like this. Men had a valet dressing them. Most people are right-handed so it was easier for the valet to button the clothing when the overlap was left over right. Now I’m not sure that holds up. Women had dressers too but that’s the story. Regardless, those are the rules.

Keeping that in mind, the rules have been bent a bit. The rules have relaxed a lot over the decades regarding who can wear what clothing. There are advertising campaigns for women’s clothing touting the “boy friend jeans” etc. This is great! We are not saddled with stiff rules.

So let’s make our own rules.

Five reasons to look at men’s clothing

1. Men’s jeans These can be a little easier to find length. If they are too big in the waist, darts can be easily added. There is a way to re-cut the center back seam but it is easier to add darts. I’ve done it both ways.

2. Men’s sweaters. This is easy. In almost every comparison between women’s and men’s sweaters the sleeves on the men’s garment will be longer. The torso will be too. Now there won’t be any contouring at the side seams or bust line but you may be able to get away with it. I’ve purchased expensive cashmere sweaters on clearance in a medium size that fit perfectly and a great discount.

3. Casual wear, pajamas, sweats and hoodies  These are an easy bet. Again length is the bonus. Okay so there is a fly opening in jammies but who cares? Hoodies will be longer, sweat pants will have more room for those of us with curves and pullover tops won’t have the gender overlap issue. Choose a top with a zipper to solve that.

4. Socks. This is a thing with me. Knee high socks that don’t come up to my knee is ridiculous. Even the nylon knee highs are not long enough. So called ‘trouser socks’ on those cold winter days are useless when they are falling down to my ankles. Solution: men’s dress socks. Knee high dress socks. I found them at Walmart. Bam! Awesome. The are black, came in a pack of four and they were not expensive.

5. Outerwear. I live in Minnesota and yes it gets cold here a few months out of the year. If it is not snowing it is raining. Finding any decent rain or snow gear that is remotely long enough in women’s wear is impossible. The selection in the tall women’s section is too limited. I actually buy outwear almost exclusively in the men’s department. Almost. Sometimes I can find a coat at Burlington because they carry tall women’s sizes. Their selection has gone down over the years so they aren’t as reliable as they used to be. Pity, they were my go-to store for thirty years.

Now it is the men’s department for snow and rain clothing. Bibbed pants and stadium coat by Carhart. Done deal.

Your style, your moxie.

You have to have some imagination and moxie to pull off some fashion. As I said, the rules are more relaxed now.

If you are in to comfort over absolute correctness than this will work for you. I’ve worn men’s clothes for years for all the reasons stated above. Where you incorporate a man’s garment is up to you but I would keep it to one or two items per outfit. Pairing the subdued sweater color with a bright handbag or scarf takes the focus off the sweater.

Adding a white T-shirt under your more expensive blazer gives an inexpensive option that actually tucks in if you need it to. Add a muscle shirt to your tank top for a longer layer. Men’s wear is always longer than women’s standard sizing.

Looking at the fashions the women’s shirts are short for an average size woman, we know that would only work on our frame if we wanted a crop top.

Just say NO to the pink tax

There is no rhyme or reason why girls clothes should be more expensive than boys clothes. I bought boys hoodies for my little girl all the time. The were cheaper! If you wanted pink ruffles, you paid for them. The boys T-shirts were just the same as the girls only in different colors. Jeans too!

Women’s clothing is more expensive than men’s in most cases and men’s clothing is more easily altered than women’s. Believe me that is true. Men’s suits are built to be altered. Women’s suits are much more difficult. The reasons are many but the simple answer is curves. We have more of them than men. But keeping in mind that not all of our clothing choices need to be form fitted, we can get away with adding some men’s fashion to our wardrobe.

It’s the same concept as buying men’s razors instead of the pink razors. The are the same! Why pay more for the pink one? Just say no to the pink tax.

Pink razorblue razor

Save some cash, raid his closet.

The ‘boy friend’ shirt/jeans/sweater/sweat pants/ whatever can be easily lifted from the closet next to yours. Or maybe raid your brother’s closet. I used to do that. Check out the second hand or consignment store for gently worn items that will be easily incorporated into your fashion style. There are so many possibilities.

My point is to be creative and look outside the usual department for your shopping ideas.

Let me hear your thoughts and ideas.

Until then, peace and love

 

Theresa

 

 

 

 

Tall woman’s jeans- It is like buying a 2 x 4

The perfect pair of jeans may, in fact, involve several pairs of jeans. Choosing the perfect fit has its rules.

The clothing industry has its own idea of what should fit the majority of the population. The best way to look at fit is to compare it to something we all recognize; like buying standard construction grade 2″x4″ lumber. It’s called a 2×4 but the stud actually measures 1 1/2″ x 3 1/2″.

Straight, Flare, Boot Cut or Skinny

Consider the classic look over current trends. If we’re lucky, trending jeans will be close to your style.

I know many women who are uncomfortable wearing the current style of skinny jeans. Frankly it’s been around for a long time and it’s on the way out. Don’t bother investing in a new pair.

I’m watching the next trend in demin jeans styling and it’s getting wider. I’d bet a paycheck on it. This is a cyclical thing that keeps going around and around. There are a seemingly endless number of designs however it’s the same lines in a different color of fabric. We see the same thing every couple decades.

 

It has  different color scheme and it’s made with updated fabrics but it’s the same thing we saw years ago. Here is an example of the new wide leg jeans.

 

In the 1950s, “peg leg” jeans were in. The 60s saw a wider leg growing into bell bottoms. The late 60s and 1970s had wide leg and high waisted styling with enough length to add platform shoes. It worked well for average height people anyway. With the 80s came narrowed hems close enough to barely fit around the ankle. I made a fortune narrowing pants in those days. The 1990s saw a relaxed straight leg and the 2000s brought on skinny jeans.

Cowboys and Bar Stools

We should all know by now that the Levi Strauss & Co. made the first commercially manufactured blue jeans. He and his partner Jacob Davis were successfully granted the patent on May 20, 1873. This garment is widely accepted as an American original. For the next 145 years the practicality of the blue jean went from work pants to fashion statement.

The original concept was to make a pair of work pants that would hold up to the demands of hard labor in the gold mines. Strauss made the pants out of a heavier weave fabric to add durability and used rivets at stress points to help the pants last longer. All of his ideas were practical. Who knew it would form an entire cultural revolution?

Today the styles, weights and functionality of the blue jean is vast and varied. The demin blue jean is no longer only for work men and cowboys. We see them everywhere from boardrooms to bar stools.

We can confidently wear demin in almost any social or corporate situation. The rule in nearly any work environment would be “whole and complete” meaning no rips, tares or missing parts. It does not matter that you paid $500 for the distressed look it’s just not cool. In some work places it’s dangerous. Some places will specify jeans be one color meaning no faded black jeans that now look gray etc.

It’s okay. The dress code is specified for many reasons. Just follow it. You can do whatever you want for the bar stool event.

I love boot cut for any occasion because it will cover a shoe well and it gives me a nice staight line.

These are my go to jeans from Wrangler. Q Baby and they are boot cut albeit a narrow example. Love them and they wear well.

 

 

The Best Jeans for You

There is an amazing market for blue jeans. When I was a kid, we had a couple companies to choose from. Levi’s, Wrangler, Lee and maybe a few small scale manufactures. We all wore the same thing because that’s what was available. Somehow we wiggled into the bell bottoms or the Levi’s whether they were a good fit or not.

Of course some of us remember the 1970s and ’80s when jeans were skin tight. This is a particular point in fashion when jeans were the fashion statement you paid a lot of money to wear.

Gloria Vanderbilt, Jordashe, Calvin Klein and Guess were the fashion standard. Yes we did flatten out on the bed and use pliers to pull the zipper up. Those days, I’m glad to say, are long gone.

These days the boot cut is easy to wear with any healed shoe. Remember to buy them a little longer. The wider the hem, the longer it has to be to acheive the proper length.

Staight cut jeans are an easy all around style that works well in all situations. You can get away with a slightly shorter length if the manufaturer doesn’t offer extra long mesurements.

Choosing your style for the occasion

Today we can choose a demin style for any fit, function and occasion in today’s market place but which one is right for you?

Consider your body shape and daily activities. I like to explain it this way: Would you put a cardboard tube on an apple? Probably not because it wouldn’t fit the apple. That would leave a lot of gaps above and below the fullest part of the apple.

The human body does not have straight lines. It is, in fact, nothing but curves. Even if you are thin, you have curves. When you are buying your jeans, consider your shape. If you have really great curves, buy jeans using your greatest measurement, usually the hips. If you are slim, you can get away with playing with the fit by buying according to your waist measurement.

Keep in mind that you will have to sit. Those ‘low rise’ jeans are great on (come on, let’s face it) slim people because when they sit the pull on the waist band will be less. You see, the fabric has to go somewhere. It’s fitting over a three-dimensional object (like your bum which is curved) that changes when the wearer moves. The fabrics covering your bum has to move when we sit. The larger the bum, the more the fabric has to move; unless there is more of it.

When buying your jeans you have test them. Go ahead and sit, crouch down or bend over a lot. This will test the fit so you do not want to worry about the horrible plumber’s crack. If the jeans are too low on the bum when you’re crouched down buy a higher rise. Even if there is Spandex in the fabric, buy a higher rise.

The 2 x 4 theory

The standard 2″ x 4″ stud is actually 1 1/2″ x 3 1/2″. This also happens in the clothing world.

Shopping online we have to be mindful of the size the company is offering. A reputable company will have a size chart. Most companies will explain the lengths as well. Keeping this in mind, some companies consider “Tall” to be a woman who is 5’9″ tall. Okay that may be tall in some parts of the world but here in the western world we have women walking around well over six feet tall. I’ve talked about this is a previous post.

When I shop for length, I want true length not a 2 x 4. The Wranglers I prefer are true to size. Since I buy a 36″ inseam for everyday wear I am taking into consideration the shrinkage that will happen over time.

This is a brand new pair and they do measure out to a 36″ length. 

There are factors that will affect shrinkage such as the content of Spandex or polyester which dilutes the cotton content and makes shrinkage less of a problem.

Remember, cotton doesn’t like to be told what to do. Given the right circumstances it will return to a relaxed state. The manufacturing process of the fiber into yarn stretches cotton. The weaving of the fabric pulls it a little more and then the manufacturing process of the garment shapes it even more than that! Cotton doesn’t like that. So what happens? Cotton rebels and returns to its natural size.

Jeans will shrink over time when they are laundered. The water temp and drying process gives the fiber a chance to return to normal. Count on at least an inch to an inch and a half over a two-year period. Buy accordingly. This is the same Wrangler jean (different size) that has been worn and laundered for two years.

The unique characteristic for denim fabric is the diagonal weave not the straight up and down weave of most woven fabrics. It helps the garment durability in tough situations.

If the manufacturer is cheating us by marketing a 36″ inseam that is starting out as a 35″ we’re losing the opportunity to wear the garment for a longer period of time when considering the shrinkage that will eventually happen. This is why I buy Wrangler and I don’t get a spiff by mentioning the brand in my blog.

 

 

Your perfect pair

  • Consider your lifestyle, the occasion or work circumstances and your comfort.
  • If you have a fuller figure, keep the rise longer so the back of the waistband doesn’t dip too low when you sit or squat down.
  • Remember that jeans will shrink over time so buy them long enough for easy wash and wear. We all have stretched out our wet jeans and hung them up to dry.
  • Demin is woven on the diagonal. This will give the garment some give when worn and allow some stretch.

This is only a guide. The science of garment manufacturing is vast, the more you know the better prepared you can be to make good decisions.

I’d like to hear your thoughts, tips and tricks. Share your experiences with us by leaving a comment below.

Peace and love

Theresa

 

 

 

 

The Tall Comments- What’s a woman to do?

Gee you’re tall

Do you ever wish people would not comment on your height? What is that anyway?

I don’t understand why people feel the need to mention that I’m tall. I’m not even that tall anymore. I’m down to 5’11” or 5’10 ½” if that extremely short nurse at my doctor’s office keeps measuring me. It’s not right.

I didn’t have anything to do with my genes so when I get that comment I just say it’s genetic.

I do come from tall stock. I’m actually the short one of the family. Everyone is, or was, taller than I am. There is the very real possibility that I won’t be tall forever because there are genetic issues in the family tree. My father has lost over 6” in height bless is heart.

My whole family is shrinking and I get snarky about it.

I can’t help that either, it’s aging.

 

Give a girl a break

I think we need a new narrative. We need to reach around the discomfort of other’s short comings, pardon the pun. I’d like to hear how other tall women handle the tall comments.

I side step the comment with my genetic comment or change the subject entirely.

Maybe it’s just me but all of those comments have rubbed me the wrong way. Some of them were well-meaning, others were very cruel. I would never point out to a short person that they are, in fact, short.

 

The hard part of height

I’m fairly certain all of us have heard all of the jokes and questions: How’s the weather up there? Why are you wearing heels? You should be a model. How far up do those legs go? Oh yea, I was asked that. To be clear, a man asked me that.

It’s more than a height thing. The older I get, the more I understand that the comments were a cover for jealousy. I mean think about it. If you were 5’4” and saw a tall, beautiful woman who could wear beautiful clothes and look like a model with long legs you would be jealous too. Let’s face it, we are really lucky. We have what many women want.

Maybe we can deflect the comment with a redirect. “Gee you’re tall.” Smile, and comment on the task at hand.

 

Dress like you mean it

I think I have come to a point in my life where I don’t care what they say. I realize they’re jealous and I’m going to take that and run with it. I’m going to dress like I mean it. I’m going to embrace my height and make it look even taller than I am. I’m shrinking anyway so I need the help.

I prefer a clog that gives me a 2” boost. It’s easier on my feet and my back than a true high heel. Then I have a straight leg pant that keeps a long line going to the floor. Perhaps I’ll pair that with shirt tail blouse. A straight-line dress would do the trick too. Maybe I’ll put some flare in the hem line if that makes me feel good. You can’t beat a pair of boot cut jeans provided they are the proper length. Wrangler is my go to for jeans. Super length and a fantastic range of sizes.

I have had a lot of luck at Long Tall Sally too. They have a wide variety of sizes. Back when I was a very slim, size 5, I bought pants either there or Lands’ End. Now that I’m a size 14 I can get a good fit at either place.

When I say dress like you mean it, I mean you.
It’s your style, own it. Wear what makes you feel good.
It’s your body, own that too. No one can rock it the way you can.
Obviously I have been many sizes and that’s okay. It’s been a 30 years between size 5 through 14 and a lot has happened. I don’t regret a thing.

 

Pass on the pride

When I was a tailor I heard it all. The fitting room is a sanctuary. Secrets are shared, sometimes tears are shed.

When a client was upset how a garment fit, or didn’t fit, I would tell them this simple fact. The garment is wrong.

It would say, “It’s not you! The dress is wrong.” This becomes really important when a high schooler is declaring that she needs plastic surgery because her prom dress doesn’t fit.

This calls for a gentle intervention. My heart falls a little, then swells and I take a deep breath and tell her, “Oh no honey you are perfect. The dress was made for an average woman. You’re definitely better than average.”

We are the women who will guide the young girls. They are the tender young ladies who look upon us as a source of strength. When we have a pride, we pass it on. You never know who is watching us for a proper reaction or response. Show your pride.

Make them proud.

 

The best is shared

We need each other’s voices. It’s not only the tall women who struggle with proper fitting clothes. We should support each other and share our experiences. Let’s hear from you and what works in your world.

Thanks for your support and comment below.

Theresa

Seasonal Transition – The Fit Decision

Here we are in the middle of summer and already the stores are transitioning from summer to autumn. How do you keep your closet fresh?

 

Make a little or give a little

Do you really need all the summer clothes you have? Perhaps you are like me. You have your go-to outfits that you wear all the time. That means, like me, you have a lot of clothing hanging around without being used. This is a picture of my closet. Holy buckets! I have to purge.

I have a few pairs of blue jeans, casual tops, giant scarves in every color, some summer dresses and one pair of black pants. They’re trousers actually. I use the scarf to fend off the air conditioned chill and then I can remove it for the hot flashes.

I keep my wardrobe in a color scheme that can be mixed and matched. Jewel tones but mostly blue, black, gray, green, white and the some brighter color pieces for interest.

My jewelry is similar. I personally have a collection of Southwestern silver with regional stones that compliment anything I wear. Again, mix and match. I can pull together an outfit in no time but I still had so much stuff at the outer ends of my closet. It was time to purge.

Consider weeding out your closet now to make room for new fall and winter pieces. There is still time to take the clothes you’re not using to a charity or consignment store. When you take items to the consignment store in your area, make sure you post on your social media that tall clothing is available at that location. The store should be happy to advertise this too. Tall women’s clothing seems to be very difficult to find in second hand stores. You could make some money.

The one consignment store in my area is owned by a tall woman. She was thrilled when I brought in a bunch of stuff but didn’t take all of my items. Store owners and managers know what they’re looking for so don’t be offended if they don’t take everything you offer. Check out options in your area.

 

Summer sales

Now that your closet is cleaned out (right?) you do have room for a few key pieces that should be going on clearance. Just don’t go crazy. I’ve made the mistake of buying a lot of sale items in July and not use them the next season. How many T-shirts do I really need anyway? Why get the crop pants because they’re on sale? I’ve done this in the past and gained a fair amount of weight over then winter. Most of the items didn’t fit the following year. It’s a bummer situation.

Keep your selection of new items to a few basic pieces. For example a great white blouse. Maybe a pair of pants or jeans. A new dress that can be paired with a jacket or sweater. Buy a couple pieces that will augment your wardrobe instead of stuffing it with extra pieces that probably won’t be worn.

Resist the temptation to stock up on sandals and accessories at the end of the season. That super cute handbag on clearance might not be on trend next year and there is always a newer style or color scheme the next season. You don’t want to be seen in the previous year’s color next year.

 

Keep your options open

I’ve heard about clubs getting together for a swap meet. I know the Tall Club is international. Perhaps there is a club in your area that would have a swap meet. If you haven’t been to a Tall Club function you’re in for a treat. Lots of activities and I personally know of two marriages that were a result of the Tall Club functions.

 

Save the best fit for last

I have to admit to saving some clothes forever. I just know I’ll need that off the shoulder blouse for a great summer meal dinning alfresco. I am certain to wear the striped drawstring pants with that blouse. I know I need the dozen old T-shirts for painting the walls in my house. Sure, that’s what I need. I’ll lose the weight. I’ll fit into those pants again. I should save this because I might need it.

The trouble with this theory is simple. Fit.

Back in my tailoring days customers would come in with garments that were so ill-fitting they were not worth fixing. “Oh but I love the color.” they would say. “I spent so much money on it.” was another common statement.

I would honestly tell them the truth. “Even if it’s going to take another hundred dollars to fix it I guarantee you will never wear it.” this is where I get the shocked look. “It’s simple, you already have it in the back of your mind that it doesn’t fit. No matter what I do to fix it you still won’t wear it. If it’s new take it back to the store and exchange it for something that fits properly. You should only need to adjust hem length.”

Ultimately they would take my advice. Sure I could have taken the garment in and charged them for all the alterations but it wasn’t ethical and I gained solid credibility with my clients. I had plenty of work to do without gouging them.

My point is this, Make the best fitting decisions when buying any garment. You know as soon as you put it on if it’s right. Listen to your gut. If it’s on sale and your favorite color and you just love it but it doesn’t fit correctly you won’t wear it.

 

Conclusion

If you shop all the time or very seldom you still have to make the best fit decision. It’s better to find one item that hits on all the key attributes we have discussed here than to pile up clothes you’ll never wear.

Tall women’s clothing is more expensive than average size clothes. The excuse I’ve heard is that the entire process is out of the normal course of business. I have a written about this. The designers and manufacturing companies are set up to do their job for any size however they want to appeal to a larger demographic to have a better chance to make more money. Average, plus and petite sizes are more prevalent. Tall sizes are not as large a market as the others.

With that in mind we have to consider our budget. Buy a couple key pieces that will transition between seasons.

Tell me your thoughts. We all need tips and tricks. Building a community is my focus.

Until next time, clean out those closets. Let me know if the process was a good one.

 

Theresa

 

 

 

 

Clothing for tall women and fit

The fit of any garment can be a problem. Finding the proper fit for a dress for a tall woman has a few more problems.

 

Tall and taller

Doesn’t it seem as though there are more tall women now than years ago? The average in the United States is somewhere between 5’4″ and 5’6″ depending upon the research. I was told many years ago that it was the Scandinavian influence. I have no Scandinavian heritage in my lineage but it got me thinking. There is tall and then there is taller.

I was talking with a denim clothing buyer for Macy’s awhile back and she actually complained about the height of woman in Minnesota. “I don’t get it. Why are women so tall here?” I thought she was offensive. “We can’t help it.” I told her it was genetic and we had no say about it. That seemed to stop her.

I’m actually short at 5’11”. Every woman in my family, save my own daughter, is taller than I am. There are many women around the world who live in excess of 6 feet tall and we all have to wear something every day.

But how do we find the clothes we need? How do we know what is a goof fit for a tall woman and a taller woman?

 

My experience

I am a trained professional tailor who grew past average height in my girlhood. I learned to sew to solve my problem of finding clothing to fit and realizing it didn’t exist. It’s my experience that fit is the standard problem for every woman. Finding that elusive fit for tall woman is another level.

It’s all about the length. Torso length, arm length and of course leg length. Knowing the current vendors who offer appropriate ratios for tall woman is the key to finding your go-to company.

Consider a company who understands torso length and a longer rise. I’m only 5’11” I have a longer torso, also known as waist length, and a longer rise, the length between the front and back of your waistline measured under your crotch. I have found options on Amazon for tops and bottoms.

I understand that clothing vendors are recognizing the “tall issue” and are attempting to make adjustments however I am noticing the propensity of starting from an average length sloper. I believe in the excellent quality of vendors based overseas-and I have many I will recommend- however they almost always start from their established size charts. There is no comparison between an average person in China and a tall woman in the United States. I have met only one Chinese woman online who is my height. We spent a few funny moments comparing stories and complaints.

So the possibility is there, the market is noticing the tall woman and the life she has to lead. Designers are making attempts to adjust their basic size charts but they need our voice. They have to understand the inherent fit opportunities we represent. Finding a pretty maxi dress is a go-to staple for my closet. When I find a good one I buy it in two colors.

 

Your voice matters

We are the key to making the changes necessary. The fit we need and the fit we get is not an easy alliance now but we will make the change happen.

I am committed to finding the clothing companies we can count on for a more comfortable future.

I have another article that may be of help and please give me your thoughts.

All the best,

Theresa

tallwomanlife.com

 

The struggle of women’s extra long jeans

Tall women have the unique problem of finding great fitting extra long jeans that average height women can’t understand.

 

It’s not just about the length.

Obviously leg length is the main issue. We all know that. Whom among us hasn’t struggled with finding that elusive pair of jeans that are not too short? We want to wear shoes with a heel, or boots or at least have the hem come down to the bottom of our heels!

But it’s not only leg length, is it? The jeans have to be comfortable in the rise, not too tight in the hips, not too loose in the waist.

Why is this so difficult? It’s the clothing designers and market share.

 

Designers have a problem

Clothing designers have a hard job; they want to make something fashionable that will sell a lot of units so they make money. Simple, right? Enter the female body. No two are alike. We have the added variables of a bust, defined waistline, hips and torso length. Men have that too but with far fewer variables than women.

So how do designers do that? They don’t do that, or very rarely, as we know.

Designers take an average of the population taking into consideration age, height and weight. With the averages calculated they set out to design a basic pattern from which they could design any conceivable garment. This is called a basic sloper.

The problem we tall gals have is that they don’t consider height.

An average female in the US is considered to be 5’4″. Now I have 6″ + on that already. An average weight is somewhere around 145 pounds to 165 ponds depending upon which data you consult. I’m over that too!

How come designers use tall, wafer thin models and then make clothing for the average woman?

How do we find a designer that will keep our wonderful measurements in mind?

We shop around, try on a bunch of clothes and finally settle on something.

Full disclosure I do not like shopping. I find it impossible to buy off the rack what I know I should be wearing and fits comfortably. It’s a struggle I don’t enjoy. Add in the expense and I’m overwhelmed.

Solution- Tall Women’s Clothing

The stand-by

We all have our favorites: the stores and websites that will have the leg length we need.

  1. Shelly’s Tall Girl
  2. Lands End
  3. Amalli Talli
  4. saddle shops and riding apparel

I buy from them, certainly you have too. There just aren’t many options out there but it is getting better. And I do not consider a 32″ inseam to be ‘tall’ thank you very much. Get into the 34″ to 36″ and we’re getting somewhere. Sometimes I need a 38″ inseam.

If I’m shopping for riding gear (yes I have a horse) I get 38″ so the length still looks good in the saddle with boots on and the slack taken out. Not an easy thing to find. So far Wrangler has been my go-to for this use,

 

The phantom fit

Everyday jeans have to be comfortable in the rise, or crotch. We tall ladies know that the distance from the front of our waistband to the back of it (measured between the legs) is almost always greater than the average women’s measurements.

This is called the rise. It’s most noticeable when you’re sitting. (yikes)

It’s never a good thing to have to sit down in a pair of pants or jeans that give you an uncomfortable feeling of getting cut in half. So frustrating!

Tall clothing has this built in to the design.

The measurements

Most website fitting maps will have a rise measurement. The key to the map is to know your very own measurements. It’s best to take them a couple times per year. But how? You start at the waistline.

The ‘natural’ waistline is about where your belly button is located. If you loosely tie a piece of yarn or elastic around your waist, move around a bit, bend over, bend side to side and breathe you’ll find your ‘natural’ waistline. Really move around. and resist adjusting it. The elastic should be around your belly button area.

This will come as a surprise to many of you because the natural waistline is not down by your hip bones. This doesn’t mean you’ll be wearing anything up that high, it’s just the industry standard for the measurement. It’s important to be honest about this so your rise measurement is accurate.

Keep the yarn or elastic where it is and go to the next step.

 

How to measure the rise

Using a standard measuring tape, place the start of the tape on the line of your natural waist, go between your legs and end at the line of your waist on the other side. The tape is just sitting there. It’s not too tight or too loose; it’s just placed against your skin. It’s centered too. Make certain you are not pulling the tape too far into the buttocks as that will give you a measurement that is too tight. I usually do this in my underwear or leggings to keep the tape from doing that. Now write that measurement down somewhere.

While you’re at it, measure that line around your natural waistline. Again you won’t necessarily be wearing anything that high but you have to be aware of the number.

Measure your hips too: The high hip is about 4″ or 10cm down from your waistline.

The low hip is the widest point below your waistline: Stand with your feet slightly (1″) apart,measure around the fullest part of the hip and keep moving the tape measure down until the tape becomes loose and falls free. It’s tricky to do yourself but you will manage. The trick is – keep the tape taut but not tight. Make it bigger so it’s just on the skin. Practice, you’ll get it.  Take the measurement using these steps several times. Write that measurement down too.

 

Inseam and out seam measurements

The outseam  length is the measurement of the outside of your leg from waistline to floor. I stand on the tape measure in bare feet and side step down the tape on the floor until the top end that I’m holding in my hand is resting against my outer leg and at the waistline. This is the out seam measurement. Again, lay the measuring tape on the floor. You’ll probably put your feet on the 44″ or 112cm mark to start. Take the other end of the tape (the one that starts at zero) and side step on the tape until the free end is at your natural waist. Keep it taut; not loose or tight and stand up straight.

Before you step away, crouch down and look at the number on the edge of your foot. This is your all important out seam. Now add your heel height, this will usually be 1 1/2″. Write this down too.

* TWL hack I use this when I’m shopping to weed out the potential no-go jeans. Yes I have a tape measure with me.

To get the inseam you can subtract about 10″ or 25.5 cm. Actually measuring your own inseam is very tricky, It can be done but it’s so much easier if another person does it for you. If you must do this yourself, use the same trick as the out seam measurement.  The trouble will be getting the correct length without the tape measure crawling up your instep. Sometimes that would lessen the measurement by up to an inch!

To correct this, wear slippers or a truly flat shoe. Use the same method as the out seam: lay the tape on the floor at about the 34″ or 86.5 cm mark and side step until the end you’re holding in your hand is at the top of your leg in your crotch. Stand up as straight as possible. If possible, use a full length mirror. Again, crouch down and find the number at the edge of the slipper. Write it down.

If all else fails, measure your favorite jeans.  When buying jeans measure your favorite jeans, if your shopping for pants, measure your favorite pants. You want to compare apples to apples here not apples and oranges.  Yes it makes a difference.

Now you have something to work with.

 

Other options for measurements

Stop into any tailor shop and ask them to measure you. Some do it for free others may charge a nominal fee.

Either way the more you know about your unique measurements the better you will be able to find good fitting jeans online.

 

Facts to keep in mind

Denim will shrink. I’ve seen jeans shrink over and inch or more after a year of washing and drying unless there is a lot of spandex added to the fabric. Cotton doesn’t like to be told what to do forever, it will want to return to its natural state over time.

 

Do it yourself?

Maybe you’ll find jeans that really are too long. Shortening jeans yourself can be done easily with the proper tools. You’ll need: a sewing machine, a hammer, steam iron, heavy gauge sewing machine needle, extra thick thread.

  1. Wear the footwear you’ll wear most often when measuring your jeans after you put them on.
  2. Determine the finished length and mark with a pin or tailor’s chalk at the back of the hem. Move around in the jeans by sitting, squatting, walking around. Mark the appropriate length. Remember – jeans shrink.
  3. Take the jeans off, fold them on the sides matching the seams. If you were to press a crease front and back this is the way to fold the jeans. We’re not going to crease them.
  4. Measure a line 1 3/4″ longer than the finished length. Longer! That means down toward the hem. If you don’t have that much length to spare I wouldn’t bother shortening the jeans. They’ll shrink up over time.
  5. Next mark all layers of the finish line by drawing a line across the jeans that is perpendicular to the side seam. That is straight across. Not higher in front not lower in back, straight across.
  6. Draw the other line 1 3/4″ longer once on each leg. You should have two faint lines drawn on the jeans: one at the finish length, another that is 1 3/4″ lower or longer than the finished length.
  7. Looking at the longer length, the one that’s 1 3/4″ longer and then cut through all layers one leg at a time. I use to cover the finish line with my ruler. If you cut the wrong line you’re toast.
  8. Fold the cut edge inside the pant leg at the finish line and press. Allow to cool.
  9. Fold the cut edge into the crease of the finish line and press again. This will make a jeans hem with no raw edges. Look at any pair of jeans as an example.
  10. The side seams and possibly the inseam will now be so thick you won’t be able to sew over them. A flat felled seam is four layers, the hem tucked into its self is tripling that number. How do you sew over twelve layers? Answer- steam and a hammer.
  11. Steam the area with an iron, get it hot and soggy, place it on a different very firm surface and whack it with the hammer. I have indeed smacked my fingers and dented an ironing board or two. Use the floor if possible. You’ll be surprised at how flat that seam will get.
  12. Using a heavy gauge needle and heavy thread (they sell jeans or denim thread) lengthen the stitch to about 10 stitches per inch on the machine settings and slowly follow the top edge of the fold you just created. Start on the inseam before or after the thicker part. You will ‘walk’ the machine over the thicker parts.  Stitch over the starting point by a good two inches, Trim loose threads.
  13. Done! after a few washes the puckered jeans hem will look amazing.

Sound like a lot? I could do these all day and make good money although I didn’t charge a lot.  A good pace was six to eight jeans an hour.

I’ve heard that tailors are “creating” a jeans hem by saving the original hem and some how reattaching it. And they’re charging $35! That’s outrageous. Wash them a couple times and no one will ever know your jeans have been shortened,

Think about it; how many times have you studied someone else’s jeans hem?? Never, Save your money, buy them properly in the first place.

 

Our goal

We will be delving into the best websites and manufacturers for the tall woman at Tall Woman Life.

  1. Who to buy from
  2. Which manufacturer has the best measurements,
  3. How to find the extra websites for our grand height and beauty.

Let me know what you think and which websites you use by commenting below. Check out my other blog posts too.

Peace and Love

Theresa

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to Tall Woman Life

I’m glad you’re here

I know the struggles of buying clothes and acccessories when you’re above average height. It’s not easy in an average world.

TWL is your source for your clothing and accessory needs. I’ll find the best options and sites for everything from outerwear to underwear. Shoes and accessories too!

Welcome, I’m glad your here.

About me

I’m the short one of the family at 6′. My entire family is taller than 6′. Even my neices and nephews!

Back in the 1960s, when I was a little girl, my mother decided to teach me to sew. By the 1970s I was making a lot of my own clothes. I was already really tall in grade school so by high school I was making almost all of my clothes! I took every sewing class in school; by 9th grade I was practically teaching the class.

After high school I got married, had a child and went to work for a sewing and alterations company. That’s where I learned about commercial sewing and started designing. I could design and sew anything which came in handy at my height.

I know my way around clothing: why it’s designed and constructed a certain way, why the fabric makes or breaks a garment’s fit, what will last and why clothing goes bad.

I want to bring that knowledge to you.