Stand out, Stand Tall
I am not super tall. However,growing up and even now, I stand tall over most of my friends. Being almost 5’9, I already experienced the headache that comes with being taller than the average woman in my circles . I joke that I only felt normal growing up in our home, because I have brothers who are above 6’2 .They literally tower over me, but at the same time, they made me feel normal. I was very conscious of this because I always sort of stood out. I even subconsciously started stooping to try fit in with my friends.Attracting attention was not something I desired in character, but nature just threw me that curve ball.
It was a while before I accepted my height, and that was in my early 20s. Thankfully, I weaved my way around understanding, accepting and later appreciating my God-given height. Interestingly, I figured this acceptance was surprisingly also connected around finding clothes that I felt comfortable in, as well as other things. I realized that there were certain fundamentals that I needed to adopt.
Fit is Key.
When you are tall there are fit issues that need to be sorted-the length-for sleeves and pants, proportion-waist, the draping-which spot the elbows and knees hit and so on. This also means that you should know your body measurements. I shared here on how you can do this. I was/am fortunate in that department and with a mother who is a seamstress, I already had an early appreciation for wearing clothes that fit you right in every aspect. I also, learnt early on, that one needs to be aware of how you like your clothes to fit you. We are all different and we can each pull of a look differently, purely based on fit. You know that feeling when the jacket just nips in at the right places,the shoulders are snug, the length and sleeve length is just right? Priceless. I kid you not!
Another thing that I think is absolutely necessary, is…
Embrace Your height– in all its glory!
It is possible this process will take place at different times for different people, but bottom line is-embrace it.I can’t stress that enough.There is nothing as beautiful as a confident you. It’s what makes you unique. I really like the mantra to ‘stand out and stand tall’. It speaks of a certain conviction of who you are and the way you ought to carry yourself. Not in an arrogant, annoying way, but more to celebrate what God gave you.
Now having said all that, I figured I’d share with you some tips on how to dress your beautiful tall self.
These tips will be in 2 parts. The first part will look at ideas on how to figure out how to dressing yourself so you stand tall and beautiful. The second part will break down how to wear the different types of clothes. Remember to look out for the second part of these tips.
In Part 1, I will share with you some tall style tips that have worked for me and may also work for you. You be the judge.
Tall Style Tips-Part 1
Heels: Do I need to be any taller?
This is probably one of the most common questions I get asked with regards to style for taller ladies. This one and ‘where can I find long trousers?’.
I am not a stylist, but I know from my own experience, a good pair of heels-at a sensible height, makes an outfit. There is a ‘rule’ supposedly, that tall girls should stick to a 3-inch heel. Of course, this is not set in stone, and there is nothing wrong with going higher or lower. For those who can go higher, I respect you. You make me aspire to my full potential.
For the rest of us, there are lower heels and ofcourse the absolutely wonderful kitten heels. Look to Michelle Obama. She wears them well,she still stands tall and she looks soo good!!
Ultimately do what works for you best. You already stand out, people are already looking at you (or is that envy?)…make it worth their while.
Get a good tailor.
Most of us in Kenya know a trusted tailor we can go to for garment alterations. For a tall girl, this is almost critical-I speak from experience. I was very fortunate because my mum is a seamstress, so getting the right fit is something I was aware of from a very early age and all necessary alterations were easily done.
Most ready-made clothes available locally do not cater for the tall physique. It is easy to alter clothes for short and medium physiques, and some inches can be taken in to fit, but this ‘luxury ‘ is not available for tall ladies. We need all the length we can get.When that is not available, a good tailor comes in very handy.
More often than not, you will need to make use of the extra material on the hems of pants, because you will want to have the hems of pants taken down to add length. You can also get fabric that’s similar to the pants and add it to the bottom- but you need to closely match the fabric to pull this off.
The Three-Quarter Length
This applies to sleeves and pants. Finding long and fitting long sleeve shirts or pants is often challenging. Enter the three quarter length alternative.
Cropped pants (three-quarter length) are really fashionable and look great on tall ladies. You can make pants that would be short on you looking good, by folding up the cuff and wearing a heel. This shows off your legs some more, as well as your shoes. Here is where you want to have a great heel! Skinny jeans are also great to pull this off. You can find some great jeans for the tall lady here. Skinny jeans are a great item for you to show off your long physique. If they are short you can once again turn them up nothing to worry about.
For sleeves, this is a style that is quite flattering and it accentuates our hands. Further to that, if you have a jacket that you love, which fits properly on the shoulders but the sleeves come short, you only have to roll up the sleeves for a fun/stylish look. For an idea of the three-quarter length sleeve have a look at this top in the Meruti store.
Proportion-Know your numbers
By numbers I mean body measurements.
As already mentioned earlier this is critical in the process of embracing your body as well as making shopping easier-whether you walk into a shop/stall or you shop online. It helps you sift through the wide range of clothes that ultimately may not fit you because in some cases like here in Kenya, there’s not much by way of options for the tall lady. Your body measurements also help you know your body proportions so that you would know how best to balance clothes in line with your body measurements. I talked about this, in this article which comes in very handy. A basic guideline is, if you have a tight garment on the bottom, wear a loose one on top. The opposite is also true: loose on the bottom, tight on top. Ultimately, dress yourself in a way that best complements your own body shape. For example, if you have broad shoulders, you could wear clothes that balance out the top and bottom of your body. Seeing as you stand out due to your height, it’s a good idea to know what works best for you.
Foundation- If the foundation is not strong…
I’m not talking of buildings of course, though the analogy is perfect. A good foundation-for anything, sort of assures that whatever is built on top of it will stand. This is true of buildings and in this case, your style. Foundational pieces for the tall lady-and any other body frame I believe, are the pieces upon which you can build your look. These include but are not limited to basic tee-shirts, camisoles and vests, a good pair of trousers.
There you have it!
Certainly this list is not exhaustive, but it’s what worked for me. A follow-up post will have what kind of garments tall ladies ought to wear or not wear. I have to admit though, even with the services of a tailor it does feel nice to be able to walk to a store and shop off the rack without worrying whether or not the clothes will be long enough. Meruti aims to address this challenge within these here parts, as our slogan sums it up ‘Tall Style Done Right’. Isn’t it amazing how you tend to stand tall when you are looking good? Your back is straighter, your shoulders are more upright, you have a spring in your step and basically have a better outlook. I hope this is something we all get to experience this more and more as we get our styling right as tall women.
Do you have tips that have worked for you, that helped you dress right for you?
Please share your tips below, would love to hear them. Thanks for stopping by and being just plain and simple awesome!