Tall Drink of Water – Styling Tips For Tall Ladies

Deborah BolandThere’s plenty of fashion advice out there for petites, but tall gals have their challenges too.

How do you dress to play up your height but still look proportioned? Personal wardrobe stylist Paul Julch is here to help.

Paul: Have you ever walked into a store just to find out it caters to tall women only?  Neither have I.  Tall women are an often forgotten a segment in the fashion industry. There are departments that cater to petite sizes, entire stores that focus on plus sizes, but you’ll rarely find one store, or one niche area in a department store where tall gals can go to get what they need.

But don’t be discouraged. There are a few tips and tricks that vertically gifted women can utilize to play up their assets.

EMBRACE IT

No matter what size you are, embrace the body you have!  Focus on what you can do, and what flatters you most.  So hear this, tall ladies – wear heels, play up your curves, and never be ashamed of your height.

BREAK IT UP

One of the best things that you can do is break up your body into different parts.  What this means is wearing one color on top and another on the bottom, or a solid jacket and printed skirt, and so on – strong contrasts are your friend.  You don’t need to worry about creating the illusion of a longer frame, you already have it – so have fun with color and pattern!

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THROW A CURVE

If you’re tall and curvy, enhance your natural assets with figure flattering styles that show off your waist and skim your womanly frame.  If you’re tall and lean, you need to work a little harder to create that hourglass shape.  A great place for you to pull focus is to your waist.  Wear high-waisted pants, wide belts (even with dresses and skirts), and tops that end right at your waist.  Doing this is another way to ‘break it up’, and also brings attention to the smallest part of your figure.  And don’t be afraid to add a little volume with wide leg pants or a fuller skirt.

KEEP IT IN PROPORTION

Whereas petite women should focus on smaller prints and patterns, and accessories in scale with their height, tall women get to do the exact opposite.  Go for larger sized bags, chunkier jewelry, bigger prints and bolder colors.

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PUSH UPS

You know it’s happened. You try on a long sleeved shirt, and everything fits but the sleeves are too short.  A simple trick is to just push up or roll your sleeves. It gives a little attitude to your look, and also keeps it from looking like your top shrunk in the wash.  This works for button-down shirts, sweaters, long sleeve dresses, and even blazers.  And if that doesn’t feel right, take control of your clothes and have the tailor hem the sleeves to a more purposeful-looking 3/4 sleeve length.

MAXIMIZE

When there’s a trend out there that suits your size, take the opportunity and stock up!  Right now, midi and maxi skirts are all the rage.  If you don’t know what a midi is, it’s a skirt that ends a couple of inches below the knee, all the way to calf length – so it has the length you need.  And summer is all about maxi dresses, but many women find that they’re too long.  Lucky you! As long as the maxi gets close to ankle length, you’re all set!

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If you’re ready to do some online shopping, check out these sites:

J. Crew: the tall section offers their signature style in dresses, tops, pants, suiting, and even maternity!

Long Tall Sally: an expertly edited selection devoted entirely to lanky ladies.

Banana Republic: the tall section of BananaRepublic.com has tops, skirts, dresses and more, specifically sized just for you.

Old Navy: truly affordable fashion with the extra length where you need it.

Paul Julch is a San Francisco Bay Area based personal wardrobe stylist.  He works with both women and men to create a modern, versatile wardrobe that works with their body type, lifestyle and budget.  Check him out at Urbanite|Suburbanite and on Facebook.



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  1. Diane Elizabeth says:

    THANK YOU, Paul. It is so true that we tall women are overlooked by the fashion industry. I am 62, 6′ tall and still a size 10. I have had trouble all my life finding flattering clothes, especially tops. There are quite a few sites that have tall pants but the tops that “say” tall are never much longer than the regular tops. I look for tunics and on me they are usually just about right. I hope your message reaches the retail industry as young girls are getting taller and taller! You made great suggestions, so again thank you and Deborah for this article.

  2. Excellent styling and fashion tips for taller women. Whatever your height or figure, there are some useful tips that can help you know what type of clothes best suits your figure.