If you get asked on the daily (a) if you play basketball; (b) if you’re a model; (c) how tall you are; or (d) all of the above, you’re likely around the 5-foot-10 mark (or taller) and officially part of the tall woman club. Short girls are enviable of your runway proportions — even if sometimes you feel like you’d trade all those slam-dunk-ready inches in a heartbeat just to find a date who’s not intimidated by your statuesque silhouette.
However, when it comes to tall woman style, you do have a lot of wiggle room when it comes to the fashion playground. That height provides much bandwidth for you to get away with a number of style-forward trends and avant-garde looks that are much harder for the shorter set to pull off — everything from statement coats to harem pants to thigh-high boots. And, yes, you can wear heels — perhaps stay away from the skyscraper six-inch heels on most occasions, but a moderate four-inch heel is fine. But it’s not all a free fashion ride.
Just because you have model height doesn’t mean that the fashion world is completely your oyster. There are a few things that the taller set should watch out for when getting dressed.
1. Bum-boasting bottoms
Shorts and skirts that cover your butt should be a no-brainer, but we’d be remiss to at least not point out the obvious. It can be quite difficult to find appropriate versions of these pieces when you’re on the taller side.
After all, Daisy Dukes and cutoffs can quickly take on all-new, extra-cheeky meaning for those of a more statuesque frame. If the bum is seeing way too much of the light of day, you simply cannot wear those shorts or the skirt. Keep searching for the right fit; and the chic level of your street-style cred will go up in spades.
2. High waters
Finding jeans and pants that actually hit below the ankles can be like finding a needle in a haystack when you have legs for days. Even so, you must continue the quest, especially if you plan on pairing them with heels. The standard 30” and 32” inseams will never work for you, so look for the brands that have 34” or longer. Many labels are now offering denim, leggings, and trousers specifically tailored to the extra-tall set. One thing to note: Some trendsetting denim brands are offering intentional “high water” style jeans, so this is a rule that comes with a case-by-case caveat.
However, a good tip with denim is to opt for the skinny styles where you can get away with a cropped bottom that doesn’t cover your ankles or your shoes (whether it’s intentional or not!). As for suits, a good tailor can be your best friend to get the right hemline.
3. Short frocks, aka faux shirts
The cute, feminine mini-dresses that the shorter gals effortlessly flaunt are also in the no-wear land. After all, they generally end up looking like a short tunic or, even worse, a shrunken babydoll dress, or quite possibly even worse, an ice skating costume. You’ve likely had this experience at Forever 21. A general rule of thumb is this: If you cannot raise your arms or bend over without flashing the world (or if you look like you’re wearing your younger sister’s clothes), you simply cannot put it on for public consumption. And, no matter how much you like that frock, don’t try to pass it off as a shirt and pair it with leggings. Everyone knows it’s a dress, and that it’s too short, and that you’re still wearing it anyway — and that you really shouldn’t be.
4. Vertical stripes
Vertical stripes have an elongating effect; they’re a go-to wardrobe trick to add height to a shorter frame. So, it’s not so much that you cannot wear them if you’re tall, it’s more that you really don’t need to. Leave that benefit of a silhouette-lengthening illusion to those who are more vertically challenged, and embrace your own intrinsic ability to delve into a world of other brightly hued geometric prints and patterns. If you do opt to go vertical, stripes that are wide and wider set can be a good option to properly work the trend for your height.
5. Short sleeves
No, don’t worry … we’re not telling you not to wear short sleeves as in a short-sleeved top or dress. But, we are saying that you shouldn’t wear long sleeves that are too short for your arms. It’s a common problem in the land of the tall people who have longer limbs. Finding blazers and jackets, even sweaters, that reach past the wrist can be just as hard as avoiding those aforementioned high waters. But it is advisable to skip any separates that look like they shrunk in the dryer — although, in a pinch, you can make the best of the situation by rolling up your sleeves even more to a three-quarter length to hide the otherwise awkward fit.