By Marcy Montgomery Jones
I’m tall. Not the kind of tall that limits me to two-inch heels. Nope, the kind of tall that inspires people to ask, “Did you play basketball in college?” It’s led to a plethora of fitting-related frustrations over the years including: the inability to find shoes at department stores; the requirement to buy 36”-inseam pants online because they’re unavailable at brick & mortar retailers; and the realization that the “tall” clothes sold at most places aren’t suitable for anyone who’s 5’10” or taller. Can I get an “AMEN”?
On some level, it’s hard to blame the fashion industry. The average American woman is 5’4 ½” tall. No amount of designers’ traditional grading (the process of adding height and width to a clothing pattern to create multiple sizes) is going to incorporate at least an additional six inches of height. The broad goal of making average-sized garments for average-sized people makes sense; it’s just completely inconvenient for those of us who lie on the right end of the bell curve.
Of course, the fitting difficulties I encounter when looking for ready-to-wear are just as prevalent when I shop for intimate apparel. However, over the years, I’ve gained some insight into what can help tall women get the most from shapewear, and it’s time for me to share these tips with all of you who are 5’10” or taller, or have very long torsos. So, here are some “do’s” and “don’ts” that will guide you in your quest to make shapewear work well with your height.
First, don’t choose extra-firm control garments, or any that are made with two plies of fabric. Why? Because those pieces will provide so much control, you won’t be able to take advantage of the spandex in their fabric. The fibers will be working to such a degree that you won’t get any extra height out of the garment. What, then, to do? Choose garments with lighter amounts of control that have features benefiting “the vertically blessed.” For example, fabrics used should be supple and adjustable. If you need an extra two inches of height for a hi-waist brief, the fabric should stretch and provide it. Also, choose garments that have a finished silicone edge around the top. This allows the waist to stay in place, and remain invisible under your clothes, once it’s pulled up to cover those two extra inches. Think of it. Instead of shortening your torso and creating back fat, garments with these features will rise over your problem spots and create a lean-looking figure. Wearing this type of adjustable-waist silhouette is also an excellent way to prevent the muffin top that most shapewear briefs can create, especially on taller women.
Second, don’t choose a bodybriefer. True, this silhouette does have an adjustable hook-and-eye that accommodates most heights, but when worn by a really tall woman, it tends to look like a swimsuit from the set of Baywatch. The front of the garment doesn’t provide enough coverage, which can make it uncomfortable and cause fitting problems. Instead, do buy separates, like waistline long legs, waistline briefs, and camis, that will help you achieve your shaping objectives, but do so in comfortable and effective ways. Separates will give you more shapewear solutions that will fit your figure properly.
Third, do choose daywear or light-control camis. This is my biggest tall-girl “do.” Often, average-sized tops stop short at a tall woman’s waist, or continually pop out when they’re tucked in. It’s no coincidence that many of us almost never tuck in our shirts. And, curse the inventor of the ultra low-rise jean. These issues can combine to produce unintended flashes of skin. High stretch, lighter-control camis, with finished silicone edges that keep their bottoms in place, are the keys to keeping you in control and avoiding coin-slot peek-a-boos.
A secret, unspoken society exists among all very tall women. When we meet, we size each other up and enjoy being in the presence of others of our own height. Of course, the first question we inevitably ask each other is: “So, where do you get your pants?” I hope my tips and tricks find you, my fellow tall people. Forward this to your tall girlfriends; we have to lookout for each other.CC Image courtesy of Joe Shlabotnik on Flickrhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/joeshlabotnik/ / CC BY 2.0 CC Image courtesy of misocrazy on Flickrhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/misocrazy/ / CC BY 2.0