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9 things only people who are 6 feet or taller will understand about shopping

Shopping for jeans is just part of the challenge.
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  • People who are six feet or taller know that shopping for clothes can be a challenge.
  • The sizing system used by many brands caters to the masses, leaving tall people with limited options.
  • Some of the frustrations that tall people face when shopping include finding pants and sleeves that are too short.
  • But it’s these relatable challenges that can make tall people smart at shopping and more creative with styling.

Everybody wants to feel good in their clothes, and that confidence often comes down to fit.

For people who are six feet or taller, like me, it’s challenging to find stylish options that accurately fit our bodies. Elongated frames rarely scale to the arbitrary sizing system that many brands use when designing for the masses. Scouring stores and online brands for pieces that fit and have appeal can be daunting. At the same time, this forced selectivity can instill a strong sense of personal style, since affordable fast fashion trends are rarely accessible in tall sizes.

Here are nine shopping woes that people who are six feet or taller will relate to, and how you can flip them to become even more stylish.

1. Pants and leggings are always too short.

Are these ankle-crop jeans or capris?
Vantage News/AP

For tall people, most pants in stores are usually too short — and not in the stylish way that crops just above the ankles. Instead, they often look like awkward capris that hit mid-calf.

Instead of accepting defeat, learning how to style these pants strategically makes all the difference. Wide-leg pants or cropped culottes balance out long limbs and are comfortable alternatives to skinny jeans that appear to have shrunk. Flare jeans are also a must. By nature, they tend to have longer inseams than ankle-grazing skinny jeans. But if cropped skinny jeans can’t be avoided, use their length to show off a strappy pair of sandals or gladiators that climb up the ankle.

2. The rips in destructed jeans are almost never in the right place.

Misplaced holes are another side effect of jeans that are too short.
Brenna Opelka/INSIDER

Rips and tears are one way to spice up a pair of jeans, but those details pose an issue for tall people: the holes never line up with your knees. Instead, they rest several inches higher, throwing off the entire look.

To pull off the casual, distressed denim look, opt for jeans that have more than one rip on each pant leg. Additional holes will distract from any outliers that appear misplaced due to fit.

3. Over-the-knee boots rarely cover the knees.

Unless the shoes are custom-made for you.
Brian Ach/Stringer/Getty Images

They’re an autumn essential, but over-the-knee boots don’t live up to their name when tall people put them on. One way to achieve their lengthening effect is by pairing any style of boots with thigh-high socks. This illusion works best when styled with a dress or a skirt.

4. Minidresses are the equivalent of shirts.

The perfect minidress is the ultimate find for tall people.
Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

Nothing says summer like an effortless minidress, but the shortened hemline can be uncomfortable for tall people. The mini silhouette makes movements as simple as walking or sitting uncomfortable. And if the dress accidentally goes through a cycle in the dryer, it transforms into a tunic that may require pants.

Wear the look with confidence by working with a seamstress to shorten a longer dress to your liking. When shopping for dresses, it’s also important to make sure that the waist does not cinch too high on the torso.

5. Maxi dresses float way above the ankles.

Asymmetrical hemlines are a fun alternative to traditional maxi dresses that run short.
Cole Bennetts/Stringer/Getty Images

Rather than cascading down to the ankles, maxi dresses hover a few inches above them when you’re six feet or taller. This ruins the streamlined silhouette they’re intended to create.

Luckily, there’s a flattering alternative to full-length styles. In high-low maxi dresses, the front of the dress is meant to be shorter than the back, which helps distract from a hemline that might not fall where it’s supposed to. It’s also convenient that the shortest part of a high-low dress is usually longer than most minidresses, making this style a happy medium between minidresses and maxi dresses.

6. Rompers and jumpsuits can be very uncomfortable.

If they don’t fit perfectly, rompers and jumpsuits can pull at the shoulders.
Jason Merritt/Getty Images for MTV

It’s hard to make the most of an ill-fitting jumpsuit or romper; the fabric is all connected. The garment only works when the length of the torso and the length of the bottoms are both sufficient. Because this is almost never the case, it’s best to find a brand that caters to the tall demographic. Stores like Topshop and ASOS carry a select range of clothes for tall people, offering trendy styles like jumpsuits and bodysuits.

7. Tailoring isn’t a solution or an option.

Intentionally oversized garments can look better than ones that are too small.
Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for New York Fashion Week

When you have long limbs, you often don’t have the luxury of getting something hemmed to fit the length of your body. There’s not much a seamstress can do if a garment does not have enough fabric to begin with.

Since adding length is rarely a feasible option, try to play with proportion. When thoughtfully styled, oversized garments can be just as polished as ones with exceptional fit. This additional fabric also gives you the ability to experiment with draping, tying, tucking, belting, and even cutting an item of clothing.

8. The sleeves on jackets are never long enough.

Layering distracts from sleeves that run short.
Samir Hussein/Stringer/Getty Images for The Business of Fashion

Tailored or structured outerwear garments such as leather jackets, blazers, and winter coats should fit precisely. Sizing up to accommodate for sleeve length only throws off other proportions, such as the shoulders or the waist.

Embrace the exposed-wrist look by focusing on details. If you’re wearing a blazer, try rolling the sleeves and wearing a statement ring or bracelet. An oversized blouse or sweater is ideal for layering under structured garments because the long sleeves can peek through those of the shorter jacket.

9. If a store has a section for tall clothing, it’s usually small and the clothes can be disappointing.

Usually, the tall section of a store has a limited selection.
Phil Walter/Getty Images

Mainstream brands like Topshop, Banana Republic, J. Crew, and The Limited offer some garments in “Tall” cuts. These specialty sizes are primarily available online and generally cover basic wardrobe staples like black skinny jeans.

To get the most out of these limited options, consider ordering online. To properly gauge my size for online orders, I often start by researching the exact garment that I’m interested in buying. I then try the item on in-store in a standard size before ordering it online in the tall version. If you cannot try the items on before purchasing, you can order various sizes and styles if the store has a good return policy.

Pro tip: Once you discover brands that suit your frame, make them your go-to resources for key investment pieces.

Try your clothes on in-store, and then order online in the appropriate length.
Ben Gabbe/Stringer/Getty Images

Stores like Long Tall Sally are one-stop shops for tall shopping. But more standard brands like New York & Company and Banana Republic also have attire available in tall sizes. The former has stylish pants and professional trousers with inseams that reach up to 34.5 inches in length, while the latter sells sophisticated dresses and the most comfortable business casual pants that I own.

If you’re looking to invest in jeans that are more interesting than your average skinny jeans, take a look at Madewell; many of their pants come in “Tall” and “Taller” sizes. Tops and sweaters generally have more leeway with fit, so you can often save those pieces for in-person shopping excursions and buy them anywhere.

It can seem like clothing options are limited when you are taller than six feet, but at the end of the day, there are no hard rules for how you dress yourself. Take advantage of your height, and let it motivate you to be selective with your fashion choices. Think outside of the box when styling — and curate a killer wardrobe that makes you feel confident.

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