Monday, July 23, 2012

Shopping for Giants – How to Shop

In my first Shopping for Giants post, I listed websites that carry giant- (tall and/or plus) sized clothes.  I do a lot of my retail shopping online because the fact of the matter is, not many stores carry “Long” or “Tall” sizes in their brick-and-mortar stores.  However, it’s not enough just to know where to shop like a giant; you also need to know how to shop like a giant. 

Online shopping can be tricky because, as you and I both know, just because something is labeled as “tall” doesn’t mean it is actually long enough for a tall person.  Just like we know a size 14 in one item is not always a 14 in another, even with the same retailer.

So, here are my tips for navigating the tricky world of online shopping.

One – know your measurements.  I’m not saying you have to memorize them (because, really, no one likes a show-off), but you should take them down and keep them next to the computer where your do your online shopping.  Most, if not all online retailers offer a size guide and knowing your measurements is the key to using it.  You do NOT want to assume that XL in your language means XL in their language and end up with a size 8 dress (unless that’s your size, then by all means, have at it).

Two – know your body.  I am broad shouldered with arms I like to think of as muscular.  I have a fairly flat stomach, but wide hips and healthy thighs.  My legs aren’t super long considering my height, but I have very long arms.  All of this means that if the feedback on a product is that it’s tight through the shoulders, arms, hips or thighs, it probably won’t work for me. 

Which brings us to number three…

Three – read the reviews.  I very rarely buy from an online retailer that doesn’t offer customer reviews.  And I definitely prefer customer reviews.  Some retailers, like Nordstrom, offer their opinion of how something fits, but if there are consumer reviews, I generally depend on those.

Is someone complaining that the inseam on a pair of pants is way too long, even with 3” heels?  Great!  That means they might actually be long enough for me:

Martin Fit Linen Trousers at Banana Republic

Customer reviews are especially helpful because many reviewers indicate if they are tall or curvy, often even giving their height, weight or measurements so that you can really tell if something will work for you: 

Even if you’re not worried about length, customer reviews offer the best information for construction and fit as well.  Is something more boxy than slouchy?  I don’t need more box in my waist, so no thank you:

Open Knit Textured Sweater at Gap

Four – look at the models.  If something appears too short on the model, it’s probably not going to work on me.  Is she in danger of flashing her underthings?  Then I can almost guarantee that "dress" will only work as a tunic for me:

A model showing a lot of thigh in a Greylin dress at Piperlime

At the same time, if the sleeves of a blouse are too long on a model, maybe it will actually work for me:

Suno Blouse at Bluefly

Of course, this tip works especially well for those websites, like Piperlime, that actually give you the measurements of the model or mannequin:

So helpful!

Five – consider your choices carefully.  Remember, you can’t try these clothes on and if you live in an isolated area, it could take some time, and money, returning items that don’t work for you.  So, know your measurements, know your body, read the reviews and find brands that work for you.

Happy Shopping,



  1. So helpful for us tall girls! Thank you. I do read reviews often before buying tall clothing. But some companies, like J.Crew, don't have reviews. What they do have is the option to chat with a customer service rep online. I have never tried it but would if I wasn't sure about an item.

    Have you ever ordered anything from Long Tall Sally? I have not but I often go there to browse. I haven't bought anything because I suspect the quality is not that great. Interested to hear if you have had any experience with them.

    Have a lovely Monday!

  2. I think this is good advice for anyone online shopping! I pretty much do all my shopping that way and I follow your same procedures.

  3. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who has to do all of these things! And I love shopping at as well because they always list the height of the model (which comes in handy with dresses especially).

    Hudson East

  4. Thank you SO VERY VERY MUCH for these posts! Im so grateful to the online community after finding post like this (which are true gems). Gracey I have really had such a difficult time for YEARS trying to find clothes...blogs like yours have helped so much in the process of finding "tall person clothes." For tops... I sometimes like to try the american apparel men's section. The sleeves tend to run longer and the men's line tends to run a lot slimmer than most mens clothing lines. And also, don't you just love piperlime?


  5. Smart advice. I struggle with this, too, and can use all the help available. Learned several new things from you here. Danke!

  6. What a clever tip. It is very useful in the long run especially for those online shoppers. Thanks so much.


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