Tall suits... for women?
July 6, 2007 11:30 PM   Subscribe

Tall, skinny girls - where do you find your suits?

For those of us who are tall and gangly without the blessings of what it takes to make a modeling career (in which people would make clothes for us), shopping for certain things can be a challenge. I'm in search of a good black suit, or even just a nice form-fitting blazer. I've found "tall" pants that fit at J.Crew and Banana Republic, and I guess I'm more proportional on the bottom, but their suit jackets only come in either (a) 2 Tall or (b) 0 Regular. I need a 0 Tall. They don't seem to exist.

So, my tall, slim sisters - are there are brands or designers (within the even remotely reasonable price range) that make tall, form-fitting jackets? I just have absurdly long arms, I guess, and I've never found "regular"-length sleeves that fit except at American Eagle, which doesn't really make the kind of professional or adult clothes I'm looking for. Maybe I need to try some new places - FCUK, Club Monaco? I could take a trip to the city if anyone thinks it would be worth the trouble. Thanks!
posted by you're a kitty! to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (18 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
J.C. Penney has a good selection of "tall" professional wear.
posted by amyms at 11:40 PM on July 6, 2007

There are some online retailers that specalise in tall womes clothing, if you do a search here you'll find a few threads. I have long arms and have had ok luck with Calvin klein, Jones New York, JCPenney & Topshop.

I find that (northern) european brands tends to fit me much better but I pretty much still have to get all my jackets tailored. Generally if they fit me in the shoulders and chest I need at least 5-6" taken out of the waist and the buttons moved upwards. Because of that I buy simpler styles that are easier to alter.
posted by fshgrl at 12:06 AM on July 7, 2007

I'm built pretty much like you, including the monkey arms. I've never seen 0 Talls either; all the major brand Tall lines seem to start at 2.

Having said that, have you definitely found that a 2 Tall doesn't fit, or are you just figuring you need a 0 Tall because you usually take a 0 otherwise? Keep in mind that for a jacket, our frames usually require not just extra length in the sleeves, but often a little more across the shoulders and back, due to our longer proportions. So a 2 Tall might work for you, even if you usually wear a 0. (In J. Crew, especially, I often find that I take a size higher than I often take elsewhere -- that is, I'm usually a 2 or 4 in other brands [e.g., Banana Republic], but I'm a 4 or 6 in J. Crew.) At the very least, it might be close enough that you'd only require some minor tailoring to get it to fit exactly right.
posted by scody at 12:18 AM on July 7, 2007

Hi!: I'm a guy who is pretty gangly. 6'3" with, like, four elbows.

My 'lower-slung' hips and thin waist with broad shoulders often leaves me with too-wide pants and shirts/coats/jackets with almost enough room for two(fat America?). At my budget I've been poorly fit for almost my entire life.

Recently, I've found that quality tailors exist that do nice work at a reasonable rate. The're often Chinese, Vietnamese, or Korean and also a 2nd or 3rd generation tailor; Usually quite good but YMMV. Find one that can do what you like and help support them.

My (semi-drunken)point is that often nice clothes can be gotten, maybe in a slightly larger size, and altered to fit you nearly perfectly.I think I was last charged about $12 to have a sweet pair of pants I found brought in at the waist to fit me without a belt.
posted by a_green_man at 2:06 AM on July 7, 2007

Oh: I guess I am aware(not really knowing) that clothes for women might have entirely different needs in re: to tailors, but this could apply, yes?
posted by a_green_man at 2:28 AM on July 7, 2007

Have you thought of these suit jackets which have three quarter length arms and are styled to be shorter in length?

These look really good if put together with the right trousers!!
posted by spotty_dog at 4:04 AM on July 7, 2007

You can buy 0 regular jackets and have the arms let out by a tailor, to an extent. A good suit (including most from J. Crew, I think) comes with extra fabric in the ends of the sleeves. If you feel the sleeve at the tip, you can gauge how much, up to 1.5 inches. This is an alteration you can learn to do yourself. You can buy a 2T and get the waist and shoulders taken in, by someone who knows what they're doing.
posted by Eringatang at 7:03 AM on July 7, 2007

Thinking about it, much more than 1.5 inches in some cases.
posted by Eringatang at 7:03 AM on July 7, 2007

Another guy here with a similar problem (skinny 6' 6").

In the end the only suits that really did fit are what I'd call semi made to measure: you try on one of their standard suits and they measure which bits should be altered. The whole thing is made according to your measurements in their factory (Italy & Morocco in my case but I'm in Northern-Europe).

I'm not sure this kind of service is offered for women. Probably not. So that'd mean you have to go for made to measure.

Either way that is much better than having a suit that is too wide altered: those will inevitably, when you're talking about more than 1/2 an inch, start to be warped and wrinkled near the shoulder and be out of whack generally.

I notice that you're a student. That could be unfortunate; I wasn't able to afford suits with a good fit until well into my working life.

Really wonderful not to be swimming in you suit around the waist. Looks really sharp too.

(btw tall girls are wonderful!)
posted by jouke at 8:15 AM on July 7, 2007

Try United Colors of Benetton if there's one near you. Their suit sizing is much more slimming than those typically found in American stores. Not sure about NY but right now in SF, they're clearing out last season's collection at 40% off everything, including sale items.
posted by junesix at 9:11 AM on July 7, 2007

I love Club Monaco but.. I wear a 6 Tall and their trousers are *just* barely long enough for me to wear with flats - with heels, too short. I do own a 3/4 sleeve jacket from there and it's great but I have to be very, very careful about fit with everything there because really it's not proportioned tall. Crew and Banana Republic.. I always find their cuts a little on the boxy side.. not crazy about it..

Shoulders are the most difficult alteration & I've always heard that if it doesn't fit in the shoulders, don't buy.

Honestly if you wear an 0 Tall you probably should look in more expensive stores, is the thing.. try See by Chloe or Theory or go to your local high end department store and ask them to help you. It won't be cheap but a suit that really fits is something you'll get a lot of wear out of.. so.. probably worth it
posted by citron at 9:21 AM on July 7, 2007

The other thing is.. Do you absolutely need a suit right now? I know in some fields you need it but.. what about a wrap dress?

Oh, I know! ZARA. Go to one Zara. All their clothes are cut absurdly tall and skinny. I can buy trousers off the rack there and need heels for them to not drag on the ground.
posted by citron at 9:26 AM on July 7, 2007

There's a Tall Girl store in Boston that I loved visiting, cause it made me feel short (at 5'10"). I think it's on Boylston and Clarendon. The last time I went to their website, it did not represent the variety found in the actual store. If you need pretty shoes in large sizes, Designershoes.com (an actual physical store) is around the corner on Newbury St.
posted by nursegracer at 9:36 AM on July 7, 2007

Zara is a great suggestion, their stuff is cut very slim, so is Theory. chloe is cut too short in the waist for me (but I am 6'+ so YMMV).

Once you find what you like you can check ebay too.
posted by fshgrl at 2:03 PM on July 7, 2007

Try Ann Taylor? I know when I was looking for regular-length pants there, I was frustrated to find the sizes I was looking for—but in tall. So you may find their tall selection just what you're looking for.
posted by limeonaire at 5:15 PM on July 7, 2007

Seconding Benetton (and Sisley, which I think is a sister store). I was unhappy with my suit collection for years (I felt like I looked as though I was wearing a sweater underneath my jacket...always too wide!). Benetton and Sisley fit me perfectly around the torso and shoulders, use European sizing and I have actually had to have their pants and jackets hemmed a little because they were too long. They're moderately priced and have good sales.
posted by xaire at 6:19 PM on July 8, 2007

Just chiming back in to agree with the Sisley recommendation. I have one Sisley jacket (regular size, not tall), and it fits me almost perfectly just as it is -- the sleeves could stand to come down a skosh, but really, it fits surprisingly well for not being a tall sized cut.
posted by scody at 4:25 PM on July 10, 2007

Yep, same company with similar sizing and fit. Benetton is the parent company, United Colors of Benetton is their main store and Sisley is their higher-end fashion store.
posted by junesix at 11:47 AM on July 12, 2007

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