The Best Workwear for Tall Women

The Best Workwear for Tall Women (5'8" and up!) | CorporetteAre you taller than 5’8″?  Where do you find the best workwear for tall women?  We had a good conversation a few weeks ago about the best workwear for petites, so I thought I’d continue the series.  We’ve talked about the best suits for tall girls before, as well as “clothes for Amazonians,” but not in a long while. (Pictured: J.Crew’s Schoolboy Blazer in Tipped Wool, available in tall sizes – – was $268 now $228 in three colors.)

Some of the readers’ favorite online shops mentioned previously include:

Other stores that offer tall sizes (which may or may not have been offering them when we last had the discussion in 2009):

Tall readers, what are your favorite stores for workwear?  What are your best tips, tricks, and resources? 

(L-#)

Comments

  1. I’m not very tall, but that still looks like a nice jacket to me

  2. I could write a novel on this topic, but I think the #1 most important tip for being tall and looking great in clothes is to understand your measurements. For instance, I can look at a dress on a model online and not be sure how inappropriately short it’d be on me. But if there’s a listing of the length, I know that anything under 43″ is probably not work appropriate. Similarly, I know how long pants need to be if I plan to wear them with flats, and how long if I plan to wear with heels. I understand my sleeve length requirements too. Last, figure out which brands “cut long.” Some are listed above…but sometimes you can sneak into normal sizes, if you know your measurements.

    • I agree. Having garment measurements is helpful. Knowing a pant’s inseam or the length of a skirt limits potential returns. I also appreciate the stores that list the model’s height. If something’s knee-length on a 5’11 model, that will be okay. But if the model’s 5’8 then I probably have to pass, etc.

      • I find this sometimes is very deceptive – I’ve seen a lot of dresses etc. online that look long enough on “5’11″ models that when they arrive are definitely not long enough for me (perhaps because a lot of my height in my thighs? Or the models just lie about their height?) I’m glad it works for you though! I am so appreciative when they include the product measurements.

        • This is my beef with a lot of retailers. Victoria’s Secret and Loft as of late. VS has 6’1″ Karlie Kloss in a pair of pants that have a 32″ inseam. There is no way those pants are long enough for her. Cool they have a pair of custom made pants for her that they aren’t actually selling. My next problem is Loft using Karolina Kurkova as a model. She’s at least 5’11″ with what looks like the world’s longest legs. I know some of those pants shouldn’t fit her. I’m 5’11″ and need at least a 35″ inseam (with flats!) so this is extremely frustrating. That being said, both VS and Loft do have a decent selection of dress pants.

          • Hi. Well, I don’t know how long the VS model you’re speaking about legs are however it is possible that she does wear a 32 inseam. It is probably camera angles making her legs look ridiculously long. My daughters father is almost 6’4 and his inseam is a 34. I am 6’1 and my inseam is a 37&a half. So, it is possible. She probably has trouble finding long enough shirts since she must have a longer torso than legs if she’s 6’1. I have the opposite problem, plus super long arms. Mostly XXXL in shirt size for the sleeves to fit when I’m more like a medium or large depending on the brand. The Buckle is another good place to shot for pants and jeans if you have a long inseam and their xtra long tank tops are great and last a long time. It is frustrating that there aren’t more retailers selling pants with longer inseams. Especially online.

          • I just looked up Karli Kloss to see what her leg length was. According to healthycaleb.com she has a 34 inseam. Makes sense when looking at her pic online.

    • I’m not tall, but ladies who need petite and regular sizes would benefit too if online retailers would give product measurements for the sizes they offer. This is a thing a appreciate very much of net-a-porter and their sister site theoutnet, because they offer product measurements for each of the sizes. This way, regardless how tall and petite you are, you can estimated where a skirt or dress will hit, or if you need to size up or down for your bust or waist. If you’re somewhat as tall as the model, you might get away with hem length, but if you’re much taller or shorter than the model, it is often difficult to guess when you don’t have any product measurements.

  3. AttiredAttorney :

    Boden’s workwear collection includes “long” inseam pants.

  4. Boden US has tall sizes and their tall dresses are long enough for me (5’11″) to wear to work. Talbots doesn’t have tall sizes but their clothing is cut very modestly, and their regular size dresses are longer than a lot of stores “tall” sizes (Ann Taylor, I’m looking at you). Most Talbots dresses I’ve ordered have been almost knee length on me. Those are my go-tos for work dresses.

    • I should show this page to ROSA, but she does NOT work (outside the house, that is). Rosa has almost everything I want. A beautiful house in the country (Chapaqua), a doteing husband (ED), 2 beautiful children, and the life of liesure!!!! She has a cleaneing lady come in 2x a week and a live-in COOK-MAID-NANNY to take care of cookeing and baby things. Ed has a gardener come do the outside stuff, so all Rosa has to do is figure out what the kid’s have to wear when they go off to school. Rosa is very svelte and she was a model.

      Your’s truly (Me), on the other hand does not have any of this stuff, other then a Cleaneing lady. I live in an apartement with NO husband or child, and I cook my own meal’s. But I do have a good job and am admitted to the NYS Bar where I remain in GOOD Standeing.

      Last week, the State Bar called to tell me they want to audit my CLE’s to verify that I took 24 credit’s each year for the past 4 year’s. I told them it would take a littel time for me to find the CERTIFICATE’s, so they gave me until Monday October 28 to schedule a meeting with their AUDITOR. I have to find CERTIFICATES for old CLE’s. I onley have a total of 20 credit’s and NONE in ethic’s. I wonder if there is any place I could take some CLE quick. The manageing partner say’s he knows someone in the bar associateion that can make me up some certificate’s but I know it is NOT right. Frank also said that I could borrow someone’s CLE certificate’s until after the AUDIT, but I am not to sure about that either. DOUBEL FOOEY! Why does this have to hapen to me? I need to be married so I do NOT have to put up with this stuff. I would let my HUSBAND take care of all of this for me. TRIPEL FOOEY!

      • clecenter.com should be helpful until you get your mrs but a lottery ticket might be better since your luck should change.

    • Lady Harriet :

      +1 I have a friend who is 6 ft, and she wears a lot of Boden and Talbots. She always looks very well put-together.

    • Anonymous :

      Talbots has tall sized pants (with a 35ish inch inseam). Their dresses and skirts are usually long enough for me. But I’m short for a tall person, I’m only 5’8″ so the regular length pants are usually too short and the tall pants need to be hemmed.

  5. The bane of my existence is that most stores that make tall sized shirts and jackets only make the sleeve longer and don’t adjust the shoulder and armholes proportionally so they still don’t fit. JCrew, I am looking at you.

    • Yep, JCrew definitely does this. It’s the same with dresses – they don’t adjust the waistline down, they just make the skirt a little longer. Everything ends up looking like an empire-waisted dress on 6′ tall me.

      • Oh, I’m actually a fan of this! I’m a couple sixteenths of an inch shy of 6′ but I’m only slightly taller than an average size small in the torso and most of my height is in my legs, so non-waistline adjusted dresses fit me perfectly. I haven’t tried JCrew’s but thanks for posting this.

    • Yes. I’m tall in the arms, legs and my shoulders are somehow wider. JCrew blazers LOOK great on me, but I can’t move in them at all because of my shoulders. It’s terrible.

  6. The most helpful thing for me to do while shopping for work clothes is to understand my proportions and how my height/body affects the way certain pieces of clothing look. I don’t wear button-down shirts to work because the combination of my long torso, long decolletage, and high/small arm opening means that 99% of button-downs will gap across my chest regardless of size. I swear that the sky opened up and a choir of angels sang when I realized that it was the shirt, and not my body, that was the problem there. Another one of my tricks is to look for unintended potential in pieces (a la Tim “make it work” Gunn). I hem those too-short long sleeves into bracelet sleeves. I’ve shortened minidresses to make tops. I wear a lot of short sleeves with blazers and/or cardigans. When I find something that works, I buy multiples. Including/especially shoes.

  7. anon in tejas :

    tj,

    I am headed to Boston later this week for the firs time. I have no clue what to expect for weather. I’m from Houston, specifically Texas. We just had our first cold front blow in this weekend, and temperatures finally dropped from the 90s. Rainy? Humid? Leather jacket? Peacoat?

    • It depends on how sensitive you are to the cold. The locals will be wearing mid-weight jackets, often unbuttoned, with no scarf, hat or gloves. They’ll likely have wintery clothes on underneath, but not yet serious New England winter clothes (e.g., think fine merino wool sweater with jeans as opposed to heavy wool fisherman sweater with cords). But as a Texan, you will likely be chillier than the Bostonians. Evenings will likely be in the 40s and daytime in the 60s (or a bit cooler). It could be rainy or sunny (weather.com shows sun). If it’s sunny, it will be crisp and dry (and gorgeous — I do miss my home this time of year). It will likely be warmish in the sun, but cool in the shade. I’d suggest you bring the leather jacket, a scarf (a warm one — not silk but wool or similar – if you don’t own one, a good pashmina will also work), and gloves. If you’re warm, you can ditch the scarf and gloves, but if you’re cold, the scarf does a lot to keep the heat in.

      • anon in tejas :

        Thanks! I’ll definitely do that. I’m also going to bring some leggings (to wear under pants), just in case my conference/meetings are super cold.

    • tj – I”m in Boston. It’s rainy, warm & humid today but is supposed to be clear & cooler later this week (low 60s). Leather Jacket &/or sweater. Leave the peacoat home.

      Regarding Kat’s post – I’m 5’8″ with long legs so I look for pants with longer inseams. Loft and Banana Republic are my go-to choices. I with they carried tall sizes in the stores. I will go into the store to try the different fits and sizes, then order the longer lengths on line. Most tall jackets and blouses are too long for me so I look for regular sizes that have longer arm lengths.

    • Layers layers layers. The weather changes dramatically from day to day, and from early morning to mid-afternoon. I wouldn’t bring the pea coat, but yes to the leather jacket – it works in a variety of temps, and is good if it gets rainy. You’ll get laughed at by the locals for wearing a wool scarf and gloves just yet, but so what? You’re from Texas! Just don’t forget the layers…

  8. Tall and proud :

    I’m 5’11″ and my pant suits are generally The Limited (tall), Banana (tall), Benetton, Dana Buchman, and Tahari. I wear a lot of separates – St. John pants and jackets, DKNY pants, Lauren pants (occasionally – the length varies greatly), Armani jackets, The Skirt, Brooks Brothers shirts etc. My dress collection is meager, but usually St. John because the fit has less of a defined waist. For me, I absolutely MUST try it on before I buy. I’ve still had some disappointments, but overall, sticking to what works and being willing to try on anything and everything has allowed me more variety in my wardrobe. And, I NEVER pay full price! I’m a sales shopper thru and thru.

  9. Anonymous :

    This is a minor gripe, but I wish stores offered tall versions of all sizes not just the 4-12 range.

  10. I’m 5’9″ (so, not super-tall), but I am currently liking Theory suits and Talbots ponte knit dresses. Also, J.Crew No. 2 pencil skirts and Brooks Brothers for button-down tops. I have not tried out the Talbots suiting, but they do have tall sizes.

  11. Pretzel_Logic :

    I have a couple pairs of dress pants from Express and the stitching on the hems is crap, but easily fixed. (I’m 5’9″, need a 35-36″ inseam)

    White House Black Market shirts (basics, particularly) are always long enough for me, but I’m definitely mostly leg. I’m desperate to find jeans that work though. I can’t find anything in my inseam in an actual store, and I hate the way skinny jeans look on me (which is what the sales people always try to bring me…)

    Athleta has long lengths of everything, btw. I love all the stuff I’ve gotten there.

    • Try Joes Jeans or Levis. I have had great luck with length. (Joes run long and Levis have a range of inseam lengths)

    • Hollis Doyle :

      I just bought some Jag bootcut jeans last weekend, and they must be a 36″ inseam. I’m 6′ tall with long legs and was pleasantly surprised at how long they were. Gap also carries longs in their stores. Joe’s Jeans style called “Twiggy” are AWESOME. They’re definitely at least a 36″ inseam, although I’m having a hard time finding them in a store anymore. Check out Rock and Republic brand too. I don’t think theirs actually say that they’re “long” or “tall,” but they run super long.

    • Levis, Joes, 7FAM, Rock & Republic, Hudson, Gap, Banana. I know these places carry long inseam non-skinnies because I own them or tried them. With the designer brands, Rock & Republic will almost always be long enough. The others are hit or miss and I’ve found that they don’t usually accurately describe the inseam length online. I’ve had plenty of luck finding 7FAM, Joes and Hudson at Nordstrom Rack in long enough lengths.

  12. I’m just shy of 5’10″, but have the arms (and maybe the legs?) of someone 2 inches taller. I was actually pretty impressed with Jcrew’s non-tall suit offerings. I ended up with a regular sized jacket and the arm length was pretty perfect. The suit pants also have a generous enough hem that it could be let down if need be. And if the regular lengths are long enough, the talls are 36″ finished inseam, with about 1.5 to 2 inches of hem that can be let down.

    • J Crew arm lengths are never even close on me. I’m 5’6″ (so not tall) with a 6’2″ wingspan (if I flap aggressively I may take off).

  13. Calibrachoa :

    Oooh, this is lovely. Do I dare to hope that since we’ve covered petites and talls, plus sizes will show up soon? :)

  14. Thanks to Kat for trying to cater the different size groups! Ditto what many say above. Lots of experimentation. I’m not super tall (5’10″). Whether I need tall sizes depends somewhat on what is in style. Love the midi skirt/dress trend and when longer tops are in fashion (especially longer blazer styles, since the tall jackets are usually just longer of arm, not necessarily body). When that is true, I shop more. If it’s a crop top season, I might not buy anything at all.

    The real place where I can’t ever find ANYTHING long enough is pajama bottoms. Has anyone figured this out? I’m tempted to buy men’s tall landsend pj bottoms and have them hemmed an inch or two. Which I realize sounds crazy but I might do it anyway.

    Long torso one pieces are also really hard to find. Jcrew is the only thing I’ve found that is stylish enough, and they only have a a few a season. I usually wear bikinis as a result.

    • Anonymous :

      Jcrew occasionally carries tall pajama pants.

    • Ditto on pajama bottoms. Eddie Bauer used to make long ones, not sure if they still do. And Hanna Andersson unisex pajamas are pretty long.

      I generally shop for tall clothing at Ann Taylor, LOFT and the Gap. I agree on Talbots dresses being long enough – most are knee length on me. Overall I can find pants that are long enough pretty easily (inseam 34″). Tops and especially sweaters are more challenging. But my biggest issue is finding loungewear that works. I’m pretty tired of black Old Navy yoga pants!

    • Anonymous :

      I’m also 5’10″. Eddie Bauer has tall pajama bottoms. I also sew my own — a pattern for elastic waist pajama bottoms is pretty simple (I’m definitely not an advanced seamstress). I got some tall sweats I wear as pajama bottoms from J. Crew years ago — not sure if they still have those.

      I bought a long torso one piece swim suit from Lands End a few years ago. Lately I just buy tankinis from Lands End, Lime Ricki or Down East Basics (only sold seasonally). Many tankini tops are long enough.
      Good luck!

    • Charlotte :

      So, I’m with you on the pajama bottoms and bathing suits. I’m only 5’8″, but given that I have either a 33″ or 34″ inseam, it means I fall in between a lot of sizes. With the PJ bottoms, I usually start out okay, but it’s the washing [and drying] that makes them shorter. I haven’t found a solution for that.

      As for bathing suits — I struggle, b/c I don’t consider myself to really have a bikini body (very short waisted, yet broad-shouldered), nor am I so tall that I fall into “tall” territory. I have tried Land’s End long-torso suits, which aren’t bad, but I didn’t actually buy one; the fit was almost too long. I wore a bikini this year on vacation, for the first time, but I most covered up with one of J Crew’s rash guards. It was sooooo much more comfortable than wearing a one-piece. A couple other solutions I’ve found are to find a one-piece with adjustable shoulder straps, and to size one size up. The latter works on a case-by-case basis for me, especially if I want to have some shaping in the bust. The increased size sometimes makes the bust of the suit too saggy.

    • Long Tall Sally has cute suits, but their clothes are for the taller tall women. Their one-pieces might actually be a little too long. I’m 6′ with a long torso and my LTS one-piece is even a little long on me.

    • anonypotamus :

      I’m not super tall either (5’9″) and I find that I regularly go to the men’s side of the store for pj bottoms. I think my current pairs are jcrew from a couple of years ago. Esp for more flannel-y loungy ones, I find the men’s section has a better selection and are usually the perfect length for me without hemming, although I don’t mind when they drag on the ground a bit – I like the slouchy look.

      • I doubt you’ll see this, but just in case — for PJ bottoms, I found Calvin Klein has long ones! I’m 6′ and they fit!!

    • Anna-Catherine :

      Long elegant legs has clothing just in tall lengths. The pj pants have 36′inseam. I have bought skinny jeans and button downs. And several other things I can’t remember over the years.

    • The Jcrew cotton sleep pant in long. I think someone else linked to them below. I was also able to get them at 25-30% off so I didn’t feel like a fool for buying JCrew pajamas. They are amazing. I absolutely love them.

      I too was on the hunt for long pajama bottoms for the longest time.. settling on mens large or xl plaid flannel bottoms. Those too weren’t even long enough! Other tip: old navy and gap long sweatpants/workout pants. And apparently VS carries 34″ inseam pj bottoms but I think you need to buy them in a set. I can’t say enough good things about the JCrew ones though.

    • Lily-Student :

      One-pieces – I have the Dynamo swimsuit from Sweaty Betty and I LOVE it. £££ but in the sale it was the same price as a normal Adidas or Speedo suit. Seriously.

      PJ bottoms – Primark in the UK. Cheap, cheerful, and looooooooooong.

  15. Why haven’t retailers figured out that you can make pants shorter, but not longer! Drives me crazy! You petite ladies are lucky, as there is an abundance of petite clothes in stores. If long inseam pants are an option (and a lot of times they aren’t), I ALWAYS have to order them online…and wait for them and pay for shipping. Here’s the kicker… I need a 34″ inseam, so after waiting for the pants and paying shipping, I may have to take them to a tailor and get them shortened by a couple of inches. Defies logic!

    • Charlotte :

      I hear you, and I do the same thing! I wish the pants came unhemmed, as men’s used to be, and then could be tailored. Except then that might destroy the shape. Women’s pants — unless they are true flowy trousers — usually have some sort of contours that might be thrown off if a pant leg is shortened or lengthened too much (e.g., bootcut, flare, even skinny, I’d imagine).

      • Story of my life. And you might actually be able to find 34″ inseam pants in stores (Express, Limited). I need 35-36″ and they definitely aren’t in stores. So then I have to pay $8 for shipping form Ann Taylor, Loft, or VS. I’ve gotten so tired of that, I just order like $125 worth of stuff and return what I don’t like.

  16. Mountain Girl :

    Any recommendations for online shops or brands that make generously cut long sleeves on their regular sized sweaters? I’m looking for a tall, slightly fitted v-neck cardigan in black. This sounds simple enough but all the tall shops seem to be missing this item. BR usually has nice v-neck cardigans in tall but they have nothing right now except some strange fur trimmed thing. And, I don’t want to pay much more than BR would cost.

    • Look at Nordstrom/Nordstrom Rack. I have two Caslon brand cashmere blend v-neck cardigans that are long enough on my arms (6’2″ but I’m a short rectangle).

    • I recently bought tall turtleneck sweaters and a black cardigan form the Gap (online). So far they are working really well for me. Sleeves are very long as is the torso. So far they wash well and the prices were reasonable.

  17. I’m 5’11″. I’ve had good luck with jeans at both Gap and The Limited. For pajama pants, JCPenney used to have tall PJs, but I don’t know if they still do. I’ve also gotten some good dresses at Anne Taylor, Talbots, and Banana Republic. I’ve also had good luck with Jones of New York dresse (even though they don’t specifically come in talls). After reading this, I”ll have to check out Boden!

  18. To Your Measure makes custom pants for women. You select the style you want, the fabric, enter your measurements and the pants will be delivered to you in about 2 weeks. Because each pair is custom made to your specifications, you can get what you want with just the click of the mouse. Visit http://www.ToYourMeasure.com and check out our styles and fabrics

  19. While thankfully finding pants in longer inseams has become 1000% easier in the last few years, finding shirts and sweaters with long enough sleeves is still obnoxious. Banana Republic, Gap, and Old Navy are my go-to places to tall tops, but even then often the tall sizes will only be in boring colors, and there’s so few options for prints! Athleta, also owned by Gap, is sportier, but also has some good clothes in tall sizes.

    JC Penney has some tall sizes online, including shirts and sweaters! I just placed my first order to them, so I can’t comment on the quality yet, but the prices are good enough that it might not matter much if you’re just trying to fill holes in your wardrobe quickly.

    Wool Overs includes arm length measurements in their sweater descriptions, I’m also considering buying from them

  20. Nervous 2L :

    If you are very wealthy, I tried on a Hugo Boss suit that was designed like it was cut for someone my height (5’10”) or taller. It was also obscenely over my budget.

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