The Perils Of Shopping If You've Got Long Legs

The Debrief: Apparently most retailers think if you're a tall women you also drive lorries for a living

Having long legs is one of the many things people say they really want but actually don’t. Like a Magimix – too heavy. Or to not live in London – no Ubers. Deep down we know we’re lucky not to have thick curly hair as it would always be knotty and we know being very tall is a thankless, hopeless task tempered only marginally by the fact we apparently have the shape to 'wear ponchos' or over-the-knee-boots or any other useless items of clothing we never want to wear.

Don’t believe me? I’ve lived with this six foot frame for ten years and know the highs and lows of having long legs. The highs are as follows:

People always let you sit in the front of the car and you always gracefully accept, knowing it doesn’t really make that much difference at all. Sometimes people compliment you on your long legs. That’s all.

And here are the lows:

Tall sections in clothing shops

If you walk through the petite section of a women’s shop, here’s what you’ll find: little blouses, floaty tea dresses, skimpy skirts, crop tops, fitted jackets, cute culottes and playsuits. They offer a selection of feminine clothing, ranging from looking like a member of Little Mix, to a Snow White costume. 

However, no such thing can be found in the dreaded tall section. For some reason all retail buyers think that if you’re a tall woman you also drive lorries for a living. The highstreet’s tall ranges offer the following: big grey jumpers, big black trousers, khaki jackets and cargo pants. Good luck finding anything to wear to a party that doesn’t make you look like a cameraman. 

There’s also a famous, very large shop in central London where one must walk through the petites section to get to the tall section. This is a particularly humiliating experience for any long-legged, broad-shouldered, big-footed she-man as every cute-as-a-button Polly Pocket sized woman looks at you while you stomp thunderously through their section, the floor shaking, Hall Of The Mountain King basically playing as you go. 

I am jealous of all of them. I hate women who talk about how tiny they are, knowing it makes them as adorable as a Beatrix Potter mouse. I hate the petite section. I hate the word 'petite.'

Ankle grazing trousers

When you have an outer leg measurement over 40 inches, you learn to just accept that trousers will never look exactly how they’re meant to look and rejoiced when the newly popular 'rolled-up boyfriend style' jean recently had its day. The hem of every pair of jeans you own sit just above your ankles and you can’t remember a time when it was any different.

Camel toe

Camel toe is de riguer for the long-legged lady and is why she will avoid jumpsuits or rompers unless they are very loose fitting. For the long-legged lady is more often than not also the long-bodied lady and there are few all in one ensembles that accommodate the length of a tall woman from crotch to shoulders without the gusset being hungrily eaten by her boofer, resulting in the aforementioned camel toe.

Writing this section has made me want to die.

Extra leg room on Easyjet

For many years I tried to cram my long and cumbersome pins into the shoe box space that is the seat of a budget flight resulting in cramp, tears and mood-swings that continued hours if not days into the holiday.

But - no more. We do not have to suffer in silence. For a measly 10-15 pounds, we can BUY extra legroom. I’ve done it twice so far – there’s no looking back.

Bottom flashing

All short skirts are a little too short when you have long legs. A 'midi' falls above the knee and a 'mini' should be renamed 'a bottom grazer.' Bottom grazers can look fantastic but are wildly impractical as you cannot bend, stretch, touch your hair or hug anyone without flashing your bottom. Basically you can walk slowly and stand and that’s about it.

Personally, I don't mind this, because having long legs is often the only thing I am pleased about. Although I am aware I look like one of those women who only wears inappropriately short skirts and is never seen in trousers because she was once told by a drunk insurance broker in an All Bar One that she has the best legs he had ever seen and has held onto this token compliment ever since.

Pretending to sit on a man’s knee

This is a particularly strenuous exercise. Tall girls weigh more – they just do. We pretend we’re in the same ball park as you, but we’re really not. Your fat weight is our skinny weight – there is simply more of us.

But people don’t seem to get that. When you tell them how much you weigh – they’re shocked. When they drunkenly throw you over their shoulder in a fireman’s lift, you can feel them huffing and puffing, surprised that you are basically a very large shelving unit. Only a very gangly woman knows the embarrassment of when a boyfriend boisterously pulls you to sit on his knee in a pub and the subsequent quad muscle tremor that comes from squatting very subtly above his thighs and pretending it’s your whole weight.

So next time you say you wish you were a leggy six foot thing, remember all the downsides and be grateful for what you have. And also really don’t buy a Magimix, get married instead and you might get one for free.

Follow Dolly on Twitter @dollyalderton

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Thank you for writing this article, it's so true, was creatively written and had me in fits of laughter from beginning to end.
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