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"The struggles of being 6'2" and shopping on the high street"

Fashion as a tall woman is a minefield 

By Lateefah Jean-Baptiste - Apr 26, 2019

The older I get, the less shopping on the high street appeals to me. As you're rushing around trying to find the perfect outfit for your friend’s birthday next week, you’re greeted with large groups of sightseeing tourists, sellers trying to get you to donate to their cause, and loud music coming the crowd forming around the break-dancers - it can all be a bit daunting for anyone. But imagine how it must feel when you’re 6’2".

With palazzo trousers that fit like culottes, and mini dresses that literally just about cover our bums, it can be hard out here for a tall girl. Being a 6’2" woman means that most of the stores on the high street don’t cater to my long torso and even longer legs.

I remember when I was looking for holiday outfits for a girls trip on the high street. I entered my first store and saw a few bits that I wanted to try on, and honestly what happened in that fitting room next was nothing short of comedic. First I attempted to try on a jumpsuit, but what I ended up with was a camel toe. However, I didn’t give up hope and tried on the next outfit.

This one was worse than the first one. This time it was my long arms and 36-inch legs that were the problem. The long sleeves were more like ¾ lengths and the wide leg bottom half of the jumpsuit fit like boot cuts, just about reaching my ankle.

As I looked in the mirror all I could do was think that I resembled Shawn Wayans from the shopping scene in White Chicks, when he burst out of the clothes he tried on in the fitting room. Comical, but not the look I was going for.

By the end of my failed shopping trip, I wondered why I even bothered with high street stores and turned to what can only be referred to as all tall girls shopping safe haven; ASOS Tall.

I recently noticed that many shops that do have ranges created for tall women are usually online only. Topshop recently removed their tall section from their Westfield Stratford store and I don’t think I have ever seen a Dorothy Perkins or New Look tall section in store. Which is probably why the tall women I know prefer online shopping.

“I’m annoyed that a number of big high street stores have taken out the tall ranges and opted to put them online too. It’s just not fair, I should have the right to try things on in store like everybody else,” 6’2” Artist Kirsty Latoya told Cosmopolitan UK.

“I have a love-hate relationship with shopping because of my long limbs, combined with a lack of stores providing tall enough clothes. Some items like jeans are frequently labelled as tall but they come so far up my leg they look like pedal-pushers!”

Youtuber Gifty Appiah noticed that there weren’t many clothing hauls that catered to tall women in the UK. Which is why she decided to film a Tall Girl Haul, where she shares her knowledge on the hotspots for tall girls to shop.

“I remember being in desperate need of a last-minute outfit for a night out, which meant I had no time to order online. I was on the hunt for a lightweight jacket to throw on, and nothing catered to my long arms,” says the 6ft Youtuber.

“Usually I’ll have to buy a size 16 instead of my usual size 12 just to get some extra length, and that’s still never really enough. It’s extremely frustrating, but that’s the reality of being 6ft and trying to find clothes that fit.”

If we’re being honest, a lot of the high street brands’ tall ranges aren’t exactly oozing with a variety of patterns, styles and colours. I can’t even begin to explain how frustrating it is walking into a store, seeing a cute playsuit and thinking "I really hope they have that in the tall section", only to check the tall range (online of course) to be meet with a range of basic t-shirts, jeans and jackets.

But I know it’s not only us tall girls that go through this. Petite and plus-sized women have often shared their struggle to find clothes that fit on the high street. However, online stores like Pretty Little Thing, Boohoo and Missguided have petite and plus size sections, so I’m hopeful the high street is beginning to think about different body types.

I guess, because I’ve been tall all my life, I’ve learned how to navigate the high street properly. I know what shops to go to and what ones to avoid, and thanks to shops like Zara and Mango occasionally having some pieces that cater to my body type, shopping is becoming easier.

But, for the most part if I want a pair of good quality trousers, jumpsuit or mini dress I head straight online.

All women should have the luxury of trying before we buy. Just once it would be nice to walk in a store and pick up a cute jumper without having to roll up the sleeves, or some decent pair trousers that don’t fit like ankle grazers.

Between the strangers mumbling ‘wow she is tall’ and asking if you play basketball or model (because you know all tall girls are good for is modelling and playing sports), to then not being able to find anything that fits – it’s enough to send any tall girl over the edge.

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