Play With Proportions, Define Your Waistline, and Embrace the Crop in all Forms: A Guide to Tall Dressing
August 24, 2018 | Filed in: Your Closet
After we published MM stylist Audrey’s guide to petite dressing, the calls came pouring in: “Don’t forget about us tall ladies!” “Can you write a tall-friendly article, too?” And so we turned to our team member Pauline who, at 5’10”, is our resident expert on tall style. Below, Pauline shares her go-to style tips for tall women.
Fashion shows always confused me: The runway models were around my height, yet when I tried clothes on in stores, they never fit quite right—everything was too short in the torso or too narrow across my shoulders. While I was initially frustrated by he process of dressing my tall frame, often making do with ill-fitting styles, I’ve grown to love the challenge of finding the perfect pieces to accentuate and flatter my longer legs and torso. And in my years working as an MM stylist, I’ve developed a loose set of “rules” for myself and my taller customers.
Rule #1: Play with proportions.
It’s always a good idea to make sure there’s some balance to your look, whether it’s pairing a tailored top with a wide-leg trouser like the Flynn or a tapered pant with a blousy top. The great thing about mixing up the proportions is that it allows you to bring the focus to one part of the body—tailored pants and volume on top will emphasize the length of your legs, while wide-leg pants and fitted tops bring the focus upward.
Rule #2: Define your waist.
Having a long leg line is something to embrace. When I was younger, I sometimes felt uncomfortable towering over all of my friends, but I eventually learned to appreciate my long limbs and want to highlight them. My favorite way to draw focus to my legs is by defining my waist. Wearing a belt slightly above the natural waistline elongates legs, giving the illusion that they start super high on your body.
Rule #3: Embrace the crop in all its forms.
I’ve come a long way when it comes to loving anything cropped. I remember struggling to find longer inseam pants in high school and vowing to myself that once I was an adult, all of my pants would graze the floor—just how I liked them. But when I came to MM, many showroom stylists encouraged me to try the (cropped) Foster pant, insisting they were flattering on petite and tall customers alike. After much resistance, I finally gave in—and am now the proud owner of three pairs. They’re so comfortable, and the crop hits a few inches above my ankle, pairing perfectly with a pointy-toe flat or even a pair of sneakers on the weekend.
And embracing crops doesn’t only apply to pants: Several MM tops have bracelet-length sleeves that are designed to show off your watch or bracelet (hence the name). If you’re on the taller side, you might first assume these tops don’t fit, but the sleeves are intentionally designed to be shorter, so they’ll look just right hitting either at or above the wrist.
While certainly not mandatory, these guidelines have made my life easier. They’ve helped me to embrace my longer limbs and push myself to try looks I previously would have shied away from. And as a stylist, they’ve been instrumental in helping my tall customers find exactly the right styles and fits to make them look their best.
Looking for more tall-friendly styles? Start here.
Photographs by Yan Ruan.