Q&A: Modest Fashion for Tall Women

September 30th, 2008

Q:  I’m 19 years old, 6′2", and have a skinny body. I love fashion, but for religious reasons I’m supposed to wear modest clothes, like long skirts or dresses, but they always make me look even taller and not very attractive.  I hope you have some advice for me on how I can look chic, shorten my height, and still dress modestly.

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A:
To make yourself look shorter, the key is to manage the visual length of your legs.  Basically, the shorter your legs look, the shorter you look.  So skip the high waisted pants, and instead opt for low rise styles.  Any garments that visually lower your waistline will help to create the illusion of a shorter you - drop waist coats and dresses, skirts with a lower waistline, and low rise pants. 

The other key way to manage your height is to choose garments with horizontal details.  The horizontal details draw the eye from side to side, which will help to visually shorten you.  Look for horizontal stripes, horizontal seamlines, and any other details that visually cut your body widthwise.

Layering is going to be your friend as you put your outfits together.  With your height (and your age), you have the opportunity to experiment more with layering.  Pictured is a simple fashion formula that you can play with: a drop waist coat, a long sweater that hits at the hip, a top with horizontal details, wide-leg jeans, and flats.  When the weather gets chillier, add a colorful scarf to the outfit for extra color and texture.

Last words - I know it may be hard now, but I hope that you’ll come to embrace your height in time.  I’m at the opposite end of the height scale, and I always wanted to be tall, if only for the fashion!  With your tall, slim physique, you can wear the styles that I can only dream of!.

What advice do you have for fashion-forward women who dress modestly? Share your style with us in the comments!

Entry Filed under: Q&A, Ready Made Outfits, Women, Women's

10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Elle  |  September 30th, 2008 at 12:56 am

    These are all great tips for a tall slim girl. I just wanted to add that dressing modestly doesn’t have to make you look less attractive. Many young girls fall into the trap of thinking skin is in, but end up looking cheap. You’ll probably end up developing a sophisticated, elegant sense of style at an early age. Whatever your frame, whatever other constraints you have on your wardrobe just remember to be positive and confident and your style will shine through.

  • 2. Emily  |  September 30th, 2008 at 6:56 am

    Check out ELIZA magazine (www.elizamagazine.com). I have a subscription and I get so many cool and creative ideas about
    how to wear clothing modestly yet hip. There are alot of us out there who LOVE fashion but for religious/personal reasons we choose to dress modestly. ELIZA opened me up to the creative side of that world.

  • 3. Sarah  |  September 30th, 2008 at 8:33 am

    I’m going to have to disagree with the choice of jeans. Many religions don’t allow women to wear pants, and skirts and dresses are the way to go. This advice would’ve been more useful if you had chosen modest length skirts that still would’ve elongated her body.

  • 4. Liz  |  September 30th, 2008 at 11:19 am

    I agree with Sarah! The gal needs to wear skirts for religious reasons but you just suggest wearing pants! Didn’t you read her question?!

  • 5. Grace  |  September 30th, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    These are good choices - though I’m 6′ and sadly pants and coats from places like AE or Forever 21 are generally way too short for me unless I want to pretend long sleeves are 3/4 sleeves. It’s hard to find things that fit sometimes.

  • 6. Trisha  |  September 30th, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    Elle - Agree with you 100% :)

    Emily - Thanks for the tip about Eliza Magazine. I also love the blog We Love Hijab (http://welovehijab.com/).

    Sarah/Liz - Point well taken on the jeans - while the answer to the question included drop waist dresses and skirts with a lower waistline, the picture did not show it.

    Grace - where are some of your favorite places to find clothes made for tall women?

  • 7. texasgirl  |  October 1st, 2008 at 11:34 am

    I am 5′10″ but have fairly long legs. Pants are always an issue. NY&Co. has tall sizes, and Gap.com sells an XL Tall (36″ inseam).

  • 8. Mimi  |  October 1st, 2008 at 3:34 pm

    I notice a number of women in my area who dress modestly wear a dress over a pair of slacks

  • 9. Grace  |  October 1st, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    I really like Diesel because of the way it is cut. I usually buy their coats because the sleeves are long enough. Also, a lot of more expensive designer brands are cut longer or come intending to be hemmed.

    Gap/Banana Republic/JCrew sell a few items in tall sizes online but they only sell them in S/M/L. I’m an XS but sometimes I buy the size S and belt it or take it in because I like the prices better.

    Sometimes Abercrombie or Ruehl run long, too, but generally junior sized pants/long sleeves are a big no.

  • 10. Carmen  |  October 9th, 2008 at 9:24 am

    Modest and fashion forward are not mutually exclusive. I suggest slim lines. A long pencil skirt or a long slim (not tight) dress always look elegant and in style. Elegance never goes out of style. You can add color and pattern, accessories or scarves, and stand-out footwear. Slim pants or jeans and jackets or tunic tops that cover the bum work also. Play with a lot of color. I’m making these suggestions because although I do not have the height, I do have the religious modesty, and it’s what works really well for me.

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