Monday, July 23, 2012

Shopping for Giants – How to Shop

In my first Shopping for Giants post, I listed websites that carry giant- (tall and/or plus) sized clothes.  I do a lot of my retail shopping online because the fact of the matter is, not many stores carry “Long” or “Tall” sizes in their brick-and-mortar stores.  However, it’s not enough just to know where to shop like a giant; you also need to know how to shop like a giant. 

Online shopping can be tricky because, as you and I both know, just because something is labeled as “tall” doesn’t mean it is actually long enough for a tall person.  Just like we know a size 14 in one item is not always a 14 in another, even with the same retailer.

So, here are my tips for navigating the tricky world of online shopping.

One – know your measurements.  I’m not saying you have to memorize them (because, really, no one likes a show-off), but you should take them down and keep them next to the computer where your do your online shopping.  Most, if not all online retailers offer a size guide and knowing your measurements is the key to using it.  You do NOT want to assume that XL in your language means XL in their language and end up with a size 8 dress (unless that’s your size, then by all means, have at it).

Two – know your body.  I am broad shouldered with arms I like to think of as muscular.  I have a fairly flat stomach, but wide hips and healthy thighs.  My legs aren’t super long considering my height, but I have very long arms.  All of this means that if the feedback on a product is that it’s tight through the shoulders, arms, hips or thighs, it probably won’t work for me. 

Which brings us to number three…

Three – read the reviews.  I very rarely buy from an online retailer that doesn’t offer customer reviews.  And I definitely prefer customer reviews.  Some retailers, like Nordstrom, offer their opinion of how something fits, but if there are consumer reviews, I generally depend on those.

Is someone complaining that the inseam on a pair of pants is way too long, even with 3” heels?  Great!  That means they might actually be long enough for me:

Martin Fit Linen Trousers at Banana Republic

Customer reviews are especially helpful because many reviewers indicate if they are tall or curvy, often even giving their height, weight or measurements so that you can really tell if something will work for you: 

Even if you’re not worried about length, customer reviews offer the best information for construction and fit as well.  Is something more boxy than slouchy?  I don’t need more box in my waist, so no thank you:

Open Knit Textured Sweater at Gap

Four – look at the models.  If something appears too short on the model, it’s probably not going to work on me.  Is she in danger of flashing her underthings?  Then I can almost guarantee that "dress" will only work as a tunic for me:

A model showing a lot of thigh in a Greylin dress at Piperlime

At the same time, if the sleeves of a blouse are too long on a model, maybe it will actually work for me:

Suno Blouse at Bluefly

Of course, this tip works especially well for those websites, like Piperlime, that actually give you the measurements of the model or mannequin:

So helpful!

Five – consider your choices carefully.  Remember, you can’t try these clothes on and if you live in an isolated area, it could take some time, and money, returning items that don’t work for you.  So, know your measurements, know your body, read the reviews and find brands that work for you.

Happy Shopping,