Black business suits for tall women

Business Suits for Tall Women (and How I Cheated on my Tall Specialty Shop Challenge)

A few weeks ago, I unexpectedly received an invitation to interview for a job.  I foolishly assumed that my black pant suit was in the closet and ready to go.  The jacket was there but the pants I normally wear were nowhere to be found. Yikes!  I rifled through my closet and found two more pairs of black dress pants. Phew! It seemed like I was in luck….or was I?

I normally wear heels with my suits when interviewing (because nothing makes an initial impression quite like a 6’5 woman waltzing into a conference room), but I decided to wear these Tory Burch pointed toe flats since I’d be taking public transport and walking quite a bit to and from the interview.

Pointy-Toe Black Flats

The first pair of black pants from my closet were a good length for flats but the clasp had come off the waist. They also looked a bit wonky and had an overall frumptastic vibe.  I was not interested in giving off a wonky/frumpy vibe and I was reminded of why I hadn’t worn these pants in years. They were definitely out!  The second pair of black pants were so long, I would have to wear heels with them.  Normally this would be a good problem but not this time!

With both pairs of black pants out of the running, I turned to my one skirt suit – a navy number from Ann Taylor with some peplum detail at the hem of both the skirt and jacket.  I felt like the skirt was a little too bootylicious for an interview and I just wasn’t feeling comfortable in it. If there’s one time I want to feel comfortable and confident, it’s during an interview!  Here is a photo I took several months ago to show you what I’m talking about.  Were I to wear it for an interview, I would of course roll the sleeves all the way down, wear a nicer top and probably wear nude hosiery instead of black but you get the idea.

business suits for tall women

Ann Taylor Tall Skirt Suit

At this point, I was just a few seconds shy of a fashion meltdown, and I decided to go to the store to look for a simple black skirt (because there was certainly no hope of finding long pants at a regular store).  To make things even more fun, it was a Sunday and most stores were closed. I did manage to find one store that was open and I scored a black skirt that ended up doing the trick.  I also bought a pair of nude nylons that were one size too small (naturally they were out of my size), so I had the oh-so-comfortble and joyous crotch sag that comes with ill-fitting hosiery.

Here is what I wore to the interview:

Tall Puff-Sleeve Blazer: Banana Republic
Orange top: Loft
Skirt: Some random, obscure brand
Pointed Toe Flats: Tory Burch
Pearls: Tiffany & Co
Hosiery: Don’t ask! They didn’t fit.

Black business suits for tall women

Business suits for tall women

Tall Banana Republic Jacket

Business Suits for Tall Women

By buying the black skirt, I broke my 2015 Tall Specialty Shop Challenge rule of only buying clothing that comes from tall specialty boutiques. Sigh! But I was desperate and really had no choice so I don’t feel too bad about it. This certainly wasn’t a frivolous cheat!

This scramble to find something suitable to wear to my interview brings up the long-standing issue of tall women not having easy access to clothing when we desperately need it.  While I think I looked presentable in this ensemble, the skirt did not fit me very well and my interview prep would have been a WHOLE lot better if I had been able to pop into a shop with tall sizes to buy a pair of black pants (or a whole pant suit for that matter) AND hosiery that fit properly like a normal-height person.  Sure, sure. Tall women can buy suits online but this is often a challenge because 1) suits are expensive which makes buying them online seem more risky, and 2) it’s even more difficult to find the perfect fit for two coordinating pieces.

Long story short, I would prefer to try on a bunch of different styles of tall suits in person rather than undergoing the hassle of ordering suits online (or buying non-tall suits) and possibly having to return them. (Update: I was able to do just that in March 2016. Check out my write-up on the tall black pantsuit that I bought from Long Tall Sally here).

Your turn…

Have you ever struggled to find the appropriate outfit for a last minute event?  Do you own any business suits?  If so, where did you buy them?

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15 Comments

  • Reply Andrea@WellnessNotes November 23, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    Well, I think you ended up looking really nice! But I totally hear you about ill-fitting pantyhose – it’s the worst feeling!

    I haven’t had a black blazer for years and just bought one not too long ago. I know I can pair it with pants or a skirt for last minute interview situations.

    I totally hear you about having trouble getting last minute outfits when you can’t buy clothes in a regular store. I can’t buy regular length pants either and order all my pants online, so I can’t wait to buy things last minute.

    • Reply Tall Fashion Adventures November 23, 2015 at 9:34 pm

      Thanks Andrea! Yes…the moment I put the pantyhose on, I thought “grrrrr”! I agree that black blazers (and blazers in general) are versatile pieces. Today, I wore the one shown in this post with jeans. And they are certainly convenient to have on hand for interviews. I’ve been meaning to beef up my blazer collection a bit.

      Sounds like you feel my pain on the long pants issue!

  • Reply Krista November 23, 2015 at 9:23 pm

    I think you picked a classy outfit. As much as I try and buy tall stores, there are times that call for additions from others. I especially find that with my teen boys as they love to try things on.
    However, you left me hanging. Did you get the job?

    • Reply Tall Fashion Adventures November 23, 2015 at 9:38 pm

      Thanks Krista! I was curious if I could go several months without needing an item from a non-tall store and you’re right…sometimes we just have to buy from these stores out of necessity. I can imagine teenagers would like to try things on in person. Instant gratification is way more fun than waiting days for an item to arrive on your doorstep.

      Re the job, it’s still a bit up in the air but I’ll be sure to keep you posted!

  • Reply LJ November 23, 2015 at 11:28 pm

    You look wonderful! I’m glad you found something. 🙂

    • Reply Tall Fashion Adventures November 28, 2015 at 6:51 pm

      Thanks LJ! I’m glad I did too.

  • Reply P2aula November 25, 2015 at 2:05 am

    You were able to pull together a very polished and professional look in spite of the obstacles!

    • Reply Tall Fashion Adventures November 28, 2015 at 6:51 pm

      Thanks! I certainly tried!

  • Reply Stephanie November 28, 2015 at 11:12 pm

    You looked fabulous even though you didn’t feel like it bc of the pantyhose. I loved the color of the top you chose to wear as it is a flattering color on you. Overall you looked great and if they didn’t hire you it is their loss.

    • Reply Tall Fashion Adventures November 29, 2015 at 12:38 am

      Thanks! The hosiery definitely put a bit of a damper on my spirits. haha! I’m glad you think that’s a flattering color on me because I just bought a sweater vest in the same color.

  • Reply Karen December 1, 2015 at 11:51 am

    Hi! This struggle is all too familiar! You pulled it off though, looking very classy and professional. That color of the top looks good on you indeed! 🙂 For me, wearing business attire almost everyday, the real struggle is jackets. Either they’re to tight around the shoulders, the sleeves are too short, the waistline is wrong or all of the above. I only have 2 I wear happily (and if I am honest, the sleeves of one of them are a tad bit too short).
    I love jackets, but I just don’t wear them often because of this, though I now have a jacket from Tall Order Clothing that I really like and which fits really well.

    Skirts are a bit easier as you can play around a bit with them (like pulling them down a bit, or wear thick tights if you miss an inch… 😉 ), but for an interview, the length should be correct.

    I have a few V neck jumpers from Mango which have long sleeves, and worn over a blouse, they look very businessy (but they don’t last season after season…)

    • Reply Tall Fashion Adventures December 6, 2015 at 9:41 pm

      I was wondering what your take would be since I know you wear business attire to work. Well-fitting jackets and blazers are definitely a hard item to find. I’m happy to hear that the Tall Order Clothing blazer is working out well for you.

      Re skirts, I agree that they’re much easier to play around with than pants. I actually wish this skirt hit just above my knee. I feel like it kind of hits at the awkward mid-kneecap spot but that’s better than mid-thigh for an interview, right?

  • Reply Allison @ The Tall Mama December 4, 2015 at 3:03 am

    I hope you get the job! You looked fantastic. Droopy crotch pantyhose are the WORST! Suits are so hard to buy; if you find a “non-tall” jacket of good quality there is often enough seam allowance in the sleeves to let them down. A good tailor can do this… or you can do it yourself (hint, hint, sewing is awesome!!!). It’s too bad we don’t live near each other, I would have put a temporary hem in your pants for you so you could have worn them with flats. X Allison

    • Reply Tall Fashion Adventures December 6, 2015 at 9:38 pm

      Thanks Allison! I agree that droopy crotch hosiery is NO FUN! I have let sleeves out of blazers before but not for awhile. Thanks for the reminder. It would be so fun to live near each other but then I’d probably be at your doorstep every 5 minutes asking for a sewing favor so you’d probably become sick of me. Hah!

  • Reply Workwear for Tall Women (And Life Lately) April 11, 2016 at 9:27 pm

    […] – the job! Remember my write-up on business suits for tall women that I did back in November? After another interview and much ironing out of logistics, I was […]

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