I'm a tall guy. I don't have great fashion sense, but I'm aware that most mens clothes in most stores do not fit me at all. Over the years I have struggled to find clothes that fit me well, so I thought I'd chronicle some recent discoveries in the hope that other tall gents find clothes that better fit them, too.
To give you an idea of what I am looking for with clothes: By day I am customer facing in a professional services role. This means a suit and shirt (or, at the very least, a shirt and nice trousers) five days a week, with jeans & t-shirts the rest of the time.
I'm taller than most, at 6'4" (193cm), and I weigh approx 85kg (195lbs)1. My arms and legs are longer than usual. Most "L" size clothes here in Australia fit around my body OK (occasionally being a little tight) but are always too short in the arms and legs.
I'm a 34" (86cm) waist, recently down from a 36" (91.5cm). Most brands have the same leg length for these two waist sizes, which is also too short for me.2 It's safe to say that buying any clothes off the rack without trying them on first will be unsuccessful.
So there you go. You've got my details. What clothes fit?
I find that most short-sleeved shirts and t-shirts fit me OK. For long-sleeved tshirts I've had particular luck with:
- XXL Merino T-Shirts from Kathmandu. These are slim fitting, hence the XXL. As usual with Kathmandu, retail price is extortionate but then things suddenly become $20 on sale. Kathmandu have ruined the Australian outdoor clothing marketplace, but I can't walk past $20 merino.
- XXL Cotton T-Shirts from Sherpa Adventure Gear, including a long-sleeved version of their Hero tee which I wear quite a bit. The Sherpa people are small, so again I need a larger size. These are difficult to find in Australia, I recommend the $2500 option which includes a flight to Nepal from Melbourne, and a two-week trek. The Sherpa Adventure Gear store in Namche Bazzar is great. It's also a rough mountain flight and two-day walk from the nearest city.
- Element, being a skater brand, has a bunch of styles that are longer or baggier than usual. A Large will therefore fit OK; mileage varies drastically though.
I've had success with some Sportscraft and Esprit long-sleeved shirts, but most "casual" shirt styles just don't fit me.
Casual Pants and Jeans
- Industrie pants seem to be slightly longer than usual, as are Sportscraft. Try them on first, expect to pay $100 per pair.
- Jeans West are magical. They sell Standard, Long, and Extra-Long jeans in most styles. Their Extra-Long come unhemmed with an absurdly long 38" leg length; take them to your favourite aunt or alteration shop to get them finished to the perfect length. I actually find their "Long" jeans usually fit me alright, and they're available in-store without needing adjustment. Bonus points: Jeans West sell "half sizes", such as 33 & 35 inch waist. Typically $70 per pair.
- ASOS sell some styles of their house brand jeans in Long and Extra Long. They're a pretty slim cut; their Long "Straight" leg in a 34" waist is just long enough but I'd call it a skinny style. On special these are under $40.
I used to wear Van Heussen shirts pretty much every day. Their Classic shirts come in multiple sleeve lengths, so for ages I wore a 41" neck with extra-long sleeves. It turns out I looked like a circus tent for a few years.
These days I've only found two nice shirts that fit me pefectly.
- TM Lewin are based out of London and have a good online store, plus stores in some Australian cities. In Australia their shirts are also available at Myer, if you can face the worst of the worst of old-style retail. Check their sizing tables; I find their fully fitted (the slimmest style) in a 16.5" collar and 36" sleeve to fit well. The same shirt in a 16" collar is way too short in the arms; the additional shoulder width in the slightly larger size makes a world of difference. Available colours & styles change regularly. Prices are approx $90 each, however multibuy pricing is impressive and they often have sales where you can get four shirts for $40 each (join the email list for regular discount coupons). Tip: their pure cotton shirts (the cheapest) are a pain the ass to iron. Spend the extra on the "non iron" shirts: the label lies, but they need significantly less ironing than usual.
- Charles Tyrwhitt are also London-based, with a decent online store. They seem to have identical sizing to TM Lewin; their Extra Slim Fit in a 42cm collar and 36" sleeve is fine on my body shape and the sleeves are long enough. Prices are $50-$99 AUD; again non-iron is the way to go.
Both of the above online retailers have very fair return policies. I suggest an initial order of 4x different sized shirts: You'll take advantage of the packaged pricing, you get to find the perfect fit, then exchnage the three shirts that don't fit for your newly found size and style.
It's not really a shirt, but I've recently bought a wollen jumper from Stafford Direct at a local DFO Outlet; size XL fits nicely in the body and sleeves over a business shirt.
Until recently, I would put off buying work trousers for as long as possible. I'd then go to a Myer store and try every brand on, with increasing frustration and very little retailer assistance, until I found a pair that fit OK in the waist and had enough excess fabric in the hem to be able to be taken down.
Most expensive suitors and tailors will sell unhemmed trousers; I don't spend thousands on a suit though and have little interest in paying $400+ for a pair of pants.
As of this week I've found a single lone retailer who sell unhemmed trousers at suitable prices: Charles Tyrwhitt sell multiple styles in both Slim and Classic cuts with an unhemmed 97cm inseam. For $15 and a ten-minute wait I can have these hemmed to suit me at the local shopping centre; the trousers themselves are $99-$149 plus delivery.
Until I find someone else selling unhemmed trousers, all my work pants will come from Charles Tyrwhitt.
I hope that fellow tall guys get some use out of this little list. If you're not overweight, most clothes for tall guys are just too hard to find. If you've got other tips, I'd love to hear them.
1. Yes, I'm using imperial height and metric weight measurements. It's not just me, the world is fucked. Australians measure nothing in imperial measurements except for the height of adults and the weight of babies. ↩
2. Why do trouser manufacturers sell "Regular" and "Short" leg lengths? Surely "Long" and "Regular" makes more sense. After all, it's much easier to cut fabric off and re-hem pants than it is to magically make the fabric *longer* for us tall folk. ↩