Underwear. It’s a Tall Issue.

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Ahem. I think we’re good enough friends to have a chat about this now.

Bums

It’s not something I’ve really talked about on the blog before, but having opened up the discussion on the ATTT Facebook page previously, and through my own experiences of buying undies, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is definitely such a thing as a Tall Bum. It’s not just in underwear that this becomes apparent; jeans are often cut with far too short a rise, even when they are placed in “specialist” tall ranges. When it came to buying maternity jeans, my biggest problem wasn’t actually the length of the leg, but trying to finding a pair that didn’t expose my rear end every time I sat down.

I’ve bought nice lingerie sets in the past from Boux Avenue (above), Marks & Spencer, Bravissimo, and even managed to get cheap knickers with a higher rise in Primark too. But a lot of the time I find I’m left with an unsightly builder’s bum, and even knickers that did fit originally can end up shrinking in the wash and ultimately fail to cover my modesty.

Does anyone else have this same problem? Where do you buy your knickers from?

Boobs

I quite like my boobs. At the moment they’re still rather pert, so I’ll try and appreciate that for the next few months before everything heads south. But even so, most straps on dresses aren’t long enough. And if there is an under-bust line, it often cuts right through the middle of my boobs. I even see this happen in Tall ranges that make dresses a little bit longer, but pay absolutely no consideration to the resulting proportions that come with being tall.

I’ve not had too many issues with bras, though I’ve heard from some of you who have, and since my straps are usually extended to capacity, I imagine this probably does affect a lot of you, particularly the very tall.

How do you find straps on bras and dresses, and accommodating a “lower-down” bust (but not necessarily a saggy one?).

Bumps

Since becoming pregnant, I’ve had to do a lot of underwear shopping, not least because my boobs will.not.stop.growing. In addition, I’ve had to buy non-wired bras for a change, because according to one midwife I’ve spoken to and a number of online sources, underwired bras can damage breast tissue in pregnancy and affect your ability to breastfeed. Though there doesn’t seem to be any actual evidence to substantiate this claim, non-wired bras do feel a bit more comfy when you’re dealing with sore boobs and your bump starts to grow up towards your bust-line. So I’ve bought a few new maternity bras from Mothercare; some pretty lacey ones and a couple of t-shirt ones for work (you’ll be glad of the latter when your nipples start resembling bullets).

I’m not yet up-to-speed on bras I’ll be needing for breastfeeding, (which I’ll hopefully do for a few months but I won’t be beating myself up if I can’t) but my friend Jo — who recently became a mum to the beautiful Emilia — did advise me that when purchasing maternity vest-tops during my pregnancy, I should look to get ones with feeding-friendly removable straps as well.

I’d like to think that I’ll be one of those ballsy breastfeeding mums who’s happy to whip her nipples out on public transport, and while I fully support any woman who does, the honest reality is that I’ll probably want to do things a tiny bit more discreetly. Particularly when I notice random men in coffee shops gawping or conversations with friends suddenly getting a bit “awkward” as I go to feed.

This super longline cami top (£39) from maternity lingerie company Amoralia is great for a tall torso, and unlike most feeding vests, actually has a concealed panel underneath the top layer, with little cut-out holes that mean it’s only the area immediately around your nipple that is exposed. Great if you’re feeding while mid-conversation with your Dad’s mate and baby decides to throw her head about.

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A little bit pricier than your average vest, but I’ve washed it numerous times now and the lovely, thick, soft fabric keeps its shape perfectly, and feels so much more luxurious than a lot of the flimsy, synthetic fabrics on offer for expectant mums. Plus, I’m following Jo’s advice and buying my feeding tops early so they’ll see my through pregnancy as well.

It also goes very well with the pretty cupcake briefs (£18), which have a high enough rise to accommodate a tall bottom.

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So… a few questions to finish with. Pregnant or not pregnant, do you agree that it’s tricky to find underwear for a tall figure? Where do you buy your pants, bras, corsets and camis?

And for mums who chose to breastfeed, what did you wear for public feeding?

Laura x

The lovely people at Amoralia are offering All the Tall things readers 10% off any purchase with this exclusive discount code: P20ATTT

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95 Responses to Underwear. It’s a Tall Issue.

  1. For b/feeding — buy the H&M nursing vests with the clips that allow you to pop a boob out (http://www.hm.com/gb/product/13906?article=13906-A). Then wear a big T-shirt, jumper, whatever over the top. Then you pull the vest down and the shirt up and all is v discreet. The H&M nursing vests are also lovely and long so great for a 6’1″-er like me — no post baby belly showing. They are great to wear in bed as pajama tops in the early newborn days too.

    Other good nursing tops for tall ladies — Mama Feels Good http://www.mamafeelsgood.com

    And Boob, a Scandi brand that’s good for winter, they always make sure your tummy is covered up. Apparently it was set up by someone who watched her sister b/feeding in a cold park with a draft round her waist and thought it would be a good idea to design some better nursing clothes! http://shop.boobdesign.com/en/4/nursing-wear

  2. I like M&S for knicks although I do end up buying bigger sizes than I’m sure I really am! Breastfeeding tip… be prepared for the fact that it might not go to plan. Nobody warns you how difficult it can actually be so it’s good to try and research it yourself and find any local support before you actually need it. The support in hospital afterwards isn’t always great x

  3. allthetallthings

    Thanks Laura, yup… a similar issue with knickers as jumpers… buy big and baggy and it might cover you up!

    Defo trying to stay open-minded about breastfeeding. The midwives at our hospital can be a bit like scary nuns, telling you all the time how it’s the best way, and giving women breastfeed deadlines after birth! I’ll just give it my best shot. Luckily there are some great BF clinics near me x

  4. I love Elle Macpherson Intimates for underwear. With the bras you have to buy a back size bigger than you usually would (for some reason) but the knickers are always a fab fit x
    P.s. You look bloomin gorgeous – pregnancy definitely agrees with you! X

    • allthetallthings

      Ah thanks Sara! The heat definitely doesn’t agree with me, but I’m enjoying everything else about it! Haven’t tried Elle Macpherson… will have to have a look xx

  5. I have also noticed that having a tall bum is an issue! This is not helped by the fact that my bum is super round so there is rarely enough fabric! I almost always wear French or Brazilian knickers or thongs to combat this.

    My biggest issue is buying basques/corsets which are long enough in the body! Have yet to find a decent one 🙁

    • allthetallthings

      I didn’t even think of that Vicki… I actually have an annoyingly flat bum (!) so I can imagine that a tall bum + actual curvy booty must be very tricky! xx

  6. Dear Laura,
    Yes, the dress straps are always too short. I am 5’11 and size 12, not especially busty (I usually wear a D cup), and even though I am one of those women witha short torso and larger lower half of the body. I thought I was the only one with this problem! Surprisingly, no knicker problems observed.

    But. I have one more underwear issue: sports bras. Because I have idiopathic angioedema, so basically I swell and/or get hives whenever a piece of clothing presses too hard somewhere on my skin, sports bras are the only kind I can wear (that, and those silicone pads you can glue on yourself – except that 99% are too small for me). And they all seem to have such a high neckline that they are visible from under most of my tops! I’d love a Tall Sportsbra that doesn’t go right under my collarbones!

  7. I have a tall bum. 😀 I usually buy ‘high’ rise shorts from M&S (I’m not a tiny knickers fan) that only come up to three inches below my belly button, and depending on the style I often end up with four cheeks rather than two…

    I’ve resigned myself to a lifetime of poorly fitting underwear.

  8. Ok, I have a flat bum too, never wear bikinis because my “hip 1” measurement is larger than around my butt “hip 2” and they end up scrunched on my hip. During pregnancy 1 I bought some enormous granny knickers that came up over the bump completely, very comfortable, and I wore them for the next two pregnancies too. Best preggy buys – maternity swimsuit (3 babies + other friends borrowed them after), and a pair of good quality trousers in a beigy colour – again for my 3 and they are now in Australia probably on about their 5th or 6th owner! Breastfeeding – Elle MacPherson bras very comfortable. Don’t forget your feet might swell a bit too in the last few months – comfortable shoes a must!!

  9. Knickers ok, usually M&S boyshorts. But longer bra straps please! I’m not that big cup size (A) which makes it harder because manufacturers think if your a small cup size your generally petite!! Aarghhh….

    • allthetallthings

      Longer straps on EVERYTHING I think… I also feel like it means my boobs are saggy… although they’re a long way off my bellybutton at the moment! (Enter breastfeeding…)

  10. Hi,
    Glad your pregnancy is progressing well :-). I’m one of the few tandem feeding Mums out there. That means I’m still feeding my toddler (though nowhere near as often) whilst pregnant, and hope to continue when the baby comes. When I first started feeding, I wore camis with nursing straps that came down and kept most of your modesty. I also used a breastfeeding wrap to cover up. As time went on, I started to rely on wearing two tops / camis – which is great for tall anyway as you can add a longer lower layer, and got very good at lifting one. Obviously you’ll need a nursing bra with clip down straps. I can high recommend Elle Macpherson (sp?) Intimates too.
    As for knickers, I find to get a fit on the bum, they always cut into the hips at the wrong place and give you a horrible line. Maybe we need a Tall knicker brand. X

  11. Christine Frati

    No problems with knickers – M&S do fine, but bras are a nightmare (I’m 5’10’ 38A): the straps are too short and the back too tight. Live in France & no one makes bras with an A cup over a 36, and even a 38 is impossible except in specialist granny amour shops, although you can buy back extensions in needlecraft shops here. So all bra buying is relegated to UK visits, with many an unwise hasty purchase. Have on the odd occasion found a Tshirt bra in Next. But basically I find the prettier the bra, the more expensive the bra the smaller it seems to be. Seems to be we are stuck with utilitarian undies!

    • allthetallthings

      That does sound very annoying… especially as I always find it’s necessary to try undies on first, rather than get them online (unless there’s a great exchange policy) x

      • Hello Christine, have you tried choosing a band size smaller and a cup size larger? You might find it answers your problem as the resulting size is virtually the same. It is a brilliant way to open up your options, especially since 36B is a commonly available size.

  12. Oh hell yes! It’s a minefield! I’m 8 1/2months pregnant, and I struggle to get the fit for bras especially – the straps are never long enough and the pants.. well..! Finding anything which fits over the bump is hilarious. 🙂 x

  13. Tall in Paris

    Oh, underwear is one of my biggest tall nightmares !!! Knickers generally aren’t an issue, but finding a bra that fits is HELL ! Straps are always too short and too tight around my back (it doesn’t help that, like Christine above, I live in France where it’s assumed small cup = petite woman). I have resorted to buying a size I know is wrong (95B) and adding extensions every time. I would LOVE to dress in sexy basques and so on from time to time but have never found anything long enough. Bummer !!!! Maybe we can persuade LTS / ASOS or somebody else to start a tall line ??

    • allthetallthings

      You and Christine have the same issue… the UK seems a lot more savvy on body shape diversity than they are in France?! x

  14. Another great and helpful post Laura. I’ve always complained about having a long bum! I have nominated you for the Liebster Award if you want to check out my most recent blog post! Looking forward to hearing your answers x
    http://www.thepeppermintpencil.com

  15. I definitely have a “long” (and very full) bum and have problems with finding well fitting underwear. Lately, I’ve had good luck with the retro briefs from Blush. They fully cover my buns at the bottom so I don’t have any panty line and they are high waisted since they’re “retro”. Plus, they have nice patterns, details. http://us.blushlingerie.com/panties/retro-briefs/. I always have issues with the strap lengths on sports bras and regular bras. I’ve often thought that there’s a market for a tall lingerie/intimates designer but I’m sure that would be a very difficult niche for a small business to fill. Maybe one of the bigger tall lines can help us out… Really enjoying reading all of your preggy updates!

  16. I have a massive problem with this too, it’s very frustrating especially since I have the skills to make my own underwear but not the time. Maybe I should make some time to explore making tall undies, for all our benefit! I’m six foot tall (and with square shoulders too and automatically adjust straps to their maximum before trying things on so have to reject lot just because of mean length, let alone fitting elsewhere. Brazillian knickers do help, and choosing seamfree styles means less dighing in and bulging if they stop in a fleshy patch 😉 Cutting clothes for tall figures isn’t any harder than for petite or medium ones, so it frustrates me that our choices are much more limited in all things, underwear included.

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