This is an article I wrote almost a year ago to help people who believe they're "too tall" for lolita.
Some of you might have faced some trouble when wearing lolita if you belong to the taller citizens of the world. Being tall isn't very easy always, since many of the lolita products are made after japanese standard sizes. But nothing is impossible, and here I'll share you my own personal tips!
Find out your measurements
The first thing to do ismeasure yourself. Take a pictureof yourself wearing lolita (with desired petticoat). Place the camera in the same height as your belly and take some steps backward to get the right proportions. This is how you figure out what length you like to wear. Many people take pictures of themselves with an angle from the face, downwards, which make short dresses look like they reach your knees. It might fool your blog followers but no one irl. If you like what you see when taking the picture, just measure the dress/skirt you wore and there you got it :) If you don't like it, then measure the skirt/dress you're wearing and add/remove the cm/inches you're uncomfortable with. I find this solution easier than measuring your body. Of course you can do that too, but sometimes it requires some help. Remember to stand completely straight in the back to get the right measurements. It can also be good to add a few centimeters/inches since the skirts/dresses will get shorter when wearing a petticoat. When you have decided you favorite length you should also add little room for ideas. Decide what's the shortest length you would ever wear, and what is the longest. Me for instance, would never wear a dress shorter than 95cm. This I am strict about because I know if I would ever buy a shorter skirt/dress i would feel so uncomfortable with the length i wouldn't wear it anyway ^^' So learn your own limits! :)
Solve the measurement riddle in the item descriptions
OK, I admit it, I have not yet quite solved this problem. Different seller and companies tend to measure the items different. This is difficult to learn and if you do not learn this a lot of fitting pieces will pass you unnoticed.
Some companies use body measurements in their descriptions. It means if bust says 88cm your bust can be 88 cm and you can wear this comfortable. Other companies use clothing mesuremants. Which means if the bust says 88cm, the fabric is 88 cm and you have to be several centimeters smaller to be able to wear it. This is hard to know. The only way to figure it out is to ask either the company, or even better, someone who have bought from them. Never take this for granted!
Not only do they have different ways of measuring, they also measure different parts of a dress. Some companies measures in front, others in the back. Some include the shoulder straps in the measurements, other don't. This can be very confusing. I know for instanceMetamorphosetricked me. The JSK i has my eyes on said 76,5cm. What they didn't wrote was that the shoulder straps were excluded in the measurements. What they also didn't wrote was that this length was measured in the back of the dress, where there weren't much fabric at all. In a situation like this,try to think logic. Metamorphose gave away another measurement as well, the length of the skirt which was 58cm. If you take the length of the whole dress minus the lenght of the skirt part you should get the lenght of the body part. In this case it's 18cm. And if you look at thepicturesit suddenly make sense. That 18cm is the length of the body part in the back, without the straps. So how to figure out the REAL length of this dress? The item description says the shoulder straps are adjustable. The best thing you can do is to try find a person who has the same item and ask them! With this method I learned that this dress did fit me! My next example isBodyline. While Metamorphose exaggerating their length and make you believe they're shorter than they really are, then Bodyline is the complete opposite. They tend to trick everyone that they're selling Medium sized that fit's an western idea of a size medium, but they're not, they're running much smaller. You might believe it will fit you, but the shirring is in 95% of the time too tight and their clothing tend to be very uncomfortable to wear. Also, they add shirring, but they forget to make the shoulders bigger and the sleeves and armpits wider. Personally I always try to go up a size when buying Bodyline. According to the measurements it should be too big, but here's the truth, it's prefect, so don't be afraid to go up a size. Another thing you should not forget about islace. When a dress/skirt has a hem with a lovely lace, it's most of the time calculated within the measurements (otherwise it use to be stated in the description). But this is a very important detail. Let's say you choose your skirt to never be shorter than 55 cm and then you find this gorgeous skirt with a lovely lace at the bottom which lucky for you is exactly 55cm, you purchase it - and gets disappointed cus it suddenly feels shorter. Why? The lace is somewhat transparent in many cases. Always bring that into your calculations. A solid lace which you can not see through is not to worry about, however a lace you can see through or are knitted like a pattern with holes - beware. Think of the skirt length as if it didn't come with lace and see the lace as a little bonus.
And the last thing you should have in mind is the waistline hem. This might seem unimportant and I might agree, a hem on two or three cm isn't that big of a deal. But together with all the thing I just wrote about it can make a big difference. If the skirt is 55cm and the hem looks like this, remember 3 cm of that skirt is actually a hem and will not add any length to your skirt since it's mostly "adding" in a direction pointing upward. So if your sheer lace "removes" 3 cm and the waistline does too than there's only 49 cm left and that might not be what you had in mind when you first ordered the skirt. Same thing goes for high waist skirts. Make sure you know where the waist goes, measure from the right place and figure out how they measure their items.
Some tricks when choosing a dress (JSK)
I have a few tricks up my sleeve when choosing a dress! I don't like OPs because I find them least usable however the jumperskirts have a lot of useful variations and designs! :)
Most halterneck dresses comes with two long straps for you to tie in your neck. This is great, great, great! Becuse this way you can slide down the dress a bit. It makes the dress more into proportion with you! You can also use the straps as regular stap :) All you need is a saftey pin to attach in the back and TA-DA! :D
#2 Adjustable straps!
Some dresses comes with adjustable straps. They have buttons in the back of the dress and several holes to choose from on the strap. Many aprons have this feature too! This was originally an idea to make the straps crossing in the back easier, without getting tangled. But remember, crossing the straps makes them shorter, so the opposite makes them longer :D One example of a dress like that is this one from Bodyline.
#3 Stretchable straps!
Some dresses have elastic in their straps, so you can easily pull the dress downwards to add some length and right poportions. One example of a dress like that is this dress from bodyline.
I always thought that strapless would be the only way for me to ever wear Angelic Pretty. It's just a guess but I could probably add 5cm to the length by pulling it a little bit downwards. I've had my eyes on the strapless Starry Night Theatre and the new strapless Chess Chocolate (even better, longer bodice!) from Angelic Pretty. And I really would like to find out if a strapless dress could work out for me! :)
How to add a few centimeters to a too short skirt/dress.
This is very very useful. I use this technique for all my dresses shorter than 100cm and all skirts shorter than 60cm. Add a longer skirt under the one that is a bit too short. If you use one in the same color, no one will probably even notice. Black for instance, is probably the easiest color to because it hardly ever have any differences in shades. For variation you can use another color too of course. This ways of dressing opens up a new world since you're able to come up with an unlimited amount of new combinations in your closet :)
If you can't make the skirt long enough, make the socks longer!
A extra skirt can make your skirt/dress longer, but sometimes, you just wanna add 5cm, not 10 if you're wearing something very short like Angelic Pretty for instance.
A trick that compliments a shorter skirt is to wear OTKs instead of knee socks. The gap between the skirt and the socks won't be too big that way, and it's mostly very flattering and cute :) The only problem can be to find OTK's that really reaches above our knees.. I use to keep my eyes open for thigh high socks, since they also shrink in the laundry they're mostly perfect :)
Too short sleeves.
Not only do tall people have trouble to find right sized skirt and dresses. But a common issue is of course always the shirts and cardigans. I've had many shirts and cardigans, and they have all been too short in the sleeves to fit.
Make it shorter!
If your sleeve is 5-10 cm too short and you think it looks silly on you, you can try shorten it to an elbow length. Personally I think elbow lenght is both pretty and practical at the same time. I had a shirt that was 10cm too short for my arms. So i unbottoned it to be able to pull it up to my elbows and then I simply used a normal rubber band to keep it in place. I placed the rubberband on the outside of the shirt and hid it between the cute wrinkles and folds :) Here's the result.
Make it longer!
Another great idea if you want to keep the sleeves long is to extend them. This can be done with a cuff. Create a cuff, preferably one who starts a little above your wrist to prevent any gap and then make the or ruffle cover wrist and part of the hand. Maybe this will give you an idea.
Shop Longer sizes
Innocent World (link) releases a lot of longer dresses and skirt. On many items you can choose "short", "middle" or "long" version. The taller version for them reaches far beneath the asians knees to create a classic style, but us longer girls can use this version of skirt as a kneelength or slightly below knees. If you're not very long, but still think many dresses/skirts are a few centimeters too short you can always look for the middle lenght. Be sure to read the measurments properly.
BABY the star shine bright (link) have a size called LL. Their length should be perfect if you're taller. I don't know if everything else will be too big for us, if you happens to be slim, but what I have heard these sizes are suppose to be very good. Unfortunately the LL section is very very empty most of the times. Alice and the Pirates (link) have also been releasing a lot of longer styles. So keep an eye out!
Bodyline (link) have invented the T size especially for girls about 175cm tall! They don't have a whole lot too chose from yet, but this size is definitely growing!
Another solution is to buy custom made. The Japanese brands don't offer custom, but there are other alternatives from different corners of the world. The good thing about custom is that they always ask for a lot of measurements. Not only do they ask for desired length of the dress, but also how long you wish the torso to be and how long you want the skirt part to be. This is very good since many of the rare longer dresses you find have a longer skirt, but not a longer torso and will end up giving you a empire waist you didn't wished for.
Qutieland - carries many different chinese brands that offers custom.
Etsy - there are some Etsy seller that makes lolita clothes and offers custom.
Taobao - this is a site with many many chinese lolita brands and sellers. Qutieland is a reseller of several of brands that can be found here, but far from all. You need a shipping service to help you find out if the do custom and also to help you ship the items to you. Here's a list of selected lolita stores from Taobao so make your searching easier.
Sweet Rococo - an american lolita brand. Not only do they make your dress after your measurments, but you are also free to design your own dresses!
There are also sellers on Ebay that makes custom, but I would really really recommand people to avoid these stores, especially new lolitas, since the quality is usually very very bad.