A short jacket is one of those items you MUST have in your closet. In today’s article, let’s discover how to wear a short jacket and where to buy some great short jackets in stores now.
Why should you wear a short jacket?
Short jackets come in all sorts of shapes and variations. Some are classic like the collarless Chanel jacket with a high neckline.
Then there are the variations on that jacket with lower necklines or collars added.
Also very popular are the bomber jackets which come in all kinds of fabrics and styles.
And then there are the really wide short jackets or the opposite of that short tighter fitting jackets.
Here are just some of the advantages of a short jacket
- A short jacket is the perfect layering piece;
- If you have no defined waist these can suggest a waist as the jackets often end at waist height;
- For those with shorter legs they can improve your 1/3-2/3 silhouette as they shorten the proportion of the torso while putting more emphasis on, and lengthening, the legs;
- They are comfortable!
- A short jacket in a stretchable fabric can easily fit in your bag, so it’s easy to put on or off.
- They keep you warm (very important for someone who gets cold quickly like me)
- A short jacket pairs perfectly with wide pants
Susanne @textelle above (read her style interview here) shows how you can layer a shorter jacket over a longer shirt.
Get her look with this similar top, jacket, jeans, sneakers and neck scarf.
Read our ultimate guide to creating a capsule wardrobe that works best for you.
How to wear a short jacket – styles for you to try
Cropped leather jacket
A moto jacket is another classic piece that you can be sure won’t date no matter how long you keep if for.
You could opt for a moto jacket in black, or go for a different shade in either autumnal or pastel colors.
Abi @stealmystyle40 above often wears her moto jacket over her dresses to give her outfit a little bit of an edge.
Check out this dress from Amazon that you can wear with this similar jacket, sneakers and crossbody bag.
Levi’s Faux Leather Moto Jacket
Chanel style jacket
A true classic. A love affair was born when Chanel discovered Scottish tweed.
Her jacket-cardigan hybrid first appeared in her collection in 1925. Since then, a Chanel collection simply wouldn’t be a Chanel collection without this style of jacket.
Thankfully, unless you have a Chanel-budget, it has spawned a million copies and inspired countless high street pieces.
The beauty of this style is that you can wear it over a dress or just over a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. It adds instant elegance.
Karl Lagerfeld Tweed Button Up Jacket
A blazer tends to come below waist length and sit on your hips. But, this may not necessarily be the most flattering option for you.
If your blazer stops at the widest part of your hips, it may just emphasize this part of your body. A shorter blazer which either emphasizes, or creates the illusion of, a waist could look better on you.
Play around by trying on different lengths.
POGTMM 3/4 Sleeve Open Front Blazer
Cropped jacket for dresses
If you love wearing dresses, but you either don’t like to show off your upper arms, or you need a bit of extra warmth, a cropped jacket could provide the answer.
Short denim jacket
Another style classic, but with a much more casual vibe is the short jean jacket.
I love a denim jacket for its versatility. You can wear it over a summer dress to transition from the warmer months into fall but it looks equally good with skirts and pants.
Eileen @eileenternullo above wears her denim jacket with high waisted pink pants, creating a flattering leg-lengthening effect. Notice that she wears shoes in a similar color to her pants, which is also a good tip for making your legs look longer.
Recreate her outfit with this similar denim jacket, pants, sandals and hoop earrings.
KUT from the Kloth Helena Denim Jacket
A drape style is flattering on most women and adds a point of interest to your outfits. Choosing a waterfall, or drape option can be a good style if you are looking at ways to hide a belly.
crop utility jacket
As an alternative to a denim jacket, but with similar styling, how about a utility-style jacket like the one from Blank NYC (below).
Bomber jackets can be a good option if you are looking for a more casual style than a blazer.
You could wear over a plain color dress or just to dress up your pants and t-shirt.
Diane @fashiononthe4thfloor (read her style interview here) chooses a fun leopard print bomber jacket.
Steal her look with this similar tee, shorts, bomber jacket, sneakers and necklace.
ECOWISH Lightweight Bomber Jacket
Black cropped jacket
A black cropped jacket could be a smart alternative to a longer-length blazer.
White cropped jacket
You don’t just have to stick with black when it comes to classic options. A white jacket will also have longevity which will see your through season after season.
Plus, you may well find that white is a better option with some of your spring and summer clothing.
NIC + ZOE Palm Springs Knit Jacket
If you’re looking to add a pop of color to your outfits, the teal jacket (below) from Cos would look lovely worn with white jeans.
COS Cropped Classic Bomber Jacket
Pink cropped jacket
If you have a romantic style personality, you may love a short jacket in a softer shade.
You could wear this over a floral dress, or over a pair of jeans and tee.
Michel Open Front Lightweight Blazer
More examples on how to wear a short jacket
Let’s take a look at some more 40+ women looking incredible in their short jackets…
Eugenia @theageofgrace above (read her style interview here) opts for an all neutral outfit featuring her cream jacket and white pants.
Check out this similar jacket, wide leg pants, pumps, sunglasses and Gucci handbag.
Alison @wardrobe_oxygen above (read her style interview here) chooses a denim jacket and harem pants.
Recreate her outfit with this similar top, denim jacket, pants, sandals, hoop earrings and layered necklace.
Cathy @themiddlepageblog (read her style interview here) shows off a shorter cardigan with her jeans.
She is wearing a cropped cardigan from maje and shirt from shopbop. Complete her look with this similar pair of jeans, sneakers, bag and sunglasses.
Above is my own short jacket, worn on a trip with a pair of Rollie shoes (white option). You can find a similar piece here.
Many women feel that short boxy jackets can be unflattering as they surrender the waist.
But they are ideal for layering and if you do that the right way, can suggest a waist and create a great silhouette.
Natalia (above) sent in a great example to illustrate that.
This outfit works really well too creating a nice silhouette for a great casual chic look.
And here is another really nice layering example by Lorraine (above).
Are you ready to shop for a short jacket?
If you don’t yet have a short jacket in your closet, why don’t you give the short jacket a go!
- Test in the shops which jacket would suit you.
- With or without collar?
- Very wide or more fitted?
- High or low neckline?
- Short or long sleeves?
It all makes a difference on how well these jackets look on you.
Then start playing with proportions and layering. Try it out in the shops and see how it works for you. Let me know in the comments below.
shop all items above here:
- How To Wear A Denim Jacket
- The Best Leather Jackets For Women You Will Wear With Everything
- The Best Winter Coats For Women This Season And How To Choose A Coat
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Feature image by Alison @wardrobe_oxygen
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I noticed so many of the models had their shirts tucked in but my teens tell me “no one is doing that” (California). What do you think?
It really depends on what kind of look you’re going for and what kind of body type you have and the length of the top. I think tucked in or semi tucked or untucked are all fine.
I like the examples here and I always like to see them when I am out and about. I don’t have many of these type of jackets but it is an item I think I might like to add more of to my closet.
Very good examples. It works well with me as well. F.i. putting on a white straight dress.
gorgeous to see how the other ladies styled this kind of jackets!
and interesting to read the comments – i´m busty myself – d-cup and broad shoulders and back – but who will tell 😉
i think the secrets are the actual proportions, material, cut and color. i´m in the lucky corner that i can sew my clothes myself so to take or add “that” centimeter until i´s perfect is easy…..
So fun to see what other ladies did with a short jacket! I think it is a very flattering kind of jacket on many body types, to be honest. No wonder they were popular, in one form or another, in many different eras… You sum it up so well here. My waist is not as defined as it used to be, but I think a short jacket really does “suggest” as you say that it’s there. 🙂 I agree with you that it creates a very nice silhouette and just a fun layering piece – so playful!
I had all intentions of staying away from these jackets due to my short height, but I really like how you’ve styled this. I’m looking forward to seeing your other fun jackets and the way you style those.
How would these short boxy jackets work with a long top which covers the bottom when worn with skinny jeans? I have lots of skinniest and short jackets but I’m not sure about the proportions being in balance when worn together.
I think it’s tough to make the short boxy jacket work with that silhouette, especially when the tunic/dress is too long. I think that it’s important not to have the tunic that long. Natalia’s look above is a good example. It could work though when the short jacket is in the same color as the tunic/dress.
Many thanks for your advice, will try it and see how I get on. I might just go for a wider pant/ trouser option.
I have a short, busty upper torso, long legs, and well defined waist. I just can’t see how this look would be flattering on my body type.
It’s a particular silhouette that you’re creating that does not highlight your waist. If you don’t like that silhouette then just skip the short jacket. But, if you create a column of color and then have the jacket just a little longer than your natural waist to balance your vertical body type, leave it open to create a nice vertical line there, it may also work for you. If you wear it with an aline skirt it may also work.
I love jackets and blazers! I started with safe black jackets and brown, then went to an amazing resale store and started buying colors!
Soft aqua linen, wheat- gold herringbone, a deep eggplant embroidered jacket…I love them all!
Great post ❤
Great examples. I do use a short jacket to layer over a longer top, and I like the look.
Very educational article with nice examples. I especially like Lorraine’s look. But ‘boxy’? No, not for me. I even dslike the word, ( in relation to fashion);-)
Thanks Anja. It’s not the best look on me but I liked the navy with the silver thread in this jacket, which is quite a good fit. The challenge really made me think about layering with a longer top, which I would not have done in the past. For me the challenges are about pushing myself to try new things as working out what suits me is an ongoing process!
Great that you use these challenges to push yourself and try new things. That is indeed its purpose. However, I don’t agree with you that this is not your best look. I love this outfit and think it’s one of my favorite outfits of you!
Ohhhhh… Great examples. I generally have to avoid this style as well. Being chesty, I don’t need any extra bulk up top.
I love a good boxy jacket. I have a bright green one that is my favorite thing!
These are some great examples. I tend to stay away from this type of jacket since it makes me look boxy, but I might need to give it another try.