Short but Sweet: The Cropped Jacket Trend

Learn how to pair a short jacket with just about anything and transform your wardrobe

Take a shortcut to looking great by sporting a cropped jacket. Think of it as a replacement for the ubiquitous denim jacket you've been using for years or your pashmina that has seen better days. Available in a variety of fabrics from dressy brocades to casual cottons, short jackets are cropped at the natural waist or higher and often have 3/4-length sleeves, so they're perfect for the layering look. They also suit a number of styles and necklines, as they come in collarless versions or with decorative Peter Pan-style collars. Just one of these chic jackets can update your entire wardrobe. Here's how to wear it:



Pairing a short jacket with pants will result in "the new suit" for the year. Bold patterns add interest to an otherwise basic look, while the new neutrals are subtle and sophisticated. The best tops to layer under your jacket are romantic blouses and camisoles that end at the hip, or fitted and full-length tees.

  • For a mod to the max look, pair your short jacket with ankle-skimming pants and sweet round-toe flats.
  • Baggy pants don't have to look sloppy. Pair an embellished or printed short jacket with them in white for a new kind of nautical, or go for an easy evening look and pair one with fluid silk trousers.
  • Jeans and a cropped jacket: your new uniform for the season. This time, switch out your stilettos for platforms.



It's time to graduate from wearing cute cardigans to wearing cropped jackets with skirts. While full flounces were a strongpoint on the runway, keep your pencil skirts and micro minis within reaching distance in your closet. There's really no "out" style or length right now, and they all pair perfectly with your short topper.

  • Create color-blocking. In fashion language that means wearing a bold color jacket with a different bold color skirt. Wear white underneath or don a print that ties both colors in.
  • Create a shirted look by buttoning up the front of your jacket and rolling up the sleeves. Pair it with a full skirt, big tote and flat sandals for a casual chic ensemble.
  • A wide belt is the perfect accoutrement when outfitting ultra-cropped jackets that hit well above the waist with a pencil skirt. A simple silky tank is all you need to wear underneath.
  • The Western vibe is still très trendy, so pair your jacket with a long prairie skirt, a brown belt and chunky wooden heels.



Wearing a dress doesn't require an event these days. But wearing a fashionable cropped jacket over your dress is required. Here's how to do it with flair:

  • A white dress, wide belt and printed or neutral-hued short jacket should be your uniform of the season. Whether your dress is above the knee or below is entirely up to you.
  • Picture this: a black and white print dress topped off with a yellow jacket. Or a red and white print dress with a black jacket. Don't fall into the matchy-matchy trap with your dress and jacket. Have fun pairing the unexpected.
  • Hit the highs and lows of heel lengths. As with hem lengths, the only thing that will dictate how tall you'll be standing is your mood.



Rethink shorts of all lengths for the season. Not just for the beach anymore, shorts for spring are sleek enough to pair with a jacket for the "new suit."

  • Bermudas in particular take on a polished look when paired with a cropped jacket and platform heels. Layer a feminine ruffled blouse underneath for a new take on the ladies-who-lunch look.
  • Try khaki or brown rolled-up shorts with a neutral jacket, gladiator sandals and an unstructured leather bag for an easy breezy look.
  • Wear black walking shorts and a black jacket. Pop it with a tropical print blouse underneath.
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