Fashion & Beauty

Come Up Short

By Janet Kelly

JACKETS, sweaters and shirts have been getting short treatment—and we approve. Several months ago, Nancy McKeon and I chatted about how grownup girls could wear the current cropped look without cropping too much (showing a bare midriff), and we offered some suggestions. Now that spring is around the corner—at least we think so—it’s time for an update.

On our radar, a bunch of seasonal jackets, sweaters and shirts that stylishly graze the waist.

Be the polished lady in red in a cotton-tweed structured jacket from Mango, finished with front patch pockets and frayed center placket. Hitting just above the waistline, the higher hem of the top elongates the leg. It sells for $139.99.


Made of a stretch cotton (98% cotton, 2% spandex), what makes vintage-inspired Free People’s army-green Cassidy jacket unique is the exaggerated pleating at the hem, which adds width and works well for layering a shirt or sweater underneath. It sells for $168 at Saks Fifth Avenue.

Instead of the more typical moto look, Alice + Olivia reimagines the New Harvey Leather Jacket without zippers and such, instead creating a minimalist version with an open, draped front that looks terrific with a T-shirt peeking out below. A wear-right-now jacket, it sells for $895.

When the weather warms for real, update your denim jacket with this cropped, boxy style with a curved back hem, oversize front pockets and 3/4-length sleeves. It sells for $348 at Free People.

Gold buttons on a navy background is such a traditional look. But ba&sh tweaks it on this jacket (made of recycled cotton) with multiple pockets that hits a little high above the waist. Wear it over straight-leg pants with your shirttails hanging out from the hem, avoiding the possibility of any belly-button exposure. It sells for $465.


What could be more useful than a trench coat in our wacky weather? Hoping to jump on the  trend, designers have shortened styles so that instead of falling below the knee or longer they hit at the waist (or slightly below), such as this cropped jacket ($199) with a storm flap at the back from & Other Stories. If sold out, other options include this one ($229) from Massimo Dutti and this from Vineyard Vines for $298.


Mango is selling a slew of good-looking wool, leather and suede bomber jackets that finish at the waist, including this wool-blend, preppy version with button snaps. Short jackets balance wide pants, which is what I’d wear with this cute bomber. Also, it’s on sale—reduced from $139.99 to $49.99.


This openwork knit sweater with a fun, striped pattern finishes just above the waistline. Slim slacks on the bottom will temper the width and volume of the sweater’s batwing sleeves. It sells for $325 at ba&sh.

From designer Trish Wescoat Pound (TWP), the Next Ex short-sleeved button down, made from Italian cotton, has a cropped, boxy silhouette, complete with chest patch pocket, spread collar and the label’s signature double-roll button cuffs. Available in jungle green (shown above) as well as white, midnight, baby blue and lavender, it sells for a spendy $335.

A little chilly out? Wear the Next Ex shirt under TWP’s Tallulah boxy ribbed polo in five-gauge cashmere. It sells for $725 at Neiman Marcus.

Narrow at the shoulders, wide at the hem, Eileen Fisher got the message, updating her classic collar shirt in a shorter silhouette. A wardrobe essential, this cotton poplin button-up shirt sells for $148 at Neiman Marcus. The shirt lights up the room in citron, but it also comes in white.



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5 thoughts on “Come Up Short

  1. Carol says:

    These are cute but since I’m not skinny, not for me, I considered the army green jacket as so cute but I would not look good in it ☹️

    1. Janet Kelly says:

      You don’t need to be skinny to wear these jackets, etc. They can make your legs look longer.

  2. Nancy G says:

    Cropped jackets and tops are so good for those of us on the smaller side. More leg showing!

    1. Janet Kelly says:

      I’ve been raiding my closet for cropped tops!

  3. Barbara Kreger says:

    great idea !

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