I’ve read comments (here and on the Pattern Review forums) from several readers regarding  the first Cropped Jacket article, and one question that came up was whether or not they can be attractive on curvy/plus size figures. There are, of course, no hard “do’s” and “don’ts” about that answer; I do not NOT want to be a member of the Plus Police.  On the other hand, yes, there are ways to wear cropped jackets that can be more flattering to those of us with some curves! You’ll notice that I have included both slender and curvy models in these photos. In most cases, the styling pros and cons are similar. Many women of all different sizes don’t want to draw attention to their hips, for example


You might remember this moto jacket (on the right) from Lane Bryant in the first post. Normally, wearing a cropped jacket over a top that ends at the fullest part of the hips wouldn’t be flattering. But choosing a darker color top (which contrasts with the white in the jacket) helps balance out the look,  and the stark black and white print of the jacket draws attention to it instead of what’s underneath. The large necklace also draws attention upward.


On the other hand, take a look at the styling of this City Chic jacket from Nordstrom (on the left). Yep, that bright white is causing viewers to focus on the area around the hips. Typically, angling the hemline of the jacket can visually narrow the waist area, but the intersecting angles with the top also draw pull the eye to the hip area. IMO, as a spoon shape, I personally would avoid this look! But I would consider a jacket with a sloping/angled hemline.


Depending on your height and shape, I think it would be a good idea to avoid boxy short jackets. I think this jacket from Trina Turk at Nordstrom Rack (on the right) would visually add pounds to most women wearing it. This is a slender model, and she definitely doesn’t look slender wearing that jacket. It’s not only the boxy cut, it’s the length of the sleeves and the shorter hemline on the dress. I’m honestly not sure that any styling is going to cause this jacket to NOT visually add bulk.

In many cases, wearing darker monochrome clothing underneath the jacket can produce a flattering look. This Alice + Olivia jacket (on the left) from Nordstrom accomplishes that objective. Some women do not look good in turtlenecks (raises hand) but if you can pull them off, they can help in visually elongating the body. Notice that with this style, the long sleeves help to elongate the arms as well. I wouldn’t totally avoid 3/4 length sleeves, but it seems across the board that the longer ones appear more flattering.

This Ellen Tracy misses size jacket (on the right) may, at first glance, appear to go against my first suggestion about wearing darker color tops (especially if the hem hits at the hip line). But notice that the flattering v-neckline of the jacket, and the jacket’s interesting floral print, help to focus attention on the jacket itself. And, the choice of a grey top is less startling of a contrast than a white top would have been.

I love the look of this Alice + Olivia embroidered jacket from Net-a-Porter (on the left) over a black longer length, feminine dress. Proportion for your body type may differ, as this look could be a little bottom heavy on some figures (dress fabric with a good drape helps alleviate some of that problem). The vertical detail on the jacket front (those brass buttons) helps accentuate vertical lines, and the shoulder flaps can enhance narrow shoulders.

Here are some additional suggestions:

Wear with high waist skirt or pants – if you are medium to tall height, try pairing a short jacket with a dark color or same color high waist midi pencil skirt or dark color high waist pants.

Avoid boxy pants – looser fitting pants will visually add weight to your hips and thighs, creating a bottom heavy look.

Choose the most flattering skirt length and style, depending on your height and figure type – try on a cropped jacket with different lengths and styles of skirts to find what works best for you.

Princess seams/side panels – princess seams can create a closer, curvy fit for a jacket. Experiment with black/dark solid side panels, which visually shrinks the horizontal and accentuates the vertical.

Tunic length top – this might also look good on the medium to tall, hourglass, or square shape women. You may still want to stick with reduced contrast instead of a stark contrast between top, jacket and bottom.