Subliminal Style
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Catching Rae

Cropped, Defined

Occasion: Shopping for Client
Dress Code: Casual
Outdoor Temps: 75°F
Activity Level: Low
Wearing: DIY shirtdress (flea market DIY), cropped denim jacket (flea market), Timberland boots (Ebay)

Cropped jackets have got to be on my list of top 5 garments I couldn't live without. Not only are they easier to throw in a tote and carry around in transitional weather than a full-length jacket, but they also do wonders for defining the waistline (or at least not obscuring it!), and they are absolutely essential in creating the correct body proportions when worn with a dress or tunic (hip-length jackets will often chop the body in half visually). 

But OMG, it is a serious mission trying to find a truly cropped jacket for us gals with a) a short waist, b) overall short stature, or c) all of the above... like me! There are a few reasons for this:

  • Most clothing is not made for taller women, which means a "cropped" jacket off the rack actually hits me at hip-length or longer. A truly cropped jacket should be about as short as your natural waistline... not the waistband of your low-rise jeans.
  • Some brands/sellers conflate the idea of "cropped" with "boxy" or "shrunken" - while some styles can be both cropped and boxy or cropped and shrunken, they aren't all the same thing. 
  • Most people don't like to spend the time/money to alter their clothes anymore - so even though there are lots of 5'4" gals out there, they aren't adjusting their jackets, and they aren't selling 'em to me on Ebay.

So what do we shorties do when we actually DO want to find a cropped jacket to wear with dresses, skirts, and tunics? Try these strategies:

  • Junior's stores - although quality may sometimes be lacking, the junior's department is made for teens who aren't quite finished growing, and the clothes are therefore often shorter than the misses counterparts.
  • Asian brands - like juniors, Asian women tend to be on the shorter side than other ethnicities. The catch is that they also have a smaller size range overall, and you may get sized out.
  • Petite's sections - these departments tend to be much more conservative and less trendy, so they won't always have anything that looks to be midriff-baring, but you might find a shrug or bolero.
  • Tailoring - this ol' standby is fantastic for button-up jackets, but can be more expensive if you have to move and shorten a zipper.
  • Thesaurus - I've had some good luck using alternate search terms like "bolero" or "short jacket" when shopping online.

Above all else? Sometimes you just have to be patient and wait for the whole cropped thing to become a huge trend... and then pounce like a crazed, short-waisted fiend while the getting is good!