How to Layer Tops Under Jackets


Hi Imogen. I’d like to ask you about a certain style that has been around for quite awhile now. Being a tall H I’m glad I don’t have to tuck in my blouses. I’m from the tucked in generation (in my 50’s) and I keep on seeing jackets that end way above the hem of the sweater or blouse. 4-6 inches or more. It always looks sloppy to me. Can you tell me what the purpose of this style is? Thanks.


Thanks for your question. Here are my thoughts on what looks best with layering tops under jackets.

How to layer tops under jackets


A cropped waist length jacket (orange pictured) can work with either a top that ends at the waist, high hip or low hip.

A low hip jacket (ends upper thighs) really needs a top that ends a few inches above the hem of the jacket. (pictured grey)

A high hip length jacket (pictured navy) looks best if the top ends at the same point, or within 1-2 inches maximum below the end of the jacket – no longer.

I agree – that 4-6 inches longer of a top or blouse does tend to look messy and it usually throws off the proportions of the garments which is why you are not loving this look.



  • Vildy says:

    Oh wow. After puzzling over this for years, this is so easy to understand. Thank you so much.

    • Imogen says:

      Vildy – thanks – glad I’ve explained it well enough. Proportions matter so much in dressing – I’d give up body shape over proportions any day.

  • Marie says:

    This is why I love your blog. The picture examples are so helpful!

  • Sigrid says:

    Very helpful and great visuals. Thanks! I’ve still got a question: all the tops in the visuals are fitted. What about looser tops layered under jackets? I find that fitted top + cropped jacked easily gives me a little bit of muffin top.

  • Tall & slim anon says:

    Hmm. Very interesting. I agree with you on all of them but the second-from-the-right. I like it! It looks more casual and stylish to me, than the right-most version.

    You said it was a column of color that made it work about a similar vertical breakdown I asked you about; I wonder if here too my eye is connecting the two shades of blue?

    Another way I’ve done it is: black pants, black long-sleeve t-shirt, contrasting short-sleeve tunic. I’m guessing some sort of a column worked there too, connecting the two black pieces.

    • Imogen says:

      Olga – this column is broken by the white horizontal band. It would be a column if the top was shorter than the jacket.

      • Tall & slim anon says:

        I see, thanks!

        I wonder if I like it because it makes the figure look wider and more grounded, whereas the rightmost one is more slim and slick. I’m tall and narrow, so wider is definitely better than further elongation …

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