If you like the trapeze jacket look, but you’re battling to find a shape that’s flattering, you might find these guidelines helpful:

  • Length – it’s extremely important to get the length of this jacket right. The style is best when it grazes your hipbone. Going shorter can also work, but going longer can be tricky unless you have the body type (hour-glass, inverted-triangle or rectangle). If this style hits you on the wrong part of your thighs, it’s going to look dumpy. If you’re short waisted, try the petites department even if you don’t usually shop there.
  • Tailoring – swing jackets have to fit snugly on the shoulders. You’ll end up with a sloppy shoulder if they don’t. Strong shoulder lines are essential for a flattering A-line silhouette.
  • Sleeve width – opt for a sleeve that’s three quarter length and not as voluminous. This will add structure to your frame.
  • Slightly swing – choose a style that swings out subtly and is not as wide at the torso.
  • Keep it plain – select a fairly streamlined and basic version instead of a style that’s yoked, gathered and printed.

The trapeze jacket is not the best style for women with large bust lines. Well endowed woman still look best when they maximize the shape of their waistlines. I have been able to make A-line jackets work for this body type if I adhere to the guidelines above and keep the style unbuttoned to emphasize a long vertical line. Busty ladies can also opt for trapeze styles with V or scooped necklines (Icy hit the nail on the head with her suggestion yesterday).

3/4 Sleeve Wool JacketSashimi Button CoatHalogen Wool Blend Swing Coat

All three of these Trapeze jacket styles are hipbone-grazing or shorter, streamlined and tailored. I can personally vouch for the yellow style on the left, which I own and is particularly flattering.