This ensemble was inspired by one of Nikki’s outfits, which we featured earlier this week. It’s not to be confused with the boxy shirt under boxy sweater ensemble because in this case the sweater is cropped. Plus, you have the option of combining a fitted shirt with a fitted cropped sweater; or keeping both layers fairly fluid or oversized. 

Take a peek at some street style examples of the ensemble: 

All the examples above show a high contrast between the shirt and cropped sweater (generally a black cropped sweater over a white shirt). But this is just one way to sport the look. Creating a low contrast between the two layers creates a stronger vertical integrity by eliminating the cutting horizontal line. I’ve shown a dark low-contrast combination on the left (the black cropped sweater over the ink polka dot shirt), but wearing a cropped sweater in a light color like cream or blush over a white shirt is another way to go. 

Here are the components of the ensemble:

Shirt: As I mentioned, you can choose a fitted or boxy button-down shirt, and create a high or low contrast with the cropped sweater. Regular shirt lengths work well. Tunic length shirts are more dramatic. Soft blouses, instead of stiff shirts are another possibility. Wear them untucked. 

Cropped Sweater: Choose to create a high or low contrast with the shirt. A fine gauge knit will keep your silhouette sleek, but a chunky knit is not taboo. The sweater must be extra short to create the desired effect. Cropped sweaters come in many variations so be mindful of the neckline and hem shape. Choose a wider and lower neckline if you have a shorter neck. A cropped sweater with a high-low hemline creates a more gentle horizontally cutting line than a straight hem. 

Bottoms: Choose a bottom that works with the outfit. Black slim-fit trousers are a slam dunk, as are a pair of straight leg jeans or a black pencil skirt. White jeans would also look great, and so would a pair of relaxed skinnies or boyfriend jeans. 

Topper: The topper is optional. Think moto jacket, blazer, tuxedo jacket, trench coat or wool coat. 

Footwear: Choose footwear to match the bottoms. Pumps are great with a pencil skirt and jeans. Booties are fab with boyfriend jeans and trousers. Loafers are great with jeans. Pointy toe flats are nice with the skirt and slim-fit trousers. 

Accessories: Choose a bag that works with the outfit. Leave off the belt and scarf. Add jewellery, eyewear and watch as desired. 

This outfit combination is not about creating conventionally flattering proportions. It is an example of just enough structure being sufficiently flattering, on trend, and just as stylish. Above all, it’s fun to play around with proportions and come up with creative outfit combinations. 

Cropped Sweater over Longer Shirt