A few days ago, there was quite a kerfluffle over at The Sartorialist on the subject of women's jackets. Sart posted this picture, and his comments about sleeve lengths and longer jackets in general closed with, "you don't need to be a model for it to look great." Well, this was a battle cry for me and a few of my other shorter soeurs. Les Soldats Petites came out with guns a-blazing, and argued that petite women would either be swamped by the jacket he featured (a double-breasted number) or the curvier among us would look like linebackers in it. On the field of battle we circled, flanked, and attacked from all sides, but The Sartorialist stuck to his guns and held his ground. At the end of the day, it was a draw.
I am still of a mind that few women look really great in double-breasted jackets, and longer jackets can be tricky for the vertically challenged among us. I'm not a fan of the "shrunken" jacket either, which gives the appearance of wearing one's little brother's cast off Lycée Français school uniform jacket, but I have been enamored of the shorter 3/4 sleeve crop and swing jackets in the last year or so. One advantage to these is that we petites can often buy "regular" sizes without having to trot off to the tailor immediately upon purchase to get the sleeves shortened. Plus, they don't call them "bracelet length" sleeves for nothing; it's a great way to show off those stacks of bangles or unique cuffs.
As mentioned during that skirmish, I believe that the trick for shorter women wearing longer jackets (or any jackets for that matter), is to stick to single-breated styles, and to keep the top and bottom elements balanced. For women like me with a proportionally short waist and longer legs, long jackets can visually create a longer line. Women with a longer waist and shorter legs can wear longer jackets with narrow pants to keep the top and bottom halves balanced.
My current favorite longer jacket is last year's version of this Ralph Lauren Hacking Jacket (take note: this one's on sale!). This jacket is well cut for petites, and has classic design and shaping. If there's one thing Ralph does consistently well, it's the equestrian look.
Other than RL, there isn't much currently available online in longer jackets that are available in Petite sizes. Nada at Norstrom.com, rien at Neiman's. (In fact, I have quite a gripe with Neiman's online Petite department, which seems to be populated primarily by Eileen Fisher potato sacks.)
Talbot's has a few:
Wool gabardine single-button jacket, $188.
Stretch wool gabardine two-button jacket, $188.
Double twill wool stretch jacket, $198. (Here's a nice example of a longer jacket worn with narrow pants.)
BOSS Black Tuck Detail Jacket, $795 (LOVE the detailing on this but it might not work on those with a pronounced pear shape.)
Theory "Abel-Tailor" Jacket, $360.