Abstract A higher-order asymptotic analysis of a stationary crack in an elastic power-law hardening material has been carried out for plane strain, Mode I. The extent to which elasticity affects the near-tip fields is determined by the strain hardening exponent n. Five terms in the asymptotic series for the stresses have been derived for n = 3. However, only three amplitudes can be independently prescribed. These are K 1, K 2 and K 5 corresponding to amplitudes of the first-, second- and fifth-order terms. Four terms in the asymptotic series have been obtained for n = 5, 7 and 10; in these cases, the independent amplitudes are K 1, K 2 and K 4. It is found that appropriate choices of K 2 and K 4 can reproduce near-tip fields representative of a broad range of crack tip constraints in moderate and low hardening materials. Indeed, fields characterized by distinctly different stress triaxiality levels (established by finite element analysis) have been matched by the asymptotic series. The zone of dominance of the asymptotic series extends over distances of about 10 crack openings ahead of the crack tip encompassing length scales that are microstructurally significant. Furthermore, the higher-order terms collectively describe a spatially uniform hydrostatic stress field (of adjustable magnitude) ahead of the crack. Our results lend support to a suggestion that J and a measure of near-tip stress triaxiality can describe the full range of near-tip states.