How to Rock a Crop Top

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How to Style a Crop Top

The crop top is back. I know, I know, I hear your moaning through the Internet. I wore crop tops in high school when I was channeling Kelly Kapowski, when this trend showed up on runways I KNEW it was one I would not revisit. However, brilliant style bloggers across the globe have been proving that anyone can carry off a crop top this summer, and here’s some tips on how to rock the crop without looking like a Fly Girl:

Pair with a High-waisted Bottom

When a crop top is partnered with a skirt or pant that starts above the belly button, a crop top can be downright flattering. The smallest part on a woman’s body is usually at the bottom or right below the rib cage; a crop top and high-waisted bottom highlight this area, and your sliver of skin flatters in the same manner a wide belt does. Having the visible skin so high prevents muffin top, and showing your belly button or post-baby stretch marks. While this pairing can work with most any type of top and bottom, the combination of a fitted top and fuller skirt or pants is both figure flattering and on trend (and with a fitted top there’s no chance you’ll flash your bra). Great examples of this trend can be seen on Jay Miranda and Girl With Curves.

Wear Over a Dress

Gosh, why didn’t I think of this? I’ll admit, seeing this outfit on The Classy Cubicle was when I started realizing crop tops can look modern and be age-appropriate. Treat a boxy crop top like a cropped jacket and pair with a simple sheath to update your workweek wardrobe staples or to freshen up your Date Night LBD. Also on Refinery 29, they featured an editor wearing a striped tank dress with a different striped crop top over it and the combination was fun and very wearable.

Layer over a Longer Top

You’ll see retailers have already thought of this combination, styling mannequins in this manner and also selling shirts that create this effect. I love this top from Vince Camuto; it looks like two tops, achieves the crop top look, but has enough coverage to wear at more casual workplaces or weekends when you don’t want to flash a ton of skin.

Get Matchy Matchy

When the top and bottom are the same color and/or fabric, the flash of your midsection isn’t as obvious and doesn’t feel so risqué. Mindy Kaling wore a jacquard crop top and skirt to an event and it worked because it was a matched set, the skirt was high, and the sliver of skin showcased the slimmest part of her figure.

Play with Volume

Not every crop top is fitted, and a bit of volume can make this shorter silhouette far more wearable.  The Tiny Closet shows how a floaty crop top can be quite flattering; while the post linked has her wearing it with higher-waist pants, she wears this top often with all sorts of bottoms. The August Diaries pairs a boxy crop with a high-low hemline with a skirt that is fitted on top, creating a balanced silhouette. I love this eyelet crop top with matching full maxi; both pieces in the same color gives a feel of a dress, the cropped top flattering the figure in the same manner as a belt. Adding volume is a great way to balance your frame and keep cool as the temps rise.


What do you think about the return of the crop top? Are you willing to try this trend?


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  1. I totally remember crop tops from the ’80s! One of my all-time favorite shirts in junior high was a cropped shirt in pastel stripes. This time around, it would only work as an upper layer for me, otherwise I’d be flashing my abdominal surgery scar, not my favorite accessory!

  2. Have to say, I’m not all that interested. I generally try to abide by the “if you wore it the first time, you’re too old to wear it this time” rule.

  3. Hmm… I was initially thinking ‘no way!’ but you’ve made some convincing points there. I do like cropped jackets and cardigans to show off my hourglass waist but I’m not sure I’d ever go with bare tummy skin again (unless I’m in my bikini). Still, there are a few ways that I can still play with proportions and create a cropped effect.

  4. I’m short-waisted with a small chest and a curvy bottom so a short top creates width across my smaller half and has the potential to even my silhouette out. I wasn’t keen on showing a lot of flesh, but your styling tips get around that.

    It may not be the best look for big chests who don’t want to highlight that enviable feature, but I think it’s got potential for those who mother nature forgot.

  5. I’m short-waisted and fat, so no. High-waisted skirts/pants look like they’re right under my boobs, Ed Grimley style. The cropped sweater over longer top does work nicely sometimes, though.

  6. I agree, the crop top look was great when I had a real waist and no muffin top, but now it would just look nasty on me. Kudos to those that can still pull it off.

  7. Yeah… I’m not wearing high-waisted pants again either. The only way that I can see the crop top working for me is the over the dress optino.

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