A crop top is a shortened women’s shirt that bares the midriff, including part or all of the waist and belly button. Not to be confused with a sports bra or long line bra, the cropped look is styled like a shirt and paired with an appropriate bottom piece, such as a skirt, shorts, or jeans.
Recent memory has relegated the cropped top to some of the more highly questionable outfits of the 1980s and 1990s, Flashdance and Dirty Dancing excluded. But, the truth is that the belly-baring crop top got its start hundreds of years ago as part of a traditional Indian sari. This look, while much too risqué for the Western world at that time, set the standard for the elegant cropped styles we see today. In between, the crop top made its mark. In the 1940s, the short tops, paired with high-waisted skirts, showed off just a little bit of skin. The 1950s had its own version of the crop, often worn with a high-waisted capri pant. By the 1970s and 1980s, midriff-baring tops were ubiquitous, popularized by icons like Cher and Madonna.
Cropped tops have come a long way, and today’s look is quite elegant. The trend has even made its way to wedding gown design. That being said, it’s good to be mindful of what occasions are suitable for showing a little extra skin. Many of the more elegant crop tops are paired with matching skirts, creating the perfect outfit for a cocktail party. Other cropped designs are better for casual wear. And the look is definitely recommended as part of any vacation wardrobe!
For special occasions, an embellished cropped top pairs well with a skirt or elegant trousers. For a festival or concert, try a boho style crop with flare jeans or shorts. Resort or beachwear calls for a crop with a mini or maxi skirt. Keep your accessories relatively understated and let your abs-baring ensemble speak for itself.