If you’re a fan of breathing room and a good midriff breeze, raise your hands (and shirts). Let’s talk about a fashion item so simultaneously scandalous and stylish that it has been turning heads and raising eyebrows since its inception: the crop top. The equivalent of a fashion mic drop, the crop top says, “I’m here, I’m confident, and yes, my belly button is part of my OOTD!”
A Brief, or Rather, Cropped History
Our tale of the tummy begins in the 1940s, not as a bold fashion statement, but as a result of a wartime rationing measure. You heard it right, ladies! The crop top’s rebellious nature has been ingrained since its creation. When WWII demanded fabric rationing, women’s suits got shorter and tighter, and the crop top, an unintentional byproduct, was born.
But it wasn’t until the swinging ’60s and ’70s that crop tops really took off, courtesy of the era’s love for freedom and all things bohemian. Fast forward to the ’90s, and crop tops were as ubiquitous as boy bands and Beanie Babies. From Britney Spears rocking a green crop top in her “…Baby One More Time” video, to the iconic purple ensemble of Princess Jasmine in Aladdin, the crop top was the navel-revealing star of the ’90s.
How to Crop It Like It’s Hot
First things first: crop tops are not size-specific; they’re confidence-specific. So, whether you’re skinny, curvy, short, or tall, if you’ve got the will, there’s a crop top way.
Pair a slinky crop top with high-waisted jeans for a laid-back, casual look that whispers, “Oh, this? I just threw it on.” Got a lunch date with the ladies? The crop top and a midi skirt combo will keep you looking fresh, fancy, and a tad flirty.
And for that all-important boardroom meeting, try a blazer with a tailored crop top and high-waisted pants for a look that says, “I can understand profit margins and rock a midriff.”
U.S. Brands Selling Unique Crop Tops
Ready to take the leap and crop your top? Here’s where you can snag some of the best pieces in the U.S.:
Reformation: Sustainability never looked so chic. Reformation has a variety of crop tops made from eco-friendly materials, perfect for those wanting to save the world, one crop top at a time.
Dolls Kill: If variety is your jam, Dolls Kill is your band. From cozy cropped sweaters to stylish bralettes, platform heels, they’ve got your torso (or at least, the top half) covered.
Urban Outfitters: If you’re looking for a brand that plays with bold prints and quirky designs, Urban Outfitters has got your back, or rather, your belly.
Free People: For the Boho goddess in you, Free People’s range of crop tops includes plenty of flowy, patterned options that will leave you feeling free-spirited and fabulous.
Modern Women’s Fashion: A Cultural Snapshot
From its WWII origins to its present-day popularity, the crop top’s journey is a perfect microcosm of women’s fashion history. Fashion has always been an instrumental tool for women’s expression and liberation. As society progressed, so did women’s fashion, with clothing becoming a means to challenge norms and assert independence.
The rise of the crop top was concurrent with periods of significant social change for women: post-war empowerment, the sexual revolution of the ’60s, and the grunge-fueled rebellion of the ’90s. Now, it’s seen as a symbol of body positivity, self-expression, and the unapologetic assertion of personal style.
So, ladies, here’s to celebrating the audacity of the crop top. Whether you’re lounging at home, running errands, or smashing glass ceilings, remember: life’s too short to wear boring tops, so you might as well crop it!