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Fashion Challenge: Cropped Tops


Crop Top photos
Photo Credits: 1 – Charlotte Ronson Spring 2010 RTW, 2 – Ashley M. via, 3 – Whitney Port

Each week, our Fashion Challenge column highlights a risky trend that’s a a bit outside the norm, and this week’s item is no exception. Believe it or not, the crop top is back in a big way, and is going to be hot for Summer 2010. I know this garment may remind you of the 80s in a bad way, but it’s easier to wear than you think – and that’s why I chose it as our challenge this week.

Think you have what it takes to make the crop top work? Read on for some tips, then try it yourself!

Tips & Tricks for Wearing Cropped Tops

  • Own it. As with most of our Fashion Challenges, this look requires a major dose of confidence: I mean, it’s not everyday you expose your stomach to the world!
  • Tuck it in. I am already prepared for tons of complaints about this look not working for anyone but super-skinny models. That’s just not true! If you aren’t prepared to bare your whole stomach, tuck in the front and let the sides hang out of a high-waisted garment for a great blouson effect. When you lift your arms and move around, your sides and back might peek out, but most of your stomach will stay covered. See an example on Cammileco below:

Girl wearing a crop top
Photo Credit

  • Layer, layer, layer. Want another alternative to baring it all? Try layering a cropped top over a basic tank. Cutout or lace styles would amp up the look a bit.
  • Consider location. I don’t want to sound like your controlling mother, but use your judgment when wearing a cropped top. You might not want to wear this to, say, your sister-in-law’s baby shower (or maybe you would?). But this look isn’t always acceptable, so just consider where you are going.

Get The Look

How to wear a crop top - look oneHow to wear a crop top - look two

Product Information: Outfit #1: Striped crop top – Aubin and Wills, Shorts – Topshop, Gladiator sandals – Aldo, Cross-body bag – Old Navy, Knot ring – Fred Flare Outfit #2: Crop top – Topshop, Skirt – Forever 21, Sandals – Piperlime, Print headband – Monsoon Accessorize, Necklace – American Eagle

I wanted to give you guys two different options for this Challenge, so I decided to go with one boxy cropped shirt (like Whitney Port’s in the picture at the top of the page), and one shorter cropped tank.

For Outfit #1, I decided to go simple. Because the shirt is so loose-fitting, I added short, frayed jean shorts to show off long legs. Black and gold accessories finish off a nautical-inspired look.

Outfit #2 is more versatile because you can wear the shirt out and loose to show a bit of tummy, or you can tuck it into the high-waisted skirt for more coverage. I love the mixing of stripes and leopard print, so I threw in a headband. A heavy chain necklace adds just the right touch of toughness.

Extra Credit Reading

Dying for some more info on cropped tops? Check out these sources:

So, will you take the Fashion Challenge?

How do you guys feel about this look: tacky or trendy? Thoughts on where to (or not to) wear a cropped top? Already work this trend? Send us pictures of you in your crop top and we’ll feature them here!* As always, we are open to suggestions for future fashion challenges and we’d love to hear from you!

* Send your outfit pictures to fashionchallenge AT collegefashion DOT net!

Posted on on May 5, 2010 / Filed Under: Fashion Tips / Tags: , , , , , , ,

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31 Responses to “Fashion Challenge: Cropped Tops”

  1. 1
    May 5th, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    I love this trend but i’m not so sure of how it would look on me. I am very tall and have extremely long legs. I usually tend to stay away from small tops because they make me look disproportionate. I don’t know, I think I might actually try it.

  2. 2
    May 5th, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    Yeah, I really like crop tops! I was feeling really iffy about them, and then I ordered a shirt online that I didn’t realize was a crop top… It was so cute that I didn’t want to return it, so I’m still trying to find ways to wear it. You can see it at my blog:

    Anyways, I think that this trend can surely be worked by anyone, as long as they’re careful not to be too 80’s or tacky about it. Great post!

    <3 the dress darling

  3. 3
    May 5th, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    love this trennd! bought a cute flowy crop from old navy for like ten bucks and it looks great paired with skinnies and heels

  4. 4
    May 5th, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    I like this trend! I especially like the second outfit, but not so much the first. I feel like short shorts and a crop top is just too much, but the fun patterned skirt is perfect!

  5. 5
    May 5th, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    Cropped tops are hard to pull off, it’s an interesting trend but I don’t think I will be trying it… until late summer (chicago summer heat is awful).

  6. 6
    May 5th, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    Hm, I still don’t know. It sort of doesn’t match my style and I think it might look ridiculous on me… so I rather leave it to the other fashionistas to wear this one

  7. 7
    May 5th, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    I think this trend only works for certain body configurations. I have larger chest, so I feel like it would hang off of me funny unless it were purposely built for boobs and then nipped back in. However, I think it would look fine on someone with a small chest. I personally like it better with a cami or tank underneath but that’s just conservative me.

  8. 8
    May 5th, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    I love this – very Alexa Chung!

  9. 9
    May 5th, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    Yea, I like this trend.. I bought a couple of crop tops at Forever 21 a while back for $4.99 and $7.99 to put over tank tops… and I blogged about this too about a month ago. I think they can work over a plain fitted dress also.. you can see it here:

  10. 10
    May 5th, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    I love cropped tops! AA has a bunch ranging from loose to semi-fitted! My sister and i stocked up on them for the summer lol. If i’m feeling (a little) conservative, i’ll wear a sleeveless lace body suit under the cropped top. I also wear them with stuff that are high-waisted, so i especially love outfit #2, its given me some inspiration. I also wear my loose (short sleeved) ones, off the shoulder (which doesn’t expose my stomach as much).

    I’m actually contemplating on whether i should pack some for my trip to turkey.. still don’t know yet..

    Great post Audrey!

  11. 11
    May 5th, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    I’m not sure about this trend – to me, it specifically advantages a small group of woman, i.e. not me. I have strong hips and a small waist so I try to make my waist the focus point. Wearing a crop shirt would only accentuate my hips, I think. Especially the loose ones with longer sides.

    Although I could wear it inside a high-waisted skirt, I think it would look like – but so would a regular lenght shirt.

  12. 12
    May 5th, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    i love this trend, a couple more crunches and I might be able to actually pull it off!

  13. 13
    May 5th, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    (: I love crop tops, but I’d rather not show any skin!

    I like to wear mine with a simple tank underneath & jeans for a casual day at school,
    or on the weekends, I pair my crop-tops with a skirt! =]

    I especially adore the first outfit in the last pic! Perfect for summer!

    Great post!


  14. 14
    May 5th, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    I love crop tops!! I think its a great trend for the summer!

    I’ve been to turkey a couple of times and if u would be staying in istanbul(or any of the other cities) I would recommend being more conservative (or maybe wear it witha tank)because there are many religious people there. But if u will also be going to any beaches or summer places in turkey I think u should definitly pack one or two!
    Hope that helps :)

  15. 15
    May 5th, 2010 at 10:38 pm

    I don’t know if I can pull this off…like Erin, I have a large bust so it might only make me look like a wide receiver.

  16. 16
    May 6th, 2010 at 12:05 am

    Love these looks!

    I have a question…
    Could you do something on the lyricculture clothing line?
    I love the beatles inspired jeans and scarves etc, if you know of any cheaper options available that also have lyric inspired clothing that would be AWESOME! (I searched through google but came up with nothing)

    If nothing else I would still love to read what you think of this clothing line! :D

  17. 17
    May 6th, 2010 at 1:09 am

    I think this look is very unflattering, even if you are not skinny.

  18. 18
    May 6th, 2010 at 11:17 am

    I think this look is tacky, tacky, tacky. In all fairness though, I think it’s because the type of people that are drawn to this trend are those who already own very body baring looks. I think it’s very hard to come off as classy with this trend and if you can pull off this trend in classy way then more power to you. I’m just warning, be careful.

  19. 19
    May 6th, 2010 at 11:28 am

    I have to say, I really don’t like cropped tops. I’m not just saying they would be unflattering on me specifically- I actually do have the thin, willowy body best suited to pull them off- I actually think they are pretty tacky. I applaud those who are able to make this style their own and improve upon it, but without that sort of creative alteration, these shirts just seem sloppy- and a little bit, dare I say, tarty, as far as I’m concerned. And mind you, I’m hardly prudish when it comes to fashion- I love tiny skirts, lingerie-inspired outerwear, wild shoes and costume-like silhouettes. But there’s just something I find slovenly about these tops.

  20. 20
    May 6th, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    A personal religious choice I’ve made is to dress modestly (not like, floor-length skirt, never show your shoulders kind of modest, but I do like to leave something to the imagination). I wish CF would do a post about how to make conservative dress hip, instead of teaching us how to bare even more skin.

  21. 21
    May 21st, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    I love seeing cropped shirts over dresses. It can make a dressy dress more casual, cover sun burn-able shoulders in a light summer dress.

  22. 22
    June 10th, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    guys , do you have the habit to buy the clothes through the internet ?

    we are a team from China , and we sales the clothes on internet . if you want to buy the clothes cheap and beautiful . come to our website to have a look .

    I am sure you will find your style !

  23. 23
    December 23rd, 2010 at 11:42 pm

    I just bought a pink cropped top yesterday! Love the article guys :)

  24. 24
    July 31st, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    I love the trend. Its not tacky. A lot less tacky actually then having trousers that are so low on the hips you show off everything but your hooch. The trick is to wear high rise bottoms that cover, or almost cover the belly button. That makes you look proportional and keeps the look on trend and not overly revealing. Its a personal choice, but not any different then wearing shorts in the summer or sandals for that matter. If you want to cover up, do it. I have no wish to show too much skin, but I am not afraid of showing a modest flash of toned skin.

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