How to wear a crop top: 11 Style Panel tips that make skin-baring a lot less scary

How to wear a crop top

Ever have one of those intimidating statement pieces that makes you feel so self-conscious about your body that it makes you want to sprint to the gym immediately? This may as well be the tale of the crop top.

Showing your midriff once seemed like a scandalous look, only to be tested by celebrities —think Britney Spears circa “Baby One More Time”—this season, the crop top has emerged as feminine, even covering our current issue on Lana Del Rey!

Lead by designers like Peter Som with his Spring 2013 bralet and high-waisted flowing skirt, we’re beginning to see how ladylike this look can be. With different styles and fits including the bustier, the cropped T-shirt and the waist-tied blouse, the crop top can be altered to your preferred degree of mid-section baring.

Still questioning how to wear a crop top? Fear not, because 11 of our Style Panel members share tips on how to easily pull off this spring trend sans butterflies in your stomach.

Opting to show a little less skin, many of our girls decided to pair their flirty crop tops with cute midi skirts like BornLippy’s Melanie Morais and Dainty Girl’s Nicole Wilson who chose to wear tie-knot crop tops that tastefully bares a sliver of their midriff. Showing off a bit more skin, Leah SaysLeah Gust was all smiles as she takes on two spring trends, the crop top and the graphic floral print, in today’s outfit. But what’s the best way to wear your crop top this season? Taking Style Worthwhile’s Jacquelyn Son’s advice, rock your crop top with confidence.

Question 51: Can you share tips on how to wear a crop top this season? Read the answers now! »


How to wear a crop top Melanie Morais

Melanie Morais, 25
Edson, Ab | Bornlippy

I have always loved the idea of the crop top, but like most girls I am always afraid I can’t pull it off. It definitely takes a sort of confidence to embrace it. I tend to go with looser fit crop tops since these are less intimidating and give off a great summer feel. With the crop tops I do have, I like pairing them with skirts either long or short. Pairing them with skirts such as this flared short one lets you adjust how much skin you want to bare by either pulling it up or keeping it at your waist. Yay for options!

Melanie’s wearing: Top, Aritzia. Skirt, Urban Outfitters. Necklace, J. Crew. Sandals, Zara.

How to wear a crop top Becky Kung

Becky Kung, 30
Calgary | Velvet & Vino

The beautiful aspect of the cropped top is that is doesn’t have to be the scary style trend that only runway models can pull off. This spring’s cropped top trend provides great flexibility in terms of fit and style, particularly in the shape of the top. Depending on your comfort level, you may choose from the cropped tops that are fitted and offer less coverage, or you can select a more loose fitting and fuller-coverage top such as this pairing which features the flowy chiffon cropped-blouse. My tip for styling the cropped top is to pick the fit and shape that best describes you and your personal style, and then work it in that angle. Only wear what you feel beautiful in.

Becky’s wearing: Chiffon blouse, Sirens. Floral jeggings, Forever 21. Sunglasses, Tory Burch. Black clutch, Vintage. Key necklace, Aldo. Bracelet, Joe Fresh. Watch, Michael Kors. Blue pumps, H&M.

How to wear a crop top Kayla Short

Kayla Short, 26
Halifax | Short Presents

When we think of crop tops some of us ladies might want to run for the hills and/or to the nearest gym. Rightfully so, the crop top trend can be frightening, and with summer just around the corner we need no more reminders that bikini season is upon us.

Surprisingly despite all this I’m actually really excited about the crop top trend. With all of my long maxi skirts left over from last summer; wearing them with a crop top is a great way to keep them current and get more wear out of them.

For me the crop top trend isn’t all that scary because I follow what I’ve dubbed “the belly button rule”. Since I’m not 16 anymore when I wear a crop top I like to make sure whatever I’m wearing on bottom covers my belly button. It’s not that I think there’s anything wrong with my belly button, and/or other people’s belly buttons, but I just think that it’s too much so long as I’m not on a boat and/or at the beach with my flippy-floppies.

The most important thing to remember about sporting a crop top is to balance out covering up other parts of your body. If you are baring your midriff you should make sure to cover something else up, so either opt for long sleeves, and/or a long skirt so you don’t wind up looking like a floozy.

Kayla’s wearing: Striped maxi skirt, Lush via Envy. Crop top, Sirens. Shoes, Mudd via Khols. Bag, Kelly’s Luggage. Sunglasses, Joe Fresh. Watch, Fossil. Bangles, Alex and Ani.

How to wear a crop top Nicole Wilson

Nicole Wilson, 29
Toronto | Dainty Girl

Kudos to the girls who are brave enough to bare their midriff in full-fledged crop tops, but I just can’t bring myself to do it! I spend five days a week in a corporate office so crop tops aren’t a worthwhile investment for my wardrobe and at the end of the day, I’m not a big fan of the trend.

That said, I do love the look of a crop top layered over a cute dress or paired with a high-waisted skirt. I styled my cropped tie-waist blouse with a chic hi-low skirt that gives just a glimpse of skin. It’s a bohemian look that can be dressed up with heels or dressed down with flats. I can adjust the skirt to sit higher if I don’t want to show any skin at all…or if I’ve just had a big lunch! Crop tops also look cute layered over long camis if you’re dainty like me!

Nicole’s wearing: Blouse, M for Mendocino. Skirt, M for Mendocino. Shoes, Zara. Clutch, Tristan. Necklace, Shop for Jayu. Bracelet, Ann Taylor. Watch, Michael Kors.

How to wear a crop top Stephanie Koch

Stephanie Koch, 27
Kelowna via Calgary | Inherited Jeans

At first glance with the crop top trend, you imagine the need for high exposure and perfect abs. After giving it some thought, I don’t think this is the case and feel that this look can work for a variety of body types in a more subtle way. I went for the subtle approach in my outfit by selecting a tank that comes slightly up in front and hangs away from my body. Combined with a higher waisted short, you only get a cheeky flash of skin when you move or the breeze blows; a perfect summery look without feeling over exposed or self conscious.

Stephanie’s wearing: Tank, Top Shop. Leather shorts, Winners. Necklace, Ell & Emm. Sandals, Sam Edelman. Bracelets, Stella & Dot and Joe Fresh.

How to wear a crop top Leah Gust
Photography by Peter Chatterton

Leah Gust, 31
Toronto | Leah Says

Cropped tops are a great summer trend however your age and body type will determine how much you should show. A good rule of thumb is never show navel unless you’re at the beach and no matter your age always remember a hint of skin is better than showing it all off! If you need more tips on how to bare your middle I did a how-to here:

Leah’s wearing: Top and skirt, vintage. Necklace, H&M. Shoes, Winners.

How to wear a crop top Barbara Ann Solomon
Photography by Trevor Negin

Barbara Ann Solomon, 25
Toronto | Barbara Ann’s Style Blog

My mother’s most hated trend from my teen years is back and more fashionable than ever. The 90’s crop top is here, from bustiers to long sleeved sweaters, spring 2013’s hottest trend is a bit revealing.

Baring it all definitely takes confidence and practice. I started slow, the first few crop top outfits were layered over a collared shirt or under a see-through knit, but now after I’ve had a chance to tone up the stomach and find proper fitting trousers and skirts, I feel comfortable rocking these belly baring looks.

Once you find the style that best suits and enhances your figure, wear it around your home to get comfortable with the cut, and then go and rock it. Bring a sweater, incase you change your mind or bump into a co-worker or in law!

Barbara’s wearing: Crop top, watch and shoes, Vintage. Trousers, Topshop.

How to wear a crop top Jacquelyn Son

Jacquelyn Son, 21
Vancouver | Style Worthwhile

I usually feel more comfortable wearing cropped tops with anything high waisted, just so I’m not bearing too much skin. My tip for the crop top is simple; wear it with confidence or don’t wear it at all! Love your body and if you think you look good in a crop top, then rock it. If you don’t, then it’s not worth it to wear one and be uncomfortable all day.

Jacquelyn’s wearing: Cropped top, Topshop. Skirt, Love Culture.

How to wear a crop top Lyndsey Forest

Lyndsey Forest, 23
Edmonton | Over My Styled Body

The thought of wearing a crop top this summer might give you the same intimidating feeling as bringing out the itsy bitsy bikini after those long winter months. Luckily there are a couple tricks to making this fashion statement a little less daunting and a little more appropriate for everyone to pull off! When wearing a crop top, make sure your bottoms are high waisted and hit you just above your belly button. That way you’re only showing a little sliver of midriff, which is both chic and a little sexy. And since you’re already showing a bit of skin, make sure to keep your bottom half more covered by wearing some high waisted jeans or even a midi skirt like I’m wearing here. The crop top might not be ideal for the work week but I’ll definitely be wearing this fashion trend on the weekends!

Lyndsey’s wearing: Midi skirt, Simons. Crop top, American Apparel. Clutch, J.Crew. Heels, Aldo.

How to wear a crop top Gabrielle Lacasse

Gabrielle Lacasse, 23
Montreal | Dentelle et Fleurs

I am a huge crop top fan and I manage to wear them pretty much everywhere. The only thing is that I am a little shy when it comes to showing off my body. What I do to avoid showing too much skin is that I pair my crop top with some high waisted pants or shorts. That way, I am not revealing a lot of skin, but the result still looks a little sexy. I also manage to wear crop tops during our Canadian winter by simply adding a jacket or blazer over it. Try it, you’ll love it.

How to wear a crop top Zoe Smythe

Zoe Smythe, 30
New York City | Zoe’s Fashion Feed

I find that the crop top is as intimidating as the amount of skin exposed, so if you want to rock this look but are a little apprehensive about bearing it all, try a look that is more 1950s, and less 1990s. The 1950s beachwear inspired look is especially flattering for women with curves. Start with a high wasted skirt that sits at or above the belly button, and top with a bralet or tied up button down. Check out photos of 1950s beachwear for more curve friendly crop top inspiration!