A crop top (also known as cropped top, belly shirt, half shirt, midriff shirt, midriff top, tummy top, short shirt, and cutoff shirt) is a top whose lower part is high enough to expose the waist, belly button, or part of the waist.
Crop tops were initially something we admired mostly from afar on our favorite nineties stars but in recent years, they’ve reemerged as a pretty ubiquitous closet standard, especially once the warm weather kicks in.
Over the past few decades, the styling options for crop tops have improved tremendously. They are no longer the exclusive partner of low-rise jeans or denim cutoffs. You can wear them pretty much always and in any context: with sweatpants and high-heeled sandals, with a blazer and pencil skirt, with a white denim tuxedo.
The appropriateness of a crop top will be largely determined by a lot of factors ranging from how you style it to where you’re planning to wear it to. In this article, you’ll see how to style your crop top for an office setting as well as a casual outing.
Does an Office-Appropriate Crop Top Exist?
There is actually a way to use a crop top for the office. Below are five creative ways to style your cropped shirts, tanks, tops or bralettes for the office and beyond:
1. Suit up
You can hide just about any crop top under a button-up blazer, and in the summer it’s a great way to layer up and still stay cool. Take one of the best tricks for winter and wear a printed tank top under a suit jacket. With a flowy skirt or fitted pants, it’s an effortless way to transition from day to night.
2. Hide in High-Waisted
Most cropped tops – with the exception of those that have near bralette status – sit just right at the waist of high-waisted pants. The best news? There are plenty of high-waisted pants out there, from leather pants to a classic pair of wide-leg white pants. We recommend pairing this outfit with a shoulder-covering crop top to make the style even more work-ready.
3. C.I.Y. (Crop It Yourself)
Have you ever thought that all the clothes in your closet can become crop tops? (Amazing, we know.) A white work shirt can become a fun summer garment by tying the hem. Leave just a few buttons undone on your favorite jacket or blouse, or make like the fashion girls playbook and cut up an old Fruit of the Loom top yourself. And the best part? You can choose the length of these tops yourself, so they’re great for both work and play.
4. Play with proportions
The easiest way to conceal a crop top is to cover up the body elsewhere. Reconsider a cropped tank top and consider a long-sleeved version like a cropped jacket or blazer. This will expose your midsection a bit, but you’ll feel much more comfortable covering your shoulders and arms. Pair it with a pair of high-waisted pants or skirt, and you’re all set for summer.
5. An extra layer
For the most daring styling but the most modest look, try layering a crop top over your look. Layer a crop top over your favorite dress or dare to wear a bralette over a blazer. Corset-style crop tops also pair well with an oversized blouse, creating a flattering silhouette that’s tight on the torso but loose on the arms and body.
How to Wear a Crop Top Anywhere, Anytime
With sweatpants and high-heeled sandals.
Elevate the casual look of sweatpants with a long-sleeve, solid-color crop top and a minimalist heeled sandal. (Finding pants with side stripes can’t hurt either).
2. With a denim tuxedo
When in doubt (or when time is short), go for denim. It’s summer, which means white jeans are all the rage. Break up the monochromatic top with an eye-catching printed crop top.
3. With a jacket in color block pattern
Stick to a single color for your bottom layer, a crop top and high-waist pants, and complement it with a color-blocked jacket to create contrast.
4. With a matching set
The matching set never lets us down when we’re in a hurry in the morning and need to quickly put together a chic outfit. And it comes in handy when trying to figure out how to wear a crop top: Just look for a bottom – be it a skirt or pants – with the same pattern to achieve a seamless look.
Read more about fashion tips for Palazzo pants here.