How To Wear A Crop Top

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I wrote this post almost two years ago, and this trend is STILL happening. So I’ve updated this one a bit and hope you’ll enjoy. If nothing else, read through the comments. I swear I did not write them all, they just didn’t transfer properly when I moved to wordpress. Some people get their panties in a twist over this subject. It’s so fun.

I just hope they don’t get twisted in your short shorts. That would be quite difficult to unwind.


cropped top

Here’s the short answer:

Don’t do it.

The other day I went shopping (for the first time in ages, apparently), and I was alarmed by the new trend that’s broken out like pimples on the sales racks.

Cropped shirts. Boxy, cut-off, slouchy necked tee-shirts of 80’s fame.

The first thing I felt was betrayal. I thought people read my blog. Didn’t I outline quite clearly how to look like a diva? Geez.

I’m just confused. I don’t know who the targeted consumer is for this product. It seems like it’s being produced for a large number of people (judging by the eleventy-million out there), and yet, I feel so left out. But not hurt. It’s like I wasn’t invited to someone’s trumpet recital. I am disturbed that they didn’t ask me, but relieved that I don’t have to go.

That was a tangent.

What was I saying? Oh yes, that cropped shirts are horrible.

I’m gonna make this easy for you. I shall feed you a short list of reasons why not to wear this short shirt. Pun intended.

 Reasons not to wear the “Boxy Top” or “Cropped Top”

1.) If the word “box” is used to describe it, you probably shouldn’t adorn your body with it. While boxes can be used to make some pretty snazzy Halloween costumes, they’re generally not seen as flattering or even acceptable attire.

Photo found here

2.) Unless you’re a giant, the waist is not an area you want to “shorten.” I would think this is common knowledge by now.

3.) These shirts are a cop-out for both casual and sexy categories.

Pick one. Either wear the full length tee-shirt, or wear a tube top. Take your pick. But don’t dance around on the fence like you’re Jennifer Aniston. Because let’s face it: she would look great in a burlap sack, and she has the presence to pull it off. But it still doesn’t mean that she should.

4.) There really are no great solutions for the “bottom” portion of this “outfit.” Go ahead. Google it. See what you find. I’ll do you the favor of giving you a few links that “show” you how to work this outfit. But in my opinion, pencil skirts and balloon pants have their own score of problems that further complicate the shirt. Go to Fabsugar to see how “brilliant” their pairings are. The New York Times even gives some advice, stipulating that the top be worn “below or to the belly-button” in order to avoid the exposure of unsightly love-handles. Just don’t raise your hand, bend over, or hug anyone in this shirt. Unless you’re this gal, who probably hasn’t had a love handle since she was five months old.

The New York Times

5.) You know that old adage “dress for your body type”? Well, this shirt does not really work well with any body type. If you are endowed with a large bosom this shirt will make you appear larger. And boxier.

If you are smaller up top this shirt will give you a more child-like appearance. Maybe even boyish. And if you’re into that sort of thing, that’s fine, I suppose. But there are other, more flattering ways to achieve this.

I will concede that there is one “positive” feature to this new trend. For example, it’s the perfect DIY project when you have nothing to wear. Simply browse through your husband’s (or anyone else that won’t miss it) drawer and locate an old tee-shirt. And then cut away. Ta da! You’re suddenly sporting the latest look on the runway.

Me doing a horrible job modeling. I was trying to look like the girl in the first picture.

Now, please, don’t everybody go do this at once. I was merely illustrating how ridiculous it is to go and actually SPEND MONEY on this type of shirt.

I’m only sharing this picture because I care about my readers…And I really do love you guys, but I bet I’m gonna regret this someday. Like tomorrow. Yeeks this is awful!


I don’t think that it will last long. It’s a fad; a “challenge” for fashionable people to look attractive while wearing something hideous. I’m sure it’s achievable. I just know it’s not for me. I mean, I TRIED! I even wore my best American Apparel-esque purple pants (that were actually from Ann Taylor a few years ago) and I still failed.

But that’s my point: it’s a fashion fail to try and get away with this.

Also, be aware that some are saying that this trend is migrating to men’s apparel as well. When this happens just head for the hills, ladies. The end is near.


Almost two years later and this trend continues to haunt me…only it got worse. Now we have cropped shorts to pair with the hideous top.
My funny friend Rebecca from The Frugalista Blog illustrates it this way:
Geez Louise.  You guys, we are facing a freaking CRISIS this summer. We need to talk about this! Prepare! Scavenge for longer shorts.

45 thoughts on “How To Wear A Crop Top

  1. hilljean

    You crack me up! I don’t get the cropped shirt thing either…you definitely won’t be catching me in one of those!

  2. hilljean

    great modeling pics ???? and yes, they’re terrible. i’ve had the same sentiments…but truly, i hope the world ends before it ends up in men’s apparel. God help us all! cause there are 2 guys that would wear them: beer bellies needing more room or the overly conceded who really just want an excuse to de-robe themselves.

  3. Maria Chilson

    You look awesome in the purple pants however. The cropped top is something I would wear on laundary day/housekeeping day.

  4. hilljean

    Loved this post – and the pictures!! You’re right – this fashion debacle has been here before… think I used to have a few of the “boxy” short shirts in the 80’s. Along with the frizzy poof hair and bangs that characterized my “style” back then. Too bad you weren’t old enough to correct your mother’s horrible fashion-sense back then!

  5. hilljean

    Well, I didn’t “think” they were going out of style, but I guess the ultra flattering look of a long shirt is just not “edgy” enough. The fashion industry would rather make it difficult for the majority of people. Ridiculous!

  6. KLZ

    When parachute pants make an OFFICIAL comeback – and they will be fashion apparently has no new ideas – we should all learn to sew our own. No way I’m paying for that. Or oversized sweatshirts.

  7. adrienne

    Bahaha!!! It’s so hard to find clothes! I’m sort of small. BUT I don’t want to dress like a teenager. There’s no happy medium. I’m on the hunt for shorts lately and it’s either crotch shorts like you’re talking about or frumpy mom shorts. Argh!

    1. hillary

      We should design our own hot mama shorts that are not TOO short ???? We could make a killing.

  8. hilljean

    Sheesh. I know. It would totally be those guys that wear them. I’m really dreading that.

  9. hilljean

    i’ve been impatiently waiting since Saturday for this blog…anyway i almost fell off the couch laughing at your pictures. You’re so funny! I love you!

  10. hilljean

    your pictures are amazing. i am printing them out and hiding them away to show coco when she is 16. she needs to know how cool her mom is :).

  11. Kelley

    You crack me up! I am definitely not a cropped shirt fan. I love, love how you made your own with your husband’s old shirt!

  12. Jenny Lynn

    There are some trends that should be left in the past. Crop shirts are one of those trends along with those awful shorts. Just like you made yours out of an old shirt. My daughter does the same thing…at least she wears a tank top under it.

  13. Frugalistablog

    I want you to be a model in all the catalogs I get in the mail. Then I would look at them and not ditch them in the recycle bin. You’re adorable, and funny. If I wore a crop top I would look like an upside down cupcake because my muffin top would show. Did that make sense?

    1. hillary

      No…I’m ten pounds heavier now than when I took those photos. Haha I too, would look like an upside down cupcake.

  14. hilljean

    We should create a petition to ban such horrors from being distributed to the public.

  15. hilljean

    Hi. Um, I know that some people can look amazing in anything. I just think they look less amazing in crop tops.

  16. How To Wear Harem Pants

    […] some of it came about a year ago when the crop top rage first hit the runways. Back then I was really worried that the trend would migrate to men’s fashion. Thank God the […]

  17. hilljean

    Haha, Mom! I hold you responsible for that entire era where I looked like DJ on Full House dressed up like Laura Engels Wilder. Or maybe it was the other way around. I don’t know. Bad bad!

  18. hilljean

    Ya, cropped shirts are terrible. Apparently I haven’t shopping much, because I wasn’t even aware of this wretched trend until this morning. Your modeling pictures totally cracked me up.

  19. hilljean

    I just found you on The Twitter and I love you. Well, your blog. Let’s not go too fast.

  20. hilljean

    I know A LOT of people who can pull the cropped top style off amazingly without looking childish or raunchy. Shall I list reasons to wear them?

  21. hilljean

    crop shirts are great. im wearing one right now. people have told me my cropped shirt was a window to my body. A body which is desirable and womanly. I refuse to have my stomach censored by feminist thought or obese hearts. Thanks. Julia.

  22. christina

    you know, I’ve been wondering about how you can tell if you’re dressing too young for your age, but this is one trend that I feel is pretty obvious =)

    1. hillary

      Yes. If you were born prior to 1990 I think you’re automatically out. It’s good to have some definitive lines out there. Cause freaking Forever 21 still beckons this almost 30 year old. hehe.

  23. hilljean

    And why would anyone wear high-waisted pants with these shirts?? First of all, we’ve worked for years to lower the high-rise to something reasonable, then low-rise came around and we realized perhaps no one really wants to see pubic hair coming out the front and a thong coming out the back, but there’s no need to swing the pendulum the other way and bring back MOM pants!!! But a long that shorten our waist to show off the camel toe and muffin top all in the same look? It’s really just too much.

  24. Susan

    Yes!! Dress for your body type. Why Is this rule so hard for people to remember?! Of course I was an enthusiastic adopter of the harem pant trend in the 90s so I’m in a glass house here, but still! Crop tops and short shorts should be outlawed. Great post!

    1. hillary

      I really like harem pants. Not gonna lie. I think they are so comfy!!!

  25. hilljean

    Now you know what you’re up against :/ Kinda discouraging, huh? Sorry to be the bearer of bad news…

  26. hilljean

    Noooo! Not the cropped shirts. I hated that trend. Isn’t their a law that you have to wait at least 20 years before you bring a style back. Wait, it hasn’t been twenty years already has it? I am very happy with the long double shirt look, let’s keep that a while longer. That’s probably already way out but I am still likin it :).

  27. hilljean

    I just wear a tank top under mine that matches the cropped shirt. It keeps everything covered but you can still rock the style

  28. kirstykaree

    Yikes! Now it’s going to be really hard for me to take girls seriously who wear these things. I’ll be thinking, “hello!!! Have you not read hilljean’s blog about this?!”

  29. moi

    lol just because you are not fashion sensible doesn’t mean crop tops are horrible :’) sure they are not meant for everyone, doesn’t mean they are horrible. You just sound like an angry old person X’D no one ever told you to follow trends, so don’t need to bash it. Take a chill pill ????

    1. Frammitz

      Everyone tells us to follow trends. People are making billions of dollars on selling us new clothes every three months, and they’re telling us every way they can find to get to us. Racks of magazines, billboards reaching to the sky, TV commercials, ads on the computer, little shits like you saying we’re not “sensible” about fashion. At some point, you start getting your own priorities instead of throwing your money at everyone else’s priorities, and it’s worth showing people that the emperor has no clothes. Learn something from your elders, child.

  30. Paige Kellerman

    “I feel so left out. But not hurt. It’s like I wasn’t invited to someone’s trumpet recital.”

    1. hillary

      I take this as a huge compliment coming from you, Paige ???? The queen of comedy!

  31. hilljean

    Hahaha! This is a whole blog post in itself! Seriously. The pendulum is ridiculous. I know those models are beautiful and all, but if EVEN THEY don’t look good in that get up what are the rest of us supposed to do??!

  32. hilljean

    Oh god, thank you for writing this, i knew i wasn’t alone. I went to the mall today and saw at least 5 girls wearing a cropped t-shirt. All i could think was how freaking trashy that look is and that never in a million years i would wear that around town. The only place acceptable is the beach, if i had to wear one that’s where you’ll see me. It just screams trashy. It’s so freaking unbearable, i cannot wait for this trend to die, for good this time.

  33. hilljean

    I’m sorry. Did you say this trend was migrating to men’s fashion? Please alert me as soon as this happens so I can promptly throw myself over a cliff.


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