Britney’s 13 Most Important Rules For Wearing Crop Tops

The turn of the millennium was key for midriffs everywhere, but none more so than that of Britney Spears.

So crop tops are the trend that just won’t quit. (Looking at you, Nasty Gal.)

They’ve been on runways forever, but made a particularly aggressive showing for spring 2013.

Marc Jacobs

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Miu Miu

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Balenciaga

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Miley Cyrus and Rihanna are so into them, they basically don’t even wear whole tops anymore.

Niki Nikolova / FilmMagic / Getty Images

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But Britney is the turn of the millennium’s true pioneer of modern half-shirt wearing.

So if you want to wear a crop top successfully (meaning, obviously, nostalgically)? Follow her rules.

1. Have a pair of colored tights you never wear? Wrap them around a bra, and boom: crop top.

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Bono’s signature douche shades complete the look.

(2001)

2. Match your crop top to your knee pads.

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For cohesion.

(1999)

3. Diamanté trim separates evening crop top pant suits from daywear.

Frank Micelotta / Getty Images

(1999)

4. See?

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Post-apocalyptic cropped sweater plus prairie skirt, no visible sequins.

(2003)

5. When wearing a crop top for evening, consider using a table runner as a shawl.

Brenda Chase / Getty Images

At the Grammys in 2000.

6. But when on stage, swap it for a snake.

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At the 2001 VMAs. Perhaps this isn’t technically a crop top, but any excuse to remember the 2001 VMAs, right?

7. If you start to miss regular shirts, add a sleeve.

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(2002)

8. DIY crop tops from everyday materials, like white duct tape and thread.

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

(2001)

9. If you have to wear a coat, definitely keep it open.

Kevin Mazur Archive / WireImage / Getty Images

Another fun Britney trick: Display more skin below the belly button than above.

(2003.)

10. Just because it’s a crop top, that doesn’t mean it can’t be a pirate shirt.

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House of Deréon empress Tina Knowles is taking notes.

(TRL, 2002)

11. Emphasize a crop top with other cropped pieces — like these tights.

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Gotta love a good scroll-down.

(2003)

12. If your jersey crop top doesn’t have any fringe, sequins, or tattered bits at the end, add a belly chain.

Scott Gries / Getty Images

But if it does have those things, proceed with caution with the belly chain. You don’t want your outfit to look too BUSY, obviously.

(2003)

13. And lastly, wear your jeans as low as possible, to maximize abdominal exposure.

Frank Micelotta / Getty Images

Orange lowlights can’t hurt either.

(2003)

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