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I Wore Crop Tops For A Week As A Plus-Size Woman And This Is What Happened

Wearing a crop top as a plus-size person is against the rules of fashion, so I wanted to see what would happen if I smashed that rule to pieces.

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Hi, I'm Kristin. Like a lot of people, I was very sad to see Queen Oprah's namesake magazine announce that we are forbidden from wearing crop tops this summer unless we have flat stomachs:


The good news is that since then, many people on Instagram have proven that you can #RockTheCrop no matter who you are.

But what is it REALLY like to wear a crop top in your everyday life, especially if you are a plus-size woman?

Is it actually as freeing and fabulous as it looks on Instagram?


DAY 1: In which I go to a music festival.

Look, I'm like a cat. I normally don't show people my stomach unless I trust them, or if I'm still doped up from the vet.

And wearing a crop top at a music festival truly is easy mode — I literally saw someone walking around in just a leotard and fanny pack.

But I learned pretty quickly that wearing a crop top in an Instagram pic is NOT the same as wearing one in public, where you can actually see all the faces of the people who may or may not be judging you. I'm in a happy relationship, but my brain couldn't stop worrying about how much every dude I was passing probably did not approve of my body.

I also found that as the day went on, I was more and more inclined to pull my shirt down.

Kristin Chirico for BuzzFeed

Here I am toward the end of the day. My mother wasn't here to nag me to pull my shirt down, but I did a good job all on my own.


DAY 2: My first day at work in a crop top.

Kristin Chirico for BuzzFeed

Before going in, I decided it was very important to check with the Los Angeles bureau chief to make sure crop tops would be work appropriate. Which, in retrospect, we're BuzzFeed, so obviously this was a silly question. But I worry. To me, wearing a crop top felt like an act of being intentionally and distractingly unattractive — a thing that so many women are trained not to do.

When I go to get dressed this morning, I spent 20 minutes in a dead panic trying to put an outfit together.

It's like on Chopped but for outfits, and the bizarre ingredients I've been given to work with are cropped tops and a dash of guilt. Wearing a no-no trend is stressful — it makes you feel like the rest of your outfit really needs to follow the rules, or you might be in serious trouble.

I try to walk into the office with my stomach held high, but I end up mostly just slinking over to my desk and trying not to be seen.

I anxiously asked my co-worker if she thought that wearing a crop top is unprofessional. She then stood up, and revealed that she was wearing a crop top herself.

Which, whoops, sorry co-worker — but yeah, point taken: Most people really have better things to do than worry about what the hell is going on over on your stomach.

But every time someone gives me an unprompted compliment about my outfit, instead of just saying "thank you," I keep blurting out something along the lines of: SORRY THIS OUTFIT IS FOR A POST ALSO SORRY. Like, I am literally apologizing to everyone for having to look at me, and it feels necessary.

I take this picture for this post and proceed to panic about what people in the comments might say.

Kirsten King for BuzzFeed

My co-workers think it will be fine. But Oh ho ho ho, I think to myself. I have seen some internet shit. When the internet wants tear something to shreds, it finds a way. It finds a way.


Day 3: When I got completely consumed by my fear of being trolled.

Not one to shrink from a challenge, I am wearing a slightly tighter shirt today and it is rough. I keep adjusting myself. I'm cold. I am sucking in my stomach when I walk. It's just a crop top, but I feel about as comfortable as one of those poodles who has had its fur dyed crazy colors and trimmed so that it looks like the cast of The Muppets.

I reluctantly scan the comments on this post — lots of comments ogling my other other co-workers, but nothing bad about me.

In retrospect, not a huge surprise. BuzzFeed commenters are generally a cool, generous, and respectful group.

But I also knew that nothing horrible was said about me because this post must have flown under the radar of one message board in particular that enjoys harassing and bullying larger people. I could already envision what they'd say about the pictures in this post. They will call me things that are honestly too vile to repeat here. They will refer to me using "it" pronouns, because to them, I am not human.

This is a part of my (amazing) job, and I accept it. But it's always hard to do keep doing anything — especially wear crop tops — when you know that people hate you for it.

DAY 4: In which I switch from beginner to advanced.

(I know, we're repeating crop tops. Sorry — I ain't made of crop tops, you know!)

I decide to kick it into high gear, and wear my shortest crop top with my most loathed of clothing items — pants.

Of course, when I first walk into the office, the actual cast of The Maze Runner is standing right there in the lobby. Here is a dramatic re-creation of how I handled this:

Charlotte Gomez for BuzzFeed

Is there a German word for when you are both embarrassed and excited at the same time? Because that's the feeling that made me want to hold my work bag in front of my body and awkwardly moonwalk away.


Whenever sitting, I would hunch over and try to hide myself as much as possible.

Kristin Chirico for BuzzFeed

That went double for bending over — I spilled a drink on the floor and ended up staring at it stupidly for five seconds wondering if there was any possible way to lean down and clean it up without looking like a tube of frosting being bent in half (there is not).

I'm normally not a big lunch eater in general, but I was going out of my way to cram vegetables into my face whenever eating in public, like, "Hey everyone, don't worry, this situation is being chaperoned by vegetables!"

Day 5: In which my nerves are starting to get frayed.

As you can see, I am literally clutching to this drink for dear life, because feeling guilty about making people look at my stomach is getting exhausting. Like, you know how people take 89 selfies before they pick the one to Instagram? Take that, and then factor in your worries about how your belly is looking, too.

While I've been working overtime this whole week to be positive and cool and "it's no big deal" around the office, I'm feeling a little exposed, and it's becoming harder to stop it from coming through.

DAY 6: In which I do not "dress to impress."

It's the weekend, so my friends and I decide we want to try out the new '80s speakeasy here in L.A. Ignoring the fact that "'80s speakeasy" sounds like a bar theme someone came up with by picking two cool concepts out of a porkpie hat, we wanted to drink beers while yelling at old arcade games, so this seemed like a good idea.

My friend emails them to make a reservation, and gets a response back that says we should come early and "dress to impress":

Kristin Chirico for BuzzFeed

Dress to impress is a weird phrase, because I kiiiinda suspect it means "dress to impress people who will spend money on you."


And hey, how better to dress to impress at an '80s-themed bar than with a crop top?

Kristin Chirico for BuzzFeed

Incidentally, the picture of my outfit from Day 2 had just become my most liked Instagram post. Riding my self-esteem high, my friends and I march our butts out there early and wait at the front of the line until the bar opens.

When they open, the bouncer takes a reaaalllly long look at our beautiful crew of humans, tells us that the bar is full tonight, and turns us away.

Look, this isn't my first Los Angeles rodeo. I know you can't show up to a bar with limited capacity without a buying a table AND with two boys in your group and expect to get in. Many important business factors are in play here — and lots that have nothing to do with me.

That said — holy shit, it was such a long look! — it was probably five seconds, but when someone is staring at you in silence it feels like they are personally giving you a CAT scan.

But I didn't realize until MUCH later that I had not once this evening gone into a silent freakout shame spiral about my crop top.

Not while I was getting ready. Not while I was waiting in line. Not during the epic stare-a-thon. Not while we were walking away. Not at all.

I celebrated by taking a drunk selfie in the bathroom at another bar, because this is America and I can do what I want.

Day 7: In which I celebrate my total lack of fucks at our fantasy football draft.

Confession: I overslept and had to choose between coming up with a new outfit for this day and doing some fantasy football research, and I chose fantasy football research, and threw on what I had last night. I know, gross. But I stand by this decision. Let he who has never done this in an emergency cast the first fashion stone.

Today, I learned that crop tops are just super useful — I was in a room with 10 people during a very hot day in L.A. and it seriously made all the difference in the world to be wearing just a little bit less.

Day 7.5: In which I head to the gym.

Kristin Chirico for BuzzFeed

I put this off because I was frankly too scared to do this — so much so that I didn't do this until the day after my last day.

And WOW, this was an experience. I don't think I had realized how many dudes were at my gym until I had to basically walk eyes facing forward because so many of them were staring at me for way too long, waaaaaay more so than usual. Like, I get it — I'm wearing something you may not like.

But the argument that you shouldn't force people to look at your stomach at the gym because it's not something they find sexually attractive? I realized how nonsense that is. Our bodies are not here to be appealing other people. Besides, between the grunting and the sweating, plenty of other people are also not very attractive at the gym, but it's something we accept because we live in a damn society.

So yeah, I'd wear a crop top to the gym again. For starters, I stayed way cooler, and also there's something very satisfying about breaking an unspoken fashion rule in an unfriendly place. The tears of haters are the tastiest of all.

Charlotte Gomez for BuzzFeed

1. No one should go through life feeling like the primary purpose of their body is for it to be sexually appealing to other people. Our bodies are here to help us live our lives and house our personalities and if they are also sexually attractive to some people, that's great, but not mandatory.

2. Crop tops are very useful, and fun! I actually enjoyed being breezier than normal, both in terms of my torso and my general attitude toward haters.

3. When your friends post pictures of themselves in crop tops, give them a lot of likes and love — no matter how fierce the pose, there's a good chance a lot of anxiety went into taking that picture. Let's make the world a less scary place to be fabulous.