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Crop Tops: A Users' Guide

Crop tops can be intimidating, but they hardly have to be the most revealing items in your wardrobe. Here's how to wear yours.

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1. Just a Peek

Just because a top is cropped, that doesn’t mean you need to go all “I Dream of Genie” on us and bare all. Choose a high-waisted bottom that leaves a maximum of 4 or 5 inches between the hem of the top and waistband of your pant or skirt. The idea is to show a sliver of skin — ideally above the belly button — for a very modern and chic look.

Hat Cottonon $10

Top H&M $5

Shorts Society of Chic $58

Sandals Asos $37

Sunglasses Nasty Gal $20

2. Occasion, Occasion, Occasion

As with any adventurous trend, consider the occasion before you decide to give it a go. No matter how prim your skirt or how elegant your jacket, if you work at a bank or financial firm, the crop top just won't fly. However, if you’re going to a party, a trendy restaurant or a BBQ, let that midriff free!

Jacket Chiara Fashion $23

Top New Look $23

Lipstick Mac $15

Pants Rare London $8

Shoes Aldo $120

3. Balance & Contrast

Rather than pairing your new crop top with a plaid skirt and combat boots like Courtney Love circa 1994, try wearing a crop top with a ladylike pencil skirt, maxi skirt or chic trouser. A conservative bottom juxtaposed with a more revealing top makes an outfit feel fresh and stylish.

Top AX Paris $34

Sunglasses Madewell $55

Shoes Forever 21 $33

Skirt Coast $120

Necklace Stella & Dot $79

4. Super Sweet, Not Too Sexy

Part of the difficulty of wearing a crop top is that you’re exposing a section of skin not normally seen by average pedestrians. So try tempering the sexy style with feminine colors and flouncy fabrics to keep the look sweet and soft.

Sandals Saturdays by Kate Spade $85

Top Zara $20

Hat San Diego Hat Co $44

Skirt Pilot $16

5. More Midriff, Less Arm

If you’re still feeling sheepish, add some extra coverage with a blazer, vest, or scarf. By covering up more of your arms, neck, and shoulders, the bit of skin that is actually exposed is minimal — also a nice surprise for an otherwise standard look.

Bag Aeropostal $13

Top Mango $25

Skirt Ted Baker $137

Shoe Carlos by Carlos Santana $70

Cardigan Warehouse $64


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