CropHow to style this summer’s shortest tops.

We all know it’s been heating up in St Andrews these past couple of weeks. It may only be 11°C but suddenly everyone is donning their shortest shorts and attempting to get a tan after months of the weak Scottish sun. On attending Under Canvas last weekend a clear trend for the summer, amidst the tiger onsies and powder paint, was crop tops. They are often seen as an unwanted throwback to the nineties; just look at Sporty Spice, of Spice Girls fame, who teamed a toned midriff with sports bras and tracksuits.

However, despite the negative memories, crop tops are extremely versatile and you don’t need Jessica Alba’s abs to pull them off. A key point to remember is that, unless you are blessed with either an exceptional metabolism or a gym obsession, few people can pull off baring all. So here are a couple of ideas to keep it classy.

Some of the best looks incorporating crop tops remain on the right sight of sophistication and are incredibly feminine. The key is to not make that strip of flesh the centrepiece of your outfit.

Just as the mantra says that you can either show chest or legs, the same could be said for your midriff. Try pairing a tight, long sleeved roll-neck, cropped just below your bra, with a high-waisted floaty skirt and heels. By showing just a slither of skin, it’s the perfect balance of conservative and just a little bit risqué.

Proportion and silhouette are vital in wearing crop tops. A high-waisted skin-tight pencil skirt worn with a slightly baggy cropped vest top or t-shirt makes your legs look endless. If the top is on the longer end of the scale you can avoid flashing any skin at all, whilst maintaining that slick silhouette.

Moving away from skirts, try teaming a cropped band t-shirt with rolled up jeans and plimsolls for an edgier take on the trend. If you are wary about displaying your abs (or lack thereof), disco pants are a godsend. High-waisted and constructed to suck everything in, make like Sandy in Grease and wear with an equally tight top. A cropped, oversized jumper will make the look more casual, and probably more comfortable.

Though more revealing, a bra top can be used to experiment with a variety of looks. A patterned bra top with matching high-waisted shorts provides a perfect festival outfit with a retro feel. Alternatively team a pale bra top with a fifties-style circle skirt for a modern take on a vintage theme.

They should not be reserved for the slimmest girls. Just look at bloggers like Nadia Aboulhson, who may be a UK 14 but wears crop tops as well as the likes of Miley Cyrus. Whether you prefer to emulate the eighties or the fifties, or just want to try a different look for the summer, crop tops are a great addition to any wardrobe.


Millicent Wilkinson


Image by Millicent Wilkinson