To Crop or Not to Crop?

We have seen the revival of the 90s in fashion. Specifically, the beloved crop tops have come back around with a vengeance. What’s great is the power of the crop top. Who knew less could mean so much more?

Cropped for a Cause

For anyone who grew up in Western culture, you may have been made aware of the Puritanical, modest societal standards that bled into the way you dress. The 90s were an aggressive pushback of that old world lifestyle.

Many would remember the low-low-rise jeans, spaghetti straps, and the crop top being the slinky 90s looks we’ve seen on the red carpet and maybe even sported ourselves.

Who popularized the crop top? Glad you asked! The crop top is inspired by the Indian choli that is traditionally worn under a sari. Egypt, the Middle East and Asia had their own styles of the like that left the wearer’s midriff bare.

Eventually, the bedlah gained popularity, designed by Egyptian cabaret owner Badia Masabni.It wasn’t until 1893 that the bedlah was introduced to Westerners when belly dancers gave a performance at the World’s Fair in Chicago.

During World War II, rations forced cutbacks on fabric production. Less fabric, smaller shirts, and that’s when the American crop top made its debut. Over the next few decades, the crop top of the 40s went through transformations representative of the times.

Then, the “belly shirt” was popularized in the 90s by celebs like Britney and Christina.

Women's Crop Tops - Ella Payne Collection

Don’t Call it a Comeback

Britney and Christina don’t need last names, and they didn’t need modesty. The 90s were defined by a low-rise, light wash jean, a teeny, tiny crop top, and a collection of butterfly clips in your hair.

The early 2000s were decidedly not having it with this look, but never count out the crop top. It remained in the periphery, waiting for it’s moment to shine again. The moment being now.

Current crop top styles are a definite nod to the 90s, especially with the second coming of low-rise jeans. The way people have started combining high-rise jeans and crop tops has roots in the origin of both garments, as made necessary by WWII.

What’s different about crop tops this time? Body positivity. No matter how flat or round a belly, show it off!

Tips to Top the Look

If you draw inspiration from the true 90s look, take a page out of Britney’s old playbook. Try low-rise jeans and a crop top with more interest, such as extra fabric to tie around your midriff to accentuate all that realestate you’re exposing. Be fearless!

For a cozier, fall look, pair your favorite long cardigan over a crop top and a high-waisted jean. You’re ready for a hayride and some apple cider. Last but not least, don’t forget a reusable tote for all those apple cider donuts you’ll want to take home.

Brunch gets a little flirtier when you show up with a long-sleeve crop top, ripped jeans and some cute wedges. Not even the world’s best breakfast tacos can outshine a crop top moment.

There’s nothing wrong with a little belly button around the campfire, at the beach, or in class. It’s just up to you to have the confidence to know you look fabulous and work that belly. Crop tops are back and they’re for everyone this time around—own it!