All about crop tops

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A model in a cropped t-shirt

A crop top (also cropped top, belly shirt, half shirt, midriff shirt, midriff top, tummy top, short shirt, and cutoff shirt) is a top the lower part of which is high enough to expose the waist, navel or some of the midriff. The cropping of a top in this manner is generally limited to female garments. A bikini is generally not regarded as a crop top.


Clip of Madonna in the music video of "Lucky Star", 1983

Actress Bianca Rinaldi in a crop top, 1990s

During 1983, pop star Madonna caused controversy when she wore a mesh crop top in her video for the song Lucky Star. Also during that decade, cutoff crop tops became more common as part of the aerobic craze and popularity of the movie Flashdance. It became common for girls to crop sections of workout wear, such as sleeves, collars, and the hem of the shirt to create a loose-fitting top which was often worn over a body suit or tank top. Crop tops were also often paired with low-slung belts in the 1980s, angled at the side of the hip. As mesh fabrics and oversized aerobics gear went out of fashion by the 1990s, the crop top reappeared in the form of the bustier, a lingerie-style shirt which revealed the midriff and was typically worn under a blazer or shirt. By the mid-1990s, the crop top took on the form of the babydoll shirt, a cropped, tight-fitting t-shirt which often featured graphic logos. Long-sleeved crop tops and even crop turtleneck tops also became fashionable for the first time, popularized by such public figures as country singer Shania Twain. By the late 1990s, crop tops had become so mainstream that many schools expressly banned garments that expose the midriff in their dress code.

While pop singers such as Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera popularized the crop top for teeny boppers in the 1990s, others were making a crop top fashion statement for pregnant women. Certain members of the all-female musical groups All Saints and the Spice Girls wore crop tops on stage during their pregnancies, ushering in the trend of showing off one's baby bump rather than hiding it. Since 2000, cropped jackets and blazers have became more popular while the hemlines of shirts have mostly remained longer. Currently, crop tops are back in fashion with celebrities like Lindsay Lohan and others wearing them in public, and models appearing in them in advertisements.

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