By cropped tops, I mean any kind of knitted and woven tee, tank, shirt, blouse, vest, sweatshirt, knitted top, and sweater that is shorter than regular length. Regular length is an inch or two about crotch point, so anything shorter than that is short. As the rises of pants, jeans, shorts, and skirts increased in length, tops shortened to complement and offset the additional length below. Now we’re seeing cropped tops through all seasons, in many silhouettes and seasonally appropriate fabrics. They can be worn as layering tops, or on their own.

The precise length of cropped tops varies greatly. Longer cropped tops finish just below the waistband of bottoms, and are not midriff-baring at all. The shortest versions finish under the bust, and then there’s every length in between. Fits range from super body-con and tailored, to fluid, very fluid, and oversized cuts. Some silhouettes feel and look skimpy, while others are a lot more covered. The collection shows a range of cropped tops.

H&M
Puff-sleeved Crop Top
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H&M
Gathered Top
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2
H&M
Rugby Crop Shirt
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1
Everlane
The Bubble Top
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3

I see lots of people across a range of body types wearing short, midriff-baring and body-con cropped tops on the streets of Seattle throughout the year. It’s a ubiquitous look. Most of the wearers are teens and younger adults. They are worn with just about any high-rise bottom. When it’s hot, they are worn as tops. But they are also often layers under jackets, shirts, coats, cardigans, zip-through hoodies, and shackets. I see people of all ages wearing longer crop tops that cover the midriff too.

Longer cropped tops, as in those that cover the midriff and do not bare skin, are popular with my clientele, and especially with petites and those shorter in the waist. They wear them in all sorts of silhouettes, fabrics, fits, colours and patterns. They can create flattering proportions with skirts, soft wide pants, wide legs, wide track pants, and wide crops because they elongate the leg line from the hips upward. Tops that tie at the waist as part of the silhouette, or that you knot or tie yourself to create a shorter length count as cropped tops. They are simply longer cropped tops.

Personally, I’m neither petite nor short in the waist but I LOVE the cropped top trend. I don’t bare midriff skin so my cropped tops are on the long side and cover waistbands. I like wearing them with skirts, and jeans and pants with higher rises like wide crops, wide legs, barrel legs, sailor pants, utility pants, boyfriends, and relaxed straights. I thoroughly enjoy these outfit proportions. I can wear the tops UNTUCKED, and feel I have a little more structure in my outfit by showcasing some of my hips and bottom. I don’t feel like the length of the top is weighing me down, if that makes sense. I really don’t like my tops too long in the length, which is one of the reasons I end up tucking them in.

Here is my current collection of cropped tops across a range of silhouettes, colours and patterns. Some of them look regular length in the stock photos, but they are short in person. I also tie some of my regular length button-down shirts at the waist to create a shorter length.

I remember the late ‘90s when tops were short, but jeans and pants rises were low. I did not like that combination at all. I spent the day pulling my top down, and my pants up. For me, shorter tops need higher rise bottoms so that I can feel covered. Conversely lower rise bottoms need longer tops.

Over to you. What do you think of cropped tops? Remember that they needn’t be midriff-baring. They can cover skin, but are shorter than regular length tops.