The Accidental Stylist: Crop Tops

The Accidental Stylist is a weekly post where Mercer, our residential clumsy hipster, tries out and writes about the newest and flashiest in alternative fashion. Were you curious about bubble nails, but didn’t want to have to try them yourself? This is the feature for you.

Crop tops have been everywhere lately, and I didn’t even know what they were called until the fiasco O Magazine brought down upon themselves a few months ago. To be honest, as a Size Ten, I had never thought about crop tops other than as something that I wore back in the 90s and not something that existed in the reality of my now. Thinking on it, I’m not entirely sure that I ever gave thought to whether I could wear a crop top or not; I’d just decided, unknowingly, that I couldn’t.

Crop tops have been around since the 1940s. At that time, they were collared, cuffed, and reserved for backyard barbecues, the beach or, on occasion, as evening and formal wear for the daring. They never truly reached peak fashion until the 1970s and 80s when they started to move towards the appearance that we recognize in movies like Dirty Dancing or Flash Dance: chopped up mens t-shirts paired with high-waisted jeans or neon spandex. Back in the 90s, girls my age bought them at the mall and paired them with JNKOs or hip huggers.

The look that people are sporting now is certainly trending towards being a bit more chic, but isn’t limited to such. For this week of The Accidental Stylist, I found a White Snake cut-off crop top and rocked it around my parents’ pool for a day to get a training-wheeled feel for what this would be like in real life.

What I liked

I felt fashionable

I felt hyper-glam wearing this ridiculous wrong-way-rectangle of a shirt. “Sassy” and “sex-pottish” were two words that my husband used to describe me—two words that I don’t think he has ever used together in such a short period of time. I’m not sure if it was the shirt or the fact that I was gallivanting about it in my parents’ backyard, but I was definitely feelin’ myself, as Ms. Minaj would say.

Comfortable (like pajamas)

The shirt was specifically designed to feel like an old, well-worn band shirt and succeeded in that goal. I felt like I was wearing pajamas but kind of tiny and in the day time. I was wearing athletic shorts made of spandex, too, which might have helped to compliment the comfort more than I would have felt, say, in Daisy Dukes. There are some crop tops that are much tighter that I would likely not have felt this comfortable in, but it seems that my clothing choices trend towards the loose side of the fashion barometer. I ain’t mad at it.

What I hated

Nothing covering my midriff

I have a very real paranoia about having my stomach covered. I think that this is so that I do not have to suck my tummy in. I first learned about how to suck my stomach in when I was walking home from 7-11 with my mother’s best friend’s daughter sipping on Slurpees at the age of 9. From then until now the only time that I do not suck my stomach in is when I sleep, when I’m looking in the mirror right before I shower (on my own), or when I have it covered by something like a loose shirt, pillow or blanket. I know, it’s a weird thing and probably indicative of larger psychological issues that I should deal with, but I didn’t like that there was nothing to pull over my tummy when I was sitting down.

Underboob sweat

I have big boobs and they sweat in the summer time. Heck, they sweat all the time. Normally there is some kind of fabric there to protect the sweat from rolling down my ribs. Unfortunately, because the cloth on crop tops is so short, there also was nothing to hide the fact that sweat was rolling down my ribs. This was the worst. Both the feeling and the look.

What do I pair this with?

Perhaps I am just not fashion savvy enough, but I have no idea what I have in my closet that would actually be appropriate to wear out with a crop top in public. I could wear spandex, but I feel like there is the strong potential for muffin-top or camel-toe special appearances. I could wear skirts, but I don’t think I have any that aren’t low-cut, and I wouldn’t want to look like an early 2000s pop diva walking down the street. And, unfortunately, unlike all the fashionable people rocking crop tops on the interwebs, I don’t have an abundance of peplum skirts, or even that many crop tops to choose from. That could be my problem. Maybe you only learn how to style crop tops when you are forced to wear them because of how many you have.


I will likely not be wearing this again. I couldn’t really find a single thing that was ultimately redeeming about it, except for the fact that my husband thought I was acting like a sex pot. That is enough of a reason to wear anything again at least once. Perhaps I will wear this around the house on hot days, but unless I get another non-White Snake, more fancy version of the crop top, I’m going to call this one vetoed.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Wearable Vintage