The beauty of the crop top as a trend in 2012 is that you don’t need to be a waif, or indeed a fitness freak, to carry it off. Stick to the retro-inspired marriage of the 1950s fashion revival and fashion’s infatuation with the midriff, and shapely femininity is just as desirable an outcome. Accentuate bust and hips, with a peep of upper midriff in between.

Read the full crop top trend report at that link for more detail. And once you’re ready to give it a shot for yourself, check out our five picks of retro-inspired crop tops after the break.

If you do wish to accentuate a toned upper-midriff or even a full stomach in a very sporty fashion, stay tuned – we’ll give you our picks for sportswear-inspired crop tops soon.

A thick strapped bustier in edible pastel colour is a way to pair a innocence with a hint of skin. A full skirt is it’s soul-mate for a ladylike ’50s look.

Below: Jacquard print bra-top, $45 at ASOS.com.

50s style bustier

Get your swimwear working overtime by doubling it as daywear. A cropped bustier bikini, ruched bandeau, or vintage-style halter transcends easily into modern pin-up territory when paired with a high waist.

Below: Norma Kamali lace and tulle bustier bikini top, $285 at Net-a-porter.com.

lace bustier

A broderie anglais bustier gives off a Dolce Vita vibe that’s ultra feminine and just as suited to a marriage with casual denim as to a hourglass-inducing pencil skirt.

Below: Broderie Anglaise Bralet, $48 at Topshop.

broderie anglais bustier

Follow Prada’s lead with a teeny bandeau balanced by a below-knee skirt. Prints are the best option for spring 2012.

Below: Floral printed smocked bandeau, $26.70 at Free People.

floral printed bandeau

Nothing screams 1950s cheesecake pinup more than a cropped top in gingham. Cut-out detail holds the sugar and keeps it modern.

Below: Gingham crop top with cutout, $45 at ASOS.com.

gingham crop top

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