There are a few trends amongst spring 2014’s fashions that aren’t new for the season. In a world where people increasingly feel that things are moving too fast, the fact that trends are wont to stick around for a few seasons is actually a nice thing. It not only offers continuity, but it also offers a longer lifespan to the quality statement pieces you include within your curated wardrobe.
This spring / summer we see the crop top stick around for yet another year, continuing to feel fresh simply for the fact that it’s a trend that can never become over-saturated – it’s not for everyone.
Read on after the break to see how to wear the crop top this summer, who is designing it, and tips on other trends to pair it with.
As a spring fashion trend the crop top (and its variations including the boob tube / tube top) is not just about exposing your whole stomach – that’s how it was worn back in 2009 and since fashion has moved on. Instead, in 2014 it’s about interpreting the crop top into elegant new looks that often show little more than a peep of a toned midriff. Yes, this season there’s the crop top of the sportswear-as-daywear trend, but there’s also more of the crop top as a sophisticated, refined statement that some will embrace as a look not to be feared.
How to wear a crop top in spring 2014
The white and sheer crop top.
With the spring 2014 runways marking a return to basics, it’s the ethereal whites to have quickly regained their supremacy as colour of choice for the warm season. As a result, the crop tops borrowed the white hue’s fresh attitude and perfected it with plenty of sheerness for a modern look that comes across as both innocent and sexy, clean and daring. Styled with flats and skirts hitting barely above the knee, the white and sheer crop tops are meant to showcase only the amount of skin you’re comfortable with.
White and sheer crop tops at J.W.Anderson, 3.1 Phillip Lim and Jacquemus, S/S ’14
The boxy crop top.
You might remember the boxy crop top for being in last year, but it’s safe to say that its revised versions for 2014 look equally strong, as successfully proved by Narciso Rodrigues and Basharatyan. Dipped in clean, monochromatic tones and edged up with bold blocks of colour, the boxy crop top in both its sleeveless and long-sleeved renditions, is set to bring forward only the purest form of sophistication.
Boxy crop tops at Narciso Rodriguez and Basharatyan, S/S ’14
The soft & romantic crop top.
As if to balance things out and make up for the large amount of skin exposed, the soft and romantic crop tops, cut in delicate lace and ethereal fabrics are perhaps the most feminine interpretations of the trend to have walked the spring / summer ’14 runways. Lovely and charming, they look best as paired to high-waist skirts, chic up-do’s and no accessories other than a sleek pair of sandals.
Soft and romantic crop tops at Carolina Herrera, Isabel Marant and Philippa Galasso, S/S ’14
The minimalist crop top.
You simply can’t go wrong in choosing any of the crop and/or tube top’s more minimalist of the 2014 renditions. As seen at both Krizia and Hache, a minimalist crop top, or tube top allows you to build a myriad of gorgeous outfits around them. Throw over a sheer jacket and you’re instantly cooler, add a high-waist skirt and a pair of pointy flats and be sure you’re gonna look super-stylish.
Minimalist crop tops at Krizia and Hache, S/S ’14
The chic crop top ensemble.
This season’s novelty factor brought forward the chic crop top as part of a series of utterly feminine ensembles. Incorporated in strong deux-pieces, the short-sleeved crop top came adorned with flashy zippers and improved with asymmetrical lining, exposing just a hint of a perfectly toned midriff.
Chic crop top ensembles at Iodice, Luisa Beccaria and Jeremy Laing, S/S ’14
The harness crop top.
The bondage influence is far from counting its final days on the runway. Point and proof? The subtle harness elements enhancing this spring and summer’s crop tops with just the right amount of raw sensuality. Edged up with a choker at Alexander McQueen, or a leather vest at BCBG Max Azria, the harness crop tops might have just made this season’s statement be heard louder.
Harness crop tops at Alexander McQueen and BCBG Max Azria, S/S ’14
Tailored. Printed. Sporty.
Where there’s novelty, there also must be a sign of continuity, or vice versa, as this season was big on building the crop top’s new renditions on last year’s most prominent styles. Both the tailored and the sporty crop tops resurfaced barring a new attitude, while the graphic printed designs exploding in vibrant colours, served as a bold and refreshing element of contrast.
Crop tops at Jil Sander, Just Cavalli and Lacoste, S/S ’14
Unexpected use of fabrics.
Also passing as new this the season was the more or less expected use of denim, fur and patent leather in building surprising crop top designs meant to steal the show if nothing else. From casual and pretty, to bohemian and flashy, the runways weren’t short in providing plenty of inspiration for the wild ones. Simply because some women do prefer to walk a different path.
Crop tops at Jill Stuart, Simonetta Ravizza and Jeremy Scott, S/S ’14
The complementary trends.
So popular has the return of the crop top been, that it has inspired a few other fashion statements in spring 2014. Here are our guides to them:
The popularity of the crop top in recent seasons has given rise to several complementary trends. Some, like the bandeau, feel instantly familiar. Others, like the cropped shirt, feel utterly fresh. Both, and the crop top included, don't depend on perfect abs, anything but. Want to know how to style them perfectly and merge the old with the utterly fresh and new? Then take in our summer 2014 guide to cropped shirts.
You can thank the crop top for this one: the bandeau is back in fashion. Once the domain of only the most daring, the bandeau captures effortless cool in spring / summer 2014. Of course, if you don't want to look like you've just wandered out of the house in your bra, it all comes down to how you style it. And from photo inspiration to a complete guide to the look, you'll know just how to do that by the time you've seen Fashionising.com's guide to the bandeau being back in fashion.
More crop top inspiration.
Killer abs: if you've got them, flaunt them (25 Jul 2014)
The trend in 2013
The feminine crop top.
Last summer was all about a vintage vibe that paired crop tops with high waisted pencil skirts in a whimsical, retro way. That look hasn’t gone away completely but it has mellowed to a more modern look that retains its sense of femininity. Structured bralets on the spring 2013 runways hinted at vintage cuts without replicating them too closely; while pastel colours and floral prints added to the femininity in a contemporary way.
Feminine crop tops: Ruffian, Peter Som & Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti
The boxy crop top.
Moving away from fitted shapes, some designers have opted for boxy cuts that sit away from the body. Balenciaga’s structured crop tops had a futuristic feel, while the likes of Chloe and Rochas presented something similar only with a little more softness. This look works best with a fitted waist on the bottom half to balance out the extra volume on top.
Boxy crop tops at Rochas and Balenciaga
The sporty crop top.
Sporty luxe is a look that hasn’t gone away either. For spring 2013 designers were interpreting it through reinvention of sports bras into tops that can be layered under or worn fully visible in an outfit. Edun’s takes had a military toughness to them while the likes of DKNY channeled upmarket sportswear for a more preppy look.
Sporty crop tops at Edun and DKNY
Minimal & tailored.
Moving in the opposite direction to last spring’s vintage-inspired obsession, 2013 offers up amply inspiration for clean and minimal looks. Pair a sharply cut crop top with a pair of tailored pants or a neat skirt to achieve a sophisticated take on midriff-bare dressing. Go for monochrome or block colours to really work the look in a modern way.
Minimal and clean crop tops at Topshop Unique, Tod Lynn and Guy Laroche
The trend in 2012
There was a 1950s fashion vibe aligning itself with the crop top in spring 2012, but it wasn’t a conservative one. Instead it was the youthful, rockabilly fashion of the 1950s that the crop top was being interpreted through.
Vintage inspired crop tops
Prada led the charge, generally setting vintage-inspired crop tops / boob tubes against relaxed cuts and high-waisted skirts. If we’re honest, the loose cut outerwear gives the look something of a dowdy feel, downplaying the statement that is the crop top trend. Where it does work, however, is in showing that this is a look that needn’t be about showing your entire stomach – a mere peak will do.
The evening crop top
Often designed with a casual feel, crop tops and tube tops seldom shift from day to evening wear. There are options, however, and naturally you’re going to have to turn to the luxury designers for them – to make a crop top work for the evening means wearing one whose quality is overt.
Crop tops for the evening
If a short and sexy summer is your style, then Versace is your go to label for style inspiration. Here the effect of what are effectively clean-cut boob tubes is downplayed, the eye drawn away from the skin. At times that’s through the pairing of a boob tube with more embellished bottoms (see the studded, black leather skirt as a key example), while at other times it’s through the styling of a complete look that’s head turning in its own right; don heels and carry a clutch, and the two piece, hot pants suit with a boob tube layered underneath is a complete look.
If Versace kept the trend crisp and clean, then Pucci embellished it to the nth degree. Paired with long hemmed, high-waisted dresses it’s obvious that Pucci’s take on the crop top isn’t evening wear in the traditional sense – these are no gowns. With lashings of lace and heapings of sheer, Pucci’s evening-ready interpretations of the trend are exquisite. The fashion house offered up daywear takes on the crop top too, so be sure to look through this article’s photo gallery for some high-summer interpretations.
The crop top as secondary statement
The crop top might be a spring 2012 fashion statement, but it needn’t be the only one you make when wearing the trend. In fact there are a whole host of options that purposefully downplay the exposed midriff and draw the eye elsewhere.
Weave and patterned / print crop tops
There are the sexualised takes, such as Altuzarra’s loose knit crop tops. Worn all in black, the loose knit reveals the chest and mightn’t be practical as is (a bra under such a knit runs the risk of looking daft), but when layered under a carefully placed jacket offers up a street look that will appeal to most, if not all. If it’s still too much though, you can also turn to Alexander Wang’s interpretations of a similar idea.
Then there are the prints. Prints are a staple of any modern spring / summer wardrobe, and designers have paired cropped tops and prints aplenty this season. And because the current school of thought is that, generally speaking, prints ought to be immeasurably loud, you’re left with a situation where the statement that is the crop top is severely downplayed in comparison to the printed fabrics its paired with. Labels D&G and Dolce & Gabbana both played to this interpretation and, in doing so, offered up one of the style rules for this particular take on the trend: whether it’s a skirt or shorts, make the bottom of the look home to the loudest print.
The sporty crop top.
Courtesy of the 2012 Olympics, sportswear is back in fashion. Unsurprisingly the crop top is one of its statement elements, with designers such as Helmut Lang interpreting the two styles with athletic abandon. At times cut like a bra, Lang’s cropped tank tops are some of the more revealing options, with his layering of what is effectively a bra over a crop top a style note to memorise. Equally worthy of working into the look is Lang’s styling of a crop top under an angled-blazer – it tones down the look, but never subverts it.
Fashion-focussed sporty crop tops
The sporty crop top isn’t all so revealing however. When he wasn’t dabbling in a mix of perforated leather and sheer sleeves, Alexander Wang gave insight into what a sporty, albeit subdued, take on the trend can look like. It’s what you might call the almost-not-a-crop top as, highly cut are pants it’s paired with, the crop factor is reduced to a reveal mere centimetres of skin.