Ask Laia: What's The Deal With Cropped Tops?

All about "exploring the challenging world of bare midriffs."
Publish date:
July 19, 2011
shoppables, asos, ask laia, cropped tops

Hi Laia,

I've been "exploring the challenging world of bare midriffs" this summer, and I thought I was doing well, looking cool not trying too hard. Then I over heard a girl on my block mention to the few gentlemen she was accompanied by that "uh, did you see that outfit? What a slut!" (uh, AS IF)! I don't usually need to consider modesty in my daily wears because I have the body type most typical to a 13-year-old and stand a towering 4ft 11inches tall. So do you have any advice on how to wear a cropped top and not look offensive? Is there a magic number of inches acceptable for daytime wears?



Thanks for writing in Jackie! Before we begin I have a confession: I am not a person that is super pro-exposed skin and bare midriffs and whatnot. Not that I think it isn't totally screwy that some girls on your street are trying to slut-shame you because of what you're wearing, because I do. But my answer might skew a bit more conservative than you might expect. Which is fine!

But back to the cropped tops...

Horizontal Stitch Knitted Crop T-Shirt $20.69, ASOS

Bad news bears #1: This much midriff is never ok in everyday life. When you are going to the beach, yes. If you are going hiking... mmmaybe. Basically if you have a swimsuit under your cropped top then that means you are dressed for action and the exposed stomach is alright.

Actually, the problem with cropped tops these days isn't so much the "top" part as it is what you wear on the bottom. Thank goodness the days of super low-rise jeans are behind us, but that doesn't mean we've made it all the way back to a normal inseam. Pop stars wear microscopic inseams with bare midriffs. If your look is closer to Gaga than say, Taylor Swift (what? she wears crop tops, right? Because my other example was Sheryl Crow circa 1997 or something and that seemed a bit, well, obscure) then you will not pass the "Laia Bare Midriff Test."

Pintuck Ruffle Cropped Shirt $15,52, ASOS

Having introduced the perils of the low-rises, we can talk about its counterpart that will make all your wildest cropped top dreams come true: The High Waist Bottom.


High-waisted bottoms ALWAYS look awesome with cropped tops. I call it the old-school midriff because all you see is the bottom of the ribcage which is alluring without being overt. Think of any movie set in the '50s or even our own Emily at the pool for inspiration. You can show a good 3 or 4 inches of "torso" and still be totally in the clear.

Sheer Cropped Shirt with Double Pocket $43.10, ASOS

My favorite way to wear a cropped top though, is to have it be about the same length as my high-waist bottom. Skin will be only be flashed when I'm in action and otherwise the proportions look perfect together.

Like I said, I'm not reaaally a pro-cropped-exposed-bellybutton kinda girl, but I think if you want to wear a bikini top with low rise jeans and prance around the town, then who the hell are your neighbors to tell you otherwise? Just rock it like you want and be happy, that's what matters.