Crop tops were everywhere on spring runways, and celebrities have been testing them out on red carpets since mid-winter. Now that it’s a nice sunny Friday and almost April, we’re actually entertaining the possibility of wearing them on our own bodies, in real life, sometime in the not-too-distant future.
The good news about this season’s belly shirts is that they’re meant to be worn with high-waisted bottoms, which means you just show your ribcage area, not your tummy itself — think retro bikini, not Britney Spears. This makes them a lot easier to stomach (sorry) than their FUPA-bearing predecessors, because you get to keep the business part of your midsection covered up. There’s no need to fret about tummy rolls, food babies, love handles, lingering bellybutton lint, or lack of (real or fake) abs. In fact, the upper waist area is often a woman’s favorite part of her body — hence the popularity of the universally flattering A-line dress.
But just because the 2013 crop top is our friend does not mean it’s appropriate for all situations. Below, a crash-course on crop top do’s and don’ts.
DO: Wear it to parties. It looks cute, and photographs well.
DON’T: Wear it to work, unless you are a character in Girls. Even the most conservative belly shirt is still a belly shirt.
DO: Wear it out to dinner, brunch, or any meal for that matter. Eat all you want, because it’s not like your ribcage is going to expand after too many tacos.
DON’T: Wear it to the movies. Your bare skin will be touching those gross seat cushions, ew.
DO: Wear it in fun colors and patterns. It’ll keep people from thinking you’re wearing a bra.
DON’T: Wear it in plain white, because people will think it’s a bra. (Unless it’s obviously shirtlike, or that cool Balenciaga outfit that Kristen Stewart wore last year.)
DO: Wear it with anything on the bottom, really, but high-waisted skirts are easier to pull off than high waisted pants or shorts.
DON’T: Wear it with super-low-rise bell-bottom jeans, unless you really want to look like Christina Aguilera from the Genie in a Bottle days, in which case, by all means, go ahead.
Click through our slideshow to see the best of this season’s crop tops on the runway.