Style guide: How to wear a crop top when you’re curvy

The fashion forecast for spring entails lots of crop tops, but how are real girls supposed to wear the midriff-baring shirts? Consult our sartorial guide.



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Mindy Kaling

Mindy Kaling Photograph: Everett Collection/REX USA

The title of this post is an actual Google search I did recently, and here’s why: I love crop tops. I think they are so, so cool. (This in itself is confounding to me, but that’s how fashion goes: One minute something is passé and lame, the next it’s the hottest thing around. See also: normcore.) There’s something simultaneously retro and modern about it, and high-fashion designers and budget-friendly chains alike are taking notice this season. Even Kim Kardashian—the very face of personality-free L.A. style—seems to get it right, and I want to, too. Except…

I am not skinny. I am—depending on the time of year/how many feelings I’m eating/how likely I am to exercise (you guys lived through the polar vortex, too—guess how likely I was to exercise this winter?)—not even thin. I do not have a stomach I would usually bet to show off. But here’s the thing: Like a lot of New Yorkers, my interest in fashion and cool trends overrides my self-consciousness most days, and right now I want a goddamned crop top. And maybe you do, too! (The glowing, perfect-in-every-way Mindy Kaling is on board with the trend—she rocked a crop at PaleyFest, as pictured above, and holy hell did she look great. She is certainly not chubby, but she is also not a size 0.)  

So as soon as the weather gets warm (it’s spring, did you hear?), I’m going to wear a crop top if it kills me (murderous crop tops on the loose!), and I think I’ve figured out how: 

Loose and casual, not body-con and ready for the club. Relaxed and downtown is a more New York take on the trend anyway. We do not do skanky in these parts.  

Pair with a jacket or a vest. Like Linus, I find it best to have a security blanket at all times. As you get comfortable with the idea of a stomach striptease, make yourself as comfortable as possible. The prettiest thing a person can wear is confidence (cheesy but true), so if you’re skittish about the trend, do what you can to put yourself at ease.  

Show only a sliver of skin. Or at least start out that way. If you’re confident enough to go the full Shania from the get, more power to you. Just be conscious of where you rock full tummy (Governors Ball: good; dinner with your boyfriend’s parents: bad). And for the love of all that is good and holy, avoid any semblance of underboob.    

The most important thing, of course, is to toss all these rules out the window and wear a crop top however you darn well please, muffin tops be damned. I will be. (I’m pretty sure. I may just need a cocktail or two to get me motivated.)  

I’ll see you and your fabulous bellies around!

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Editor: Marley Lynch (@marleyasinbob)

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