Wear It Here, Wear It There, Wear Your Crop Tops Everywhere

It’s spring! I’m already getting used to seeing the sun when I open my eyes in the morning and I’ve almost forgotten what the depths of Seasonal Affective Disorder feel like, so I’d say it’s going well. Plus, this is the start of my favorite season: #CropTopSeason.

If you need me between now and late fall, you can find me poolside, roadside, on the metro, at work, laying in the bench in my bay window, and drunkenly walking home from happy hour in the same silhouette: a crop top and high-waisted bottoms. (Those could be lounge pants, denim shorts, or white cotton bloomers with embroidered daisies on them, just for the record.) It’s a good life, y’all, and I’m hoping you’re gonna get on board the midriff train with me sooner rather than later for the sake of all of our Instagram accounts.

Take a cue from any of the beauties in here to figure out how to wear your crop top whenever, wherever. As an added bonus, I went and found you a bunch of crop tops that would work with these looks, and when you buy ’em, Autostraddle gets a kickback. Everyone wins! And nobody’s wearing a full-length shirt! All is about to be right with the world.



Whether you hit up a fancy art museum or wander the local gallery, you can’t go wrong with some loose-fit linen pants and an elegant crop top. Also, I wear outfits like this to work pretty much all the time because that’s how power bitches roll.


Black Lace Crop Top | Bella Red Lace Crop Top | White Floral Lace Crop Top | Cold Shoulder Crop Top

Music Festivals & Other Outdoor Sports


This is an outfit that deserves its moment in the sun, y’know? Next time you’re headed outdoors, throw a crop top on with some cutoffs and a classic pair of sunglasses and pretend you’re Lydia for a second. Go ahead. We all do this. Right?


Southwestern Print Crop Top | Ribbed Knit Crop Top | White Vest Crop Top

Brunch / Lunch / Cocktail Hour


Wearing just a dress or a skirt and top combo to brunch is so last summer. This time around, head out to that bar patio in a slim-fit crop top and a pencil skirt to prove you’re just as saucy as you are sassy. Oh, and also because you’ll look fly as fuck.


Lace Sleeve Crop Top | Adjustable Spaghetti Strap Crop Top | Striped Short-Sleeve Crop Top

Running Errands of a Fashionable Sort


Casually throwing on a crop top communicates an effortless, no-fucks-given sense of chic that everyone else in the grocery store is totally going to hate you for, in the good way. People will be all, do you think you’re like a model or something? And you’ll be all, shut the fuck before I embarrass you.


Embroidery Print Swing Top | Tie-Front Lace Crop Top | Chiffon Cropped Cami | Boxy Crop Top

Cleaning the Haus


Um, okay, this is me, totally drunk, literally cleaning my house in preparation for a party. I wore a loose-fit crop top with leggings to brunch because leggings are pants and I went with a sports bra that day so that when said loose-fit crop top inevitably fell of my shoulder, things wouldn’t be scandalous. I put on that big blue ring because I like to pretend I never left LA after I bought it. The best part of this outfit, hands-down, was that it took me from Presentable to Passed The Fuck Out without ever losing its edge.

Cleaning Haus

Heathered Boxy Crop Top | Striped Crop TopRibbed Crop Top

Garden Party


Floral crop tops were made for afternoons in the garden potentially sipping tea next to a babbling brook. Also, they’re the best.


Boxy Tropical Crop Top | Fitted Stretch Floral Crop Top | Lay of the Island Top | Tropical Print Crop Top

Up All Night


If there’s ever been an appropriate time to wear less clothing, it’s when you’re entering a bar so hot with human body heat that the humidity comes close to knocking you out. Crop tops generally transition well from day to night, especially if you change them up by adding or removing layers or changing your bottoms. But for the most dance-filled, boozy, Ke$ha-inspired nights, you’ll want something super special, like maybe a crop top made entirely of crossing straps of fabric, or one that shimmers a little too much to ever see the sun, or, y’know, one that shows more skin than it covers up on average.

Night Out

Sexy Spaghetti Strap Pink Crop Top | Cross-Band Shiny Crop Top | Bling Bling Gold Crop TopBackless Crop Top

Anytime You Would Normally Wear a Screen-Print Tee


Hey, it’s your life. I’m not here to tell you that you should wear screen-printed crop tops while you play video games, go to the movies, carouse around your childhood hometown, or dance in the dark. But I’m definitely not telling you not to.

Screen Print

Alice’s Adventures Crop TopMerci Crop Top | Catnipped Crop Top | Stay Cute Crop TopPineapple Printed Crop Top

Okay, now it’s your turn to show me how you wear your crop tops and also which ones you’re currently drooling over in the comments!

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Carmen spent six years at Autostraddle, ultimately serving as Straddleverse Director, Feminism Editor and Social Media Co-Director. She is now the Consulting Digital Editor at Ms. and writes regularly for DAME, the Women’s Media Center, the National Women’s History Museum and other prominent feminist platforms; her work has also been published in print and online by outlets like BuzzFeed, Bitch, Bust, CityLab, ElixHER, Feministing, Feminist Formations, GirlBoss, GrokNation, MEL, Mic and SIGNS, and she is a co-founder of Argot Magazine. You can find Carmen on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr or in the drive-thru line at the nearest In-N-Out.

Carmen has written 919 articles for us.


  1. Oh man, this is so tempting. I really want to wear crop tops this year, especially since I’ve been working on body positivity.

    But I can’t get over that “oh god people will see my Iron-Bull inspired belly” feeling.

    Hopefully your article inspires me enough to push past that and into crop tops!

    • I am also about to do so many sit-ups and cut all my shirts up (or maybe cut all my shirts up to force myself to do sit-ups?), it’s gonna be greattttt

      • You know, I’d totally be about that crunch and sit-up lifestyle but every damn time I do it I pull my neck and can’t turn it for two weeks.


        • Cinders! The neck thing, I feel that struggle. Try doing the bicycle exercise instead? More support ’cause you can keep your hands behind your neck the whole time.

  2. Just read this and immediately went to my dresser, got my favorite graphic tee and cut that baby up into a cute crop tank. Thanks for inspiration!

  3. I bought my first crop top this weekend. I’m going to wear it at the gym. It says “Word Up.” I wore it with leggings for that visible labia look this weekend, but I put on a skirt for a BBQ on Saturday night.

  4. If you’ve never heard of ‘Ghosts and Stars’, get on it!!! They have the cutest crop tops. It’s a clothing line released by my favourite comedienne. Ch-ch-ch-ch-check it out!

    • oooooh! i usually snag mine from forever 21 because i’m mobbin’ like that, but i’m excited to check something else out that is also probably putting more goodness into the world!

  5. I love crop top season. I love any season where I can comfortably wear as few clothes as possible

  6. I love crop tops so much, they are perfect. But it’s so hard to find one for fat ladies like me! And I do not trust myself enough with cutting clothes to just make my own. So I’m eternally on a quest to find them in plus sizes.

    • there’s some plus-size crop tops in this very post! have you tried asos, ps? i might be remembering wrong but i felt like when i was putting this together they were a great resource with good ranges of sizing!

  7. It took me a while to subscribe to Team Crop Top, but I’m converted. I like them with a high waist (jeans or skirt) and a little linen moto jacket.

  8. Okay so here’s a couple pictures of me in my favorite crop top because I’m vain and I like to share. I love this dumb shirt so much that it has it’s own hashtag on my instagram. #andmybelovedstripedcroptop

    with high-waisted light wash jeans that I’m in love with, even though you can’t really see the crop top part but whatever because flowers

    with my high high-waisted ship skirt at MOCA!

    I also have a few Business Crop Tops that I adore? And are fancy enough to wear to a work meeting with some high-waisted super dark wash jeans and nice shoes? I love them. I love them all. I live in southern california, too, so I can even wear Winter Crop Tops. #croptops4life
    Now I’m going to buy this crop top that I’ve been eyeing at work; I’ve been so inspired by this article. THANK YOU CARMEN

      • Ship skirt is from Anthropologie like a million years ago, on sale, when it was too small for me. Now it fits like a dream, feels new because I haven’t touched it for a couple years, and was still only like $40 for a really nice skirt. It goes down to about the middle of my calf, so it’s the perfect in-between length ’cause it doesn’t show off the nasty scar I’ve got on my knee, and I can wear it with my ultra hairy legs and not frighten other people because it’s a little more subtle.
        Also it’s covered in pretty watercolors of ships! Yaaay

  9. YESSSS I *love* crop tops! I also believe that crop tops work well with any/all body types and any/ALL gender expressions! Butches in crop tops! SWOON! boys in crop tops! SWOOOOOON! Femmes in crop tops! SO FASHION! Swoon! NB in crop tops! Yes please! a-o-k!! you all are so fashion! I love it!

  10. I’ve never had a crop top. I want one. I’m in the bandwagon of not being able to find plus size ones. I’m also on the shorter side, so I don’t want one that’s not going to show my belly. The struggle is real.

    • y’all, i swear! there is a crop top out there for every size. if you check the links in here, there’s a few retailers who sell like, pages and pages of different crop tops. one day your crop top shall come, rachel!

    Crop top season in Michigan is about 4 months long, but I wear them to death for those few months. I get mixed reviews, from other chubby ladies I get kudos and “I wish I could wear that” (secret: you can!), but to insecure groups of teen girls at sidewalk cafes I am the most scandalous thing they’ve seen all day.
    After fighting with my body for a decade, it feels really good to go out in the world with my squishy bare belly and see that the sky doesn’t fall, no one harasses me any more than normal, and sometimes I even get compliments.
    Bare bellies for all!

  12. I think pot bellies / chubby bellies are very cute and attractive with a crop top. It just makes me happy when crop top season happens and I see ppl rocking that look. So awesome.

  13. This one time I saw someone wear a crop top with Selena’s face on it so now I’m on an eternal quest to find one like it in my size!

    I loved this post! One day I shall rock a crop top. I’m excited for my future.

    • @yvonne i would recommend googling that because it MUST exist. or! print a template and we’ll spray paint you one at camp <3

  14. Wow, you wear crop top situations to work?

    I’ve been buying lots of crop tops over the last little bit, though because of my weird ass proportions, a lot of them actually hit me at the waist, whereas most “regular” tops are too long for me and hit me at the widest part of my hips.

    I do have a few tops that even on me, are actually cropped, though I’m still kinda self-conscious about wearing them, 1. because I’m a former heavier gal who’s had body issues for years, and 2. because at 28, I’m starting to feel too old to wear them.

    Do crop tops have an age limit?

    • yes, i have! like, with high-waisted trousers or with a high-waisted skirt, i feel like it works! plus, i don’t really wear form-fitting or sports-bra style crop tops a lot – mine are mostly unstructured or flowy tops and i am also short, so they come sor of right to my belly button sometimes. so the only time my crop top situation is borderline inappropro is when i stretch. does that make sense? anyway, do it. sitting in a meeting like “i wore a crop top to work” is p amazing.

    • I’ve declared myself too old to wear them at 27.

      It’s not that I couldn’t rock it, I just think if I wore one in public I would automatically run into every person I know professionally and look ridiculous. #smalltownproblems

    • 29 here, just started wearing them last year. You are not too old. Actually I think I was too young pre-28. Now I’m ready to rock out in crop top glory all the damn time, WITH most of my fucks given away in my earlier twenties.

  15. My favorite crop top is one I bought at the Scripps Store when I was visiting my friend. It says “Scripps College, 86 Years of Women on Top”

  16. Ooh I don’t think my belly’s ever been exposed to the sun. My belly pooch is shy. But I’m inspired to make one of my graphic t-shirts into a crop top to test it out!

    • yesssss! report back and let me know how great you look. i am placing bets on “very.”

  17. Leopard print skinnies didn’t fit well/look right, so I’m going with a black skirt and fishnet stockings. (Pardon the creepy smile/bad hair/no makeup/awkward bathroom pic.) Ah, so excited/nervous/I might have a panic attack because showing my tummy is such a strange feeling for me.

  18. My bod is like 70% torso so crop tops make me look like a giraffe wearing a lampshade. The last time the fashion pendulum swung this way I spent a good five years never being able to find shirts that were long enough for me, so hopefully that doesn’t happen again.

    Sorry to rain on the crop-top-parade. You all look very cute in yours I’m sure. *giraffe-lumbers away*

  19. The first crop top I bought was for New Year’s Eve. It’s made entirely out of rainbow sequins. I love it and am forever seeking new opportunities to bust it out. I also recently got a couple more casual options from a thrift store, and I’ve started tying off my sleeveless button up shirts to make them crop. I’m still occasionally self-conscious when I’m out and about with my tummy out, but mostly it feels great.

    • audra i bet you look fantastic in all these things! i wanna see the rainbow one for sure.

  20. Honestly I would love the links to some of the shorts featured with the crop tops. They are as cute as the shirts! Especially the distressed black pair with the large western belt paired with the white ribbed shirt. And the striped one the model in the “Running Errands of a Fashionable Sort” paragraph is wearing. :)

    • i don’t have links to those, since those are just images i found of people wearing crop tops well! but i bet google could be your friend in this instance so you can really complete the look!

  21. The way I want to wear a crop top is in the manner of the crop tops worn by American football players during off season practice, but with a sports bra and maybe the collar cut Flashdance style.
    Part of me wants to wear basketball shorts too because it would subvert/fuck with the fact my torso is shapped like a “Classical” Venus statue. However I know showing that much skin would freak me the fuck out in non-dancing situation so I’d probably end up wearing some old school Dickies that come up to my natural waist. Probably with one of my “man belts” and undoubtedly with tactical boots.

    *I cannot find a good reference image for the cropped shirts I’m talking about but those of you who live in American football country or have watched some football movies know what I’m talking about right? Not the newfangled netted ones but the glorified gym shirt that get cut practically in 1/3.

    • i know what you mean, and i love it. also, if it was the netted one i’d still be into it.

  22. Hey all, I am weirded out because I love crop tops and I bought some yesterday, but I have recently lost a lot a lot of weight and have gone from being a curvy lady to being almost androgynous in body shape, and all down to some unhealthy lack of eating habits. I’m trying to put weight back on and I’m aware that I look kinda skeletal compared to how I used to, but I am really just fighting to reclaim my body so I can recognise myself in the mirror, but a close friend worried and said after I showed them the new tops yesterday that they thought I was unhappy with being so thin and thus why am I showing off/exaggerating my thinness? Is it appropriate to wear crop tops or skimpy clothing if you are thinner than you’d like to be? I’m not sure if its a bad idea, I didn’t think that I was showing of my skeletal frame, just that I was exaggerating my femininity with crop tops and high waisted skirts, so confused..

    • you do you, abi. you do you. if you wanna wear a crop top and take back your body with all of your complex feelings toward it, then damn it, do that. and tell everyone else to just back the fuck off.

      i bet you look great, ps! like, in your crop top but also every day.

  23. Can we have a companion post for beautiful high-waisted garments of all kinds? Just to go with the crop tops? This is very exciting to me.

    • I second this! I have a long torso, so all “high waist” jeans I’ve tried are more like mid rise on me. If anyone can send me a link to major high rise, super skinny but thick fabric jeans (I have enough leggings in my life, and some occasions call for no visible labia) I’d be supes thankful. Like I’d make you cookies.

  24. I think I’m gonna make my misandrist t shirt into a crop top? Is that too crazy? Can I wear that if I’m not at a camp?

    • This is a great idea! I was thinking of making mine into a muscle top, to show off my soft, flabby, beautiful guns! Now I’m considering showing my soft, flabby beautiful belly instead. Hmmmm

  25. OK, so I have been wearing crop tops for a long time now. I love, love, love how they make me feel and how I look. Mine are short, really short, and I wear them with skirts that sit low, low, low. I always wear dangling belly button rings and most always add a belly chain of some kind. My skirts are slit wide and high… most all the way up these days. And I always wear a pair of sexy thin strap high heel or flat sandals. Sometimes, I go out barefoot with just “barefoot sandals” or an anklet and toe rings. I dress like this always these days… no matter where I go what I’m doing or who I’m seeing. I don’t wear panties and I don’t wear bras… and with today’s sheer, mesh and lace fabrics… well you get the idea.

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