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How To Style The Hottest Crop Top Shapes This Season

01 October 2021

By Kristen Daly


Like your favourite blazer or pair of jeans, the crop top is a wardrobe must-have. But why stop at just one, or two, or ten? This staple has outgrown its retro beginnings as a party or poolside piece and now works a treat for any occasion or season. We explore ten of the best silhouettes right now and how to wear them.


1. The Cut Out Crop Top

We just can’t cut it out with our love for cut outs! This major trend of the year adds a dash of drama to otherwise minimalist pieces. Championed by brands from Christopher Esber to Chloé, the cut out is surprisingly adaptable, having found its way to tops, dresses, pants and more. We love a peekaboo detail added to a crop silhouette for a double skin-flashing effect.

Pair your cut out crop with leatherette pants and heeled sandals for a major it-girl look!


Darlene Cut Out Crop In Black

2. The Halter Crop Top

Choose a halter, never falter. Britney, Christina, Paris and other early-2000s stars rocked the halterneck and now it’s back in a big way! The beauty of it is there’s one to suit every taste and body shape. Go chic with sleek lines and slender ties, cinch in your curves up top with self-fastening straps or find your main character energy with bold prints and chain details.

Style yours for summer days with a denim mini and sandals, go transeasonal with light-toned trousers or find your halter heaven for nights out with strappy heels, tailored black pants and Y2K-influenced accessories like a mini shoulder bag and fun hair clips!


Graziella Ring Halter Neck Top In Cream

3. The Scarf Crop Top

Another Y2K trend we still can’t get enough of is the scarf top. Fashioned from or cut like bandanas, the early-2000s iterations worn by Beyonce, Mariah and other stars were heavy on the paisley and primary colours. This season, we’re saying hi to silky textures, luxe prints and hardware details - but the cropped hem with a triangle look stays the same.

Couple your handkerchief camis with bleached blue denim in the summer or stonewashed white jeans, heeled boots and a 70s-inspired coat with faux fur trims when it’s cool out!


Maggy Halterneck Top In Brown Print

4. The Corset Crop Top

Whether we have Bridgerton, Billie Eilish or Bella Hadid to thank, it can’t be denied that the corset top is big this year. First popular in the 16th century, it’s a tight-fitting garment designed to mould the torso and accentuate the waist. Today’s version is sleeker, chicer and easier to wear than its predecessors - although the structured look and sexy vibes remain.

Wear your corset top on nights out with a leather mini skirt, heels and hair out, or be bold and style it for work with a white button-up shirt underneath and tailored pants!


Boy Better Know Corset Top In Black

5. The Tie Detail Crop Top

We’re all tied up with this hot look for tops! From Jacquemus to Dion Lee, designers continue to play with delicate tie details at the waist or elsewhere on the torso. We love a tied and cropped silhouette complete with pop colours and lush textures like satin or crochet.

Add a matching tie-up skirt or pant, pare back your look with denim or try a peekaboo bralette underneath, and don’t forget you can customise your fit by fastening the ties in different ways or tightening them for a ruched effect.


Runaway The Label Calista Blouse in Pink

6. The Long Sleeve Crop Top

Crop tops are not just for summer wear, or generous winter layering. Say hello to our between-season choice - the long sleeve crop top! This silhouette combines a cropped, tight fit with long sleeves that end at or past the wrist. It echoes the second skin trend but introduces new elements like cut outs, hardware finishes and bright palettes.

Layer up your favourite for winter with jeans, combat boots, chunky jewellery and a coat or balance out the silhouette for cooler nights out with heels and a hot mini!


Juana Ruched Long Sleeve Button Up Top in Bubblegum Pink

7. The Cropped Tee

This season we’re still prioritising comfortable fashion and it’s the classic crop tee for me. This style delivers structure up top while still flattering the waist area, bare midriff or no. It’s a look that suits a range of body shapes and is surprisingly easy to style up as well as down.

Pair a boxy graphic tee with bike pants and chunky sneakers or dress it up with a tiered maxi skirt and heels. We also love a plain crop tee with a knot, twist or tuck effect at the waist!

Getting-What-I-Want-Top-in-WhiteGetting What I Want Top in White

8. The Puff Sleeve Crop Top

Can’t get enough of a sleeve with a puff? You’re in luck this season! Our love affair with extra volume from the shoulder isn’t going anywhere soon. The freshest silhouettes for now combine a puff sleeve and cropped hem with clean prints, chic necklines and sheer finishes.

Lean into a feminine look by pairing your top with a satin midi and heels or create a cool contrast with jeans and block heels or combat boots.


Runaway The Label - Briar Top in White

9. The Bikini Crop Top

Swimwear as daywear? That’s a mood this summer! Mix and match your favourite bikini tops with other separates for a subtle but striking combo of colours, textures and silhouettes. The trick to pulling it off is choosing swim tops with simple and sporty fits. A cropped balconette will look cool and show off some skin without overwhelming your other pieces.

Just throw a preppy oversized shirt over the top, add high waist denim shorts or a simple mini skirt and finish the look with platform sandals, shades and a mini basket bag!


Kalama Balconette Bikini Top in Cream Spot

10. The Basic Crop Top

Once destined only for the beach or the bar, the crop top has come so far. It’s 2021 and we’re wearing crop tops of all kinds to work, school, parties, dates or even just to run errands. Some of the biggest silhouettes right now are classic, clean and no-fuss, like the tank, bandeau or bralette. Cute, comfortable and versatile - what’s not to love?

Conquer your AM to PM look with a black, white or neutral piece, an oversized blazer thrown over the top, your favourite everyday jeans or pants and light-tone sneakers!


Sunday Society Club Kairi Bralette In Grey Rib

More Tips For Styling This Staple...

How can I wear a crop top without showing skin?

If you love a crop top but want to cover up, the high rise bottom is your new best friend. Mix proportions like a pro while keeping your midriff hidden with a cropped tank, high rise pants and a leatherette jacket. Finish with a silk scarf at the neck for extra modesty and flair.

How do you style a crop top shirt?

A cropped button-up shirt or tee will look amazing paired with high rise pants or jeans. Seasonal layering also works a treat for cropped pieces like 90s camis and cardis.

How do I wear a crop top with jeans?

If your outfit is busy up top with ruffles, ties, texture and other details, keep the rest of your look clean with straight or skinny jeans and a fabulous mule heel. For a retro effect instead, we love a puff or flared sleeve number with a high rise, wide leg jean.

Do you wear a bra under a crop top?

There’s a cute crop top out there for any undergarment preference. Slip on nipple covers or go bare under there with our halter, corset and tie up numbers. For more support, don the bra and keep those straps under wraps with a cropped tee, tank top or long sleeve piece.

How do I layer a crop top over a shirt?

Achieve that it-girl look you want with a crop top that’s tight, but not TOO tight, like a simple corset or bandeau. Slip it on over a loose button-up shirt or roomy tee and balance out your look with tailored pants, heeled boots, cool jewellery and your hair tied up in a loose bun.

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