Here's How To Actually Wear Crop Tops

Here's the thing about crop tops: We love 'em, but they can go wrong almost too easily. Even if you have the coolest shirt and an equally-as-amazing bottom, the tricky silhouette doesn't guarantee a solid outfit, no matter how great each individual piece may be.

But conquering the crop top isn't rocket science. In fact, it's actually quite easy. While there are tons of styling suggestions in the slideshow ahead that show you just how to work all the super-small shirts you could ever want, the one, fail-safe trick is to keep that belly-button covered with a high-waisted bottom. To be clear, this isn't because we're not proud of our stomachs (and if anyone wants to show off their button by way of crop top, by all means, please do), but, going for a higher cut on bottom (especially via midi-skirt, or a pair of wide-leg trousers) means a better chance of achieving the polished, cool look you were going for to begin with.

Click through to see exactly how to get the job done.
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Try a more boundary-pushing crop top that employs an interesting color scheme and silhouette. This option, for example, is is a strong stand-alone piece made edgy by non-girly sparkles and unexpected shades. Plus, as over-the-top as it may seem, this shirt is surprisingly versatile; it looks just as good layered over a black T-shirt (or turtleneck in the winter months) atop some wide-legged pants, as it does by itself with a pair of denim shorts or skirt.

Sibling Stripe Frill Lurex Cami Top, $166.44, available at Sibling.
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Pair the top with super high-waisted denim shorts (or a super-high-waisted denim midi-skirt).

Ksenia Schnaider Denim Shorts, $210, available at Ksenia Schnaider.
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Keep the shoes simple (like a classic black Nike) to help ground the look.

Nikecourt Tennis Classic Ultra Deconstructed, $120, available at Nike.
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Add these glasses to this outfit...and every outfit to come.

Retrosuperfuture Drew Crystal Sunglasses, $189, available at Farfetch.
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Like your shoes, you want to keep your accessories minimal. A barely there choker is a good, stylish choice for a little bit of bling.

Are You Am I Alva Choker, $95, available at Are You Am I.
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With its square neck, rope-and-grommet straps, and hanging strings, this crop top couldn't be more on-trend. Though perfect for a night out, with the right styling, it can also work during the day. Paired with a matching tracksuit or pajama-inspired set, keep the long-sleeve top unbuttoned, showing just enough skin. Later, tie the shirt around your waist and let the crop top speak for itself.

Zara Denim Top with Cords, $25.90 $19.99, available at Zara.
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We won't lie, this is a tough color to pull off. If you're not down, any silky number will do.

Ganni Fumiko Silk Shirt, $242.37, available at Ganni.
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These high-waisted, flowy pants will pair well with the structured crop top, and the white piping on the side ties it all together.

Ganni Fumiko Silk Pants, $242.37, available at Ganni.
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With a pretty out-there look, you'll want to make sure your shoes are simple and durable (and comfortable) enough to handle whatever the day (and night) throws your way. That's where a low mule comes in.

Mansur Gavriel Suede 40mm Mule, $475, available at Mansur Gavriel.
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We're all about mixing metals, but we can't help but love how this pair of earrings matches the hardware on the top.

COS Circle Shape Earrings, $35, available at COS.
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To make a cropped number feel more polished, look for a simple silhouette and an interesting pattern. This long-line version inherently seems upscale, especially with its mini mock-neck. But the best part about this top is the clashing stripes; even though the print is bold, since it's black-and-white, it gives you free reign to pair any solid-colored bottom and some fun accessories.

Which We Want Danes Crop Top, $58 $42.99, available at Need Supply Co.
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If you're used to wearing muted shades, a neutral hue, like mustard, can help ease you into wearing brights.

Awake Mustard Skirt, $662 $464, available at More Is Love.
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Pop on a ring that adds a pop of color.

Jiwinaia Double Flame Ring, $104.69, available at Jiwinaia.
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Add a pair of sunglasses that's reminiscent of the skirt's color, but not an exact match.

Spitfire Aurora, $59, available at Spitfire.
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These heels are the finishing touch that ties everything together.

Acne Studios Obin Shoes, $690 $414, available at Acne Studios.
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Take your teenage uniform and turn it up a notch (crop top, included) by swapping your skinny jeans with a pair of high-waisted dark-wash flares and accessorizing a geometric hoop and a mid-height heel to keep that flare pant from dusting the ground.

& Other Stories Satin Crop Top, $55 $39, available at & Other Stories.
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The top-stitched pockets are the main appeal to these jeans.

Mango Flared Jeans, $49.99 $24.99, available at Mango.
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A pair of earrings you'll want to wear every single day.

Sorelle x Sandy Liang Savannah Hoop, $120, available at Shop Super Street.
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Add a hint of subdued color with a retro pair of shades.

ASOS Oversized Sunglasses in '70s Frame, $19.50, available at ASOS.
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The flared jean will cover the majority of your heel while you're standing, but as you walk, you'll show off kicks of pink.

L’oeil Ailia Square Sandals, $78, available at L'oeil.