Your Cheat Sheet To Looking Rad In A Crop Top

By now, you know that crop tops are the unlikely revival trend that has stuck. Since last spring, we've seen a massive resurgence of belly-baring blouses and T-shirts on runways, on the street, and beyond. Now there are even different crop-top categories — that's right, categories. To the '90s kid in us: Look how far we've come!

But with great trends comes great responsibility: It's not just a matter of chopping the hemline anymore. We have a veritable crop-top buffet laid out in front of us — and we're not afraid to say we're a little overwhelmed by all the options. So we look for inspiration to those who have paved the sartorial way: celebrities, of course.

Tinseltown's finest have dared to crop, be it on the fanciest red carpets or on their paparazzi-documented down time. Occasionally, they've even been innovators. They came, they saw, they cropped — and we're taking notes.

"I love crop tops and think they can be flattering to a wider array of body shapes than one might assume," argues Alex Sweterlitsch, "especially considering that the idea is to show the stomach — an area most women try to cover up." We asked seven stylists to pick their favorite celebrity crop-top moments and explain the takeaway from each outfit: What made it work, and how can we copy it on every 80ºF summer day? Click through for some cool, cropped, and collected #OOTD inspiration.

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Photo: Dave Spencer/Splash News.
Try It With A Statement Pant
Crop top: Most versatile item in your closet? It can be. Take a look at Laura Pritchard's pick — a sleeveless, formfitting striped top on Jessica Alba. "I love how sleek and effortless this look is," she says. "She paired a belted, wide-leg tuxedo pant with her cotton crop top" to give her ensemble a sophisticated edge. Pritchard argues that it's the ideal day-to-night look and is easy to re-create at home: "Pair a statement yet polished pant with your understated crop top to elevate your look."

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Photo: Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images.
Try It As A Fancy-Shmancy Set
Nowadays, we don't blink when we see a crop top on the red carpet: Hollywood's finest have normalized a little bit of extra skin, even at the most formal affairs. The perfect example of this is last year's Met Gala, which gave us such moments as Emma Stone's colorblocked Thakoon two-piece and Anne Hathaway's Calvin Klein matching set — which caught Courtney Raniszewski's eye. "I think this works because it's a take on a crop top without having to show as much skin as they usually do," she says. "It's a cut that could work for even someone who's pretty conservative: It still highlights her waist, but it's just a hint, which is more fun!" Raniszewski explains that while it's still on trend, it's slightly different from most matching sets we normally spot.

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Photo: Patricia Schlein/Star Max/GC Images.
Try It With Some Structure
What came first: the crop top or the matching set? (Fashion philosophy right here, folks.) Coordinate separates are a great primer for those without prior crop-top experience: You get that one-piece look with just a sliver of skin showing.

Pritchard points to Sarah Hyland and her bright two-piece as an example of a "sophisticated matching look that gives off both a sweet and sexy vibe." And while she acknowledges the ease in this kind of ensemble, she advises to "make sure each piece is interesting enough to stand on its own." In Hyland's case, "her modern halter top has molded underwires, and her skirt is sexy and asymmetrical with a high slit." To round out the outfit, "pair with stark, white, strappy stilettos and a box clutch."

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Photo: Christopher Polk/WireImage.
Try It To Create Dimension
Sofia Karvela
picks Dree Hemingway in a printed two-piece as her favorite crop-top moment because of the effect it has on her demeanor: "She shines in it," explains Karvela. "She is not trying to show off her abs, but rather, create dimension." Karvela suggests that with crop tops, "it's best when the focus isn't targeted on what's under it, but rather, the look as a whole."

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Photo: NCP/Star Max/GC Images.
Try It As An Outfit Equalizer
Haley Loewenthal
points to Emily Ratajkowski for dressing up the trickier bra-style crop top, with a little help from a man named Marc. "I love Emily Ratajkowski's Marc Jacobs look here. Her bandeau-bra-style crop top is super-sexy, but she paired it with tougher pieces that are military-inspired and tied it all together in monochromatic tones." Loewenthal goes on to explain that "it's hard to find the right balance of not being over-the-top sexy when sporting a crop top, but she executed it perfectly."

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Photo: Bauer-Griffin/GC Images.
Try It As A Wrap
Loewenthal also calls out Kendall Jenner's on-point crop-top game. "It's super-fresh, between the all-white look and the interesting cut of the crop top," she explains. "I especially love that she paired the top with wide-leg culottes, and that the whites don't perfectly match. It adds just the right amount of quirk to this on-trend look."

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Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images.
Try It As A Balancing Act
When it comes to crop tops, Sweterlitsch believes it's almost a numbers game. "It’s an important ratio of flesh to fabric when it comes to trying this trend. This simply means the tinier the top, the higher the waistline of the skirt or trousers you’re pairing it with." The key here is proportion, he tells us.

Considering this, his KStew pick comes as no surprise. "I’m partial to Kristen Stewart wearing Balenciaga in 2012 for a few reasons: Not only was it a standout look from Nicolas Ghesquière’s amazing final collection for the label, but the modest triangle of skin reads more sophisticated and elegant than shocking and exposed." To try this graphic look at home, he suggests "a crisp white crop top and similar slimming black high-waisted trousers. Keep the skin space to an inch and a half or under (approximately the width of your index and middle fingers together), and you’ll look refined, not racy."

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Photo: Josiah Kamau/BuzzFoto via Getty Images.
Try It For Day-To-Night
A common misconception about this skin-baring silhouette is that it only works on certain body types. But Margie Ashcroft, a stylist and blogger who works with "all spectrums of the market," points to Taylor Swift's summery crop-top-and-dungaree combo as an example of how versatile the piece is — in terms of both outfit possibilities and the range of outfit wearers. "I love this look because it can be easily dressed up with a pair of heels," she explains, "and the silhouette is great for all shapes and sizes."

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Photo: PacificCoastNews.
Try It With Some Texture
"Rihanna can do little wrong, especially when it comes to fashion," says Alison Mazur, confirming everything we know. Mazur calls out the "balance of texture and proportion" in how RiRi styled her glittery Stella McCartney number. "The loose crop top feels smart and sexy, and the sparkle makes it feel cool and elevated," she continues. "Paired with these baggy, grunge-style jeans and skinny heels, it’s a perfect combo."

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Try It Year-Round
Sometimes, a crop top can be unexpected. "I love this look on Janelle Monáe because it shows the silhouette's versatility," explains Shea Daspin. "Most people associate crop tops with summertime and hot weather, but this long-sleeved, quilted version shows that the shape can transition from season to season. Plus, her sporty joggers and black-and-white color combo is sexy without being too girly."

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