How To Wear EVERY Type Of Crop Top This Summer

Designed by Mallory Heyer.
It's that time of year when our outfits are getting a bit airer and a bit more skin-showy, and pants aren't the only articles of clothing receiving the short treatment. Everywhere we look, tops are getting trimmed and chopped in all sorts of ways — from the sexy, bustier cuts to the boxy, slouchy silhouettes. Yes, 'tis the season for the crop top. And, while you've been appreciating Taylor Swift's employment of this trend from afar, it can be a bit tricky to DIY. Like, what exactly do you do with the navel area? Is there a secret formula to revealing just the right amount of belly? Can a crop top work for the office?

Fear not, dear readers. We hear your woes and have solutions for those tummy-baring fears. Ahead, we've rounded up the six types of crop tops you need to know about (there's something for everyone) and got the scoop from three of R29's favorite stylists — Jessie Tate, Haley Loewenthal, and our very own Styling Director, Emily Holland — on the best ways to rock them for your body. Read on, take notes, and get cropping. Let's start from the top.
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Designed by Mallory Heyer.
The Crop Tank
"This style was the all-time classic [when I was] a tween growing up in the '90s," says Jessie Tate of the silhouette that most girls associate with the reign of Britney Spears. Thankfully, the go-to pop-starlet ensemble of the short crop tank and super-low-rise bootcut are a thing of the past. The crop tanks of today actually work for all shapes and sizes, but be mindful of what goes on the bottom. "The trick is to NEVER show more than a two-finger gap from your waistband to the base of your crop top," emphasizes Tate. "Remember: Less is more. Belly buttons are cute, but save it for the beach."
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"This crop looks great with a flippy, mid-length skirt and a pair of sneakers or sandals to bring it to night," says Loewenthal. "It's really flattering when worked with a longer, pleated skirt with a black leather jacket layered over it. Don't be afraid to play around — crops are for all sizes and shapes."
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"Try layering this kind of crop underneath a pair of overalls. I love the hint of skin on the side," says Tate. "It's super-fresh and fun for summer with a pair of simple Converse or Adidas."
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"Something more form-fitting, like a tighter crop top, will look nice with a full skirt," says Holland. "It’s all about proportion. If you’re gonna show a lot on the top, be a little more conservative on the bottom with a baggier, slouchier silhouette. You can still look dressed up for a garden party or going out in the evening."
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"If you want your legs to look a little longer, pair a crop top with a full skirt that's high-waisted, and you will keep people guessing when those pins begin and end," advises Tate.
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Designed by Mallory Heyer.
The Crisscross Crop
Probably the trickiest silhouette has to be the crisscross top that exposes a triangle of flesh smack in the middle. "This style is really nice on a longer torso," says Loewenthal. "This top is also great if you want to accentuate your chest or even create the illusion that you have a little more than you do," adds Tate. And, given its high, angular cuts, the crisscross is a bolder style, so what's most important is to don this with utter fearlessness and confidence.
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"If something’s tighter on top, it’s nice to wear something looser on the bottom, like a wide-legged pant or culotte," says Holland. "Something that covers the belly button!"
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"A tighter fit to accentuate your body is flattering, especially since this one has a higher neckline. Don’t wear something too oversized to avoid looking frumpy," adds Holland.
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"The crossover detail brings your attention up, so keep it simple on the bottom, because it's all about the top. That cute little peekaboo of tummy will definitely draw attention," says Tate.
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"This style is great for a date or an event. But, remember to keep the bottom SIMPLE with a circle skirt or a great, high-waisted palazzo pant," adds Tate.
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Designed by Mallory Heyer.
The Button-Up Crop
We already know how essential the button-up shirt is — and, a cropped version of the everyday office shirt should also find a place in your closet. "This style works best for the ladies with a smaller chest, but it's fun to experiment," says Loewenthal. "If you have a short torso or long legs, have fun with layering tonally — for example, layer your crop top over another tee that's slightly longer than your hips, and it automatically creates balance," adds Tate.
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"You could get away with showing a bit more tummy if you're wearing a looser crop top like the button-up," says Holland.
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"You can wear the button-up crop opened, styled with another top layered underneath, [so that it's] worn more like a jacket," says Loewenthal.
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"This crop-top style is also great for work," adds Loewenthal. "Pair this with a high-waisted trouser and a fun heel to make the look a bit more feminine, and you're all set."
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"A beautiful way to accentuate the waist and show off your tush is to pair the button-up crop with a fitted pencil skirt. Love your curves! Have fun and play with pattern and color on the bottom," says Tate. "Alternatively, you can pair this with a cropped, wide-leg boyfriend pant with no more than two inches of ankle showing."
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Designed by Mallory Heyer.
The Long-Sleeve Crop
If you need to take baby steps into the world of crop tops, the long-sleeve and sweater crop are the perfect styles to get you acquainted. "This is actually my fave, considering I'm always in a high-waisted pant. It's the perfect way for me to keep warm but not add bulk to my hips," says Tate of the long-sleeve's functionality for layering. "This shape is the most versatile and universal to wear, and it works well, from anyone with a petite frame to a woman with curves," adds Loewenthal. "Depending on the shape you get, you can style this a million awesome ways."
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"My personal favorite way to wear this shape is in a tighter fit, and pair it with a high-waisted, denim button-down miniskirt and loafers for an overall cool-girl look," says Loewenthal.
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"This works great with a high-waisted pant on a short torso," says Holland.
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"Layer this over a longer top and play with what peeks out from under the sweater hem," says Tate. "Have fun with peplums or contrasting fabric textures. Even a clean, white tee sticking out breathes fresh to me."
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"Or, alternatively, go bare and wear nothing underneath! The little peek of skin is sexy enough!" continues Tate.
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Designed by Mallory Heyer.
The Longline Crop
At first glance, the longline crop top — which also could be known as the bustier — can appear to be super-intimidating since there isn't really much fabric going on. But, it's a lot more versatile than you think. "When you have a crop that is a bit cut in and strappy, it's about accentuating your shoulders and arms — it's flattering," says Holland. And, so much about this particular style is about the complete ensemble. "This piece is cool for any body type, depending on how you style it," adds Loewenthal, who emphasizes that it is an easy piece to dress up or dress down depending on your mood.
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"This is a fun crop to try underneath an overall for a cool weekend look, especially if you're a little less open to wearing a cropped style," suggests Loewenthal. "It's a fun way to ease yourself into it."
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"Another fun way to wear the longline is by layering it over a simple button-up shirt for a corset-style look," Loewenthal adds.
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"Since a longline is sleeveless and has a lower neck, this is the moment to accessorize," says Tate. "If you love to wear a necklace or two, this is your time to do so. It's the perfect top to really show off your favorite pieces."
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"This top is super-cute paired with a high-waisted, A-line skirt and jean jacket for daywear. To bring this style into something more formal, it can be worn with a longer pencil skirt," says Loewenthal. "Bonus points if you can find a matching set! It makes for a really fun going-out outfit."
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Designed by Mallory Heyer.
The T-Shirt Crop
Finally, we get to the most classic top of all, the beloved T-shirt crop. It's a go-to shape that can serve an array of body types in flattering ways. "The crop T is the most versatile of the bunch," says Tate. "It's a fantastic layering basic, and suits ALL shapes." And, while it might seem unlikely, the T-shirt crop top is actually a solid piece for the curvier gal. "Buy a slightly larger size than you would normally," continues Tate. "This should have movement, and the hem should sit away from the body and not be fitted."
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"Since the shape is generally boxy for casual wear, it's nice to pair this with a dark, skinny denim and flats. If you want to try this style for a more dressed-up, formal look, it's actually fun to go the opposite of what makes sense and do a volume-on-volume style, pairing it with an oversized, wide-leg pant," says Loewenthal.
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"The crop tee is especially great for the girl who has a slightly bigger bust," says Tate. "The ratio of sleeve to body is the perfect balance, and allows your waist to appear slimmer."
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"Layering a crop top over a longer, white button-up is a nice way to wear it to work, with the extra layer coming out from the bottom. It looks professional and is a little more interesting than your normal button-down," says Holland. "Or, you could also wear it solo with a long vest over it to keep yourself more covered up and elevated."
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"The bell-bottom and '70s look is back, so I'd wear the crop T-shirt with a baggier jean," says Holland. "The width on the bottom with the loose top will look nice."
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