I Can't Wear the New Crop Tops.... Or Can I?

 ASOS Boxy Kimono top in floral jacquard. ASOS. $71.51.

Welcome, Dear Reader, to Spring 2014, home of abbreviated tops. You may be more familiar with the term, "crop tops". I recently met with a new client and they came up in conversation. A beautiful woman in her mid-30s with a great figure, she quickly dismissed those as tops she could no longer wear after having two babies. I disagreed. And a blog post was born.

Let me start by saying, a woman past a certain age really shouldn't be wearing especially short tops. But, that age is not 21, friends. And, wearing a short sweater or top doesn't necessarily mean you are putting a spotlight on your stomach. It's really all about the styling.

So, can I or can't I wear abbreviate tops after 30? Here's a helpful guide to help you figure it out.

 Noir Blouse. Need Supply. $64.

1. Length is key.

Look for tops that hit your belly button or below. Even a sweater that hits at your hips is likely shorter than you are used to - as we've all enjoyed the comfort of very long shirts and sweaters that last few years. Anything above your belly button is truly intended for the very young and very fit set. Fear not. There are plenty of other truncated tops to choose from.

If you are short waisted, meaning the distance between your natural waist and your shoulders is shorter than normal, abbreviated tops won't do you any favors as wearing them visually shortens your torso. However, if your legs appear short, abbreviated tops will elongate them. 


 Topshop Bubble jacquard crop top. Nordstrom. $64.

 Topshop Draped sequin crop top. Nordstrom. $116.

2. It's all about the pairing.

Having worn longer tops and sweaters in the past few years, you may also be the proud owner of a sea of low rise pants and skirts. Sadly, those are a no-go with a shorter top. We're trying to avoid the appearance of a muffin top and whether or not you have extra weight in your mid section, a low rise pant and a short shirt sure make it look like you do. 

This means low rise is out and high rise is in, very in. Think pencil or a-line skirts that hit slightly above your belly button. Wait a minute! ABOVE my belly button with a top that hits at my belly button or longer? That means I won't be showing skin.

Correct! You are enjoying the current trend while still being appropriate and even, dare I say it, attractive. The photos above are great illustrations of this strategy. Totally tasteful and current. The photos below are for the more adventurous and/or fit set- belly button showing, but still very classy. 


 Shiny crop sweater. Zara. $79.90.

 Cropped sweater. Available in multiple colors. Zara. $16.90.

3. More is better.

When shopping for shorter tops, focus on sweaters, tops with long sleeves or 3/4 length sleeves. If you are going for short sleeves or sleeveless, you are looking for a boxy cut or a longer length top (see tip #2 above). The goal is to avoid showing a lot of skin. The reason shorter shirts can have sex appeal but still be appropriate after 30 is by not actually showing skin. If you are pairing an abbreviated top with a skirt, you should only see skin below the knee and/or on your arms. No low cut options, no short skirts. Keep it classy, my dear. 

Wondering if this is crazy talk? After I invested in a number of shorter tops and sweaters to pair with high waisted skirts, I saw Zooey Deschenel in Lucky Magazine. If you need a guideline on whether this is for you, take a look and see if this seems within your realm.


 Jones New York Shaping slip. Available in black, nude. $26.

4. Undergarments are your friend.

As you know, I have a triangle shaped body, so my wardrobe strategy is draw attention away from my stomach. And, after giving birth, that strategy is in full force, for sure. So, these tops can sound counterintuitive. Understood.

When opting for a shorter top, I make sure that the pants or skirt I'm wearing have a really great fit. I also add a shaper to smooth things out. You NEVER want your shape wear to show, so make sure you aren't wearing something that is nearly as high as your skirt as it may be revealed when you lean over or lift your arms. I also wear texture, print or colors on top to draw the eye upward. And, a heel makes a huge difference, as well. Another variation that works well is to wear a jacket over the top that is a little longer than the top to seal the deal. A relaxed fit pant (like a tapered trouser) is a great solution as long as the waist hits at the belly button. Finally, if wearing an abbreviated sweater than hits at the belly button, I wear a tank top underneath and tuck it in so no skin will show even when I move. If the top is slightly shorter, I wear a shorter tank so I'm still covered but it doesn't show as easily.

And there you have it. A comprehensive master plan to get you on board with the current shorter top trend. Let me know how it goes!


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