Elizabeth Landers | Campus Chic Report
The short of it
Published: Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 02:04
During fashion week in September, one of the last shows I saw during the Spring 2012 collections in New York was Preen by Thornton Bregazzi. The collection brimmed with pixilated prints of color overlaid with lace prints. It was like Virginia Woolf met computer graphics for the first time. The shapes of the clothes were high-waisted, with formal-looking, flat-front pants and pencil skirts. Amazingly, they were paired with crop tops. They were printed and plain, three-quarter length sleeve and fancy. They were, in short, perfect.
Then the trend blossomed. The usual sexy suspects like Dolce & Gabbana and Versace showed printed bustier and studded white versions. The man who knows what women want to wear, Alexander Wang, fashioned leather, long-sleeved versions. Short, belly-baring sweaters even made it into Oscar de la Renta’s evening wear, paired with voluminous, silk ball gown skirts.
This is one of those rare, organic times in fashion when street style influenced high fashion. How long have high school and college girls been running around in flowy LF tanks with half the shirt lopped off at the bottom? How many Coachella festivalgoers wore vintage, artfully cropped tees with faded jean shorts? The look is youthful, casual and, most of the time, sexy.
As much as I loved seeing the trend on the runway, I had to wonder how appropriate crop tops really are, especially in the sort of dressy ways flaunted by the models. As daring as I like to think I am with my clothes — remember those palm-print leggings? — I cannot fathom a formal setting in which a ball gown and crop top are permissible. Just, no. Even the Versace studded shirt, which has barely enough fabric to be considered a bra, would probably be a stretch for the yacht docked off Capri. So where do we wear these new-fangled clothes?
Well, more casual places like Tufts, not the ballroom or the boardroom. Crop tops are a staple around Tufts and can be spotted at the gym, the nearest pub and in class. With the weather so balmy last week, I saw a number of girls sporting these tops around school. As a member of the Tufts track and field team, I have jokingly (but seriously) petitioned that Thursdays be “Crop Top Thursdays.” Crop tops aren’t limited to the ladies: Certain ’80s-themed parties around campus have produced a few guys in cropped neon tanks. I’ll let you be the judge of that trend…
Unfortunately, crop tops bring about the debate of not only appropriateness but also flattering qualities. I had a debate with a friend a few days ago about who should wear crop tops. She said that around 50 percent of the girls our age try out the cropped look and thoughtfully added that only 10 percent of these people should actually be wearing them. I don’t know if I entirely agree with those statistics, but I do think that crop tops are not universally flattering. If you’re not comfortable with this style, I always think that something unexpected in the back of a shirt, such as a deep V or cut out, adds instant pizzazz and a subtler hint of sexiness.
With that said, though, no matter your body type or your ab circuit in the gym, there is a certain amount of confidence and swag that one needs to pull this look off. If the weather holds up for Spring Fling, I imagine there will be a lot of crop tops around. Just keep it classy (read: no micro jean shorts and wedge sandals) and you can think to yourself, “I was wearing this trend before Mr. Gabbana put it on his runway.” Cheers!
Elizabeth Landers is a junior majoring in political science. She can be reached at Elizabeth.Landers@tufts.edu.