People in my life find my style to be peculiar for a number of reasons, ranging from my affinity for unconventional shades of lipstick to my preference for more traditionally masculine silhouettes. Perhaps one of the most attention-grabbing styling habit of mine is my exclusive preference for crop tops, as you wouldn't find me caught dead in any other style on a given day.
Previously, I would have done anything to cover up my belly, a trait of mine I used to be ashamed of thanks to years of negative comments from family members and classmates. Throughout my teens I rocked baggy shirts and empire waistlines in an attempt to conceal my "imperfect" figure. I'm not sure when this shift in thinking occurred, but the evolution of style certainly had something to do with the crop top mania of 2013. Ever since I bought that first cropped shirt from Garage with my younger sister (who is also obsessed with the trend) I haven't stopped adding more to my collection. They quickly grew to outnumber any other kinds of tops in my wardrobe.
Wearing exclusively crop tops is a very specific experience with many pros and cons. After years of styling almost every single outfit I've worn around a cropped shirt, I consider it a lifestyle. Here are some things that every person who rocks crop tops on the daily understands.
1. You Can Count The Amount Of Full Length Tops You Own On One Hand
Besides the few button downs I own, I only have two full-length tops in my possession. And honestly, I'm not trying to change that anytime soon. I'm proud of my growing cropped collection.
2. Each Crop Top Is Unique To You
I've got cropped tanks, sleeveless turtlenecks, short sleeved tops with ribbed sides, and zipper-backed crops in a vast array of colors and patterns. I even have one sheer white crop top that is the perfect balance of business material and party sensibility (I like to rock the sheer garment without a bra, naturally).
3. High-Waisted Pants Are Probably Your Best Friend
Personally, I don't like showing my full tummy with my crop tops, so as a result, pretty much every pair of pants, short or skirt I own is high-waisted.
4. Your Options Can Be A Bit Limited
My long-term commitment to this type of top affects the way I shop for the rest of my clothes. It may seem silly to some, but it makes perfect sense to me. I base my pants selection off of my preferences to cropped shirts.
5. Crop Tops Are Your Go-To Regardless Of Weather
I wear crop tops year round, regardless of the weather. Though the garment is typically worn in warmer months, I've grown so accustomed to the silhouette that I manage to make it fit for outfits during every season.
6. Your Belly Is Often Cold
As a result of the previous point, my belly is often the first part of my body to get cold when the temperature drops.
7. You Have To Get Creative With Layering
Cardigans, sweaters, denim jackets, and pants with a high enough waistline to conceal the majority of your tummy are just a few ways we can still get our crop on while staying warm on the cooler days.
8. Summer Is Your Favorite Season
Even with all of these layering options, your true passion is rocking a crop top unhindered by extra cloth. Summer is the perfect time to show off all your cropped styles exactly the way they were meant to be worn.
9. Everyone Has Something To Say About Your Perma-Cropped Look
I've been told I look too informal, that I'm not wearing enough clothing, and that I should change up my silhouette every once in awhile. But as long as I have my layering pieces and cropped shirts for every mood and occasion, I'm perfectly satisfied with sticking to my tendencies.
10. Wearing Full-Length Shirts Starts To Feel Weird
After having your belly exposed day in and day out, it feels super weird to wear a full-length shirt. I can't feel truly free and like myself if my belly isn't out for all to see.
11. Self Confidence Is An Important Part Of Getting Dressed Every Day
Having the confidence to rock out with your belly out every day can be tricky, especially if you've had trouble loving your tummy in the past. But at the same time, they help you maintain a sense of body positivity that can otherwise could be more difficult if you were to give into urges to hide parts of your body you deem "flawed."
I feel the most comfortable when rocking half shirts to complement my high waisted silhouettes and cute belly. And no matter what skeptics may say, I would never trade in my beloved crop tops for full-length tees and tanks.
Images: Meg Zulch