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May 26, 2016

The Crop Top for Men (and Women) -- YEA or NAY?



Readers, it has come to this.

There are very few articles of clothing that I'd file under if-you-have-to-ask-if-you-can-still-wear-one, you-probably-can't, but goodness, the crop top literally defines the category!





The crop top for men is strictly for the 15 to 25 set.  This garment seems to exist primarily to take selfies in and then (hopefully) replace with something longer.



I didn't realize that the crop top for men was largely an 80's craze (one I seem to have missed) but my research reveals that period as its heyday.  I read somewhere it was started by bodybuilders and I believe it.







Look, when it comes to menswear, I'm open to lace, sheers, and over-the-top pattern mixing, but I draw the line at the crop top.  It's not rational but there it is.

Now, on to the gals....




First, about terminology: In women's wear, it seems crop top and midriff are used interchangeably.

Parenthetically, did you know that the word midriff means both the part of a garment that covers the mid-section, as well as a garment that leaves this area exposed?  Weird, right?

I think a tailored women's top that reveals a bit of belly is fine, and on a much wider age-range and body types for women than for men.  It's culturally determined, I guess.











The difference here is that these tops are fitted and finished.  They don't look like you just took a pair of scissors to your tee shirt.  Clearly, since the middle of the last century in the West (and parts of the East), the female mid-section has often been exposed to greater or lesser degree, while the male mid-section has not (other than on a beach).  Is this fair?  Maybe not but there you have it.

Readers, a few questions:

1) Do you agree that women can get away with exposing their midriffs more than men can?  (i.e, it's more socially acceptable)

2) Do you now or did you ever wear a crop top (or midriff) yourself?  If you don't any longer, when did you know it was time to stop?

3) Should men's crop-tops simply be legislated out of existence?

The Crop Top -- YEA or NAY?

 

38 comments:

  1. In high school, our football team wore cropped tee shirts for practice, my friend Sharol called them "half-a-shirts." The term morphed to mean men's crop tops or any dress that was way too short on a girl.

    I don't like them on men, or for women unless they're outdoors.

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  2. If a young, really attractive person wants to expose some skin, who am I to quarrel? Male or female, a good body -- especially a good set of abdominals -- is always in style.

    I prefer close-fitting crop tops rather than the loose styles that flap around and call more attention to it. The one Heather Locklear is wearing is just about right, although it doesn't have to be designed as a crop top to be attractive; cropped with shears is just fine with me.

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  3. i think that since so few people have the body for it, a blanket ban is the only reasonable course of action.

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  4. Is that Bruce Jenner in that pic taken in front of La Chambre Perse??? I think this trend looks somewhat less than "manly" on men so, for those into the masculine look, I think it's got to be no. For a woman, if she's got a flat stomach and approaches this trend "tastefully" then I think it's youthful-cool till she looks like she's 30. Whether she's 25 when that happens, or 35, isn't so much the issue. I hate oversized crop-tops though - they always look like boob tents to me unless the woman in question is flat-chested.

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    Replies
    1. K-Line, that photograph tells a story. The Bruce-doppleganger (and isn't that any man with a feathered wedge and ski nose?) appears to be the focus of the plea from the women in the wrap dress for a key, so the leather man can be let out of the wrist-waist restraints he is in (no other "belt" has matching straps to the wrist - look again!).

      We'll discuss the Muir cap, arm bands, chain with lock about the neck, leather chaps snugly coating painted-on jeans, and facial hair, another day.

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    2. I'm not certain (it's been may years - if ever- since i watched the movie) but is that a still from You Can't Stop The Music with Valerie Perrine and The Village People?

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  5. Men don't need crop tops -- they can take their shirts off if they are hot. Crop tops are a way for women to be cool, yet decent, and I don't think they need to be "fit" to do so. Just because I am too shy to show my belly doesn't mean another woman should be. And just because I don't like my neighbour to take his shirt off when he's cutting his grass doesn't mean he shouldn't.

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    Replies
    1. I'm with you 100% on this. I was thinking of women wearing saris with the midriff exposing undershirt - not all of them have abs on show and it doesn't matter a jot! People should wear what they want, not what I (or anyone else) think I want them to wear.

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    2. Yes, saris -- exactly.

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  6. In the 1970's I recall older girls (I was born in 1969) yanking the bottoms of their t-shirts in the front center and pulling them under and up through the neck (or something like that) making improvised crop tops. Too young to think of it as fashion, I considered it a tickle-hazard. Today it just looks like a laundry-day shrinking mishap.

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  7. In general with fashion and trends and whatnot, if it looks good on someone, they feel good in it, and it's relatively situationally appropriate, then why not? Personal adornment is all about personal expression and flaunting one's assets, whether they be looks, wealth, physical health, or sense of humor.

    (edited for punctuation, because I can)

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  8. I have worn them, and being short-waisted, they came to my waist. I was very shocked to see a mom of 9 at a Pentecostal BBQ in a short crop top. She was about 45, and had a shockingly almost flat midriff. Cathie!

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  9. 1) I think the look is slightly more acceptable for women in public -- when not at the beach or pool, but I guess it depends.
    2) I did wear a fairly modest version in the early 80’s – not too much skin. I gave it up in my early thirties. Back then, I looked a little younger than my years, but, you know, I’m no Cathy, so enough was enough.
    3) I think the ones in Photos #4 and #5 should be banned and burned.

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  10. Men: no, unless they're at football practice.
    Women: Maybe. Possibly. It depends.

    One thing most of the female illustrations have in common is a higher waistline on the pants or shorts. It's a cool retro look. Maybe the higher rise is the key to keeping it classy?

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    Replies
    1. agree! the high waist balances the look, more tasteful

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  11. So funny, I agree there is a distinction, but in the UK you are far more likely to see men walking around with no top than a crop top, so while an exposed midriff is probably more socially accepted in women than men, a completely exposed torso is the opposite! I think I'd prefer a crop top to nothing... However I do agree with you, they should be finished and not look like you hacked off the bottom of your T shirt (or, even worse, that your belly is too big for your T shirt and hence sticks out...)

    I am not one to tell anyone they should or shouldn't wear anything. As Grumpy Without Coffee says, my only 'rules' as such are that it should make you feel great, should be vaguely situationally appropriate (e.g. what you'd wear on the beach vs what you'd wear in the bank) and it should fit properly. The last being perhaps the biggest sticking point for me, you don't have to be toned and tanned to look good in something, you just have to make sure it fits and makes you feel fabulous, then you almost always look good!

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  12. A lot of men - of any age or fitness level - wear a button down shirt un-buttoned in summer time casual settings. I get it, they want to keep cool, and there's no law against male nipple displays. We ladies have no such option, hence the crop top. I think it's good for people to see older and heavier bodies, because they're certainly not going to see them in the media, and pretending they don't exist or insisting they're covered up is just silly. GO BOLD. Wear crop tops! Wear your shirts unbuttoned!

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  13. Crop tops are okay on women, but I don't like them on men, especially the take the scissors to the t-shirt kind. That being said, to each his own. Who am I to judge? I wore them as a teenager in the seventies, with hip-hugger jeans. It was a thing then. I pretty much outgrew that phase before I left high school.

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  14. I have occasionally worn tops which exposed a bit of my mid-section in the past, but not often.
    I do agree that crop-tops socially acceptable on women than on men and that we just have nicer varieties of it. However, I wonder if that is slightly beside the point. Short moments when the crop top was really fashionable excluded, women's crop tops usually crop up (pun intended) in casual wear. They are meant to be worn on or near the beach or in sport-related circumstances. And always when the weather is warm. In how many of those moments is it socially acceptable for men to wear no top at all?
    I even have some personal experience of this: We recently had a week of very warm weather here in the Netherlands and I was going to my local bouldering gym. Considering the weather, I chose to wear my (black and completely opaque) sports bra as a top. Several male climbers who were there didn't wear tops at all. I never considered going topless and I don't think any of them thought about wearing a crop top...

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  15. Hmmph. I think crop tops should only be worn by women who have borne children, and only on Mother's Day. So the children can see the childbirth wreckage they left behind, and feel guilty!

    Just kidding. I'm sure I wore some cropped tops back in the '80s. An Esprit top that was white with giant black polka dots, cropped in front and longer in the back, that went with a black and white striped skirt, comes immediately to mind.

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  16. "Midriff"comes directly from Old English, "midhrif." It combines "mid-" meaning "middle," and "hrif" meaning "belly."

    I always presumed it was a corruption of "mid-rib." Huh.

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  17. I think on men it looks like their shirt shrunk in the watch. I don't wear crop tops, though, and never have because I've always been self-conscious about my belly. But I've always wanted to wear them...

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  18. They made a bit of a comeback for men in the 90s when all those boy bands started. The rule is really simple - if you're going to wear one, man or woman, you've got to have a super flat stomach. Super super flat! They're slightly more forgiving on women because the bust and the hips give a bit more curve anyway but, whilst I take the point that men often walk round topless, the crop top draws the eye to the abs and waist which even being topless doesn't so unless you're flawless in that department (and so few of us are!), it's a no no! In any case, they do look a bit trashy!

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    Replies
    1. I think you explained my sentiments better than I did!

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    2. "In any case, they do look a bit trashy!"

      Not necessarily a bad thing!

      Delete
  19. To answer your questions:

    1) Yes. On women or girls it's cute to wear a midriff/crop-top.

    2) Good lord, no! I've never worn nor ever wear a crop-top because I'm a "large boy" and always was bigger and would be too self conscious to wear a crop top. If I had an athletic body type or if I were skinny, then yes, I'd wear a crop top once in a while.

    3) No. I mean, if you can pull it off then why not wear whatever you want.

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  20. P.S.

    2) I'd probably wear a crop-top with a t-shirt underneath.

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  21. No on the crop tops for men. By the way that is Bruce Jenner with the Village People group. Remember the song "YMCA"? The rest of the group has been cropped out. I want to know who the guy is in the picture after Audrey Hepburn. Gosh he looks familiar.

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  22. The problem is when you accidentally wear a crop top to work as my 65 year old, assistant school principal friend did recently. Getting up in the morning and somewhat distracted by some phone calls in the morning rush she threw on a loose short blouse over her tailored trousers, added a cardi and headed to school. When I spied her marching through the playground I asked about her teenage look she was sporting. Glancing down she was horrified to discover she'd forgotten to don the skivvy which was meant to be underneath the blouse! Luckily a long line warp around jacket behind her desk did the trick and provided a coverup for the rest of the day.

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  23. I never wear a crop top because I am old enough to know that that guy is Bruce Jenner and a few of the others are members of the Village People. No way I can have a stomach flat enough. Men who have go show their abs and lower should learn to grow up!!

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  24. I agree that it's more socially acceptable for women to wear crop tops, but honestly it grosses me out that seems to be the way things go. I'm a proud supporter of crop tops on anyone who wants to wear a crop top. Go forth and show the world your bellybutton if that's what you want to do!
    (also this is just a side note but: all of the people calling Caitlyn Jenner by her old name and calling her a man, I don't know if Caitlyn herself has spoken about this but as a general rule, calling trans people by their old names is EXTREMELY disrespectful, regardless of context. So please try not to do that.)

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    Replies
    1. Yes, it would be offensive if the picture was of Caitlyn but it is not. It was taken before she became female. My transgender friend is not offended when we talk about Bob when the conversation was about Bob. When I'm talking in the present, it's always Rachel. Not offensive one bit.

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    2. I'm happy that your friend is okay with that, however not all trans people are. I was speaking from both my personal preference as a trans person and what I know a lot of my trans friends prefer. I understand that that's not everyone's preference as well, but as I know more people who are upset by hearing their old names than their new ones, so I tend to lean that way. (Also I am in no way trying to attack you or anyone else, it was just meant to be a correction, nothing more)

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    3. I'm glad you were trying to teach others and not attack them. :) My friend is older and very open and accepting of all. It is a fact that for 60 years she was male. She celebrates both Mother's Day and Father's Day with her children. If society were more accepting of one another, perhaps fewer trans people would not be offended when their old name/persona came up in a conversation. It's a fact that they were born a different sex. That's not an insult or flaw. It is something that just was.

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  25. We need to start treating both genders the same. Crop tops should be for everyone with a nice midriff.

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  26. I think crop tops are for everyone who wants to wear crop tops. Seriously - we would all be emotionally healthier if we were used to seeing a range of bodies. So someone's body isn't perfect and youthful, so what? Are we so delicate that we're going to faint if someone is pudgy or lacks abs? That must make things awkward for most of us for most of our lives - I haven't had the body of a 22-year-old since I was one.

    Some of us might look better in crop tops than others, granted, but aren't we used to that? Some people look better than I do in gym clothes, in shorts, in almost everything - I look better than some people in those things too, of course, but it's not like I'm a model.

    I used to say that I wasn't going to wear shorts because I had pudgy knees....and then it was the blazing, nightmare and completely un-airconditioned summer of 2012, and I decided that I no longer cared that I didn't look as good as some people.

    You want to wear a crop top? Wear a crop top.

    My feeling is that blockier ones look better a little longer - the half-ringer-tee seems strange because there's so much going on with the ringer collar and sleeves and then so...little...below the pecs. I think it would work better with a little more length.

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  27. I just watched The Lady Eve again and was so happy to see Barbara Stanwyck in an Edith Head designed, midriff-bearing evening ensemble in the first dining room scene. She looks splendid. I agree that it is not a good look on men. Maybe because we wonder, only half consciously, why wear a top at all? But I concur with many here that one should wear what you will, and let the shamers and critics be damned.

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