When the
crop top trend emerged in 2013, my mind immediately flashed to Britney Spears’
iconic tummy baring button up in her …Baby
One More Time
music video. I realized 2013 was not the emergence of crop
tops, but the resurgence. As it turns out, these barely there articles of
clothing have been an integral part of fashion since the 1940’s in America, and
even earlier in the Eastern part of the world.

articles of clothing which resemble crop tops can be traced back centuries from
several Asian cultures, including the sari in India and the outfit associated
with Middle Eastern belly dancers, it took longer for the trend to appear in the
West partly because of the colder climate and partly because of Western
fashion’s conservative style. The trend in America was most directly linked to
its emergence in the 1940’s when fabric shortages due to rationing from World
War II forced a redesign of the American wardrobe.

1940’s crop top remained on the conservative side, as it was often collared and
short sleeved and typically paired with a high-rise skirt. This dressier styled
top continued throughout the 1950’s with style icons such as Audrey Hepburn
sporting the new look.

The 1960’s witnessed the top transform into a peasant
blouse style that became popular in hippie culture. But by the late 1970’s
through the 1990’s, hemlines rose and waistlines dropped as the top became a
more glamorous sex symbol, advertised by pop culture icons such as Madonna and
Britney Spears.

tops lost popularity during the early 2000’s, but the decade long break ended
in 2011 and 2012 when designers including Salvatore Ferragamo, Phillip Lim,
Dolce and Gabbana and Prada featured a sophisticated twist on cropped tops on
their runways. The runways showed a range of styles, including a resurgence of
the original 1950’s tailored style top and the return of the cropped sweater
originally introduced in the 1980’s. 

The public eagerly adopted this trend again, and by 2013, crop tops were everywhere. Today, they continue to be prevalent in
everyday attire, and currently are being paired with high waisted bottoms. Given
their constant existence in American trends, it appears the crop top is in it
for the long run.