There is something sleek, sensual and sassy about showing just a tad bit of the midriff section. When you are dressed elegantly, or femininely, or playfully, yet a mere portion of your midriff skin is exposed, the look can be classy and clean.

Fashionably fit and flashy in a crop top, as the midriff is on display and out to play when wearing a crop top.

A crop top is a piece of clothing, covering the upper body, but cut short to end above the naval, thereby exposing the midriff area. Midriff is a particular term referring to the human body between the thorax/chest and the pelvis/hips.

In some cultures, exposure of the midriff is socially discouraged or even banned, and the Western culture has historically been resistant to midriff-baring styles. Baring the midriff was introduced into Western fashion in 1932 by Madeleine Vionnet when she presented an evening gown with strategically cut openings at the waist. Fashion designer Bill Blass, when speaking of the crop top/midriff shirt once said, “It is too difficult. Women will much more readily wear bare-back or plunging neckline styles.” However, crop tops do indeed make many appearances on the catwalks/runways of high fashion!

The crop top: haute couture.

Women’s fashion in the 1960s saw a spike in crop tops and midriff baring shirts due to the sexual revolution, and in the 1970s with the popularity of halter tops and tube tops.

Midriff Fun Fact: Midriff is a term used to describe:

  1. The belly area.
  2. A synonym for the waist.
  3. A name for the area below the diaphragm (particularly including the stomach region).

During the 1980s, pop star Madonna appeared in bare midriff looks in her performances and music videos, which helped spread the crop top into mainstream fashion.

For Indian women, baring the midriff has always been considered fashionable attire. Indian women have traditionally worn saris that bare the midriff, especially South Indian women. The cholis, worn by Indian women, exposes a thin section of midriff, usually 3 to 4 inches. And, as we all know, the Eastern art of belly dancing places the female midriff on center stage!

Currently in Hollywood, the bare midriff is becoming the trend. This midriff look flaunts one of the most desired symbols of beauty and health today: a flat, toned abdomen (abs). Jane magazine fashion editor Elizabeth Kiester stated, “A woman’s stomach and waist is the most feminine part of her body. It’s sexy, but not overtly sexy like cleavage.” Many celebrities have been draped in crop top midriff outfits while walking the red carpet, on stage and in fashion photo shoots.

In addition to the sexy front side that crop tops show off, many crop tops have adorable styles on the backside as well!

During the 1940s, schools with dress codes added the bare midriff look and all crop tops to the forbidden list. The enforcement of such rules depends on the school itself, although the majority of public and private schools ban the crop top, unless a tank top or undershirt is worn underneath that covers up the midriff skin.

When abs are toned and only a wee section of midriff is showing, crop tops add a fit, flashy, fashionable demeanor to a stylish outfit!

Midriff Fun Fact: According to the PBS Frontline documentary, “The Merchants of Cool”, “midriff” is a marketing classification for an American teenage female who is characterized as prematurely adult and consumed by appearances.

Crop tops accentuate health and vitality, with a hint of peek-a-boo playfulness, when worn with skirts, pants, trousers, shorts or capri pants! When adorned with the proper accessories and shoes, crop tops can make or break an outfit.

Comfortable and classy in a crop top. Sexy yet subtle.

Crop Top Tip: A crop top can be worn with a bottom garment that fits either above or below the naval. Both ways present their own flattering flair!

Go chic. Go cool. Go crop top. Ramp up your outfit in a cool crop top!

Nancy Mangano is an American beauty/fashion/style influencer, fashion journalist, screenwriter and author of the Natalie North murder mystery book series. Visit Nancy on her global online fashion/style/beauty magazine Strutting in Style! at, her Facebook page Nancy Mangano at  Twitter @ and her author website



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