Cookie banner

This site uses cookies. Select "Block all non-essential cookies" to only allow cookies necessary to display content and enable core site features. Select "Accept all cookies" to also personalize your experience on the site with ads and partner content tailored to your interests, and to allow us to measure the effectiveness of our service.

To learn more, review our Cookie Policy, Privacy Notice and Terms of Use.

clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Midriff Madness: A No-Nonsense Crop Top Primer

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

Love, Frank has returned as a weekly style advice column tackling your hard-hitting fashion issues and addressing a different fashion glitch each week. Submit a query here.

#DoingItRight via Pinterest.

Hi Frank,

I feel kind of silly asking about this, but is it ever okay to wear a crop top to work? Like, say, if you work in the fashion industry, and the crop top allows for barely a slice of stomach to peek out? Is that okay? Or is this just a no-go?

Midriff Madness

Dear Madness,

A week or two ago—on one of those days we New Yorkers were teased with a bit of spring sunshine and warmth (before the temperature plummeted again the very next day)—I was walking along Broadway and a slice of midriff caught my eye.

It was done right: The jeans were high-waist and the tee was very-'90s Calvin Klein—cropped, fitted, not too flimsy, a bit of stretch. The shoes were battered Dr. Marten's and the motorcycle jacket was black leather, probably Schott. I was surprised—someone is pulling off a look I generally find a bit too throw-back; a little too junior.

And then, well, then I looked up and realized it was a dude. A very petite dude rather than a very androgynous non-dude. He was doing it, and doing it so well that I present this as a lesson to all you ladies out there.

All that said, I'm assuming you're female. I'm also assuming that "like, say, if" actually means you do indeed work in the fashion industry (or something similarly liberal, those sorts of hip, young, downtown advertising agencies, publicity firms, marketing and branding companies, publishers, tech firms, or, of course, the music industry). And in those cases, I think it can be done. It just has to be done right.

Let's keep tasteful in mind, shall we?

Let's keep that sliver of midriff to an actual sliver. With a higher-waist pant or skirt that actually fits (you can't have the pants sliding down or cutting you off and creating, uh, folds); and a nice, fresh-looking tee. You can save the cleavage for tomorrow since, duh, you're wearing a crop top. I'd recommend a crewneck, mockneck, or boatneck tee; and not, like, an undershirt. It should be a shirt with some weight, designed to be an outer layer. And if it's white it should be on the newer end—an older white shirt always manages to look shabby, yellowed, and cheap after sometimes only a few washes and wears. Over all that, a well-tailored blazer for the office; a jean jacket or moto for evening.

It needs to be said: Not everyone should assume they can pull off this look. This is a look that is earned. And if the fit of the top and bottom isn't perfect, you're going to look like a slob in too-tight getup and not this totally fly chick who totally gets it.

Stay warm.

Got a style question for Frank? Leave it in the comments or email one in here. Then buckle your two-toned leather Moschino belts, folks, because it's going to be ? Something.
· All Love, Frank posts [Racked]