The crop top has managed to maintain its status in fashion throughout the decades, and now it’s impossible to imagine a summer season without it. It’s been dominating the window displays and online stores since 2014, and we’ve been given further evidence that they’ll be just as present this next season. Let’s take a look through history to observe the evolution of this trend.


The 40s and 50s

Crop tops entered the fashion scene in the late 40s. In 1947, women’s fashion was revolutionised by Dior’s new look with rounded shoulders and nipped-in waists. The A-line silhouette was celebrated throughout the 50s, and this is why crop tops of that time were designed to emphasise a woman’s hourglass shape. Sweet and pretty, they were usually patterned and complimented by matching high-waisted shorts, skirts and trousers. This version of a crop top is less controversial and more feminine.


Image: Christian Dior’s 1947 New Look


The 80s

Thirty years on from the big crop bang, the next crop top revival appeared. We know the ‘80s as the decade of peak physical health, so with fitness being the main cultural trend, there’s no wonder that a crop top made a comeback. Women celebrated the sporty, modern silhouette by wearing it for gym and aerobics classes.

It was in 1984 that the crop top look boomed thanks to Madonna. She contributed to this trend by wearing a crop top crafted in an airtex fabric in her Lucky Star music video.

Fashion, as is always the case, was very clearly inspired by the film industry. Thanks to Dirty Dancing, a white shirt with a tied knot to the front became a major style icon.


Image: Madonna, ‘Lucky Star’


The 90s and the early 00s

When it comes to the 90s, our mistakes in the past steer us clear from the super low-rise jeans and crop tops to the more grungy-cool vibes of this decade. The late 90s were, however, a combination of both. Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera certainly capitalised on this look for its seductive quality, but these days we regard it as tacky rather than sensual, to say the least. Unluckily for both pop stars, their biggest fashion faux-pas seeped into the new millennium. Britney’s tied in the front blouse in Hit Me Baby One More Time does look cute though.


Image: Britney Spears, ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’


The Now

Crop tops are trending big time right now, and their primary purpose is to accentuate the waist. A brief fashion history lesson proves that a crop top is best donned with a pair of high-rise jeans or shorts. Less is more, ladies. Less is more.