Let’s make one thing clear right off the bat: There no age limit to owning a crop top. (opens in new tab) You should wear what you love as long as it makes you feel comfortable. And crop tops? They're chic. (opens in new tab) Whether it be a soft tee or spaghetti-strapped bralette, cropped pieces are perfect for easy summer dressing (opens in new tab). That said, you'll likely be styling a short shirt in your 20s and 30s a little differently from how your teenage Brandy Melville-loving self would have. So we've ID'd some celeb and street-style-star inspiration for a how-to in elevating the crop top for date night or drinks with friends. Ahead, 19 grown-up ways to bare your midriff in style.
A Little Black T
A black crop top can be styled so many different ways, but the classic monochrome look never fails. Instead of defaulting to jeans, dress your top up with leather trousers and a sexy pump. Top it off with some oversized sunnies to tie your look together.
Shop a similar top: Splendid top (opens in new tab), $48
All About Color
A graphic print crop top is a cool way to show off your artistic side. The look is all about expressing your creativity, so don't be afraid to go outside your neutral palette comfort zone.
Shop a similar top: Danielle Guizio top (opens in new tab), $180
The key to the perfect model off-duty look is adding a statement piece to an otherwise simple outfit. Keep your base easy—high-waisted black jeans and an off-white crop tank—and throw on a Matrix-inspired leather coat.
Shop a similar top: Naked Wardrobe top (opens in new tab), $30
A Night Out
Crop tops aren't just for festivals. For your next night out on the town, try a feathered crop top that shows just a hint of skin. The feathers elevate your look, making it nighttime appropriate.
Shop a similar top: 16 Arlington top (opens in new tab), $430
Add Some Structure
Offset your favorite pair of relaxed fit boyfriend jeans with a structured crop top. A piece like this can easily transition from day to night. Just swap out your jeans and boots for leather pants and sandals.
Shop a similar top: A.L.C. top, (opens in new tab) $295
Lady In Lace
For a crop top that can take you from the beach to dinner, choose one with lace or billowy sleeves. The thin material will let the gentle ocean breeze hit your skin, but keep you covered for cocktail parties at night.
Shop a similar top: Charo Ruz (opens in new tab), $270
Out From Under
Give your suit a sexy touch with a lace bralette. You can wear your jacket closed with a bit of lace peeking out for a more conservative look. Alternatively, leave the jacket open and let the lacy little number take center stage.
Shop a similar top: Zara top (opens in new tab), $18
Save your conservative blouses for Monday through Friday. The alt version—a cropped button-down—is the shirt you need for when you're not in meetings with the boss. Pair with a midi skirt and chunky platforms and you're ready for a chic day ahead.
Shop a similar top: Urban Outfitters top (opens in new tab), $39
Embrace the Brights
Don't be afraid to draw attention to yourself in a bright crop top. Go full red hot and pair your top with a matching bold skirt. The effect is striking.
Shop a similar top: Superdown top (opens in new tab), $30
Elevate Your Denim
Jeans serve as the ideal base for a statement crop top, like this off-the-shoulder number. The top will elevate your classic pair of blue jeans. For accessories, skip a necklace and add a pair of statement earrings.
Shop a similar top: Rotate top (opens in new tab), $209
Tie It Up
If you want to test the crop top waters without having to go out and buy one, here's a little hack. A classic white t-shirt is a wardrobe staple that most of us already own. Grab your t-shirt and tie a knot in the front, and pair your top with a pair of high-waisted statement pants.
Shop a similar top: Everlane top (opens in new tab), $28
This flirty ruffle top paired with relaxed shorts is great for warm summer days ahead.
Shop a similar top: Suboo top (opens in new tab), $114
Athleisure, the trend we all know and love, is not going anywhere. Give your smart blazer a sporty touch with a Nike bra. The sports bra dresses down the look and gives it a cool edge.
Shop a similar top: Nike sports bra, (opens in new tab) $27
An easy way to wear a crop top without feeling risqué is to wear a long-sleeve blouse underneath.
Shop a similar top: Altuzarra top (opens in new tab), $297
Denim on denim is a classic combination that gets an instant dose of edginess when paired with a crop top. The Canadian tuxedo is a favorite off-duty look among It girls, so don't be afraid to channel your inner model the next time you leave the house.
Shop a similar top: Zella top (opens in new tab), $24
Take note from Nicole Huisman when it comes to mixing prints. She mixes prints that share the same color scheme so the overall look isn't too overwhelming.
Shop a similar top: Amur top (opens in new tab), $248
A square neck cropped top is a summertime staple. If the version you find is too cropped, balance it out with a high-waisted skirt of the same color. It almost becomes a dress! This street style star nailed the cream tonal look.
Shop a similar top: Prabal Gurung top (opens in new tab), $382
High-waisted pants are made for showcasing your crop top collection. Since this trouser cut offers generous coverage of your lower half, you can feel at ease showing a little more skin up top. My recommendation: Give the bralette style a try, then top with a long coat.
Shop a similar top: Free People top (opens in new tab), $38
Break up a coordinated set by layering a sporty crop top underneath. This style hack can turn any smart work outfit into a going-out look in under a minute. Take a cue from YouTuber Chriselle Lim and top off (bottom off?) the ensemble with a pair of heeled booties.
Shop a similar top: Paco Rabanne top (opens in new tab), $190
Shelby Comroe is the Credits Editor and Fashion Assistant at Marie Claire covering all things fashion and giving credit where credit is due. Check her out @shelbycomroe on Instagram if buying designer handbags is your idea of a retirement plan!
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