Updated June 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Buying guide for best crop tops for women

Crop tops have a reputation for being somewhat risqué because they expose more skin than the average shirt, so many people feel like they are off-limits. But while they are certainly a bold fashion choice, the truth is crop tops can flatter any body type.

Not all of these tops are created equal, however. Some styles expose nearly the entire midsection, while others hit just above the waist and provide more coverage. The trick to wearing one with confidence is pairing the right pieces with it, such as high-waisted bottoms or a cardigan to layer over it.

If you’re looking for a flattering crop top, it starts with choosing the length and fit that suit your body and you feel comfortable wearing. Fabric, color, pattern, and other features factor into your decision too. A good buying guide and product recommendations can help you choose the best crop top for your wardrobe.

crop top for women
Many people wear crop tops for working out or athletic practice because the style allows for a greater range of motion.

How to buy the best crop top for women

What is a crop top?

If you’re trying to decide if you want a crop top, it helps to understand exactly what it is. Simply put, it’s a shirt whose hem hits somewhere above the navel or waist to expose part of the midsection. You can find crop tops with short, elbow-length, three-quarter, or long sleeves, and other styles have a tank cut or spaghetti straps.

Because they expose more skin than the average shirt, these tops are ideal for warmer weather. However, you can wear them year-round if you layer one under a cardigan, blazer, or other jackets. You can also pair a crop top with high-waisted pants so not quite as much skin is exposed.

Length

While all crop tops hit above the waist or navel, there’s some variation in length among styles. The most common lengths include the following:

High-cut: These crop tops hit just below the breasts or at the bottom of the rib cage, exposing the entire midsection. These are the most daring styles and work especially well in summer. They tend to have a more casual look and might not be appropriate for all settings and occasions.

Mid-length: These crop tops typically hit a few inches above your natural waist or navel, exposing at least some of your midsection. These are ideal if you’re more comfortable wearing longer crop tops and want to reveal a little less skin.

Long: These crop tops hit at the natural waist or navel and are an excellent introductory option if you’re not used to wearing this shirt style. The tops usually cover most of the midsection, so you won’t feel as exposed. This length is also the most flattering for all body types because it accentuates the narrowest part of your midsection.

Fit

In addition to the length, it’s essential to consider a crop top’s fit. Most are either relaxed or fitted.

Relaxed: These have a loose fit that skims the body rather than clings to it. They often have a flowy look, so they work well for casual outfits. If you’re new to wearing crop tops, relaxed styles might also make you feel more comfortable.

Fitted: These hug the body, so they don’t have much extra fabric. They’re an excellent choice for those who feel confident in crop tops because they showcase your figure. Their sleek, snug fit often has a more polished look too.

Good posture is essential when wearing a crop top. If you slouch or slump, it can create unflattering bumps and folds in the shirt.

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Features of crop tops for women

Style

Like any shirt, crop tops are available in various styles that work with a range of outfits. Some of the most common styles include the following:

Short-sleeve: These are casual tops that pair well with most bottoms. They’re ideal for warmer weather and as layering pieces. Short-sleeve crop tops can also make effective workout gear.

Long-sleeve: These tops are ideal for cooler weather or occasions when you want to be more covered. They often have a dressier look too.

Tank, spaghetti strap, and halter: These crop tops expose your arms in addition to your midsection, so they show the most skin. They’re ideal for summer or layering under other tops.

Off-the-shoulder: These tops expose the shoulders but cover the upper arms. Some have long sleeves for more coverage.

Tie: These crop tops have a snug fit and are made in two halves that tie together at the center of the chest.

Fabric

Crop tops are available in the same materials as other shirts. Choosing the best fabric depends on the weather and the look you want.

Cotton is the most common fabric for these tops. It’s a natural, breathable material. But it doesn’t wick moisture away from the body, and it can also wrinkle easily.

Polyester is another popular material for these tops. It’s a synthetic moisture-wicking material that doesn’t wrinkle easily and won’t shrink in the dryer. However, polyester isn’t as breathable as cotton.

Cotton blends are made of cotton and a synthetic material like spandex to give the shirt some stretch. Cotton blends work well for fitted crop tops. You can also find some cotton and polyester blend tops, which combine the best of each fabric.

Synthetic blends typically contain a combination of polyester and other synthetic material like spandex. Like cotton blends, they work well for fitted tops.

Specialty fabrics, such as denim or leather, are used for statement crop tops and are ideal for occasions when you want a bold look.

Color and pattern

Crop tops are available in every color of the rainbow and in a wide array of patterns, including florals and animal prints.

Solid crop tops are the most versatile because you can pair them with solid or patterned bottoms and layering pieces.

Patterned crop tops work best with solid bottoms and layering pieces, and they can make a bold statement. If you prefer a more eclectic look, you can mix a patterned top with bottoms in another pattern.

Care

As with any clothing, it helps to choose crop tops that are easy to care for. Most styles are machine washable so that you can throw them in the wash with your regular laundry.

However, some tops made of delicate fabrics like silk or velvet must be washed by hand or dry cleaned. Since these tops require more effort to clean, they’re best saved for special occasions.

crop top for women
DID YOU KNOW?
Crop tops first became popular in the 1940s during World War II when fabric was rationed.
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How to accessorize crop tops for women

High-rise jeans

Because crop tops are short, they look best with high-rise bottoms, including high-rise jeans. These jeans can help flatten the look of your stomach, making them an excellent option if you feel a bit self-conscious in your crop top.

High-rise shorts

High-rise jean shorts pair well with a crop top in warmer weather. They’re available in short styles with inseams of about 3 inches, as well as longer styles with inseams of 6 inches, and Bermuda shorts that extend to the knees.

How much do crop tops for women cost?

Inexpensive

The most affordable crop tops are casual styles that work well for everyday or gym wear. They’re usually made of cotton or polyester. These tops generally cost $10 to $24.

Mid-range

Mid-range crop tops include both casual and dressy styles for evenings out. They’re typically made of cotton or synthetic blends, but you can find some options made of specialty fabrics in this price range. These tops generally cost $25 to $110.

Expensive

The most expensive crop tops are dressy styles and those made by designer brands. They’re typically made of cotton blends, synthetic blends, or specialty fabrics like denim or leather. These tops generally cost $110 to $200.

Cropped sweatshirts are often easier to wear than other crop tops. They can be an excellent option if you’re new to the style.

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Tips

  • Try tops of different lengths. If you’ve never worn a crop top before, you might need to try on different lengths to find the hem you feel most comfortable in.
  • Keep the rest of your outfit understated. Since your top leaves your midsection exposed, you might not want to reveal too much skin in other areas. High-waisted skirts, shorts, and pants work well with this type of top. A maxi skirt is also an excellent option.
  • Pair your top with a cardigan or jacket for extra coverage. If you feel uncomfortable in a cropped top, add a layer to cover some of your exposed midsection so you feel more confident.
  • Moisturize your skin. Since more skin is exposed in this type of top, you want to make sure it always looks smooth and hydrated.
crop top for women
You can make a crop top at home by leaving the bottom of a button-down shirt unbuttoned and tying it above your waist.

FAQ

Q. What body types are crop tops right for?

A. You don’t have to have a particular body type to wear a crop top. Whether you’re tall or short, slim or curvy, you can find a style that flatters your figure. Experiment with tops of different lengths to see what hem length and fit feel most comfortable and flattering.

And you don’t have to spend money to try different lengths. Put on a longer shirt you have at home and tie it off at different areas of your midsection to see which you like best. You can then find a top with a similar length when shopping.

Q. Do I have to be a certain age to wear a crop top?

A. Many people assume crop tops are only for the young. However, you can wear a crop top at any age as long as you feel comfortable and confident. Many older people prefer longer styles that hit at the waist, but you can wear any length you find flattering.

Q. Are crop tops for women appropriate for all occasions?

A. It depends on the top. High-cut tops that end just beneath the breasts expose a lot of skin, so they might not be suitable for formal occasions or work settings. However, crop tops that hit at the waist might not expose much skin, so you can wear them in many settings. You can also layer a cardigan or jacket over a shorter crop top or pair it with high-waisted pants to look more appropriate.

 

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