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A Walk Down The History Lane - Origin of the Crop Top


Crops tops have been all the rage in the past few years. Becoming immensely popular in the mid-90s owing to the contribution of the likes of Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears, funky crop tops have made a huge comeback in the recent years after suffering a decade of anonymity in the middle. However, you would be mistaken if you thought that crop tops were an invention of the 90s. Contrary to that, crop tops have been a staple in the summer wardrobe for women since the 1940s.


A risqué piece of clothing for the time, the cool women crop Tops of the 40s bared only a sliver of the midriff skin and were often paired with frilled skirts or high-waist shorts as beachwear. In fact, the footprints of crop tops can be traced back to thousands of years in India where women regularly donned a piece of garment popularly known as “choli” which was thought to be the inspiration for its Anglicized counterpart, the crop tops.

However, the credit of introducing the style to the Western countries goes to a troupe of Egyptian belly dancers in 1893 who performed at the World’s Fair in Chicago in their distinct costume known as a “bedlah”. Inspired by this distinct clothing style, Western fashion designers put their own twist on the idea and envisaged the famous crop tops.

Crop tops gained a new popularity with the Hippie movements of the 1970s which emphasized embracing one's body and its natural beauty. Made famous by pop icons like Cher, the crop tops of the 1970s got a bit of makeover from its earlier counterparts. The hemlines of the tops were raised higher and they were paired with low-rise bell bottoms or flared wide-legged pants.

Crop tops were the staple attire of the Queen of Pop, Madonna. The outfit adopted a more athletic look as opposed to a dressier vibe of the previous decades. She even sported the look in her Billboard hit, “Lucky Star”. Hollywood movies too were not far behind the trend, with the style making an appearance in iconic chart-toppers like Flashdance and Dirty Dancing.

Although crop tops have been around forever, making numerous appearances here and there, it was ultimately the 90s which is synonymous with the midriff-baring crop tops. Paired with the dreadlocks in hair and a rebellious attitude, the look gave an overall punk vibe that crop tops were originally known for. Featuring in countless music videos of Spice Girls pop icon Britney Spears and many more, crop tops were a staple outfit of the 1990s. Baring the toned abs and a rich tan, the rebellious look was quintessentially 90s.

Additionally, a form of crop tops made another unusual appearance in the Disney movie, Aladdin. Princess Jasmine was seen wearing a traditional bedlah that was the originator of the Western crop tops. In fact, Aerial from Little Mermaid was also seen rocking a pseudo crop top under the waters of Atlantica.

The style became largely dormant in the decades following the 90s with women preferring a more fitted but covered look. However, as the famous quote says ”what goes around comes around”, the style made a huge comeback since 2011 when famous designers like Prada, Dolce and many more incorporated the style in their runway shows. Gone are the days when crop tops revealed more than they concealed. These days the outfits come in all shapes and sizes and it depends on the wearer how much skin she chooses to show. From a sliver of the midriff to positively adventurous, the ensemble has a wide range to offer. Famous celebrities like Gigi Hadid, Jennifer Lawrence, Kendell Jenner and many more have adopted the style enthusiastically and made it their own.

Crop tops have undergone massive transformation over the years and only time will tell what waits for them in the future.
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