A model in a crop top
A model in a crop top

A crop top (also half shirt, midriff top or cutoff shirt) is a top that exposes the waist, navel, or abdomen.[1]



The early history of the crop top intersects with cultural views towards the midriff, starting with the performance of "Little Egypt" at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair.[2] Although the crop top first gained prominence in the fashion industry during the 1930s[3] and 1940s[2][4][5][6]—the latter in particular due to fabric rationing in World War II[7]—it was largely confined to swimwear at the time. It was not until the sexual revolution of the late 1960s and early 1970s that it achieved widespread acceptance,[3][2] worn by celebrities such as Barbara Eden (star of NBC's I Dream of Jeannie)[8] and Jane Birkin.[9][10] A variant style, the tied-up top or knotted shirt,[2] also appeared in 1940s fashion[11] and spread in popularity during the 1960s.

In the 1980s, cut-off crop tops became more common as part of the aerobics craze and as a result of the popularity of the movie Flashdance. Singer Madonna wore a mesh crop top in her music video for the song "Lucky Star".[12] In the 2010s, the crop top experienced a revival due to the popularity of 1990s fashion and they still remain popular in the 2020s.[13][14][15]


Crop tops have been worn by men[16] since the 1970s.[17] The early Rocky films have Sylvester Stallone and Carl Weathers wearing crop tops while working out.[citation needed]

The protective gear of American football with no shirt resembles a crop top. Eventually cropped jerseys became available which carried over to several 1980s broadcasts. Men also started to wear crop tops regardless of sport. Acceptance for men wearing no shirt could be seen to eliminate the need for a crop top. Various crop tops have been worn by rappers as well as American football athletes. However, in 2015 the NCAA[18][19] has increased restrictions on men wearing crop tops,[20][21][22][23] which also includes rolling up longer jerseys, giving no reason for the change.[24][25][26][27]

Since the mid-2010s, the male crop top has seen a major resurgence in popularity,[28] including prominent celebrity figures such as football player Ezekiel Elliott,[29] rapper Kid Cudi,[30] rock star Josh Kiszka, and actors Matthew McConaughey and Zac Efron.[31]

See also


  1. ^ crop top. MSN Encarta. Archived from the original on 2 November 2009. Retrieved 2 January 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d "Fashion Archives: A Look at the History of the Crop Top". Startup Fashion. 7 November 2015.
  3. ^ a b Claudia Mitchell; Jacqueline Reid-Walsh, eds. (2007). Girl Culture: An Encyclopedia. Greenwood Press. p. 434. ISBN 9780313084447.
  4. ^ "Woman on right wears black crop top and shorts while holding a striped skirt. Wedges shoes. May 1946 P017636". Getty Images.
  5. ^ "Crop Tops Through the Ages". LE3NO. 25 June 2014.
  6. ^ "We highlight the key moments for 1940s fashion". Marie Claire. 29 March 2017.
  7. ^ Jennifer Mok (23 October 2013). "History of the Crop Top". Her Campus.
  8. ^ "Great Moments in Crop Top History: I Dream of Jeanie". Popsugar. 15 April 2014.
  9. ^ "French singer, actor and director Serge Gainsbourg (1928 - 1991) photographs English actress Jane Birkin at the Cannes Film Festival, 19th May 1969". Getty Images. 19 May 1969.
  10. ^ "White shirt campaign". Cash & Rocket. 7 April 2016. Archived from the original on 7 October 2017. Retrieved 7 October 2017.
  11. ^ "1940s Blouses, Shirts and Tops Fashion History". Vintage Dancer. 20 February 2014.
  12. ^ Emily Shire (15 June 2015). "Do You Dare to Bare in a Crop Top?". The Daily Beast.
  13. ^ Zephyr. "Would You Wear… a Crop Top?". College Fashion. Archived from the original on 30 May 2012. Retrieved 15 March 2012.
  14. ^ "Crop tops are back in style". Lovelyish. Archived from the original on 15 July 2012. Retrieved 15 March 2012.
  15. ^ Candice Shih (7 January 2010). "Crop tops are back?". The Orange County Register. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  16. ^ "Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliott wants to trademark 'hero in a half-shirt'". Washington Post. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  17. ^ "Crop Tops In Football: An Investigation". VICE Sports. Archived from the original on 11 December 2015. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  18. ^ Emily Van Buskirk (19 August 2015). "The NCAA Bans Belly Buttons, Prompting Players To Cry Foul". The Sports Fan Journal.
  19. ^ Andrew Greif (9 March 2015). "So long, college football 'crop-tops': NCAA bans jerseys with too little and facemasks with too much in 2015 rules changes". sportsmanias.com. The Oregonian.
  20. ^ "Crop-Top Jerseys Banned". College Spots Business News. 11 March 2015. Archived from the original on 4 February 2016. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  21. ^ Jasmine Watkins (8 March 2015). "NCAA bans football players from wearing rolled-up jerseys". SportingNews. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  22. ^ Avery Stone (2 April 2015). "Ezekiel Elliott says NCAA rule banning crop tops is 'silly'". USA Today.
  23. ^ "NCAA bans players from showing abs in games". SI.com. SI Wire. 9 March 2015.
  24. ^ Greg Johnson (6 March 2015). "Proposed ineligible downfield rule tabled by PROP". NCAA.
  25. ^ Austin Ward (2 April 2015). "Ezekiel Elliott scoffs at jersey rule". ESPN.
  26. ^ Graham Watson (9 March 2015). "NCAA rule bans players from wearing cropped jerseys in games". Yahoo Sports.
  27. ^ Glen Erby (8 March 2015). "NCAA Bans Ezekiel Elliott Style Tucked Under Jerseys". Black Sports Online.
  28. ^ "Crop Top Comeback". BBC. 28 August 2018. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  29. ^ "Ezekiel Elliot Crop Top - Not Just For the Field". footballcroptop.com. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  30. ^ "Kid Cudi Mens Crop Top Trending". www.independent.co.uk. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  31. ^ Kristina Rodulfo (29 April 2016). "A Tribute to Men in Crop Tops". Elle. Retrieved 30 January 2019.