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

Jessie James wearing a crop top and low rise jeans



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 women's underwear 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.[18]

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 National Collegiate Athletic Association[19][20] increased restrictions on men wearing crop tops,[21][22][23][24] which also includes rolling up longer jerseys, giving no reason for the change.[25][26][27][28]

Since the mid-2010s, the male crop top has seen a major resurgence in popularity,[29] including prominent celebrity figures such as football player Ezekiel Elliott,[30] rapper Kid Cudi,[31] rock star Josh Kiszka, and actors Matthew McConaughey and Zac Efron.[32]

See also


  1. ^ crop top. MSN Encarta. Archived from the original on 26 March 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d Bucci, Jessica (7 November 2015). "Fashion Archives: A Look at the History of the Crop Top". Startup Fashion.
  3. ^ a b Mitchell, Claudia; Reid-Walsh, Jacqueline, 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. May 1946.
  5. ^ "Crop Tops Through the Ages". LE3NO. 25 June 2014.
  6. ^ "This is what women used to wear in the 1940s and it was pretty damn stylish". Marie Claire. 6 January 2021.
  7. ^ Mok, Jennifer (23 October 2013). "History of the Crop Top". Her Campus.
  8. ^ Miller, Randy (15 April 2014). "Great Moments in Crop Top History: I Dream of Jeanie". Popsugar. Archived from the original on 7 October 2017. Retrieved 7 October 2017.
  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, Knit Tops Styles – Fashion History". Vintage Dancer. 20 February 2014.
  12. ^ Shire, Emily (15 June 2015). "Do You Dare to Bare in a Crop Top?". The Daily Beast.
  13. ^ Zephyr (8 June 2009). "Would You Wear… a Crop Top?". College Fashion. Archived from the original on 30 May 2012. Retrieved 15 March 2012.
  14. ^ Shih, Candice (7 January 2010). "Crop tops are back?". Lovelyish. Archived from the original on 15 July 2012. Retrieved 15 March 2012.
  15. ^ Shih, Candice (7 January 2010). "Crop tops are back?". The Orange County Register. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  16. ^ Payne, Marissa (29 August 2015). "Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliott wants to trademark 'hero in a half-shirt'". Washington Post. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  17. ^ Zarley, B. David (7 November 2014). "Crop Tops In Football: An Investigation". VICE Sports. Archived from the original on 11 December 2015. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  18. ^ "6 Types Of Crop Tops That Every Fashionista Should Own". alyandval. 23 October 2023. Retrieved 18 December 2023.
  19. ^ Van Buskirk, Emily (19 August 2015). "The NCAA Bans Belly Buttons, Prompting Players To Cry Foul". The Sports Fan Journal.
  20. ^ Greif, Andrew (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. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015.
  21. ^ "Crop-Top Jerseys Banned". College Spots Business News. 11 March 2015. Archived from the original on 4 February 2016. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  22. ^ Watkins, Jasmine (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.
  23. ^ Stone, Avery (2 April 2015). "Ezekiel Elliott says NCAA rule banning crop tops is 'silly'". USA Today.
  24. ^ "NCAA bans players from showing abs in games". SI.com. SI Wire. 9 March 2015.
  25. ^ Johnson, Greg (6 March 2015). "Proposed ineligible downfield rule tabled by PROP". NCAA.
  26. ^ Ward, Austin (2 April 2015). "Ezekiel Elliott scoffs at jersey rule". ESPN.
  27. ^ Watson, Graham (9 March 2015). "NCAA rule bans players from wearing cropped jerseys in games". Yahoo Sports.
  28. ^ Erby, Glenn (8 March 2015). "NCAA Bans Ezekiel Elliott Style Tucked Under Jerseys". Black Sports Online.
  29. ^ Ktena, Natalie (28 August 2018). "We talked to a 'crop top historian' about the comeback of the male crop top". BBC. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  30. ^ Conroy, Juan. "Ezekiel Elliot Crop Top - Not Just For the Field". footballcroptop.com. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  31. ^ Sharkey, Linda (20 August 2014). "Men in crop tops seem to be trending thanks to Kid Cudi, the social media and the catwalk". The Independent. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  32. ^ Rodulfo, Kristina (29 April 2016). "A Tribute to Men in Crop Tops". Elle. Retrieved 30 January 2019.