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How To Wear Summer's Crop Top Trend Even If You Aren't Going Out At Night

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This deep into summer, it's hard to recall the days when your arms were confined by heavy knits, but you may still remember that cropped cardigans were winter's go-to with high-rise denim. What made the cropped cardigan so enticing during colder weather was its practicality, cool-factor, and inherent sultriness all at once. Since it's not the time of year for cozy knits, summer 2019's crop top trend is set to be the shrunken cardigan's replacement as the ultimate companion to denim — and an unlikely one at that.

Like any other trend, the key to pulling it off is more about how you style it than the actual piece itself. New contemporary brands like Nanushka and ALC have been created sophisticated and sleek crop tops that are different than the shrunken cotton styles of the past and can help you wear the design in a more sophisticated way. "High waisted denim and trousers continue to dominate and cropped tops are a polished way of styling [them] without showing too much skin," says Courtney Grant, Senior Contemporary Buyer at Elyse Walker.

With the continued popularity of bottoms that reach above the belly button, shorter tops can be styled for activities beyond after-hour drinks. "Updated versions are knotted styles and styles with ties in the front or back. [I’m] seeing this trend in t-shirts and blouses,” Grant says. For more ways you can road test the crop top with confidence and ease, read on. You'll find suitable options no matter how much skin you’re comfortable showing.

'80s Style

Crop tops become more casual when worn in a citrus color palette. A square neck shirt in a gingham print with ruffle detailing provides an ‘80s aesthetic that makes the crop top feel a bit more refined for the daytime. Mix in a micro bag and square-toe mules for a trendy, tonal ensemble.

Pastel Cropped Camisole + Sheer Dress + Denim

If the cropped look is a bit too intimidating, tone it down by layering a sheer floral frock atop. Opt for a cropped camisole that plays off of the pastel colors in the dress, then pair with light denim and summer-friendly boots for an unexpected yet simple outfit.

Cropped Black Camisole + Tie-Front Shirt + Animal Print Skirt

As one of the standout trends for Grant, front-knotted tops are surprisingly versatile and make for a great summer layering piece. Elevate an animal print skirt by styling with a layered camisole or sports bra underneath the knotted blouse. Sport sandals balance out the beachy look.

Boxy Cropped Button-Up + Trousers + Flat Sandals

You don’t need to reinvent your style to test out the crop trend. A button-up top with a boxy silhouette feels perfectly professional, plus the dramatic shoulders are very on trend. Add high-waisted trousers and accessorize the cropped shirt as you would with any other button down blouse — with comfortable-yet-stylish flat sandals.

Cinched Crop Top + Black Bermuda Shorts + Pink Mules

A sheer puff sleeve is another ubiquitous element for summer, and a cinched crop top is an effortless way to test out the trend. It’s fun, yet still looks put together. Balance out the top with simple, high-waisted Bermuda shorts and pink mules.

A Perfect Match

For a fresh take on crop tops this summer, Grant recommends, “Head to toe color or print pairing. Cropped tops paired back with matching maxi skirts or high waisted trousers sets.” For a cool look, go for summer’s most coveted color and trend combo: pink tie-dye. For an added edge, opt for a patent combat boot.

All Over Lime

The combination of a crop top and midi hemline is one to give the trend a sophisticated spin, whether you’re going from the office to the bar or from the beach to dinner. A skirt in crinkle fabric not only embraces the inevitable wrinkles warm weather brings, but adds a textural element to the monochrome outfit. Finish with a very of-the-moment zebra microbag.

Off The Shoulder Crop Top + Midi Skirt

Swap out your classic camisole for a romantic off-the-shoulder crop top. Look for one with smocked detailing to elevate the ensemble, and pair with an animal print midi skirt for the perfect summer formula. Finish with sandals and a basket bag for a day spent outdoors.