Style 911: How Do I Wear Crop Tops And Sweaters Without Looking Like A Tart?

I need your help! I’m probably one of the few real women that is intrigued by the crop tops and sweaters this fall. I know, I know. But is there a way for a non-celebrity, non-model to wear this look? – Marie

I completely understand your style dilemma. I laughed and said, “hell no,” when the fashion prophets proclaimed crop tops the next big thing. But then I remembered how much I enjoyed my crop tops back in the ’90s. Of course, this time around, we’re too old for baring our midriffs. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t fashion-forward and age-appropriate ways to wear crop tops and sweaters. Check out our tips after the jump.

Left: Sparkle & Fade Cropped Pullover Sweatshirt, $48, Urban Outfitters
Right: Long Sleeve Flatlock Crop Top, $44, Topshop

Save the super tight and short crop tops for the young ones. Instead, pick one with a boxy fit or one that skims the body. You also want the hem of the top to stop right below your navel or lower.

Left: Asos Jersey Pencil Skirt, $33.70, Asos
Right: April 77 Jeans, $78,

No matter what bottoms you wear they should have a high waist. Not only will a high-waist pencil skirt or jeans prevent belly exposure, they’ll also define your waist, which can be difficult when wearing a boxy top. And speaking of boxy tops, if your crop top is full at the waist, then a super-tight pencil skirt or skinny jeans will balance out the volume up top. If you choose a crop top that just skims your body, then you can get away with a pair of wide-leg or retro flare jeans, as long as the waist is defined.

Left: Wool Plaid Fold-Over Clutch, $98, Rugby
Right: Doctor’s Satchel, $64.90, Dillard’s

It’s more practical to use a handbag when wearing crop tops, which tend to have voluminous sleeves and hems. A clutch or satchel means you won’t have an awkward bunch of fabric pushed up your arm.

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