So you want to wear a crop top to work?

Fashion trend alert: the crop top!

“So you want to…?” is a meme that is playing in my head.

You see, I enjoy listening to the “So you want to be a writer?” podcast run by Valerie Khoo and Allison Tait AND last week I announced my “So you want to be a fashion blogger” workshop that will take place next month.

So when I was perusing the new season wares at Cue and Veronika Maine (who I believe are run by the same company), who I traditionally look to for interesting workwear,  I was somewhat aghast to see the prevalence of crop-tops in their offering. It got me thinking… “So you want US to…wear crop tops to work?”

When faced with a new fashion trend, my flight or fight instincts kick in. Either I think “no way fashion people, there is no way that trend is going to work in the real world” or I’m challenged by it and my brain starts thinking how I can make the trend work in the real world and especially, the workplace. Anyhow, I’m now in the latter boat and actually want to wear a crop top to work! Have I gone mad? Here is how I think we could make it work, cast your eyes over and let me know what you think!:

BusinessChic rules for crop tops in the workplace

Essentially the crop-top is this season’s take on the 90’s vest. Here’s what to look for and how to work it:

  1. Look for structure at the front and the back. This means quality structured fabrics that will sit properly over shirts and NO spaghetti straps which won’t sit properly when layered. I prefer thicker fabrics to lighter weight knits or silks. That said try experiment with different textures to create a look that works for you; I’m currently on the look out for a fuzzy-ish crop top!
  2. Layer. Don’t wear the crop top on its own – heaven forbid that you would actually reveal some mid-riff! Wear a shirt underneath or pair with high-waisted pants, skirt or culottes. While the weather is still cool (or once the A/C kicks in), layer up again with a blazer and trench coat.
  3. Fit is everything. Look for a snug fit that you can wear comfortably on its own (i.e. when teamed with high waisted skirt) or layer a shirt or very light-weight top underneath. For more structure fabrics, this means that you might need a top in your-size-and-half. To achieve this, consider going up a size and then getting your tailor to bring it down half a size.

How to work three different styles of crop tops:

There are a few different brands who are offering crop tops for the office fashionista. Each look has the ability to completely transform your entire outfit:

The minimalist


minimalist crop top

The minimalist: crop top Veronika Maine Cotton Tweed Cropped Topshirt Veronika Maine Stretch Cotton Fitted Shirt | necklace Emma Jane McDonald Plummet Necklace at e.g.etal | pants Country Road cropped pant suit | shoes ALPHA60 

Minimalists are catered to with shell-shaped crop tops that may feature graphic cut-outs which make it too risqué to be worn alone but adds a good amount of structure and some needed (IMO) interest to a white shirt. I particularly like that this short sleeved white shirt has the right amount of sleeve and flare (aka peplum detail) to be worn under any crop top.

If you would like to invest in this look, locally Josh Goot (who are currently having an end-of-season Autumn/Winter sale) have a great black crop top  that also comes in white. It’s currently on my wish-list.

The seasonal print

seasonal print hibiscus crop top 2

 The seasonal print: Crop top Cue Hibiscus Satin Crop top | coat SheInside Beige Long Sleeve Casual Coat |skirt Nicholas Crepe Skirt from Green with Envy | shoes marcs suede high heel

Spring is the season for daring prints and the hibiscus/palm leaf pattern is set to be THE print for the season. As the mercury rises, consider pairing with a high-waisted skirt and dropping the white shirt underneath but maintaining modesty by wearing a lightweight jacket. I think that this coat is casual enough to be worn at one’s desk but in a very conservative workplace I’d take the extra precaution of wearing a strapless top underneath to ensure that the mid-driff was covered at all times. The sweetheart neckline is super fresh and perfect for desk-to-drinks chic.

Bold and colourful

Cue Check crop top office outfit

Crop for all seasons: crop top Cue Check Panel Crop Top | white shirt (as before) | pants Gorman Cocktail pants | shoes (as before)

The beauty of crop tops is that they really are transeasonal as they can be layered or pared back for the season. Plus checks won’t date as quickly as some other prints. These black culottes might look standard but click on the link to see just how flashy-dressy they are – one to consider for the end of season Christmas party, particularly the bold blue alternative!

The boat-neck shape of this crop top make it more of a classic look while the punchy print makes this piece a whole lot of fun – perfect for making any wardrobe more playful.

Where to buy a crop top?

As mentioned Veronika Maine and Cue are offering crop tops in a number of necklines, prints and fabrications.

If you have money to spend, do send me the Josh Goot.

Online steals can be had at SheInside and ASOS however it’s difficult to tell how great the quality of the fabrics used are.

If you’d like more tailored advice on finding a crop top to suit your business chic style, just ask me as this is just one of the things that I do for a living!

Like this piece and want more? Stay tuned for next week’s trend, So you want to wear flowers to work?

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