At Coachella – the music festival that takes place in the California desert every April – unofficial poster girl Alessandra Ambrosio was one of hundreds of fans sporting the midriff-baring style. At London’s All Points East event during the late May bank holiday, rapper Stefflon Don performed her set in a black, long-sleeved crop top from her collaboration with the online retailer Boohoo. The musician Sudan Archives, one of the highlights of Field Day, in Brockwell Park, south London, on 1 and 2 June is also a fan.
Online searches for cropped tops are up 12% on last year, with spikes for halterneck and square-neck styles, according to the fashion search engine Lyst. Striped and short-sleeve variants are also proving popular, with the most-wanted pieces by Asos, Pretty Little Thing and Topshop. A spokesperson for Topshop said it saw a peak in searches during the Coachella period, adding: “Our festival-season trends talk to a spirit of celebration and optimism.”
It’s no coincidence that cropped tops have struck the right style note with some of the world’s most popular Instagram stars – making this another trend that can be attributed to “the influencer effect”. Selena Gomez, the most-followed person on Instagram with 138 million users, wore one in the music video for her recent single,Marshmellow Wolves. Kylie Jenner (109 million followers) likes hers in sweatshirt fabric, while model sisters Gigi and Bella Hadid, who have a combined following of 58 million users, have both recently shared images of them wearing their favourite cut-off piece.
The trend is an extension of what was on the catwalk in the spring/summer collections 2018, where crop tops came at us from myriad directions. Large luxury fashion houses such as Versace, Chanel and Balmain all made them a prominent catwalk feature, as did smaller, hip brands such as Marques Almeida, Off-White and JW Anderson (and the Hadid sisters were both sporting versions for Tommy Hilfiger in Milan).
The item does, however, come with a word of warning: “Like crochet dresses and spandex onesies – perennial festival favourites – the cropped top will not protect you from the elements,” says Alice Newbold, news editor of British Vogue. “Think of the awkward sunburn, and it’s not that transitional, unless you’re hopping from yoga tent to meditation tepee.
“Festival fashion is all about keeping it real and laying practical outfit foundations – unless your crop is a sports bra worn as an underlayer when schlepping across the field with a tent on your back, it doesn’t really count.”