Reveal Your Bare Midriff with These Cool Styles

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Have you eyed up the belly-baring tops that have emerged into popular culture in recent years?

So have we!

We’ve put together a guide on how to wear crop tops, no matter your age, style, or occupation. 

Interestingly, the midriff top has a rich history, worn by women in India for centuries, with the short choli (top) and sari. The 1990s saw many, many bare midriffs gracing magazines, movie screens, and the small screen, often paired with ultra-low jeans.

The meeting of these styles isn’t a fluke, as 90s fashion was often inspired by Indian culture, with bindis, mandala-style patterns, and intricate silk wrap-around skirts storming the streets.

Here’s how to rock the bare midriff. 

The sari skirt with a cropped tank

Celebrity inspiration
Gwen Stefani often favored Indian style in the 90s, wearing bindis on her face and sari-style skirts with midriff tops. This is a cool, feminine way to wear the trend, and can be adjusted to suit your “bare skin comfort zone”. It’s a great casual summer weekend look but can be styled-up for nights out. 

How-to: 

  • If you’re handy with a sewing machine, look for richly-colored silk fabric with metallic thread and make it into a wrap skirt, DIY-style. Sew satin ribbon over the top edge, with enough length on either side to tie the skirt around your waist or hips
  • Pair the skirt with a plain cotton cropped tee or tank in black or white to balance out the intricacy of the skirt 
  • If you only want to show a little bit of tummy, wear your skirt just below the belly button, and pick a top that is long enough to show only an inch or two of skin (Jennifer Aniston perfectly demonstrated this many times).
Rachel Green GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY
  • If you can’t find the right length, look for a stretchy, ribbed cotton tee or tank and try your hand at altering it by cutting the hem and resewing it to tidy the rough edge
  • Wear with chunky boots or Doc Martens for casual wear, and swap them for these gorgeous strappy heeled sandals for the bar or parties 

Jeans and a cropped cardigan 

Celebrity inspiration
One of our favorite belly-baring style examples of the 90s was worn by Julia Roberts in the classic 90s rom-com ‘My Best Friend’s Wedding’. Julia wore a navy blue cropped cardigan-style top with a boxy shape and scalloped hemline… 

Courtesy Tristar Pictures

She paired it with dark-colored pants worn on the hip, and that glorious mop of red curls. We love this trend for casual streetwear or low-key house parties during fall and spring. 

How-to: 

  • Achieve a little extra coverage by choosing high-waisted jeans or cargo pants to cover the belly button, and go for baggier styles to prevent the tummy from being uncomfortably restricted
  • Look for a front knit button-up cardigan such as this stylish one or long-sleeved top with a loose cut V-neckline to show a little cleavage to go with your midriff. The long sleeves and loose cut of the cardigan will keep things balanced
  • Wear with these cool chunky Timberlands designed for women’s feet or Doc Martens, and keep the makeup neutral and sultry (wild red curls optional but recommended!)

The high-waisted mini skirt and cropped knit sweater 

Celebrity inspiration
Who remembers Liv Tyler in the classic teen movie ‘Empire Records’? In our opinion, this was one of the defining fashion films of the decade, with Liv Tyler leading the way in her tartan pleated mini and knit cropped sweater.

Liv Tyler 90S GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY
Source: Giphy

This is a look for the bolder out there who are game to bare not only their tummies but their legs too. 

How-to: 

Midi-skirt and cropped tee 

Celebrity inspiration
Carrie Bradshaw in ‘Sex and the City’ often stormed the streets of New York in a cute cropped top, floaty skirt, and designer heels. There was the white midriff top with a black and white skirt, the black halter with a metallic pleated skirt, and the long-sleeved black crop with a red and white striped pencil skirt.

We could go on and on about the Bradshaw wardrobe (credit to Pat Field). This is an excellent way to bring the bare midriff look to the workplace or for more formal occasions such as long lunches, weddings, and parties. 

How-to: 

  • Don’t be afraid of voluminous skirts with such as this lush skirt with plenty of layers of soft pleating, the bare midriff will balance out the demureness…like an edgy princess
  • Channel Taylor Swift and go for a matching skirt and crop top set for a preppy take on the trend
  • Slinky skirts with a bias cut in satin or silk fabrics look great with shirts knotted at the waist and with the sleeves rolled up 
  • For winter and fall, wear these thigh-high tights and ankle boots, with a long-line menswear-style blazer over your midriff-baring top