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iStyle: Some like it crop

A bared midsection may still a step too far for many fashion followers,  but it’s a summer style worth stomaching, says Emma Akbareian

Cropped tops. There’s unlikely to be a concept in fashion that inspires more trepidation than those two words.

They have come a long way from the days of Flashdance-inspired off-the-shoulder velour numbers and the bandeau styles favoured by popstars of the 1990s. But this season has seen a more refined interpretation of the style and one that is infinitely more wearable.

Midriffs were an all-too-common sight on runways this season; at Miu Miu cropped tops came in the form of crinkled-silk, slip-style tops and were paired with pencil skirts and oversized coats. A sliver of stomach was on show at Rochas between 1950s-style full skirts and cropped jacket combos, while at Alexander Wang there was a more modern interpretation where dresses were slashed with cutout sections to reveal thin strips of flesh.

The common theme linking these looks is the small area of stomach on show. Rather than sporting full-on belly-baring looks, this season is about peekaboo reveals. Waistlines have risen and are now sitting above the belly button so the area of stomach on show is actually a far more flattering one. To take the plunge with this trend it’s best to consider your bottom half first; choose a good-fitting skirt or trousers that sit comfortably above your naval with no flesh pinching. Ease yourself into the look with a style in a T-shirt shape which will be easiest to wear. If your cropped-top confidence is growing, try long-length bra styles but don’t be afraid to add a blazer over the top for that added bit of coverage. If you do decide to go for broke with a low-slung bottom half, a cropped top in an oversized style will help  balance proportions.