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To crop or not to crop: In defense of the crop top.

Everything in fashion is cyclical—bell bottoms came and went… then came… and went, again. Same goes for skinny jeans, which were a big part of the punk rock movement of the 80s, and an even bigger part of the flannel-wearing, local brew-swilling hipsters in recent years. Now, crop tops are back. In a big way. I know what you’re thinking—”Nope. Not me, I can’t pull off the crop top.” I’m here to tell you that you can. I did, and I lived to survive the tale.

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I paired a Forever 21 crop top with a maxi, polka dot skirt from AshleGryre (a new boutique in Atlantic Beach) to ring in the New Year.

You see, today’s crop tops aren’t quite as revealing as those from years past. Your navel, for example, doesn’t actually have to make an appearance. Instead, modern crop tops just show off a bit of the tummy above the belly button—an expanse of stomach that is far north enough from the “muffin top” region that a number of body types can pull off the look . Case in point: Kim Kardashian. She might be one of the more annoying celebrities in the world, but girl can pull off a crop top. She certainly isn’t model thin or tall (in fact, she has more curves than the average woman), but the look still works for her. The reality starlet has been wearing crop tops constantly—going so far as to chop a Dior dress into two pieces recently, just to get another chance to show her tummy.

If you’re interested in trying the trend, you’ve got a couple of options:

• Hit up the vintage store. I bought a cute two-piece pant suit for around $8 a few months ago, and I tied up the shirt to make a faux crop top—this could be done with just about any top. You could also go full Kardashian, and take scissors to something.

•Invest. Several high-end lines, like Obakki (sold locally at Emly Benham) have unveiled collections that prominently feature crop tops. These pieces might cost more than those that you can buy at the thrift store, but they’ll likely last longer and fit better.

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