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A model wearing crop top

A Crop top (also cropped top, belly shirt, half shirt, midriff shirt, crop top, tummy top, short shirt, and cutoff shirt) is a T-shirt or blouse with the lower portion cut off, resulting in the exposure of some of the wearer's abdomen.[1] The halfshirt (or bellyshirt) is a variety of shirt that is cut off from the bottom of the chest.



Though several cultures around the world have featured midriff-baring tops for centuries, the style became a temporary men's fad in the United States in the 1980s. Originally based on American football jerseys which were cropped above the navel to make them cooler in hot weather, it became popular to cut T-shirts above the midriff for daily wear. The concept was based on athletic and aerodynamics logic: in many athletic activities, including running, basketball, football, etc., there exists a need for both speed and temperature control. To use the example of a jogger, in an instance in which being shirtless may not be appropriate, the wearing of a half shirt allows the athlete to expose more surface skin area (aiding cooling and aerodynamics) while fulfilling the need to wear a top-concealing garment. This was the philosophy behind the extension of the wearing of half shirts on the football field to other athletic arenas. One early proponent of the design of commercially-available half shirts for this purpose was New Balance, who manufactured belly tops for male and female athletes in the 1980s.

Several major apparel companies released lines of ready-made bellyshirts in the 1980s, including Nike, Inc., Adidas and others. As an even further extension of the fashion, it became common to see bellyshirts casually worn at school and in other semi-formal public places. Many of these shirts were quite short, between 15-17 inches in length, causing a large area of a man's belly and bellybutton to be exposed. Some schools and similar public institutions prohibited the wearing of half shirts outside of physical education classes, as some areas of the United States consider baring of the midriff and navel to be immodest. It became a semi-common convention for school rules to prohibit revealing the navel, or even the bare midriff, as a means of regulating the half shirt.

Teenage girl in crop top and jeans

Bellyshirts became scarce in the United States by the end of the 1980s and were virtually gone by the early years of the 1990s. In the mid-1990s, bellyshirts saw a resurgence as a popular top, this time for women, and often much shorter than the late male version. These shirts have remained popular into the 2000s. Extremely short crop tops may reveal the underside of a woman's breasts. Many American (and other) women could be seen wearing small crop top shirts particularly at evening occasions in the early 2000s. The shirts can be said to have undergone a transformation from an athletically-functional shirt to one with the intention of eliciting interest between the sexes. In more recent fashion fads "bunching" has developed. An already short cropped top can be bunched upward to expose more mid-section and then tucked below the bust line. Likewise the waistband of the shorts, jeans, or skirt is then also rolled down. Bunching has been gaining popularity in the NW and SW United States.

Notable people

Several famous entertainers have become renowned for wearing bellyshirts, such as Madonna, Shania Twain, Jennifer Lopez, Fergie, Gwen Stefani, Chase Masterson, and Britney Spears. Bellyshirts, or halfshirts, are also popular among professional sports figures, most notably Jim Edmonds of the Chicago Cubs Major League Baseball team and Jesse Lumsden of Hamilton Ti-Cat folklore.

See also


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