When did men's crop tops become a thing?
- Gender neutral crop tops are a big thing in menswear right now
- The trend first appeared in 1970s college football
- Popular icons like Will Smith and Johnny Depp popularised the look at the time
- From hip-hop artists to high-fashion’s finest labels, the crop top is back this spring/summer 2019
With gender neutral and androgyny popular bywords for the 21st century, it was predictable that a popular womenswear garment namely the crop top, favoured by '90s pop stars like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera would rear its ugly head in SS19 menswear.
Since the 1970s, male crop tops, a belly shirt or exposing your naval-midriff broke into men’s wardrobes, beginning on the American college football field where they were introduced unintentionally, with tearaway jerseys often losing their lower sections through tackling, leading to exposed abs.
Since then they have been immortalised in popular culture when Johnny Depp gave the top screen time in his 1984 horror classic, A Nightmare on Elm Street, to Will Smith rocking the look on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Ewan McGregor channelling “street-chic” in 1996’s Trainspotting. Even gender fluid pop rock gods like Price and Lenny Kravitz championed their version of the cropped tee.
However with ‘fragile masculinity’ regularly portrayed in the mainstream where manly men get embarrassed over trivial things, putting on a tough guy persona in fear of looking too feminine in front of society, negative attitudes killed off the original crop top movement.
Fast forward to today, we have a whole new collection of male contemporaries showing that the cropped top is back. Such as Kid Cudi donning a vermillion terry cloth sleeveless cropped tee at Coachella with a pair of denim shorts, BAPE boxer briefs and Nike Air Jordan 2s to fashion brands Rick Owens and Acne Studios pairing there’s with high waisted trousers.