Colgate Couture The Bare Midriff

Colgate Couture The Bare Midriff

Recently, I’ve been going through a bit of a throwback phase. My playlist now exclusively consists of music from elementary or middle school, and I’ve never been happier. One recurring theme I noticed throughout all of the 1990s and early 2000s music videos is the bare midriff. From 3LW to the legendary Britney Spears, a music video just wouldn’t be complete without showing some abs. I was flabbergasted by these pop stars’ courage to show off what is potentially the most sensitive area for females: their stomach. Thankfully, I thought to myself, this trend happened when I was still in elementary school. But then I realized that, in fact, the bare midriff has been popular for a bit of time now with the crop-top.

And this spring, fashion’s elite has decided to make the casual crop-top into one of the main trends of the season. Rag & Bone, YSL, Versace and Chloé are just a few of the many designers that paraded bare-midriffed models down the runway in their Spring 2012 collections. Celebrities and fashion bloggers have embraced this trend with open arms, as crop-tops have been popping up all over the internet and the red carpet.

If you’re slightly self-conscious of your stomach (which, honestly, everyone is) and have been wary of this trend before, consider giving it another look. This season’s crop-top is very different than the 1990s full stomach exposure and even the re­cent below the belly-button style. Instead, crop-tops are starting above the belly button and are paired with high-waisted skirts or pants to only show a hint of skin.

As demonstrated by Alexa Chung at the Elle 2011 Style Awards, this trend can still be quite modest. Though the top and skirt were, for the most part, lady-like and demure, the ex­posed midriff gave the outfit the edginess and fashion-forward flair fitting of this style icon. Kate Bosworth also found a subtle approach to the bare-midriff with a crepe and leather dress by Chloé. This dress only shows a small slit of skin, perfect for those who prefer conservative dress.

If you want to play with this trend, there are many ways to ap­proach it. As shown by the celebrities mentioned above, you can find a way to bare your midriff with class and modesty. With this approach, you can almost treat your midriff like a belt—a small sliver of skin that separates your outfit.

There are of course more daring and revealing ways of wearing this trend. My personal favorites are cut-outs, worn wonderfully by Leighton Meester in her Michael Kors gown. Her outfit is revealing and sexy without going overboard and looking trashy. As a warning to demonstrate how the bare-midriff trend can go awry, I present you with Camilla Belle’s outfit to the From Prada to Nada premiere. This bandeau top took the crop-top a little too far and made some people question why she was wearing her swimsuit to a red carpet event.

Obviously, it is still a little too cold to be wearing this trend out casu­ally. But, as spring approaches and the snow melts away, you might want to consider showing off a little bit of midriff. And if you remain skeptical of the trend after this article, I should remind you of just how cool Britney Spears was back in her glory days. You might have thought it was because of her voice or catchy songs, but in reality, it was the crop-top that made her cool.

Contact Rachel Eisen at [email protected].