Help, the crop tops are coming.
Theres been bubbling panic across the internet and the real world thanks to ASOS selling what they call an extreme cropped vest for men.
Essentially, its a crop top worn by a male model, targeted specifically at men.
Thats right, a crop top for men. Try to take a deep breath and remain calm.
Theres panic about this because were still holding into strict ideas of what men and women are allowed to wear.
Robbie Rotten dead, Barry Chuckle dead, and now ASOS selling men's crop tops. Say your goodbyes to your loved ones because the world is officially ending. https://t.co/W3e1n3BLJ2
— Dyl Lambert (@RestricTFFA) August 22, 2018
Form-fitting items are for women, because womens bodies should be shown off. Men are supposed to wear clothes that cover the appropriate areas, protecting their delicate modesty and hiding their bodies away from view.
Womens bodies are valued for being sexy, so certain bits can be shown (and others definitely cant), while mens bodies are neutral (men can be judged purely on non-physical things, the lucky boys), so their clothes must simply serve the purpose of being there.
Thats why its perfectly alright for a man to stroll around topless, nipples out for the world to see, but women will get shamed for doing the same.
Its also why a man wearing skinny jeans or micro-shorts gets made fun of, because these clothes are traditionally coded as female. And as we all know, being at all like a woman is the most shameful thing imaginable.
Crop tops fall into this strange binary ditch. A certain length of top is cast as a girly thing because it allows women to showcase a part of their body thats socially approved… as long as they dont have a hint of body fat, of course.
But thankfully as fashion changes and shifts and grows, some male-identifying people are questioning the crop tops rigid definitions. Theyre asking why they cant enjoy a breeze on their tum and eyes on their belly button, and are rocking the crop top without fear or shame.
On catwalks at Calvin Klein and Astrid Anderson in the last few years, crop tops have popped up in casual and formal fits.
Sadly, however, the comfort with crop tops hasnt yet extended to those who are less experimental with their clothing choices.
While queer and creative men who are willing to take risks in fashion will throw on a crop top, the average straight dude continues to recoil in fear and disgust.
Which is silly, really, as crop tops are a delight.
They allow for free range of movement. They let you show off your tummy, which is one of the best places for your partner to smooch. They cover up those forbidden nipples while still showing some skin.
Men havent always been afraid of crop tops.
Back in the 80s, men wore a cropped tee with freedom and joy, allowing a flash of abs to peek out between their top and sweatpants. Just look at the Fresh Prince of Bel Air and the late musician and icon Prince for all your inspiration.
More recently, models, musicians, and influencers are strolling around wearing tees of a shorter length. Kid Cudi wore a crop top for his performance at Coachella, Queer Eyes Antoni donned a cropped hoody for the shows promo shots, and American footballer Ezekiel Elliott chose a cut-off shirt for the NFL draft red carpet.
Trust me, they all managed the tricky task of looking both cool fashion-wise and hot. Theres something sexy about a little flash of skin.
Of course, ASOSs crop top for men is an extreme version – it says so in the name.
But rather than run and hide, let us take this nipple-grazing top push us into a new era of cropped joy.
Ease yourself in slowly. Trim a tee so it doesnt hang over your bum. Try a french tuck (another Queer Eye approved tip) to start experimenting with making your clothes a little more form-fitted.
You dont need to pay a tenner for a teeny-tiny vest and you dont need to show off the entirety of your abs on your first try. Take a look in womens clothing sections (theyre not scary, promise), take a pair of scissors to a charity shop tee or an old baggy favourite, then pair your creation with trousers that sit slightly higher up so you feel comfortable.
That comfort factor is important, because wearing a crop top requires body confidence, not a certain type of body.
You do not need sculpted abs to wear a crop top, whatever your gender. Instead you need the confidence to walk your excellently dressed body around without awkwardly tugging your top down.
Be loud, be proud, be cropped. Its a brave new world.