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.
The panic about this stems largely from long-held notions 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 most commonly for women, because womens bodies should be shown off.
Men more commonly wear clothes that cover the appropriate areas, protecting their modesty and covering their bodies.
Very broadly speaking, womens bodies are valued for being sexy, so certain bits can be shown (and others definitely cant), while mens bodies are generally more neutral (men can be judged on non-physical qualities, the lucky things) so their clothes can serve the purpose of simply being there.
The hyper-sexualisation of womens bodies versus mens is why it is fine 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 for a man to be seen as feminine is widely judged as a negative thing.
Crop tops fall into this binary ditch. A certain length of top is cast as girly because it allows women to showcase a part of their body thats socially acceptable (as long as they dont have a hint of body fat, of course).
But as fashion 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.
That ease around 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 man 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, allow this nipple-grazing top push us into a new era.
HOW TO EMBRACE THE CROP TOP
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 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.