Flash some flesh in a crop top

Preen SS 2012

Preen, Spring 2012

Be the cream of the fashion crop with a super-short top this season.

The midriff flaunting garments have been slowly trickling into our style consciousness since 2011 when they started appearing on runways in the form of printed bustiers and cropped T-shirts, but this summer they have been given a chic makeover.

At New York Fashion Week, Preen showcased a selection of feminine shorties in pastel square prints with demure Peter Pan collars. Teamed with high-waisted pencil skirts and mid-length sleeves, the overall effect was a very ladylike take on the trend. Another Preen design kept its elegant edge thanks to a pretty floral pattern and modest sleeve-length. Worn with black pants and heels, the look is pure class rather than crass.

Charlotte Ronson’s offering of crop tops was rather more bohemian, with crochet creations appearing on the runway. The cuts were more casual than elsewhere and resembled the original cut-off T-shirts, but the high quality materials and muted color themes kept the garments effortless and chic.

And Rebecca Minkoff introduced us to the most feminine variations yet as she sent white and sheer lace crops down the runway.

If you are feeling slightly nervous about baring your belly, take note from some clever runway tricks. Team your crop top with a high-waisted skirt or trousers to only show a hint of midriff. And a cute cardigan or blazer will give the look some added coverage as well as a smart edge. Or why not try layering the crop top over a long fitted vest top in a neutral color to keep those abs under wraps?

Either way, the sky’s the limit when it comes to rocking this hot summer trend.