When Did Crop Tops Become Popular? Impressive History

The history of the crop top is intertwined with cultural shifts spanning decades. While swim tops of the 1930s and 40s first teased midriffs, true mainstream acceptance arrived much later with free-spirited icons like Barbara Eden and Jane Birkin in the 1960s. Their bold looks epitomized the sexual revolution in bloom.

Fast forward to the aerobic 80s, where pulsing playlists and stars like Madonna took the crop to new heights. Its tight ties to fitness blazed sexy new independence. Soon, Britney, Christina, and the Spice Girls wore these tantalizing teasers like pop badges in the carefree 90s.

Each era molded the crop in fresh forms. But who knew such a modest sliver of skin could spark full fashion transformations? Its modern might makes that clear, continuing to crown queens on Instagram and beyond. Join us for a peek at bold, bodacious runs down crop-top memory lane!

1930s-1940s: Swimwear Origins

The humble crop top has come a long way since its beachside beginnings in the 1930s and 40s. Back then, crop tops were only seen poolside as daring swimwear.

That all changed thanks to Hollywood stars like sultry siren Jean Harlow, who popped crop tops in her hit movies. Audiences were thrilled by these tempting peeks of skin.

Word spread fast of these risqué looks, and soon other famous faces like mysterious European beauty Marlene Dietrich embraced the crop top trend.

Meanwhile, more affordable synthetic fabrics let everyday folks wear these teasing tops, too. By the 1940s, crop tops had fully emerged from their swimwear shells and into everyday outfits.

They were often paired with high-waisted skirts in a flirty hourglass silhouette that was perfect for hot summer days. But no one knew then how much further the crop top would evolve.

Fast forward to today, and you’ll spot crop tops at shopping malls, music festivals, and everywhere in between. They’ve come a long way from their modest beach beginnings. The question is, what daring styles will crop tops dream up next?

White crop top on a young beautiful girl in blue shorts

Late 1960s-1970s: Sexual Revolution Impact

The late 1960s saw major changes in fashion and culture. People longed to break free from strict norms and express themselves. No top embodied this rebel spirit more than the crop top. Brave women like actresses Barbara Eden and Jane Birkin started strutting their stuff in these teasing tops.

Their confident clothing choices empowered others. Suddenly, midriffs everywhere became signs of this new sexual empowerment sweeping the nation. The hemlines rose higher on shirts as younger folks embraced change. For men, too, hunks proudly showed off their tight torsos.

It was a time of real transformation. Crop tops let folks feel sexy and carefree, far from the stuffy styles of the past. They walked hand in hand with major social movements like feminism and civil rights.

By the groovy 1970s, everyone rocked these adventurous arrivals. They were the tops that truly topped the charts in a personal revolution.

Who knew such small tops could mean so much? Their journey isn’t over yet. Even today, they let rebellious spirits shine as bright as the summer sun. The future promises bolder silhouettes that keep the good times rolling.

1980s: Aerobics & “Flashdance” Influence

The 1980s were truly a golden age for crop tops. They found their perfect role in fitness fashion thanks to aerobics mania. People flocked to classes to sweat it out to pop playlists. Nothing was better than a cute cropped tee for all those crunches!

At the same time, movies like Flashdance lit up screens. Jennifer Beals danced her way into our hearts while rocking the crop. Audiences rushed to mimic her midriff-baring moves. Soon, everyone was cutting their shirts for a six-pack show!

Of course, one queen reigned over the decade in a flashing crop of her own. Madonna thrilled the world with her cutting-edge style. When she rocked that iconic mesh vest in “Lucky Star,” the earth stood still. Folks scrambled to nail her edgy vibe down to the letter.

By decade’s end, crops had conquered closets coast to coast. Their popularity was now secure thanks to fitness, film, and fashion. Who knew such a simple top could make such a lasting impact? Even today, they give us 1980s Throwback joy whenever we proudly wear them.

1990s: 90s Pop Culture Trend

The 90s were all about expressing yourself through bold style. Nothing said it louder than a flirty crop top! Music stars like Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and the Spice Girls popped in these tops and never dropped. With their anthem choruses and tum-baring looks, they taught the world to flaunt what you’ve got.

Soon, teens everywhere were rocking crop combos just like their idols. Low-rise jeans let navels poke out playfully. Belly chains and tats added extra edge. Malls thrived with fast fashion so girls could keep trends hot. Crop mania had well and truly begun!

Movies like Clueless also put crop cuts center stage. Cher and her crew strutted Prada-perfect routines in Ivy tops that stopped just short. Audiences wanted in on their preppy girl dreams. Stores stocked shelves with pastels to satisfy the demand.

By the decade’s end, the crop had set fashion history. Its link to 90s pop culture remains strongest. To this day, putting one on gives a thrill of nostalgia. We celebrate the stars who made it a symbol of self-expression. Their fearless styles keep inspiring new generations to rock what they love!

Woman in Black Crop Top and Blue Denim Shorts

2000s: Indie Music Revival

The noughties were all about expressing your unique self. And nothing said rebel spirit more than a cute cropped tee! Indie artists like Alanis Morissette and Fiona Apple rocked these tops with raw emotion. Their lyrics channeled the pain and hope of a generation.

Girls everywhere were inspired. It was their turn to rewrite the fashion rules. Out went cookie-cutter trends nobody understood. In came colorful crop combos that felt like a true reflection. Emo kids, misfit teens – this was their time to take back style on their terms.

Malls stocked eclectic cuts to keep the movement fresh. Thrifty twee tops let creativity run wild. DIY mods like studs or paint kept looks personal. Magazines championed this rise of individualism. No longer would anyone dictate the dress code but yourself!

Now, we appreciate those pioneering pop stars even more. They soundtracked teen lives dealing with the rise of technology. Their crops showed it was okay just to be you – whatever shape that took. That message will never stop inspiring new waves of individual style.

2010s: Social Media Normalization

The tech boom of the 2010s changed everything – including how we shop and get style inspo! Celebs like Kendall Jenner were social media mavens, teasing their crop top looks to millions of fans online. Fashion Nova and PrettyLittleThing rocketed up thanks to influencers plugging their comfortable cuts non-stop.

It was the era of body positivity, too. Normal girls on Instagram proudly paraded their tum fashions without fear. The message spread far and wide – all bodies are good and deserving. Crop tops became a symbol of self-love, empowering women to rock what they felt great in.

Best of all, we could shop all our favorite looks with a single scroll. Hashtag OOTD hooked us with endless outfit inspo from people just like us. Whether flowy tops for brunch or chic crops for drinks, there was always a source of styling gold online.

By the late 2010s, crops had fully gone mainstream. They joined the ranks of wardrobe essentials in all our virtual closets. A trend born from rebellion evolved into everyday wear for a new generation. And their future ahead is as bright as sunny summer skin!

Today: Empowerment & Diversity

Today’s crop tops represent so much – strength, beauty, and self-love. They’re worn by women seeking to reshape outdated ideals. Whether it’s oozing confidence on the beach or rocking ruffles to brunch, crops crown queens in all their glory.

Body posi is king now. Curvy girls, trans sisters, older gals – each crop says, “I deserve to shine!” Their acceptance spreads hope for future generations. No more will anyone’s worth be tied to a number on a scale. Inner light alone holds power.

Fashion evolves with the times. Modern crops flaunt bold prints, cutouts, crochet details – any style under the sun! They cater to unique tastes. Delicate lace tops lift our moods on gray days. Neon brights remind us to play as summer stays.

Who knew such a simple garment could come so far? Its journey isn’t over – each wearer writes new chapters. As we lift each other up, crops will keep crowning queens and their fearless flair. That revolution remains far from over!

Woman in black sportswear crop top and shorts is sexy posing dancing with her hands up


The history of the crop top shows how it evolved alongside societal and cultural changes over decades. In the 1930s-40s, crop tops first emerged as risqué swimwear but gained mainstream acceptance in the 1960s during the sexual revolution thanks to icons like Barbara Eden.

The 1980s saw crop tops rise to popularity through aerobics and movies like Flashdance before Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and the Spice Girls wore them as symbols of empowerment in the 1990s.

In the 2000s, indie artists embraced crop tops as symbols of individual expression. The 2010s brought crop tops into the mainstream through social media, where celebrities and influencers showed their acceptance of all bodies.

Today, crop tops represent strength, beauty, and self-love by being worn by people seeking to reshape outdated beauty standards through empowerment and diversity.


When did crop tops become popular in the 90s?

Crop tops became popular in the 90s thanks to the influence of pop stars like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. These singers helped popularize crop tops by frequently wearing them in their music videos and performances, which were seen by millions of young fans. Their wearing of crop tops made the style fashionable and acceptable for girls and women to wear publicly.

When did crop tops become popular in the 80s?

Crop tops became popular in the 80s thanks to the influence of aerobics and the movie Flashdance. The aerobics craze led to a demand for comfortable workout clothes, making crop tops ideal for freedom of movement. Additionally, the film Flashdance featured Jennifer Beals regularly wearing a crop top, bringing the style into the mainstream and popularizing it among young women of the decade. Both aerobics and Flashdance helped make crop tops fashionable for the first time in the 1980s.

When did crop tops become popular in the US?

Crop tops became popular in the US in the late 1960s and early 1970s during the sexual revolution. This was due to a more relaxed societal attitude towards fashion emerging from the liberation movements of that time. Their popularity increased further in the 1980s due to both the aerobics craze, which created demand for workout clothes, and the rise of hip-hop culture, which popularized crop tops as expressions of individuality and style among young Americans.

When did crop tops become popular for men?

Crop tops became popular for men in the 2010s. The rise of social media increased exposure to different styles, helping normalize men’s crop tops. Body positivity movements also encouraged embracing one’s body regardless of size. Celebrities like Harry Styles and Shawn Mendes further popularized crop tops for men by frequently wearing them, making the garment a more common sight in the 2010s.

Who made crop tops a trend?

Madonna, Janet Jackson, Jennifer Beals, Britney Spears, Rihanna, and Harry Styles have all helped make crop tops a trend. Madonna popularized it in the 1980s as a symbol of female empowerment. Jennifer Beals boosted its popularity through her role in Flashdance. Britney Spears and Rihanna made crop tops a staple for women of different body types. And Harry Styles has helped normalize it for men in recent years. Together, these icons have established crop tops as a fashion statement.