By Janet Kelly
CROPPED, midriff-baring, cut-out and cold-shoulder tops—some that we’ve seen before—are fashion darlings again this season. One out of every four shirts on Shopbop and one-fifth of Anthropologie’s offerings are flashing some—or a lot—of flesh. On the high-end Moda Operandi site, you can browse more than 300 of these trendy tops. Stores and sites are likely taking their cues from spring 2022 runways, where, for example, Michael Kors showed a pink gingham suit with a mini skirt and bralette, while Miuccia Prada’s Miu Miu sent an ultra-low-rise pleated miniskirt paired with a teensy crop top down its runway. These shrunken tops—and skirts—may have signified designers’ hopes about light at the end of the long Covid tunnel. (Speaking of extremes, Prada puzzlingly teamed satin mini skirts with long trains), perhaps in a nod to the costumes on Netflix’s Bridgerton and HBO’s The Gilded Age). Will these styles translate to the street, though?
Following a trend is only worthwhile if it’s flattering and wearable for you, so, while these skin-revealing tops will look adorable on young girls, they’re not for this grown-up girl. (Needless to say, the same goes for mini skirts.)
When it comes to what to wear now, oversize shirts with longish hems to the rescue—to cover belly buttons and camouflage rear ends. Thankfully, there are plenty of options in that category, but if you’re eager to jump into spring clothing, don’t delay because some sizes in some styles are already sold out. Here are 10 on our radar:
LEFT: I never tire of stripes, particularly for spring and summer, so Banana Republic’s oversize poplin shirt ($89.50) is right in my wardrobe wheelhouse. Slits at the sides let breezes flow in when the weather warms and also let high-waisted pants peek out.
LEFT: La Ligne’s founders— two former Vogue editors and Rag & Bone’s former head of biz development—are so fond of stripes, they base their whole collection on them. This Plage Sweater ($295), made of 90% cotton and 10% acrylic sweater, is a good companion now with jeans and in the summer over white linen pants.
RIGHT: Make them green with envy when you wear this all-cotton shirt (shown and also available in pink), although you’ll have to wait on that because both colors are currently out of stock. My experience with Mango is that when an item does return to stock, they quickly notify you. Meanwhile, the shirt is reduced from $49.99 to $24.99.
LEFT: Although I’m not a big fan of leopard spots in general—I’m probably in the minority here—I do like Massimo Dutti’s abstract interpretation on this silk-and-cotton animal print top ($119).
RIGHT: Cos calls the color of its grandad collar blouse ($120) khaki, but it looks like army green to me. Although it’s pictured on the website worn in or out, it seems to me that the tunic-style shirt with curved hem and side slits begs to be worn out.
LEFT: With its gathered sleeves and no-collar collar, Anthropologie’s puff sleeve buttondown ($130) looks like a Victorian nightgown except for that deep and sexy v-neck.
RIGHT: While my Southern California pal was already bemoaning all the cropped tops she was seeing last spring, she showed me a Poetry catalogue. I had forgotten about it ’til I happened to see this linen Rib-Stitch Sweater. It reminds me of Eileen Fisher similar sweaters but with more shape, a more flattering drape —because of its curved hemline—and prettier colors. What do you think? It’s $169.
LEFT: This is the drapey square shirt version—in tencel —($70) of the relaxed silk shirt from Everlane we’ve mentioned here before. The sleeve length is a plus for those of us who don’t like the sight of our elbows, and the hemline offers serious butt coverage. It’s available in slate gray, bone and olive.
RIGHT: I find Frank & Eileen clothing appealing, but like this cotton-fleece, mineral-blue funnel neck top for $228, they’re on the spendy side. Alternatively, if you like the look and are handy with a pair of scissors, you could trim the neck, sleeves and hem of one of your old sweatshirts, as a friend of mine recently did—with excellent results.
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