This spring, tummy’s are in. From the bare midriffs at Jason Wu to the boxy crop tops at Balenciaga, it seems the biggest trend inspired by the catwalks this season is likely to be crunches and juice cleanses. Don’t believe us? Just look at the red carpet: almost every A-list celebrity has already been snapped baring their belly, from Kirsten Stewart (whose front-tied white t-shirt showed just a little hint of skin) to Rihanna, whose bandeau bra-shirt left nothing to the imagination. It’s not just at swish Hollywood events that skin is taking centre stage: stars are also popping up on the covers of glossy magazines with their midriffs exposed, like Beyoncé, who donned a striped crop top with a sequined pencil skirt for British Vogue or January Jones’ checkered Marc Jacobs midriff shirt for Glamour UK.
But, apparently you don’t need Gwyneth Paltrow’s abs in order to work this look: ELLE Canada caught up with Judy Inc stylist Nadia Pizzimenti for tips on how to wear the crop top, summer’s most dreaded garment. Love the look but hate your midsection? We asked Charles Lin, a personal trainer at Bloor Fitness in Toronto, for tips on how to get your tummy toned up in time for the beach.
How to wear the crop top: Length laws
“Crop tops can be tricky,” Pizzimenti admits with a laugh. “But usually there are three basic rules. The first one is all about length. If you’re going for a more day-time, beach-appropriate look, you can wear a shorter crop top. But, if you want a more demure or elegant look, opt for a longer garment—one that only shows a sliver of the tummy.” As a general rule, the most universally flattering part of the tummy is the area around the ribcage, so a shirt that shows off this area is more likely to attract the right type of attention.
How to wear the crop top: Material matters
“Structure is very important with this trend,” Pizzimenti says. “If your crop top is short and tight, look for a thick material like wool, neoprene or leather—even in the summer!” she advises. “It looks more elegant.” For inspiration, check out crop top collector Rihanna’s leather look, which she showed off on Instagram recently. We’re also fan of Diane Kruger’s tailored, collared Carven shirt that she wore at the premiere of The Host in Los Angeles. if you’re not keen to draw attention to your silhouette, try a boxier cut à la Balenciaga. Be sure to avoid anything too sheer or flimsy that could accidentally fly up and reveal more than you bargained for.
SLIDESHOW: The top 10 crop tops on the runway
Check out more expert advice on how to wear the crop top on the next page…
How to wear the crop top: Balancing act
What you wear with your crop top is just as important as the shirt itself, says Pizzimenti. "Circle skirts are great to match it with, because you get a really amazing ’50s look,” she advises. “Try a high-waisted wide legged pant, too—that way, you won’t end up showing too much skin in the belly.” Garage creative director and street style star Shala Monroque agrees. “I like wearing them in the summer with my high-waisted Hermès pants so you barely see any skin,” she told The Cut. “You shouldn’t have your navel showing unless you’re at the beach." We also love the look of a crop top paired with a pencil or maxi skirt, which are not only on trend for spring, but classic wardrobe staples that will never go out of style.
How to wear the crop too: Get fit
Forget doing thousands of sit-ups—according to trainer Charles Lin, to get Gwyneth Paltrow’s abs, compound exercises are key. “Squats, lunges, pull-ups and chest presses recruit more muscles than isolated exercises, and burn more calories,” he explains. According to Lin, a common weight-loss mistake is that people assume they can sweat out pounds on the treadmill or the elliptical. "Your body plateaus after six to eight weeks," he says. Mix it up with weight training and lunges, which are known in the fitness community as a miracle exercise. "Since you’re exercising the biggest muscle in your body, lunges burn the most calories. They also help increase mobility and flexibiblity, and tone your legs." Handy, because we think it’s just a matter of time before the mini skirt makes a massive comeback.
Another weight loss rule of thumb? “Drink tons of water, and avoid sugary drinks," Lin says. "Water helps to speed up metabolism, and also helps detoxify." If you want flat abs, forget about that daily glass of wine. "One of the main functions of the liver is to process and break down body fat," Lin says. "When you drink on the days you workout, the liver will have to deal with the alcohol first." Translation: instead of breaking down fat cells, your body has to process the booze. Chances are, if you add in eight hours of sleep every night, and a fiber-rich breakfast every morning, you’ll have a smooth stomach in no time flat.
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