Crop Tops – Trendy or Trashy?

It is safe to say that bralets aren’t the easiest of fashion trends to pull off. Too tiny to be a t-shirt and too long to be a bra, the garment is essentially a crop top which bares your stomach. When they stormed into the fashion scene this summer I was immediately enticed by their overt femininity and quirky style and I knew that it was an item I had to get my hands on.

After admiring the trend for a while, both in magazines and in the shops, I decided it was finally time to own one myself, so using my birthday money, I hit the high street on a bralet buying splurge.

I made a conscious effort to flip hastily through the crop top section, grabbing at the skimpy garments with concentrated determination to pick out those with the prettiest patterns and most complementary colours. I filled my shopping basket with several bralets; pastel, floral, black, gingham…and shoved them all onto the counter without trying them on or thinking about it further.

It was drummed into my mind that I needed to have as many bralets as possible; the more the better, as I was truly excited about finally owning the garment and I was confident in my belief that they are a summer essential.

Particularly stoked about wearing them on my summer holiday to Ibiza, I packed all four of my new purchases into my suitcase. I was positively glowing about dressing up in my new stylish items on holiday and I was ready to get glammed up for nights out on the town.

Unfortunately, I didn’t wear any of them. Tell a lie, I squeezed into one on the last night of my vacation, but just because I felt like I had to try and make it work after all of the premeditated effort. Truth be told, in the stifling Spanish sun with my oily skin slick with sun lotion, the last thing I wanted to do was squeeze into a tiny tight top which exposed my ever-expanding belly, courtesy of the all-you-can-eat style buffet offered with the all-inclusive package at the hotel.

Needless to say, after indulging in the vast array of delicious foods for breakfast, lunch and dinner, my midriff wasn’t exactly in toned condition and didn’t fancy making a prominent appearance. I would wake with a relatively flat stomach, but the flow of alcoholic and fizzy beverages and my sudden attachment to chips and buttered baguettes resulted in a sizable food baby developing and occupying my stomach for the majority of the time. Surprisingly enough, I found myself choosing baggy vests and floaty, summery dresses to wear in the evenings as opposed to the taut crop tops which were left hanging limply in the wardrobe all fortnight.

On the last night I finally decided it was appropriate to wear a bralet, so I tugged my navy blue and white gingham garment from its lonely space in the closet, and buttoned it up.

Then came the drama of deciding what to wear with it – it was undoubtedly too hot for leggings, yet it looked too tarty with a skirt, and there was definitely too much skin on show if they were worn with hot pants…finally I opted for some classic denim shorts to make the outfit more casual, yet I still managed to feel too exposed.

My flesh filled out over the top of the tight shorts, so I was constantly pulling the top down and hoisting the shorts up, essentially diminishing the whole point of wearing a bralet in the first place! Not to mention the amount of people who stared as I wandered around the hotels’ dining area. Even the waitress, who normally greets you when you enter the premises, failed to give me any sort of welcoming; instead her eyes immediately dropped down to my stomach…not exactly the hospitable acknowledgement I had in mind.

Don’t get me wrong, I am happy with my body – as a healthy size 10, I don’t worry about my weight – yet it was hard to feel comfortable in the garment when everyone seemed to be looking at my abdomen and stealing curious glances at my outfit choice.

The thing is, even if you do feel slim line and completely body confident, it’s almost impossible to ignore the beady eyes of judgemental passers-by who keep their gaze fixed on your gut, or to avoid thinking about the fact your belly is on show. I felt inappropriate and underdressed, even in the humid conditions of Ibiza, where wearing minimal clothes is largely conventional due to the high temperatures, so had I wore the bralet in cold, drizzly England, I dread to think how the outfit would have been perceived.

However, as the night continued, I finally relaxed into the wild ambience of the party central that is Ibiza and after a few rum and cokes and pulsing dance tracks I felt more comfortable in the garment and less paranoid, but was it really worth all of that effort and attention?

Bralets are a fashion, and they are difficult to work, there’s no doubt about it. You have to carefully consider how you wear them, because there is the possibility that they can look tacky and attention-seeking. However, if you style them well they can look flirty and oh-so-flattering, and as they are fashionable at current it may be hard to resist their girlish allure. Conclusively, they are revealing, so they can make you feel bare and therefore self-conscious and alert, but they can look incredibly chic if worn right.

Personally I am still confused about them. I was drawn to bralets initially, but my love for them fizzled out when the paranoia and attention I received from wearing one brought unexpected disappointment. On the other hand, a part of me still feels somewhat attached to them, and they remain unworn in my wardrobe. I’m sure they will surface to make a return one day, maybe on a slightly less rainy evening in England, when I summon up the courage. Or I could just leave it till next year’s holiday…

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