Repeller or Propeller: The Cropped Top

Leandra Medine | June 9, 2011

Written for Refinery 29, peep the full version here

Cropped tops are no new trend but there’s something to be said about their staying power. Seasons after an 80s revival have finally been killed off again, the short shirts don’t seem to be letting go. The universe is obviously trying to maintain a little bit o’Cyndi Lauper in all of us, and I’ll take it. This then though begs the impending question: is the boxy but midriff baring silhouette a repeller or propeller? Who will I go to prom with? Does a bear shit in the woods?

Below, find three ways to harvest the crop, and then deliberate for yourself.

photos byNaomi Shon 

1. As a stand alone

crop top: Tibi, jeans: Joe’s Jeans, shoes: Giuseppe Zannotti 
You may say propeller because of the nature of the tight pants and exposed aforementioned midriff, but I offer this: if not for a long shirt, how does one cover the inevitable instigated-by-zipper-and-pockets-FUPA? 
…One doesn’t.

2. For Layering

crop top: Tibi, jacket: Tibi, blouse: Katiti, skirt; Dallin Chase, shoes: Stubbs & Wootton, necklace: DANNIJO

Paired with a blouse underneath and a crop-sleeved fisherman’s coat over it, the crop top serves as a buffering layer to add a touch more personal style from the torso up. A neon tweed skirt catches and compliments the yellow crop top detailing and the green slippers are, well, green slippers. Which is basically a neutral. Finally, as you can see, I’ve taken the Cyndi Lauper reference quite seriously, cue the comb-over.

3. For Print Blocking

floral blouse: Parker, leopard blouse: Parker, shorts: HyDot
Oh yes, I went there.

In the final look, I’ve piled five different prints onto myself to create my favorite pattern explosion. This look comes to show that even in wildly high temperatures, we can layer and layer and layer (and layer) and still bare our arms and legs. Our torsos may sweat, but ultimately, what’s a little sweat in the grand scheme of managing to emulate a four-tiered wedding cake with sass? 

I conclude with this: While questionable, yes, the crop top has power to both repel and propel but seems to function more successfully as the former. What say you, flamingos? Try it out! Do it! Yeah!

  • We Can Pretend

    dying for stubbs and wooton slippers!!! overly obsessed with your blog =)

  • Anoushka

    Love that last look! You make a great wedding cake! Wow, that sounds weird. Someone should design floral mismatched print wedding cakes actually, could be a hit..

  • Mirjam
  • La Petite Olga

    Love the last look! So fun!

    xx Olga
    La Petite Olga

  • pixelhazard

    I love the first and second look. the third is too scary for me to consider pulling off just yet.

    I just bought a cropped top. so pretty but i'm glad it's not versatile

    Bright Green Laces

  • s

    This top is vey nice…
    I love the mix on the 2nd look… ;D
    Beautiful ;))


  • asia

    i love first outfit ! great pants 🙂


  • Blaksheep

    Those jeans are amazing!!


  • Miss Molly
  • gemma

    love the 5 prints in one outfit – who would have thought that they'd all go together so perfectly??

  • Collections
  • Carina

    I loved the 3rd outfit!! 😉

    xoxo from Brazil!

  • Copper Etiquette
  • Elena

    I love the slippers of the second outfit but I prefer the first or the last outfit
    I love your blog:)

    Elena from

  • Fashion Agony

    I love the print blocking trend on you! And those Margiela boots are to die for!


  • blue roses

    arguably, sweat dripping down one's biceps and thighs could be interpreted as a type of transient, saline accessory… also, an accessory that furthers the repelling to a whole new olfactory sensory level.

  • Emilia Alonso

    I loved it with the dress combination. I love that print mixture. love you girl

  • Carolina Sundell

    Love the four print blocking, layers layers.. Just genius!!

  • Elle

    Fabulous and hilarious!


    Propeller if you have a nice belly, Repeller if you have a NOT so nice belly………..

  • CupcakesOMG!

    hahaha yesssssssssss…i suddenly feel empowered to let my belly hang out of a crop top. i can hear the critics now:

    "who the hell told her she should do THAT to herself??"
    me: "ManRepller…doyyyyy!!!"

  • thepetticoat

    Love the second look!

  • EW

    Think you mean 'Refinery 29', though perhaps there's a market for Refinery 26 as well, hehe.

    Love love love your blog and read it daily for fashion inspiration and equally important, for a great laugh. Keep it up woman!

  • Nancie Mwai

    Looove the print blocking! My fave! wow.xx

  • Heidi

    last look (mixed prints) is man and woman repelling. if you weren't so cute and slender, i would have thought you were a crazy.

  • Sarah Landisman

    Great, FUN looks! Your accessories are always the best – obsessed with that Peter Pan collar DANNIJO necklace!

  • Bec

    i am shockingly propelled towards this. especially that many prints in one outfit. i don't even like prints. but here, here i like them.

  • Danielle @ Antiquated Treasures

    Wow, I absolutely love the last combination. It's incredibly innovative!!

  • Priscilla

    didnt know the print blocking will come out as well as it did.. I love!:))

  • New York Don’t Leave Me

    Haha hilarious, I love your layered look!

  • Mrs. C

    Great looks! I gotta say that I think it has the power to propel right now….gives a little glimpse but leaves lots to the imagination! 🙂
    Recipes Fashion Marriage

  • My Style Canvas

    I like the different print layers–gives a bit of gypsy chic, no?

  • The Fashionable ESQ

    Like the first look boring of me! Those colored skinnies are great

  • J’Anns Boutique

    Love you blog, never fails to make me smile.

    A Girl's Next Best Friend

  • vain319

    I like the skirt layer,I use to do that with mini skirts that were too mini and my friends thought I was tres' rocked it out..

  • Ale.

    Cropped tops invaded Lima this summer, especially among young girls who decided to wear them with tiny shorts to go out partying. I cringe by just thinking about it.

    I love the look of the printed blocking combination, will defintiely try it out!


  • Anonymous


    whats FUPA??

  • Anonymous

    nevermind–i looked fupa up–haha.

  • Vasilieva

    i do love cropped tops especially with some highwaisted bottoms, yours is looking great, loving these snake skin wedge boots

  • Jessie

    LOVING THOSE RED PANTS. i want a pair. still have yet to purchase and need them.

  • Molliee

    the print blocking is amazing! great post

  • tara-lynn

    love this post. i recently knit up some cropped sweaters in my shop, & recieve lots of questions & concerns of how to wear them. i love them layered w/ a blouse. now i can send them this link when asked that pesky question.
    kindly, tara-lynn

  • Trés Awesome a Chicago Street Style Blog

    one and three baby! First look is a fuck me, second look is a fuck you, and third look is a fuck yes.


    Très Awesome

  • Sarah

    I love the layered look! I'm not brave enough to work a cropped top, I think it's a woman-repeller for me! Showing my midriff makes me feel ever so slightly Britney-esque circa '99

    I have to say I love this blog. The concept is just genius.

    A fellow man-repeller.


  • quotes

    thumbs up!

  • heatherheartsfashion

    print-blocking = waaay more appealing than colour blocking. awesome post.


  • Anonymous

    I just started reading your blog. Love. Where did you get the Balenciaga bootie/sandals you wore with the Proenza dress in the Kirna Zabete post?

  • Anonymous

    Damn b if my "fupa" looked as good as yours I would go with the stand-alone every day!

  • Megan Hattie

    OMG the print blocking. I love love love that you did that.

    –Megan//The Martian Tide

  • Gi Ribeiro

    Você tem muito estilo!!!

    Conhece meu site de semijóias???


  • Sharlxo

    LOVE the print blocking dress you created! that takes skills!

  • Poindexter

    omg FUPA!!!! That made me spit my coffee out in my lap (to avoid the 'puter).
    Love your work!

  • Megan Abigail Chandler

    I have been lusting after a crop top to go with my harem pants for a while. If you like cropping it you may like this: … scroll down to the bottom for a cute look!

  • The Fancy Teacup

    You are probably the only girl on earth who can rock 5 different patterns and look totally awesome doing so. Simply put, you. are. amazing!

  • Corinne

    Absolutely adore the printblocking! Makes me want to try it too!!!! (If only I had enough prints to attempt it!)

  • Anonymous

    The second time I wore a cropped top this season, my husband said, "what's with the short tops?" So I'm repelling him at least … LOVE the third look.

  • meche

    i like pretty much anything cropped
    but that print blocking is just plain brilliant!
    you are amazing

  • Ms LadyCakes

    Dude – you rock! I love all the different ways you creatively layer. Thanks!


  • adahliavolk

    I say they are all propeller looks look for sure! Both heels are killer!!!

  • Gabrielle

    oh I love this cropped top post- awesome outfits!

  • Lydia

    I love the print blocking one best.

  • lisa

    you are super adorable, refreshing point of view!

  • TRAN Thu Hang

    I vote for the stand alone and print blocking!

  • Ashley

    I love layering with crop tops, Love the print blocked layered outfit best!


  • MyDailyGlamour

    Fantastic outfits ! Love all the pieces and fav is the jeans


    Check mine out and follow me too ???


  • duckalicious

    I despise stand-alone cropped tops, not because I'd have FUPA cause I don't (at least that's what I tell myself), but I just never felt comfy strolling around with my tummy saying "oh, hey there!" to passers-by. the other two versions are so on point though. keep it repellin'!

  • Tessi

    Love your shoes and your red jeans:)

    x tessi

  • yv

    super cute i love it!

  • mon sac by me

    Red jean's so rocky !! great outfit !


    yeah definitely a repeller and propeller… i love crop tops though 🙂 h&m; has an amazing selection right now…


  • Michelle Lee

    amazing looks
    love that margiela shoes

  • YoUngLiNgToN

    omg i saw u comming at the big sshow organised by Galeries Lafayette and Glamour, excited to see u there

  • Cara

    outfits are J'adore-able!
    ♥ Cara
    Lilac and Grey

  • kelsey williams

    You are a genius.

  • Christina

    Dear MR,

    I'm new to your blog, and I love it! This is unrelated to your post, but don't you think Olivia Palermo is the ultimate man repeller? She's almost sickly skinny, often wears baggy clothes, flats or crazy (gorgeous!) shoes, and insane amounts of chunky accessories…perfect man repeller, and yet she gives me a female boner. Thoughts?


    You look adorable! Love the print blocking.

  • Ashley

    Love the five-print monster! That's now on my to-do list…as a matter of fact, I think I'm gonna go and print-block now

    The Wardrobe Whisperer

  • DNA (designers+artists)

    The layering is phenomenal. How did we not figure this out before?

  • Natalia

    You wore this top when you styled the Tibi windows! I like it! Oh and those Margiela shoes? So ridiculously good.

  • Dylana Suarez
  • Anonymous

    how on earth do you have FUPA? Youre rake thin!
    what chance do the rest of us have???

  • Little Sable

    kisses from your follower ♡
    With love Little Sable for you very very very crazy outfit!

  • Lexi

    Love the tiered wedding cake look … especially because I can still eat dinner and manage the crop top simultaneously this way. Also, I want all of your shoes.

    xox Lexi
    Glitter & Pearls

  • Anonymous

    Love it 🙂


    Mens fashion blog

  • thefashionguitar

    Perfect! Great inspiration.

    XO Charlotte

  • Demüre

    awesome! love the salmon pants!! so cute and summery !! Your blog is awesome! so inspiring!! xoxox

  • Lyndsay Rush

    Thing 1: In response to a new watch I added to my arm full of 6 bracelets my friend said, "Aren't you going to remove something to make room for the watch?" Urm, no.
    Thing 2: AC Slater called and he wants his look back, re: crop topz:

  • Gabriel

    I'm sorry but that outfit is tottaly man getter! Or a repeller Giamba Valli style

  • Kimberly

    love all the looks the last one is amazing so many prints!

  • Brooke

    @ brookekb. want theeem. love the neutral color.

  • Megan Younce

    5 prints in 1?! you are amazing.

  • aclineo

    i love the brightness in both looks

  • AsjiaGarner

    those prints make me go crazy!! love them! mixing and matching tons of prints is one of my favorite fashion statements!! love the last look!

  • Leandra Medine= Moi Idol

    LOVE ajkdsdsljs cant say anything but wow! that … wow

  • Anastasia

    Thanks for doing what you do.

    You are my first shout-out worthy blog:

  • Eat.Style.Play

    the craziest outfit at the bottom is the best!

  • MichelleA

    always so amazing!


    visit my blog 🙂

  • Jen

    I adore the last look!

  • Marcos
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