How To Embrace The Crop Top Trend In Your Forties

Crop top, vintage skirt & fedora
Crop top, vintage skirt & fedora
Vintage skirt & yellow tote
Crop top, vintage skirt & fedora

Crop top & fedora
Oh, the controversial subject of the crop top trend for women in their forties! In this post I’m tackling it head-on and showing you how I’ve styled mine. Brave? Maybe…

I’ve read quite a few articles this year about this particular trend and whether women over the age of 40 can – or should – wear crop tops. As you may have read in my recent Musings post To All New 40-Somethings: Style In Your Forties (& Beyond), my three “rules” for getting it right at any age are a) Wear things you like, b) Wear what flatters you, and c) Wear what’s appropriate to the occasion. Let’s apply those guidelines to this outfit…

a) Wear what you like

Meaning clothes that make you go “ooh, I like that!”, not “Just wear whatever you want, regardless”. And I like crop tops! Yes, I wore them in the 90s. I like the slightly 50s Bardot/French Riviera look to them, especially with a long sleeve. And although I don’t wear black very often, I like a crop top in black because (and this is for me personally) it’s then the style that’s making the statement, not the colour. 

b) Wear what flatters you

This is subjective, I know – but this is the biggest decider in whether anyone can “get away with” (for want of a better expression) wearing a particular item of clothing. So as already mentioned, I’m going to be brave and it might sound a little bigheaded: I like my waist and torso. I’ve always been very tiny round the back and waist area, and although I easily put weight on round the bum/hip/thighs area, my waist tends to stay defined and I’ve never had a muffin top. This is partly down to genes and partly due to not having had babies, but I also work out. A lot. 

c) Wear what’s appropriate to the occasion

I have the first two points covered – I like crop tops, and they flatter my small waist. The occasion was a vintage fair, so there wasn’t really anyone I had to please except myself; I wasn’t baring my torso at work, or a wedding, or any kind of official function. Personally, if I’m wearing any kind of flesh-baring item of clothing (which really isn’t very often), I make sure I cover up the rest of me. So I wouldn’t also wear a very short skirt (even if I had amazing legs), or show off loads of cleavage. I chose a long-sleeve top with a reasonably high neck – and had to make sure I styled it correctly.

Some may disagree, but I think that with the rest of the styling I’ve “got away with” this outfit by following those guidelines. I think it’s important to style certain items in a modern way; the absolute golden rule with wearing crop tops at the moment to make them on-trend is to pair them with high waisted skirts or trousers. (Anything vaguely showing off your belly-button will scream late 90s Britney Spears.) As the occasion was a vintage fair, I wore a midi-length vintage skirt and my Panama hat as a nod to the retro theme.

My most important accessory? A bit of confidence. With most of the rest of me covered up, the only bit really on show was my middle, and that’s fine with me. I work hard to keep that part of me toned, and for that reason I don’t see why I shouldn’t wear a crop top at the age of nearly 41. If I told any disapproving person that I was, in fact, not 40 but 38 – does that suddenly make it alright in their opinion? I don’t look any different, my lifestyle isn’t different, the occasion hasn’t changed… it’s just numbers.

I think that’s enough waffle for one outfit post! I’ll cut straight to the chase and ask you what you think – I know I don’t usually ask for anyone’s opinions on my outfits (I post my outfits because I like them, and if you do too then that’s great – I simply hope readers get some inspiration!), but with crop tops being such a talking point this year I’m making an exception πŸ˜‰

Catherine x
Social Media Icon - Bloglovin+Social Media Icon - TwitterSocial Media Icon - FacebookSocial Media Icon - InstagramSocial Media Icon - Google+Social Media Icon - Pinterest
P.S. I’ve selected a few of my favourite crop tops from the interweb below, plus some lovely vintage-style skirts.

Shop my look!

Crop top: Asos (now sold out in black but this New Look one is almost identical), Fedora: Asos, Skirt: Vintage, Heels: Faith, Bag: courtesy of Yes Walker, Bracelet: Debenhams, Watch: Asos, Rings: New Look / Debenhams

Linking up to: Share Your Style SaturdaysVisible MondayMonday BloomMonday MingleCreative MondaysFunday MondayWardrobe WednesdaysWhat I Wore Wednesday


  1. Karen
    6 May 2018 / 12:17 pm

    Hi, I’m a little late to the party here. I’m 41 and can still wear a belly-showing bikini and a belly-showing crop-top. I think the “wear what flatters you” mantra is key.

  2. 20 May 2014 / 4:11 pm

    What about 50? I like my waist and torso too.

  3. 6 August 2013 / 7:58 pm

    Well, I am 30, and I don't think I can embrace it as well as you do!

  4. 7 July 2013 / 12:01 pm

    I think that rule b) "wear what flatters you" should be the mantra for many women a lot younger than you! You look amazing in this outfit and you've styled it so well that age is irrelevant. Sadly I see too many gorgeous young women wearing cropped tops that reveal rolls of flat, which draws everybody's attention, instead of people seeing their lovely faces. Why do they do it?

    As an over 60 with too much weight around my middle, I wouldn't wear this look at all. As I'm short (5'1") I might just try a cropped top on with high waisted trousers to see if it actually covers my middle!

  5. 3 July 2013 / 4:55 pm

    wow, you look amazing and no way in your 40s. definitely suits you and hello there abs! You look beautiful, confident, fresh, just wow!!!

  6. 3 July 2013 / 4:14 pm

    Catherine, you look great! And I totally think you have nailed the rules! You have inspired me to be faithful to my pilates every day! xoxo Lynn Dylan

  7. 2 July 2013 / 3:10 am

    Quite right. I can see Lauren Hutton, or any number of much older modelly-types wearing this trend very attractively and appropriately. You look smashing, easily half your age and good for you.
    Everything depends on your degree of fitness and personal confidence … but all the confidence in the world won't replace a toned midsection! No matter the age.

    • 3 July 2013 / 1:28 pm

      You're quite right, Jan – but in the same way I will never have fabulous legs (they're "okay legs"), no matter how much exercise I do… so you'll never catch me in short shorts or a mini with bare legs. So my middle is the bit that gets the exposure! And thank you for your lovely compliments :)))

  8. 1 July 2013 / 8:19 pm

    Nicely put together, both the clothes and your opinions on them! I have to smile somewhat ruefully when I read the various blogs by 30 and 40 somethings about age appropriate concerns. You are YOUNG and should celebrate and enjoy the fact and be a little crazy in your dressing if you want to be. Perhaps I should do a post headed,' how to wear a crop top in your seventies'! (I'm off to New Look to hunt down the black top.)

    • 3 July 2013 / 1:27 pm

      WOWSER – good for you, in your 70s and rocking a crop top… let me know if you post a photo of you wearing one! And I fully intend to dress a little more crazy as each year goes by… thank you for the encouragement, my lovely! x

  9. 1 July 2013 / 6:41 pm

    With that tiny waist, you can most definitely get away with it! I like the print on that skirt, too!

  10. 1 July 2013 / 5:33 pm

    Your getting a lot of validation for this look. I love it too. You definitely can rock this look. The part I like the best is the hat because I am a milliner and that Fedora is so classy on you. Wish I had the body type you do cause if I did I go for it like you did. Love your blog thanks for sharing.

    • 3 July 2013 / 1:25 pm

      Thank you, Adrienne… yes I think the hat was absolutely essential to the look – I can't explain why, though! xoxo

  11. 1 July 2013 / 3:04 pm

    OMG! I was this skirt so bad! You look absolutely fab in this outfit! You put my poor Maxi Dress OOTD to shame! LOL

    Tori | GlassesAndGlitter

    • 3 July 2013 / 1:24 pm

      Don't be silly, Tori – I checked out your maxi and it's a STUNNER! You look fabulous!! Thank you my lovely xoxo

  12. 1 July 2013 / 2:58 pm

    Ok so you look absolutely fabulous in your crop top! I agree with your rules as a woman in my 40s! πŸ™‚

    I am the complete opposite when I put on weight it goes right to the belly which I need to work on seeing how great you look! I suffer from muffin top and my butt, thighs and legs are super lean. Ugh!

    • 3 July 2013 / 1:23 pm

      It seems we're the other way round, Aracely – all my weight goes on my bum and thighs while my middle stays reasonably small. We're never satisfied with what we've got, are we? Hence me showing off the bit I like and covering the bits I don't!! Thank you so much for your comment hun x

  13. 1 July 2013 / 2:46 pm

    Dang – this look is seriously great on you! Loving the crop top.

  14. 1 July 2013 / 1:23 pm

    Looks amazing on you. I think this look does call for a small waist and a very toned midriff, and not many of us in our 40s and 50s have that. But you've definitely proved this can be a very wearable and elegant look. I would love some DSLR tips too —– I love the way you set up your photos.

  15. 30 June 2013 / 6:30 pm

    Gorgeous! I absolutely love a tasteful cropped top! Last year I was so excited to wear cropped tops, my abs were looking fantastic, and then I got preggo!! haha This year I'm taking full advantage of my crop top wearing days…the only problem is sometimes they're not exactly appropriate while toting along 2 children!!

    • 3 July 2013 / 1:20 pm

      I think only if it draws attention to a part of you that's not looking great then maybe you should think twice – but from what I remember you have a fabulous middle, Natasha!! Just go for it! Thank you sweetie x

    • 3 July 2013 / 1:18 pm

      That's really sweet of you Danniela – what a nice thing to say! Thank you!

  16. 29 June 2013 / 4:26 pm

    You totally rock this crop top! I'm 20 years old and I can't even rock that. You look so fab!

    Have a great day!
    A Southern Drawl

    • 3 July 2013 / 1:17 pm

      Hmm but I seem to remember that you have AMAZING legs, Grace, which I don't (they're okay)…. but thank you so much :)))

  17. 29 June 2013 / 3:05 pm

    This looks seriously amazing on you– and not just the crop top (which is flattering on you & I think it is great that you admit that! We should be able to acknowledge our attributes!), but the look as a whole. My fear with crop tops is somehow becoming gratuitous. This is not that in any way, shape or form. Love how you broke down why the look works…especially the part about not showing flesh everywhere- such an important note!

    ~Alexis of North On Harper

    • 3 July 2013 / 1:15 pm

      Yep – I'm definitely not one to show that much flesh really anywhere, but I'm proud of my middle and don't know how many more years I'll be able to show it off proudly! Thank you so much Alexis… a great comment! x

  18. 29 June 2013 / 7:17 am

    After seeing you at the fair I can say your tummy is very toned…. your photo's aren't air brushed, you really are that beautiful!! Damn you! πŸ™‚ xx

    • 3 July 2013 / 1:14 pm

      Haha thank you Joe my lovely… only you know how cold it was that day!!! But I'd planned this outfit in advance and Mr Summers said it was mild during the morning, so a crop top it was!!! =chilly= xoxo

  19. 29 June 2013 / 5:42 am

    Very flattering! You really do have a stunning figure.

    • 3 July 2013 / 1:13 pm

      Gosh Nadine, that's really nice of you to say… and "flattering" is an extra specially fabulous comment! x

  20. 29 June 2013 / 12:26 am

    You look amazing! Well done and you are owning this look, xoxo

  21. 28 June 2013 / 11:36 pm

    I think the crop top looks very good. Normally I wouldn't have thought it would be an appropriate public piece for our age group but the way you presented it is completely appropriate. I think it needs the support of a toned mid-drift like yours in order to work properly. My mid section is in good shape too and I find myself curious to see what a crop top would look like with some high waist pants I have. I never would have even considered it before. Thanks for sharing.

    • 3 July 2013 / 1:12 pm

      You're welcome, Pavones – and thank you for your honest comment! I think it goes to show that we should wear what's best for us an individuals, not what we're "supposed" to wear at a particular age. Not all 40 year olds look the same – nor do 20-somethings!! x

  22. 28 June 2013 / 8:22 pm

    You look fabulousssssssssssssssss.
    I want your skirt, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

    • 3 July 2013 / 1:10 pm

      I thought you would, Sacramento… it's your kind of skirt! x

  23. 28 June 2013 / 8:16 pm

    You look fantastic, great outfit xx

  24. 28 June 2013 / 8:02 pm

    Love, love, love. And as 50+, I still enjoy wearing crop tops. Love the styling!

    • 3 July 2013 / 1:10 pm

      WOW, good for you, Angela – I bet you rock them!!! Thanks hun x

  25. 28 June 2013 / 6:45 pm

    OH MY GOODNESS I am hyperventilating. You look amazing, Catherine! That skirt is gorgeous and crop tops flatter your beautiful figure πŸ™‚

    I have a question – how do you get your photos to be so bright and vibrant in colour? I'm buying a DSLR soon but I've noticed that many of my DSLR-wielding friends' photos are much duller/muted. I would really want my photos to look like yours! πŸ™‚ If you don't mind me asking – what do you do in terms of in-camera settings and also in post processing? Thanks so much!


    • 3 July 2013 / 1:09 pm

      Oh Jenn – how many lovely compliments have you fitted into one comment??!!!! Thank you!!

      My best advice is make sure you buy a fast lens, not just use the standard lens that they tend to sell with DSLRs. For an explanation of a fast lens is, see my post here: (see points 4 and 5) and set the aperture to the largest setting on my lens, f1.4. I use Photoshop Elements for post-processing, nearly always adjusting the Brightness and Contrast, Auto Levels, and often the Colour Cast if it needs it (quite often the pictures can be cold – blueish – in the UK with our dull days).

      Hope that helps! xo

  26. 28 June 2013 / 6:27 pm

    lovely outfit, especially liking the blue skirt!

    • 3 July 2013 / 1:03 pm

      Thank you Grace – as I said I do work out a lot, so get crunching! ;)))

  27. 28 June 2013 / 4:17 pm

    Wow, you look stunning, Catherine!
    The classy skirt works perfect with the cropped top and I like it with the long sleeves. The whole look is gorgeous! Already pinned πŸ™‚
    I can't wear it anylonger, it wouldn't flatter me.

    Join my giveaway: Fabulous clutch
    Lady of Style

  28. 28 June 2013 / 3:53 pm

    Catherine you look insanely GORGEOUS! Love the sophisticated and chic way you've styled your crop top, you really do look amazing and everything is in perfect proportion! πŸ™‚

    Take care,
    Daniella xox

  29. 28 June 2013 / 2:36 pm

    Hi Catherine, such a great post, and such a great look on you. If you don't mind I'd like to feature you as my favourite Blog Of The Week which I do every Sunday. You can check my site to see the format. You don't need to do a thing πŸ™‚ I just thought I'd check to see if you're okay with me doing it. Thank you!

    Here is an example Blog Of The Week


    • 3 July 2013 / 1:00 pm

      Ariele that would be absolutely fine – thank you so much, I'm very flattered! xo

DISCLOSURE: Items marked* are PR products (I never accept anything I wouldn’t choose for myself) and my opinions are 100% honest. I also use affiliate links where I may earn commission if you click through and buy, at no cost to you.