How to Wear Crop Tops

Crop tops are not going to lose their ground in the next season. Runways of ready-to-wear Spring 2015 fashion weeks are the best proof of that.

From New York to Tokyo this ultimately popular piece is presented in great variety of cuts from revealing bralets and miniature bandeaus from Moschino and Diesel Black Gold to modest tops from Carolina Herrera.

Taking into account that crop tops have been in fashion for quite a while it is obvious that something should change about them as decades fly past. More than fabrics and cuts, the style keeps adjusting to the modern trends. Let’s have a look how styling of crop tops evolved over past 50 years.

Crop tops, 1970’s to 2000’s

Leaving aside ethnic crop tops like choli and tribal clothes the western-fashion style we all used to gained their popularity in 1970’-s. Back then in the era of disco, free love and rising feminism they were paired with bell-bottoms, culottes, platform shoes and long centre-parted hair.

Fashion illustration How to wear crop top 1970's style

In mid-1980’s crop tops, popularized by Madonna and aerobic obsession were styled with acid-wash jeans, oversized jackets with shoulder pads. The other popular styling of crop tops in 80-s was wearing them with frilly miniskirts and leggings. And surely both looks were incomplete without strong makeup, plastic jewellery and crazy hairdo.

Fashion illustration How to wear crop top 1980s style

1990’s brought us grunge and glamour. Crop tops took form of tight-fitting t-shirts, turtlenecks and long sleeved tops paired with low rise pants and miniskirts. This is when they became hugely popular among wide variety of social groups from teenagers to pregnant women.

Fashion illustration How to wear crop top 1990s style

2000-s. Eclecticism of this decade gave rise to new styles and fashion currents.
Crop tops continued to be paired with low-rise bottoms, baring fit midriff, or in harsh street reality often revealing muffing tops of those skipping gym but trend aware fashionistas.

Fashion illustration How to wear crop top 2000s style

And finally here we are in 2010’s! Crop tops are extremely popular and are not going to give up. But they have changed as have changed the world we are living in.

I would not yet undertake a task in identifying cultural features of this decade, but I gladly summarize the way designers are suggesting to wear the crop tops for the upcoming season.

How to wear crop tops

First, let’s have a look what cuts and styles of crop tops are in trend and also pay attention to colour and prints.

Colour and cut

Trend 1. Keep it simple and modest.
Plain colours and clean cut – are keywords for styling crop tops.

Look for box shaped tops either with short, ¾ sleeves or sleeveless. Colours: white, black, pastels, rich jewellery or deep earthy tones.

On the picture below flats of catwalk models can give you a hint what to look for. There are also some similar models from selected retailers just to illustrate the idea.


Trend 2. For those who prefer more skimpy clothing and convinced that crop tops are made for revealing not hiding buzz words are cut outs and bralets.


By the way, despite of apparent simplisity bralets possess more intricate cut than crop tops. Darts and reliefs here are used far beyond utilitarian reasons and make statement on their own. It is fascinating how intricate the cut could became with 3D modelling and advanced manufacturing technologies.


Trend 3. In between of extremes of two said trends lies more subtle approach – transparency. Sheer fabrics and laces neither hide nor reveal giving full play to the sartorial manoeuvres.

Well, we have sorted out what kind of crop tops are in trend now and finally came to the main question – How to wear them in the upcoming season?

Though ready-to-wear catwalks had shown crop tops with quite variety of bottoms, skirts are far more often the choice rather than, say, shorts or pants.

Skirts with crop tops. What to pay attention for:

Waist line. Natural or high waist line.
Length. Popular lengths are mini, over and under the knee and maxi.
Style. A-line, pencil skirt, flared, pleated. The last two generally teamed with fitted tops to balance proportions.

Pants with crop tops. What to pay attention for:

Waist line. For pants waist line rise is more democratic and varies from low through natural to high waist line.
Length. Length of pants for crop tops depends greatly on cut and silhouette. It could be ankle, 7/8 or full length.
Style. Culottes, tapered, flared, straight.

Here it is the quintessence of the above.

It is all coming together now, isn’t it? Surprising or not, but there a logic in what retalers are stocking up for the next season and with a little breakdown world of fashion is not that random any more.

For the complete collection of crop tops from Spring 2015 Ready-to-Wear shows check my Pinterest board




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Basic Principles of an Outfit Layout: Focal Point
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How to Improve Your Fashion Illustrations

Huge colourful fashion drawings laying around on big white tables in the best design studios with your initials in the corner. Who did not have this thought flashing by while starting up on their next masterpiece? Great looking works definitely enhance portfolio of any artist and gets the focus on the main part, the idea. The path to get there is simple — practice. Here are some suggestions on how to get to that next level.

  • Pose. Make sure, that pose of the model you draw reflects the mood of the garment, or a subject of the drawing if it is fashion illustration. For example, intricate and exaggerated poses rarely appropriate for demonstrating an office wear. But they are a must with evening or club wear. Poses that are too static or generic make ideas look ordinary.
  • photo with pencil hands drawing, fashion drawing, and words pactice makes it better

  • Hands. This is always a tough part. I myself spent hours mastering hands drawing but still not satisfied with the result. It takes a lot of practice to get better. Correctly drawn hands make drawing look much more professional, help to express mood and enhance perception.

    Thankfully for me and anyone out there looking to improve there is a wonderful tutorial by Mike Koizumi. It is a step by step explanation of how to draw hand from different points of view. Moreover, it provides a nice tip on how to draw a hand from every imaginable angle.

    For more in-depth knowledge of hand’s anatomy, the ways they can help to express the mood, emotions and meaning of fashion illustration or fashion collection I suggest to read the classic book Drawing Dynamic Hands by Burne Hogarth. This is the most comprehensive book ever published on drawing hands, definitely must read!

  • Face. Our brain is trained by evolution to recognize faces. We pay huge attention to facial expressions and features. So just a hint of eyes, nose and mouth could make your drawing more live and pleasant to look at.
    Check this post by concept artist Xia Taptara for really good examples on how to draw female faces. It starts from basics, so it is easy to follow.

  • Style. It is what makes your drawing unique and it takes time to find it. Some authors recommend to begin drawing with classical 8-heads figures. Others suggest that copying different styles may help to find your own. I am sure that both paths will certainly lead to improvement of drawing skills and will help to find the best way to express your ideas. Get the basics right and then start experimenting.
    Here is a fantastic video from Sycra Yasin showing on example that with persistence and a bit of a talent you can chose to draw in a style you like (or few of them):



  • Background. It is surprising how just a few strokes outlining a ground or a shadow could add volume to a figure and separate it from the background. Try it and see yourself.

  • Gym and museum. Interesting pair, but no kidding. Going to the gym will enhance your anatomy knowledge. Working on your body will give you the notion of muscles layout and body movement range to draw figures correctly. And in any case you will still have nice side effects – improved fitness and more positive energy so needed for any artist. As for museums, the more you explore other artists’ ideas and works the more inspiration and food for thought you would have in your own attempts. Classic, contemporary, street art — all adds up to your style.


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    Top 5 Fashion Illustration Books
    Fashion Portfolio: Design and Presentation by Anna Kiper



    Book review. Fashion Portfolio: Design and Presentation by Anna Kiper

    Anna Kiper. Fashion Portfolio: Design and Presentation. Book Front Cover Whether you are a student applying for a fashion course, an aspiring post-graduate hoping to get employment, or an established professional seeking for new carrier opportunities you know that the quality portfolio is essential to work your way up as a fashion designer.
    There is a book that will help you with just that: to create an impressive fashion portfolio – Fashion Portfolio: Design & Presentation by Anna Kiper.

    About the book

    Fashion Portfolio: Design & Presentation is a large format book that takes the reader through the complete process of creating a fashion portfolio from concept to presentation.
    The book is written in clear and explicit language lavishly complemented by beautiful photographs and illustrations.


    Fashion portfolio book by Anna Kiper, collage

    The structure guides the reader through all the major steps of fashion portfolio creation. It delves into the fundamentals of each of subjects and touches almost all aspects of design. This is a kind of book that shows the reader ways to think, how to develop a collection and how to create a portfolio.

    Through the pages Anna Kiper helps the reader to build a vision of the design process. She gives the necessary creative framework, highlights hidden reefs and offers valuable advice on how to organize and control creative process, making your efforts effective.
    The book explains the process of creating collection in a contextual manner, calling for consistent and logical approach entangled with certain idea, mood and theme.

    It gives the reader a glimpse into designer’s mind, demonstrating the way ideas revolve and are coming together into collages, mood boards, sketches, garments and, finally, into a complete collection.

    But the greatest thing is that Fashion Portfolio doesn’t set anything as right or wrong, it leaves all doors open for you showing that inspiration could be found in very unusual places. It induces to ideas, not sets the path.

    Look inside

    The book begins with a brilliantly written chapter of fashion history and focuses on the major facts and silhouettes of the past decades. Just in few words the author outlines predominant fabrics, colours and designers, along with the key figures, iconic illustrators, photographers, and popular movies and TV’s revealing how fashion has been influenced and shaped.

    First chapter also covers subject of forecasting fashion trends and touches the intrinsically important for every designer topic of specifying marketing niche and defining a customer.

    Later on the book shows main components of the design process from the inspiration sources to conceptualization. All of that is given in-depth treatment with extensive visual references.

    My favourite aspect of this book is the idea that “creativity comes in many forms – with no right or wrong”. It is brilliantly illustrated with examples of the many ways inspiration could be found.

    Fashion portfolio: design and presentation by Anna Kiper, page 147

    The Presentation Techniques part of the book opens with usual for this topic colour introduction and evolves into very useful guide of different methods and approaches of design presentation.

    After Anna Kiper’s brilliant bestseller Fashion Illustration: Inspiration and Technique we would not expect less grandeur in this chapter. Though the format of the book specifies the boundaries and limitations this is still a comprehensive guide on range of topics from choosing the right media to page composition and stylisations. Special pages are devoted to photomontage and work with innovative digital technologies.

    The final chapter is all about Specialisations in fashion industry. Providing reader with heaps of useful information it deals with particular fashion niches such as Knitwear, Activewear, Lingerie, Evening Wear, Menswear, Children’s wear and Accessories.

    Fashion portfolio: design and presentation by Anna Kiper, page 143

    The bottom line is that Fashion Portfolio: Design and Presentation by Anna Kiper is worth every page it is printed on. It is exceptional in every way and is sure to serve as a superb reference for both design process and portfolio presentation.

    About the author

    Anna Kiper is a New York City-based designer, a professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology and Parsons School of Design who has worked for some of the very well-known companies. She is also the author of fantastic Fashion Illustration: Inspiration and Technique book that I review before.

    With wealth of experience and deep understanding of the subject of fashion Anna Kiper arranged information in an easy to comprehend form. By going through the Fashion Portfolio you will see that it is written by person who really knows how creative people think and learn.

    At a glance

    This book is for: Fashion students, educators, fashion designers and those with interest in fashion.

    The best about it: Helps to establish fundamental understanding of the entire design process in very logical and inspirational way.

    Wish there were: More pages! This is a kind of book you want to keep reading.

    Where to get one:

    • Amazon
    • Pavilion Books
    • or check your local library if you prefer to get a quick read. They might have a copy to borrow. Look inside the book: at Issuu

    Who Owns Australian Popular Fashion Brands

    Australians love to shop and market responds accordingly bursting with great variety of brands and labels to satisfy every demand.

    As I have mentioned before many fashion brands are part of a bigger groups and holdings. With generous investments and high-class management often provided by big companies it is easier for small brands to survive market competition and improve overall performance.

    Australia is no exception from this rule. If we have a closer look on fashion market we will notice that numerous brands are operated by a handful of companies. 34 of the most popular Australian fashion brands are owned or controlled by only 8 companies.

    The question who owns whom is quite popular and the answer to it costs a lot[1].

    Want to know who owns Millers fashion or Autograph brand? Have a look on the table below and you will find that these brands along with city chic, crossroads, Katies and iconic Australian brand Rivers belong to the largest retailer of women’s fashion in Australia – Specialty Fashion Group.

    Who Owns Australian Popular Fashion Brands

    Other popular fast-fashion clothing retail chain Cotton On operates Cotton On Body, Cotton On Kids, Rubi Shoes, T-bar and Factorie and has Supre brand as its subsidiary.

    Such middle market clothing and accessories brands as Mimco, Trenery and Witchery are part of Country Road Group.

    Websters holdings are managing classic brands Jigsaw, David Lawrence and Marcs.

    Few other interesting facts:

    • Most of large companies in the table above are Australian and privately owned.
    • Myer, Australian department store chain, owns 65% of famous Australian women’s fashion label sass & bide.
    • Dion Lee label is acquired by The Cue Clothing Co., though it remains independent from Cue and Veronika Maine.
    • South African company Woolworths Holdings Limited is the ultimate parent entity of Country Road Group and owns 88% of its shares.

    1. The American Business Information Company Dun and Bradstreet in associations with GAP Books publish annual directories in which provided the relationship between companies worldwide showing who is the ultimate parent company and who are their subsidiaries. Each compendium sells for more than £ 600 pounds and gives excessive information about global market.
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