In my naive salad days, I thought Christina Aguilera the originator of the much maligned crop top. Nope. While Aguilera may or may not have have popularized the uniquely unflattering combination of camouflage pants and boxy belly shirt, information has come to my attention that sheds an entirely new light on the question of who first looked at a blouse, thought, “wouldn’t this be better if there were….less of it?” and snipped away accordingly.

The answer, mon capitaine Hastings, is Barbara Stanwyck, on a cruise ship, with a spangled bolero and Henry Fonda.

And, sacre tonnerre! she had accomplices.

Behold.

 

It’s probably not an accident that Taylor Swift’s crop sets look more like the above than like the unholy early 2000s version. Either way, I hope the trend stays around long enough to move from mildly transgressive fashion statement to staid run-of-the-mill norm. That little half inch of rib cage is, as far as I’m concerned, a minimally inconvenient place to bare skin, and a fancy crop top could obviate finicky blouse-draping issues and make it easier to mix and match skirts as evening wear.

Also, I want a spangly bolero.

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