Crop tops take center stage in New York

Just halfway through New York Fashion Week, the look has already popped up on the runway at Tommy Hilfiger, Victoria Beckham, Altuzarra, Milly, Carmen Marc Valvo and a slew of other shows.

“Everyone do your abs,” Milly designer Michelle Smith joked backstage ahead of her show.

Yet as the look becomes more popular — thanks to the influence of athleticwear, a resurgence of ’90s style and a more widespread adoption of bralettes — it’s taking on various forms, said Lizzy Bowring, head of catwalks at WGSN, a trend forecasting firm.

A model walks the runway at Altuzarra during New York Fashion Week at Spring Studios on Sept. 11, 2016, in New York City.

While these midriff-baring tops were shown as tiny ruffled pieces at Altuzarra, they had a sportier take at Tommy Hilfiger. And at Carmen Marc Valvo, there was a more conservative spin on the trend, which showed just a hint of the model’s stomach. That makes the item more wearable.

“It doesn’t have to be a bralette or a little bandeau. It can be a longer-lying crop top,” Bowring said.

Bralettes, a lightweight take on the traditional bra, have been a big hit for retailers. The item contributed to a 24 percent same-store sales increase at American Eagle’s aerie lingerie label last quarter.

Bralettes’ popularity bodes well for retailers’ revenues, as they’re often paired with off-the-shoulder or sheer tops. That means shoppers are tempted to scoop up additional items with their purchase.

Data from WGSN Instock, an online analytics system, recorded a 60 percent year-over-year increase in the amount of bralettes arriving at U.S. online retailers between February and June.

Cropped styles accounted for 7 percent of new tops during that period, compared with 8 percent the previous year.