The Costs of Things: Crop Tops!

Crop tops are back, and the New York Times is on it! In the most Style Section possible piece ever, the paper of record covered the phenomenon this weekend — and what the trend means, financially, for fashion-conscious consumers:

Midriffs are suddenly in America’s face — in a way not seen, perhaps, since a young Britney Spears was in regular gyration-rotation on VH1. Crop tops were all over the spring runways, from Proenza Schouler and Dolce & Gabbana to more moderately priced lines like Tibi and Alice & Olivia. They are stocked several racks deep at Zara, H&M and Forever 21. …

Mary Alice Stephenson, a fashion commentator, thinks the look now evokes refined elegance rather than the overt sexiness or exoticism it used to signal (see: “I Dream of Jeannie”). “The stomach is the new erogenous zone, but not in a vulgar sort of a way,” she said. “Yes, you can show your whole midsection in a bra top, but most of the styles only give you a peek. Regardless, it is making women frenzied about shaping up their abs.”

Now that we can actually and more easily Instagram our own belly buttons, it will add a new dimension to the term “navel gazing.” How exciting! But, for those of us daring to be fashion-forward, how expensive. The article goes on to list the lengths to which women are going to rock short shirts, including Pilates-type classes, ballet barre-type workouts, sessions with private trainers, and, DUH, plastic surgery:

Neither approach was enough for Nicole Abrahamson, 24, of Camarillo, Calif., a nursing student who spent more than $6,000 in March on a minimally invasive fat-removal technique called Airsculpt to address four pounds of unwanted belly. She says that even though she exercised and dieted, her middle was “doughy.” “I was really intrigued by crops,” she said, “and wanting to wear one gave me the push to get this procedure done.”

Dr. Aaron Rollins, the cosmetic surgeon who invented Airsculpt and performed it on Ms. Abrahamson at his Beverly Hills practice, says that she is one of nearly a dozen women a week who see him for the procedure. “Last year, it was the usual wanting to rock a bikini,” he said, “but this year, women come in actually wearing the short shirts and tell me that they want their bellies to look good in them.” …

In New York City, Dr. Douglas S. Steinbrech, an owner of Gotham Plastic Surgery, said at least one female patient a day brings in pictures of celebrities in crops to show him her ideal middles.

Plastic surgeons. The real heroes of our time.

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