Is it just me, or have shirts been really confusing lately? As pants are coming with wider and wider legs and higher and higher rises, it’s getting tougher and tougher to find a precisely-fit top to match. Whereas something too long and baggy makes the ensemble’s proportions go haywire, extra short and tight feels a little too exposed (why is it so much scarier to bare a wide swath of abs than tons of leg or cleavage!?). Tucking, of course, is an option, but it just doesn’t tap into the same style zeitgeist as a top tailored within a few inches of the waistband does. Le sigh. I’m really starting to miss those lazy days when you could default to a tunic and stretchy jeggings.
Moreover, as if the specific length isn’t enough to consider, making this look work for anything that’s not a music festival or backyard BBQ requires a very particular type of cropped top. Rather than a slouchy T-shirt or sweater, both of which feel unavoidably casual, the piece needs to be crisp and boxy; basically, your standard blouse without the long lower half. Once you’ve got the right one, it’s easy to sneak it into an office or formal look. The hard part is finding it!
Fortunately, there’s some good inspiration out there to get you started. Our EIC Eva Chen’s Instagram account is a great place to check; she’s boiled the formula down to a science. Just last week she came in wearing the most perfect shrunken button-down with her gaucho pants that I (and the rest of the Lucky team) can’t get out my mind. Many of the outfit ideas posted in Man Repeller’s profile are great examples, too—I’m especially into this one—as is the styling from Alexander Wang’s Spring/Summer 2014 show. He was all about the refined cropped shirt! All that’s left, then, is to order one of the seven outfit-saving short shirts in the slideshow above. Click through for the best purchase you’ll make all season!