Girl, Just Wear the Crop Top

This piece originally appeared on the ModCloth blog.

I recently threw all caution to the wind and bought myself a crop top. As I’ve discussed before, I’m someone who sports a stomach that’s far from flat or mark-free — someone who generally would never be considered the type of person who could “pull off” a crop. And yet, I did it. After much consideration, I marched into a store in the mall and bought the cutest one I could find. I put it on, determined to show the world that my body is nothing for me to be ashamed of — to be blatantly fat in a time where we tend to see tidy hourglass shapes in commercial media.

I was scared. I spent the first few minutes after putting on my crop turning in front of my mirror, wondering if the tiny stippling of my stretch marks was too evident for public display. Then I remembered, as I always do in the end, that even just existing as a fat person some days can seem problematic for the public and, inhaling, told myself that someone had to do it, so it might as well be me. So I did it in a place I was safe: my work environment.

I started small. My first crop-sporting was a layered one – I put a button-down over the crop and tied it at my waist, so I could cover up if I needed. I ended up doing so – but later at the bar, when I got chilly. The other benefit to a button-up is that you can always just leave one button at the end and just make a little knot if you need to ease into it. It’s super-easy to modify to your comfort level.

It only takes one positive experience to make it – and one negative to break it. I sported the crop around town next, out to a networking event for writers, then back the few blocks to my car in one of the more bar-laden areas in town. I didn’t get so much as a catcall, even though my stomach and rolls were on display. But I know, as confident as I was — as blatant my bravado —  it would have only taken one call of “gross” to take me down. And that’s okay – the act of putting myself out there was what I wanted to achieve. Because every time you put yourself out there, you get a little braver the next time.

It’ll never feel effortless, but it gets easier, and the confidence you’ll have in your ability to go out and do it will grow, and that makes it worth it.