Life is short; wear the crop top

By Natalie Carey

I just really want to wear a crop top.

This is the thought that got stuck in my head as a young teenager, and the VERY SAME phrase that I hear a lot of women still saying today.

I'd say a good 70% of the fine ass ladies who come to me for training tell me on the first day "I just want to wear a crop top".

And I'm always like, "well, wear a crop top then". But I know it's not that easy, so I'm going to share my Top 3 Tips for Wearing a Crop Top, as well as my own journey to gain the confidence to wear one.

I JUST WISH I LOOKED GOOD ENOUGH TO WEAR THIS CROP TOP. Blech. I said this to myself SOOOO many times. In High School I thought "If I just looked good enough, that boy I had a crush on would like me back". I would get the part I wanted in the school play. I would be more popular. In college, I would have gotten into that sorority I rushed. People would be nicer to me. I could wear that outfit I liked to the party. In my 20's, I thought my business would be more successful. I would have better online dates. I would have more social media followers. At one point in my life, I had kept a crop top with the tags still on it for literally a decade because it was so cute, but I was always too afraid to wear it!

I believed that if I just looked good enough to wear a crop top, everything would fall into place for me. I would spend hours in the gym, working way past the point of enjoyment, the taunting words of magazines and media and commercials in my head telling me I still didn't look right. I remember sadly tossing that adorable crop top into the "Donate" pile during a move with the tags still on it. I had never even had the guts to wear it inside my own house.

Awhile back, I finally got into what I considered the "best shape of my life". I worked with a nutrition coach to figure out exactly what I needed to be eating, my life revolved around my training schedule, and I didn't lose 5 pounds…I lost 20. At 18% body fat, my abs finally peeking through, I had never been so lean and muscular. This was the body I had been working towards my whole life!

But guess what?

I still didn't have the confidence to wear a fucking crop top in public.

As "fit" as I was physically, I didn't think I was good enough yet. I could still point out how my body could be better.

So what now? What happens after you've finally achieved your physical goal, you've lost the weight you've always been trying to lose, you're finally "skinny enough"…what happens then?

Absolutely fucking nothing.

Because nothing changes once you hit that "finally good enough" goal. People don't love you more. You don't get paid more money. More romantic dates don't magically pop up on your calendar. All of life's problems are not miraculously solved. The universe doesn't hand out awards for getting into a smaller pant size.

My first experience wearing a small shirt in what I consider "public" is in this blog


Soon after that admittedly narcissistic shoot (meh, aren't ALL photoshoots?), I was forced to slowdown my activity for a moderately severe sports injury.

The trippiest part about that shitty injury is that it flipped something in my brain. Instead of worrying about what I looked like, all I could worry about was what I could DO. My concern shifted from "do I look skinny and/or muscular enough?" to "can I take my socks off today without crying in pain?".

Priorities had changed, people.

Launched onto a personal journey where I had to begin accepting my body as it wanted to be, and not what I was trying to force it to be, I made peace with what I have. I realized that if kept telling my body it wasn't good enough, it never would be. I realized that I had regretted not wearing the clothing I liked earlier in life, and that I wanted to learn and grow from my lessons. I was tired of hating my body. I was tired of hiding it. I was tired of covering myself up becauseI didn't look perfectly airbrushed.

And then one of the greatest miracles in American history occurred. 90's fashion returned in full force in 2017, and suddenly, crop tops were back in style. I had been blessed with a second chance at midriff-baring glory!

Ladies, life is short. Stop worrying about whatever it is that you're worried about and if you want to wear an item of clothing, don't let anyone stop you. You're worried you don't look good enough? You'll never look good enough if you keep telling yourself that. The time is now. You think someone will make fun of you? Who cares. You don't want to be friends with a shitty person like that anyways. Your real friends want you to wear what you like to wear. Or maybe you stress out that people will give you dirty looks? Look them in the eye, smile right back at them, and give them a compliment. They wish they were you. Show them how lovely you are.

Crop tops are about Freedom with a capital F, which is what our country was founded on. It is your American duty to wear the clothes that you want to wear. No matter what size or weight or shape you are. No matter what color your skin or where you grew up. Wear that short shirt and be brave for the people who aren't yet brave enough to bare.

So without further ado, here are My Top 3 Tips on How to Wear a Crop Top:

Step 1: Buy a crop top. Put it on.

It's true; you can't wear a crop top if you don't own one. Luckily for you, right now these fun sized shirts are everywhere because 90's fashion has come back with a vengeance and it's glorious. Find one that suits your personality, that will go with a lot of the items in your closet. I personally love basic ones like my Lululemon blue and black ones, but there are so many fun ones too!

Step 2: Leave the privacy of your house. Start out somewhere you feel "safe". Feel free to pair it with a flattering bottom like high waist leggings or low-slung shorts.

Yes. You have to leave your house now. Try going somewhere that your crop top might make friends with other crop tops, like an outdoor concert, the park, or a party. You're going to be fine, I promise.

Step 3: Post a picture. Wear your crop top around strangers. Give zero fucks.

You're almost there! Post a pic for the world to see your glorious midriff! Shock people in the street with your belly button. Do not give a fuck about what they think because you are amazing.

Congratulations! By following these 3 very scientific steps, you have now succeeded at wearing a crop top! Isn't it amazing that in 1000 words, I've helped you achieve this goal?

Now, send me your crop top photos as proof you reached the 3rd step. I want to see you being amazing.

It's been awhile since I realized that looking a certain way wouldn't have a major impact on my life. Having a "good enough" body makes me neither a success nor a failure at my life, my job, or my relationships. When I started to let go of making my body look the way I had been told it was supposed to, my life began to fill up with greater experiences and joy. I realized what a privilege it was to be able to move my body and to feel strong. Exercise is so much fun when it's this cool thing your body can do instead of a means to change yourself for somebody else's standards.

I realized that I wanted to wear crop tops simply because I love crop tops, and I was tired of missing out because my body looks the way it looks. I wish I had saved that adorable crop top from years ago, but alas, I hope whoever found it at the thrift shop got to enjoy it instead. I hope they got to move in it, sweat in it, and laugh in it.

I hope they know how beautiful they are.

About Natalie Carey

A California native, Natalie grew up dancing ballet and performing in musical theater. She began running in college, took up weight lifting while living in Japan, and began pole dancing when she returned to the Bay Area. She is a personal trainer and lives in San Francisco. She believes that women are all capable of feeling beautiful, valuable, and awesome. Visit her website to join a community of women advocating positive body image and to find even more resources for your journey towards awesome. Watch health and positivity in action on her Instagram @barbellblondie

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