June 20, 2013

How to Wear a Bustier / Cropped Corset

One of my favorite trends that has sprung up in the past year or so is the crop top / bustier. I'm all for anything from the 90s coming back, and this piece is no exception. Some might say "So cute and right on trend!" while others might think "Where is the rest of it?!" I get it though, wearing one is no walk in the park; there are definitely do's and don'ts that you absolutely must keep in mind to avoid looking, well, unkept (to put it nicely).

The general rule when it comes to donning a bustier is to cover up or simply have a balance when it comes to how much you're going to bare. Here are five tips to apply before rocking the piece this summer...

Opt for a more "modest" bottom. 

Either choose a high-waisted, mid-length, or maxi skirt, high-waisted shorts or a basic pair of jeans. It's about balance - you don't want to show too much up-top and on the bottom. You don't even have to show midriff; in-fact, you can pair the top with a high-waisted skirt or a pair of shorts to create a bodysuit look - very retro!

In the first look, I chose a pair of high-waisted retro shorts to balance the crop top and create the bodysuit look I mentioned. The middle look includes a long chiffon maxi skirt with a cropped bustier, showing a bit of midriff. In the final look, I've paired a high-waisted A-line skirt with a cropped bustier - this works because the skirt has a lot more fabric than the top, allowing you to bare more skin than you normally would.

A major DON'T: a bikini, bandeau or tankini is not equivalent to wearing a shirt.

If I can see your entire torso (or honestly, even half of it), you are wearing a bralet / bikini / bandeau / etc., and this does not qualify as a shirt! Unless you're walking along the beach, don't even go there, please.

Here we see Rihanna pairing a little bandeau with a pleated ballerina skirt. I love Rihanna's fearless style, but this just does not work - a bandeau should be worn either on the beach or underneath sheer and low-cut tops.

Look for straps, but the right ones. 

Take a look at the difference between the tops Katy Perry and Selena Gomez are wearing. Selena chose the perfect bustier: thick straps, good length and cut, and paired it with a skirt that doesn't bare a great amount of skin. Katy on the other hand (ok this whole look is just awful...) opted for a sporty crop top which looks like a sports bra instead of a nicely cut bustier. Poor choice.

If you aren't comfortable bearing too much skin, pair it with a cardigan, vest or jacket. 

This makes the ensemble look instantly chic and you will only be showing skin from the front, rather than from every angle.

We have two looks here: one with a flowy, sheer cardigan and the other with a draped vest. Both work to conceal your bare skin while still showing off the crop top.

Going to a more conservative place? Hanging around the family?

Another method to make the piece look more modest is to look for a longer cropped corset and wear long, high-waisted pants or skirts to avoid showing too much skin. This is an even more conservative method than the first one mentioned and still just as stylish.

These looks I've styled above probably don't *appear* modest but trust me, once you pair them together, you'll be surprised! In the first look, I paired a longer bustier with a hi-lo maxi skirt that has an elastic waistband, making it look like one long piece. The second look, while still baring your legs, features a bustier with high-waisted, dressy shorts. For a more pin-up look, try the third look and opt for any style bustier with high-waisted jeans.

Hopefully this helped! Let me know how you pair your favorite corsets and bustiers. I love seeing a nicely styled different ways people wear them.

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