Just halfway through New York Fashion Week, the look has already popped up on the runway at Tommy Hilfiger, Victoria Beckham, Altuzarra, Milly, Carmen Marc Valvo and a slew of other shows.
“Everyone do your abs,” Milly designer Michelle Smith joked backstage ahead of her show.
Yet as the look becomes more popular — thanks to the influence of athleticwear, a resurgence of ’90s style and a more widespread adoption of bralettes — it’s taking on various forms, said Lizzy Bowring, head of catwalks at WGSN, a trend forecasting firm.
While these midriff-baring tops were shown as tiny ruffled pieces at Altuzarra, they had a sportier take at Tommy Hilfiger. And at Carmen Marc Valvo, there was a more conservative spin on the trend, which showed just a hint of the model’s stomach. That makes the item more wearable.
“It doesn’t have to be a bralette or a little bandeau. It can be a longer-lying crop top,” Bowring said.
Bralettes, a lightweight take on the traditional bra, have been a big hit for retailers. The item contributed to a 24 percent same-store sales increase at American Eagle’s aerie lingerie label last quarter.
Bralettes’ popularity bodes well for retailers’ revenues, as they’re often paired with off-the-shoulder or sheer tops. That means shoppers are tempted to scoop up additional items with their purchase.
Data from WGSN Instock, an online analytics system, recorded a 60 percent year-over-year increase in the amount of bralettes arriving at U.S. online retailers between February and June.
Cropped styles accounted for 7 percent of new tops during that period, compared with 8 percent the previous year.