Summer is approaching, which means we'll need clothes that are breathable and or offer easy access to breeze.

Apart from strategically placed straps and cutouts, another form of perfect summer tops is the crop top. But how did this trend first come into being?

In lots of Asian and African countries, where the climate is relatively and consistently hot through the year, crop tops are a life-saver. The Indian choli, for example, has been worn for thousands of years. The choli is worn with a lower garment and a veil. 

Meanwhile, in European countries and the US, both women and men (well, mostly women) literally had to suffocate from wearing high-neck dresses and corsets. And the religion-based puritanism didn't help at all. Even the bathing suits covered most parts of the body as seen in the illustration taken from Danish magazine Femina in 1898. The previous photo showing two Indian women were taken circa 1872. 

In the 1940s, due to fabric rationing in World War II, many designers and fashion houses creatively worked their way around this by cutting the length of the top, and more glamorous celebrities like Ginger Rogers and Marilyn Monroe popularized this look. Yet it wasn't until the sexual revolution in the 1960s that crop top really became popular. In 1945, a young women wore a "halter and shorts with nude midriff" in Central Park and was fined $2 (otherwise she'd have to spend 2 days in jail). But things weren't that strict in warm and sunny California, where the crop top became almost a natural item to be worn.

Then of course, Flashdance happened. Steamy, sexy, Flashdance. It became the epitome of the early 80s and people were inspired to get those toned abs by joining aerobics classes. The trend carried through to the new millennia thanks to performers like Madonna and Britney Spears who rock the crop-top look. The crop top became a staple of iconic movies and TV series like Clueless, Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, and Mean Girls.

As a sidenote, men have also enjoyed donning the crop top since the 1970s, and this started by the world's arguably manliest sport: the American Football. At first, it was unintentional. The bottom part of the jerseys worn by the players would get ripped when oppponents tried to tackle them. But then by the mid 80s, almost every player started baring their midriffs by either cutting their jersey or tying them in the back. Nowadays, both musicians and athletes are making crop-tops for men a must-have.

Now that the crop trop trend is back again, the most important question is, who looks good wearing it?

And the answer is: everybody with confidence, and that should also mean you.

When worn correctly, crop tops can both elongate or shorten the torso and help create the hourglass shape that both women and men covet. Here's a few loose guidelines:

Tall people, if for whatever reason you feel like your torso is too long, then opt for a crop top that doesn't show too much skin, or balance it with highwaist bottoms.

Short people, elongate your torso by donning a fitted top, as a loose top will just drown you.

Curvy and or boxy people, wear a somewhat loose crop top that doesn't cling too much to the body and pair it with pants or skirt that flare out at the waist to get that hourglass shape.

If you feel daunted by the prospect of showing your navel, then opt to wear Mono B's highwaist leggings as they both cover the navel and provide tummy control.

Other than that, go have fun. You can work on that beach body all you want, but if you don't work on your confidence, then there's really no point.