Power Top

Crop that top, says a fan of the edited T-shirt, Sandiso Ngubane

Words: Sandiso Ngubane | Illustrations: Jade Klara

Crop that top, it’s hot AF!

That’s been my summer motto, and I haven’t held back, because YOLO! As soon as the warm weather prevailed, and party season intensified, I’ve wanted nothing more than to rock the skin-baring trend, because, why not? So, throughout summer my go-to party look has often been crop tops and figure hugging, high-waist skinnies.

There’s something very empowering about wearing skin-baring trends. A bonus: I've been told I have the body for it (Psych! But I digress). I’ve even called it a “small act of radical self love”. It’s like a big zap sign at homophobic vibes, and all that “cover up” nonsense. For who? Because it makes a few people uncomfortable? Forget that, I say! I’m comfortable, so why should I compromise that for what suits anyone else?

There’s a reassuring feeling I specifically get from looking into the mirror and thinking: “yaassss kween”! Judging by the retweets and likes I received on that social media post, I would say a lot of people agree. I guess women everywhere already know this, but with every fashion related sexy thang, there is a downside. It’s called “creeps” and the self-doubt their actions bring about!

The first night I rocked me a crop, and stepped out onto the streets, there was a lot of touching, grabbing and staring. With that came a lot of self-consciousness. Can I go to the men’s room to take a leak? What’s going to be the reaction to that? Will I hear whispers of “s’taban” (faggot), maybe laughter or straight up violence as a I strut about, 24cm waist, flat-abdomen freewheeling? Will I solicit unwanted attention as I supposedly flaunt what I think is a totes poppin’, “Forget you, I’m hot AF” summer 2016/17 uniform?

I remember arriving at a party a friend of mine had called me to come through to. As I walked in, it felt like the music died and everyone turned around to look at me. Imagine lasers shooting from every direction, coming at you. You want to duck, but there’s nowhere to hide. They are piercing through your back, through your chest, and that bare midriff, splicing you apart like a lightsaber.

I told myself to remain calm, I’m looking good, after all, and tried to no avail to silence that voice of self-doubt; a voice that inadvertently asked “why are you bringing yourself so much shame? What do you think you're doing?”

I had a jacket with me, so I put it on, hoping the voice would subside.

As the party progressed, I remember stepping outside of the venue to have a smoke, something that took a lot of guts because I was preoccupied with thoughts of how someone who might have seen my bare midriff would say or do.

As I lit my cigarette, a very jubilant young lady came right up to me shouting: “Take that shit off, you looked amazing with the crop top!”

She wasn’t the only one who thought so. Several others came up to me telling me to “stop hiding”, and I won’t lie, that gave me a very much needed boost. As I walked back into the venue, I threw my jacket aside and partied like it was 1999. Ok, look, I was too young to party back then, but I’m just imagining how it must have been like, partying in those pre-Y2K days, when some thought the world would end, you know?

I am appreciating that how I felt is probably what most women have to go through every time they dress, because the perception is that wearing anything that is skin-baring, or in any way sexy, is an act of seeking male attention, but really, it isn’t.

Something that most people don’t think about is how these acts of self-love, as I have previously disclosed I call them, are precisely that – acts of self love, and a desire to be the best one can be! If sexy it is, then why not?

One should also bear in mind, that covering up has never been a deterrent for creeps, so, as one Medium.com essayist Emma Lindsey puts it: “If I’m going to be harassed no matter what, why not look good for the people who are respectful and who I might actually want to fuck?”

So, really, my advice to anyone who might be holding back, I say rock that crop, look sexy AF, because above everything else it is a lot of fun, and – for sanity’s sakes – we all know it ain’t no fun burning up in this summer sun!

Crop that top, it’s hot AF!