From core cutouts to completely bare midriffs, the S/S 12 runways were rife with belly-baring looks, and naturally fashion's cognoscenti, as well as some of Hollywood's leading ladies, were quick to jump on board. But given the fact that we're still a wee hesitant about this daring look--and have a hunch we're not alone--a selection of inspirational abdomen-revealing outfits, courtesy of a few of our favorite style-minded ladies, is just the thing to ease our fears.While some stylesetters are showing just a hint of skin (Harley Viera-Newton and Elisa Sednaoui) and others are bravely baring it all (Gaia Repossi and Karlie Kloss), consider today's How They Wear story your guide to creating a sophisticated midriff-baring ensemble with ease!
For those who tend to err on the conservative side--sartorially speaking, that is--you'll be happy to know you don't have to expose your entire belly to create a stylish, on-trend look. In fact, as Sedanoui and Viera-Newton recently demonstrated, showing even just a small portion of your midriff is enough to make a noteworthy statement! At the Chanel F/W 12 show earlier this month, merely a sliver of Sedanoui's stomach peeked out from under her Chanel Silk Cardigan Crop Top ($2252, 800.550.0005) and Wool Gabardine Skirt ($2519, 800.550.0005), and we think the resulting look is both chic and perfectly restrained. A month earlier at the Diesel Black Gold F/W 12 show, Viera-Newton opted for a similar skin-to-clothing ratio. On this occasion, the tastemaker selected Blumarine's abbreviated Turquoise Tahiti Top ($625) and matching Tahiti Print Jacket ($1565, 954.462.7770), expertly pairing them with a vintage skirt worn high on the waist and opaque tights. Her outfit feels fashionable, cool, and subtly sexy-perfect for a summer evening soiree!
If you're more interested in a daring iteration of this look, you can always bare a little more skin a la Karlie Kloss and Bianca Brandolini D'Adda. Opting for a sleeveless top and leggy Alexander Wang skirt, Kloss ensured all eyes were on her at a NYFW after-party back in September. Fun fact: the runway veteran cleverly wore her Urban Outfitters white tank backwards so that the open-back design revealed the upper part of her abdomen! In addition to her smart styling trick, we love that she gave her sultry look a playful finish with bright coral lipstick and Alexander Wang leopard-print booties. D'Adda deserves high praise for her ensemble at the Dolce & Gabbana cocktail party during Milan Fashion Week too! The tastemaker turned up at the fete in the Italian fashion house's Macramé Top ($645) and Skirt ($1375), which she finished with the Brocade Coat ($4495) and ankle-strap heels for a feminine and sophisticated take on today's trend.
While a majority of today's ladies teamed their crop tops with high-waisted skirts, some trendsetters are creating belly-baring looks with low-slung pants instead, and the results are equally chic. Gaia Repossi showed off her well-toned stomach at the Chanel F/W 12 show earlier this month, wearing a textured Chanel coat, Alaia bandeau top, and tailored trousers by Celine. The enviable all-noir ensemble reminds us of something Carrie Bradshaw would wear for a night out with the girls-in other words: it's brilliant! We also enjoy the outfit photographer/model Hanneli Mustaparta assembled at New York Fashion Week in February, which involved Acne's Astair Lux Wide Leg Trousers ($700). To compensate for the low-rise cut of her pants, Mustaparta picked a top with a longer hemline-specifically, a Glamour for Opening Ceremony cat-face sweater, which is sadly no longer available-revealing only a few inches of skin. The outcome: a stylishly modest look we love!
Of course, seeing how the fashionable set wears bare midriff ensembles is only half the work. In order to execute similarly on-point looks, you need some ace pieces on hand too. That's where we come in! We've rounded up an assortment of shirts and bottoms that will have you addressing this trend in no time at all. First, you'll want to snag a few top options, specifically pieces with a cropped hemline. A few of our favorites include Opening Ceremony's Cropped Cable Tank ($262), Free People's Crop Paisley Bubble Top ($68), Topshop's Buttercup Crop Top ($45), and Forever 21's Peter Pan Collar Shirt ($17).
Once you have your top sorted out, it's time to find the right piece for the bottom half of your look. A high-waisted skirt is always a good option, especially if you don't want to show off too much skin. Modest readers will surely appreciate a midi silhouette, like Acne's Romantic Printed Taffeta Midi Skirt ($440) or ASOS' Fit and Flare Midi Skirt ($63), but if you prefer a more flirtatious cut a la Viera-Newton, then consider an A-line skirt, like American Apparel's High Waist Jersey Skirt ($45). Fancy a pair of pants? We've got some of those too! Tibi's Wide-Leg Dobby Pants ($298) and J. Crew's High-Rise Wide-Leg Stretch-Cotton Pants ($110) are both reminiscent of Mustaparta's Acne pick, while Theory's Frayne Cropped Tailor Pants ($255) have Repossi's Carrie Bradshaw-inspired look written all over them. If you find yourself resonating with the latter option, we suggest picking up Mango's Elastic Tube Top ($10) in Black and Mood Wood's Molly Jacket ($242) for a look-a-like outfit. Whatever ensemble you're trying to emulate, the goal is to pick pieces that not only flatter your body type, but make you feel confident too!-Jessica Baker
Photos of Elisa Sednaoui, Gaia Repossi, Bianca Brandolini D'Adda, and Hanneli Mustaparta, courtesy of Getty; Photo of Harley Viera-Newton, courtesy of INF.