When it was revealed that Patricia Field had collaborated with Hanes on a new cropped version of its classic ribbed tank, we knew we had to talk to her. After all, this is the woman who put Carrie Bradshaw in all of her many crop tops back in the late ’90s and early ’00s. Here’s what she told us.
AMSFTV: What’s the specific moment you point to to when the current crop top trend started?
Patricia Field: The beginning of spring 2015. It started as a retro 1990s [runway] trend, as the waistline of pants and skirts moved from the hip toward the waist. That allowed the top to be cropped to show a little bit of skin above the waistline.
AMSFTV: What’s your earliest crop top memory?
PF: Back in the ’60s, during hippie times, ribbed tops were called “Poor Boys,” and they were very popular, including cropped styles. Since there was a variety of bell-bottom pant styles, both high- and low-waisted, the crop was a perfect accompaniment. The cropped ribbed top is one I remember wearing and enjoying.
My earliest memory in film styling with a cropped top was in the early ’90s when I met Sarah Jessica Parker when we filmed the movie Miami Rhapsody. At that point, Sarah’s character wore many baby T-shirts, in kids’ sizes. Baby T-shirts on an adult were short and tight [like a crop top.] I fondly remember our director David Frankel saying, “Are we always going to see her tummy?” and Sarah said, “Yes, David, that’s the style.” I seconded the motion, and I think it came off well.
David was also the screenwriter and director of The Devil Wears Prada, but of course, I wouldn’t put a crop top on Meryl Streep because it did not fit the character.
AMSFTV: Where did the idea to modify the classic Hanes tank come from?
PF: [Since] crop tops are selling so strongly, and the Hanes tank is the classic of all classics, it felt like an opportune moment to shorten and refinish the hem. I didn’t want to reinvent the wheel, just add my own custom touch.
Every woman has one and wears it in a variety of ways, [so] the idea was to reinterpret the classic tank while retaining its identity. Bottom line, I am a strong believer in affordable and exciting fashion.
AMSFTV: We’re always talking about how many crop tops Carrie Bradshaw wore on Sex and the City and that that was before they were popular in the mainstream.
PF: The motivation for Carrie wearing cropped tanks came from a collaborative decision between myself and Sarah. We wanted to convey the accessibility of fashion and show that it’s all about styling—it’s what you combine to create a look. A classic example would be the Hanes ribbed tank with a sting of pearls. It tells a new fashion story and is easily accessible.
AMSFTV: Were there any Carrie crop tops you weren’t so crazy about? This super wide belt outfit always flashes back to us.
PF: When she wore that belt across her naked waist, I do admit, it was a bit extreme. Maybe looking back, I’d still use the idea, but would have used a thinner belt.
AMSFTV: Now that crop tops are everywhere, would Carrie still be wearing them? Or would she be on to the next, newest trend?
PF: I believe Carrie would still be wearing the ribbed tank, whether cropped or the original length, since it will always be a classic. Maybe she’d even fringe the bottom. One never knows [with her.] Style’s all about attitude, and one has to try in order to succeed. Hopefully your average style score is as close as it can be to perfect.