If you visited a mall at any point during the early 2000s, you likely passed by your fair share of popcorn tops. The shirt has a unique moniker and an equally unique aesthetic and we thought it would fade off into the sunset like many other generational trends, but alas, the style is popping up everywhere once again.
Popcorn tops are known for their stretchy silhouette and puckered fabric that resembles little pyramids and they're a total blast from the past. As first reported by Vogue, multiple designers seem to be trying to revive the one-size-fits all, expandable shirts that can easily be rolled into a ball without worrying about wrinkles.
For instance, models on the Chet Lo runway rocked a variety of popcorn tops and matching bottoms in vibrant pastel at London Fashion Week in September.
The stretchy style has been popping up in ready-to-wear collections, too. Designer Mara Hoffman is selling a color-block popcorn top and tank dress.
Designer Stella McCartney put her own spin on the look and created this vibrant blue popcorn hoodie.
Just last week, singer Katy Perry was spotted rocking a beautiful blue popcorn dress and a matching manicure.
Are popcorn tops here to stay?
TMRW was curious to know: Why are popcorn tops having such a resurgence right now? So we chatted with a few style experts to get some insight into the trend, and they all agreed that popcorn tops are simply an extension of our ongoing love affair with the '90s and early 2000s.
"Similar to many other trends, like loose jeans, platform sneakers, bucket hats, skorts, scrunchies and sunglasses with tinted lenses, I’m not surprised that popcorn tops are making a comeback on the runway and in modern day fashion. We’ve seen a resurgence of nostalgic trends," said Kristen Gall, Rakuten Rewards shopping and retail expert.
Fenco Lin, co-founder and chief fashion officer of Gen Z smart fashion site Cider, told us she can definitely appreciate popcorn tops making comeback, even if it was unexpected. "I love the versatility of the trend. It’s a style that flatters everyone and it’s a fun, playful way to wear a trend that is a throwback to the early 2000s," she said.
Kimberly Carney, CEO of Fashwire, a site that works with over 400 brands from around the world, said popcorn tops are a definite "yay" in her book.
"They're the ultimate puckered fabric and offer a super flattering fit. They focus on super stretchiness and smocking but its comeback version looks a little different this time around," she said.
How to style the look
Tempted to try your hand at this comeback trend? TMRW asked the pros for a few styling tips:
- Balance is key: "With popcorn tops you are creating structure and sculpture on top so keep it sleek and chic on the bottom with a fitted pant or great denim. Definitely don't wear anything voluminous with the top; let the popcorn top be the unique focal point of your look," Carney said.
- Wardrobe basics pair well with popcorn tops: "Small pops of vibrant colors and patterns are super trendy at the moment, so mixing this in with your staples, such as your classic denims and jackets, can look chic," Gall said.
- Lean into neutrals: "I would not advise mixing popcorn tops with too many patterns, colors or textures. Instead, bring it into your wardrobe as single pieces, like a shirt or a skirt. It can complete that '90s vibe for any outfit," Gall said.