One of the most versatile and useful articles of clothing in your closet is the tank top. A favorite choice for balmy summer temperatures, the tank top can be dressed up or dressed down and comes in a wide variety of styles and fabrics making it simple to find the one that is right for you!
What defines a tank top? At its most basic, a tank top is a sleeveless top, without buttons or collar. There are many ways to style a tank tops, including:
- Tank With Jeans
- Tank With Shorts
- Tank under a Jacket
- Tank under a Cardigan
- Shirt under a Tank
- Tank with leggings
- Dressy Tank with Skirt
- Dressy Tank with Pants
- Tank With a Scarf
A perennial favorite, tank top’s incorporation into modern fashion has been an interesting journey. No matter how you style it, tank tops are one addition to your closet that you can’t do without. Keep reading to learn more about how to wear this wardrobe staple!
- Types of Tank Tops
- How to Wear a Tank Top
Types of Tank Tops
The modern-day tank top is available in a wide variety of styles and fabrics. They can be dressed up, dressed down, or used as a layering piece. They are an absolute must-have wardrobe staple.
The scoop neck tank top is the most common example of this type of sleeveless garment. They generally have one or two-inch-wide straps, a scooped neckline, and are made from jersey knit or ribbed cotton or cotton blends. They are usually form-fitting which makes them a great option for layering. They are usually worn as part of a more casual warm-weather wardrobe but are also a good layering piece under button-up shirts, sweaters, or jackets for a business casual environment.
This black liquid jersey scoop neck tank from Calvin Klein is a great example of a good quality scoop neck tank that could be worn as part of a business casual work outfit. It has a modest scoop that is office appropriate and a longer length to prevent riding up under clothes.
Athletic tank tops are usually slight looser fitting, with a longer length for better bottom coverage when working out. They can have regular straps or a racerback and are usually made from cool, breathable cotton or blends with moisture0wicking properties.
Add a brightly colored athletic tank or two to your workout wardrobe, like this pretty blue tank from Adidas. It has wider armholes and a curved, drapey hem to help keep you cool when you are working out!
A spaghetti strap tank is very similar in fit to a scoop neck but has a very thin strap, usually about 1/2 inch wide. These are not always a great choice for larger busted women in a more formal setting, as the strap makes it impossible to cover a bra strap. This type of tank is considered inappropriate in a work or school setting on its own, due to the large amount of skin that is left bare. They are a great option as a layering piece, though.
For those less well-endowed, a spaghetti strap tank top with a built-in shelf bra is definitely an option to help beat the summer heat. The shelf provides added coverage and support for those brave enough to go braless.
If you are looking for a truly work-appropriate tank top option, then the wide strap tank might be a good choice for you. With straps that are two to three inches in width, these provide more appropriate coverage in an office setting. These types of tank tops are generally looser fitting and can be found in almost any fabric type, from cotton to silk. They are also great summer options for women who are more modest and would prefer a looser fit with more coverage.
Thick strap tank tops can also be found in more decorative selections, with straps made from lace, or with ruffles, like this cute one from Susana Monaco. This top is a bit more on the dressy side, with its clever piecing and pretty details.
Racerback tanks are usually a kind of athletic tank that has deep arm scoops in the back to allow for more range of motion when exercising. The back is shaped more like a T, while the front scoop is typically higher which provides more coverage for a sports bra, and makes it less likely that you will have a wardrobe malfunction while working out.
Dressy casual racerback tops can also be found, in pretty prints, with lace or crocheting on the back, as well. These can be really cute casual summer wear with a pair of shorts or a skirt.
A great compression tank can be perfect when working out. This baselayer dry-fit compression tank from Neleus checks all the boxes for the serious athlete.
On the other side of the spectrum is the pretty racerback tank. Show off the shoulders that you worked so hard to sculpt with a top like this!
A ribbed knit tank is a step up from your garden variety scoop neck tank. This kind of tank top is thicker and nicer in appearance. Cotton ribbed tanks can be simple summer staples, while more elegant versions can be found in more expensive fibers like silk or wool blends. These look great as apart of a twin-set or under a blazer.
They can be found in any strap type, from spaghetti to wide, depending on what you are looking for.
A delicate, yet sophisticated silk ribbed camisole is just the thing to wear under a boring cardigan or jacket for work.
A swing tank has an “A”, or tent shape which makes it float away from the body more. This type of top is really nice for those who don’t like tight tops or want to camouflage problem areas. They look really good with leggings, or skinny jeans as a counter to the form-fitting design of these types of garments.
A flowy white swing tank looks lovely on a hot summer day. Dress it up it nice jewelry and black cigarette pants, or dress it down with a pair of cut-off jean shorts.
A camisole tank top is a slip-like top made from silky fabrics that are meant to feel luxurious against the skin. Originally an undergarment that was worn under blouses much like a slip is worn under thin dresses, camisoles are most common as layering garments than as a standalone top. They are frequently trimmed with lace which looks nice peeping out from other garments that are worn over top of the camisole.
Thanks, to Madona, the underwear as outwear phase has never really gone away, and if you are feeling bold, you can feel free to wear a camisole on its own for a fun night out. Wear it with a pair of jeans and heels for a high-low look.
A sexy cami, like this one from Astylish can be worn on its own as a top, or under a jacket or cardigan for a cute and easy ensemble.
A cropped tank is a great way to add an edgy coolness to your outfit! These tanks are designed to show off the midriff, but current trends pair them with high waisted bottoms instead. Either way, a cute cropped tank is a fun twist on the standard length tank.
Bring back the ’90’s with this brightly colored spaghetti strap cropped tank form SweatyRocks! Pair this with a pair of cut off denim shorts with a high waist to make the look current.
If you love the look of layered tanks, but you don’t know how to pick tanks that go together, find one that does the work for you! A layered tank creates the illusion of there being more than one tank top, without the added bulk of the extra layer.
Or just pick two tank tops, on fitted, one flowing of similar fabrics and complementary colors, and layer away.
Faux-layers tank like this one creates the illusion of multiple layers of floaty fabric, giving the top a breezy look and feel.
A halter tank is different from other tank tops in that is does not have sleeves. Instead, it ties behind the neck, which is what gives the top its support. This type of top is a sexier look and is great for showing off toned arms and shoulders. A great halter top looks great with just about any kind of bottom that you decide to pair it with. It is, however a more casual look and is not workplace appropriate. A dressy halter top can easily take you to dinner a fine restaurant, though, as long as the rest of your ensemble matches.
This simple black halter from Verdusa is classy and elegant, but still casual enough to wear every day.
A ruched tank top is one that has ruching detail on it. In other words, the fabric has been cinched so as to create a crinkled effect. Ruching is an interesting decorative detail and can be very flattering if you have problem areas that you would like to camouflage.
Side ruching on the waist can be especially effective, as you can see in this tank top here.
A V-neck tank top is just what it says it is, a tank top with a v neck, instead of a scoop neck. V-necks are flattering to women with large busts, as they create the illusion of a longer line.
This V-neck tank is a take on the henley shirt with a cute button at the bottom of the V. A loose burnout fabric keeps things light and airy for fun summer nights!
How to Wear a Tank Top
Sometimes trying to figure out how to style a garment can be tricky. We have sone the work for you by coming up with great ways to incorporate the ever-versatile tank top into your everyday life.
Pair with Jeans
Pair with Shorts
A cropped white button-front tank top looks summer-ready with a pair of distressed denim shorts.
You can easily recreate this look with a tank top like this one from Sheln and your favorite pair of cut-offs.
Pair a swingy, moisture-wicking tank top with a pair of compression leggings to help you get fit fashionably.
Just Do It, with Nikes Pro Cool Training tank. Dri-Fit material and a mesh back helps keep you cool when you are working out.
Tank Under a Jacket
Pair a pretty lace tank top with a modern blazer in a matching color for a monochromatic look that can go from day-to-night.
A casually relaxed blazer with ruched sleeves can be the building block of a great business casual outfit.
Tank Under a Cardigan
Drape a slinky camisole with a soft pink grandpa cardigan and distressed jeans for a Sunday brunch look that kills.
A perfect example is this super-soft popcorn yarn cardigan that is oversized comfort at its best!
For work, a sleek fitted cardigan in a solid color paired with a striped tank top in a complementary color palette is pretty and professional.
A sleek basic cardigan that is lightweight is perfect for longs days at the office.
Shirt Under a Tank
Give the ’90’s a modern spin by layering a white tee under a spaghetti strap tank in contrasting colors. Tuck them into high-waisted jeans to keep the look current.
High-rise ‘mom’ jeans with a frayed crop will catapult your look into the present.
Tank with Leggings
An easy swing tank with black leggings and sandals is a perfect combo for lazy days at home.
Pair your favorite tank with these control top, high waisted leggings. They even have a pocket for your cell phone while you work out, run errands, or any of the other million things that you do each day!
For a higher fashion look, try a black tank tucked into sexy black leather leggings and heels.
If you are an environmentally friendly fashionista, try these vegan leather leggings to recreate the look above.
Dressy Tank with Skirt
A lovely work outfit that really works for all figures is a solid colored tank tucked into a flowing maxi skirt and belted at the waist. The belt cinches the waist to create an hourglass figure.
A vibrant retro maxi skirt can be paired with your choice of tank tops.
Dressy Tank with Slacks
For a relaxed and comfortable, yet stylish vacation ensemble, pair a relaxed loose knit tank top with drapey linen pants and a wide brim hat. The flowy fabric will keep you cool as you tour your favorite vacation spots and the hat will keep the sun out of your eyes.
Wide-legged linen pants with a comfy waistband are the best choice for this kind of outfit. It’s almost like wearing your pajama pants around town all day!
Pair With a Scarf
For a casual western vibe, tie a colorful bandana around your neck with a loose white tank top and worn jeans.
You can also drape a light cotton infinity scarf to add a dash of color to an otherwise bland outfit.
Scarves are an amazing way to add color and visual interest to an outfit. This four-pack of printed infinity scarves gives you lots of options to choose from.