Sun’s Out, Guns Doubt: How To Wear a Tank Top

Summertime means men are making a lot of bad fashion choices. Some women, too, but they typically self-correct, whereas men will reinforce each other’s bad ideas by topping it with their own. Among the most frightful of the bro fashion mistakes – rivaling only the ubiquitous cargo shorts – is the tank top, AKA the A-Frame shirt. Many men try and many men die on the crucible of the tank top. So if you’re thinking about it, here’s what you need to know.

It’s Not a ‘Wife Beater’

This is not 1998, from whence that name sprang. Those words should not be on your lips unless you are indicting someone on domestic violence charges.

No Nips

Gentlemen, this shouldn’t need to be said: If it’s not covering your areolas, it’s not a shirt. A tank top should never be so baggy that it’s hanging off of you, unless you’re literally at Venice Beach. That’s the sole time and place the ironically baggy tank top belongs. It’s somehow more offensive than the buffoon strutting along with his shirt in his back pocket. The sloppy tank top says you took the time to figure out that impressive array of holes to don the stupidest piece of clothing since the garter belt.

Have The Build For It

People can, technically wear whatever they want. They shouldn’t, but they are not overruled by Shia Law. If you’re going to show your arms, you’d better be packing some heat under the hood. A scrawny build with willowy, Manute Bol arms make onlookers sad. Know if you have the definition or the mass to really make a good showing. Otherwise, keep the guns in the safe.

Collar It Up

This goes along with the no nipple policy – your tank top should be going up to your neck. It should have a collar, or be damn close. Even if it’s a deep V-Neck, there should be more than a couple of spaghetti straps at your shoulders.

Double Down

There’s something clean about a man who has a tight tank top underneath a looser one. It has a hygenic look and shows that he’s making a conscious effort to be both airy and polite. We like to know there’s a little extra clothing between us and a stranger’s flesh. The fine people at The Jersey Shore didn’t know much, but ‘the shirt before the shirt’ isn’t a bad idea.

Keep It Clean

A stain on a suit jacket isn’t attractive, but it’s not disgusting. A stain on a tank top always seems so much more odious, because there’s less fabric to hide behind. You’re already wearing the most casual of casual tops; couldn’t you have the decency to wash it? Even bleach spots or old, harmless stains stand out due to the relatively small amount of fabric where the viewer’s eye might wander. Keep your ship and shirt on point, or be labeled sloppy on top of gauche.

Context Matters

It seems like common sense. If you’re heading to spend the day in the Aruba sand, a tank top is practically overkill. If you’re going to be getting on a bus, where you will be near other people, it’s too little. The closer you are going to be to another person, the less a tank top is appropriate. It’s fine at the gym. and is fine in your home so long as you draw the blinds.

Honestly, if you’re not literally about to leap into the surf, walk into your own kitchen, or clean and jerk 200lbs, you should be wearing a real shirt.


If you must, you must. So keep it classy.

Fruit of The Loom

Don’t overthink it. These are pure cotton, ribbed so they won’t bag or sag around your chest. They’ve got muted, classy colors that won’t let you down. Longevity and fit that check all the boxes.

Purchase: $30/4

Tani SilkCut Tank

If these were sheets you’d be dying over the thread count. As it is, this microfiber mesh magic is Micro Modal® AIR. It’s slimmer and stronger than silk, to give it a sheer feel, but greater tensile strength. This is what you don when you’re sure hands will be seeking across your body, and you don’t want them to go hungry.

Purchase: $50 (use promo code: beultramodern for 20% off your order.)

Nike Dri-FIT Hyper Elite

Nike and Michael Jordan went mainstream at the same time, and each influenced the other. Like Mike, Nike has gone the route of sophisticated sportsmen, who can be competitors and gentleman, which is as it should be. Sticking with this image of smart athletics, the Dri-FIT belongs on and off the court. It’s the thinking man’s gym wear.

Purchase: $60

Under Armour UA Woven

Managing to make Polyester and Elastane look sporty, yet capable of a quiet day at the park, UA’s gear always has hidden depths. The 4-way stretch material is trial and field tested to ensure maximum movement without bunching or binding. It also wicks moisture off of your skin for rapid drying that keeps you lighter longer, without that water weight taking its toll.

Purchase: $60

Alamba Tank ElevenParis

Deeply urban in influence, and moodily modern, there’s no reason a tank top can’t make a statement. Meant for heavier wear, it’s 100% cotton and able to flex with the seasons.

Purchase: $65


You will also dig...

Rising Stars...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.