When you google "best tank tops" you get millions of hits, but you know they all can't be the best. So, instead of going in blind, arm yourself with the knowledge needed to pick soft tank tops with the best details for your wardrobe rotation.
Start With the Fabric
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but when it comes to buying clothing don't skip reading the tag. No matter how gorgeous the tank top, if it's made in the wrong fabric, it will be scratchy or otherwise uncomfortable when you wear it.
Cotton is the fabric of our lives because it's breathable, soft, and durable. How soft and durable depends on the length of the fibers in the fabric. Labels like Pima, Sea-Island, and Egyptian indicate the garment contains extra-long fibers that are the softest available. Some manufacturers create very soft fabric called combed cotton by treating regular cotton fibers to increase their softness.
Ring-spun cotton is also super soft because the cotton fiber is spun in a way that allows some of the soft ends of the fibers to escape the yarn. The resulting yarn is labeled with a number. Understanding the numbers isn't important; just remember that higher numbers equal thinner yarn and usually softer fabrics that are great for everyday wear.
If you're worried about a tank top maintaining its shape, look for fabric with a hint of spandex or cotton with a ribbed weave. If you pick spandex, look for a fabric blend that has a percentage of spandex in the single digits. If you want ribbed jersey, know that it's thicker and has a noticeable texture. The weaving method also ensures that the fabric is stretchier, but holds its shape better than a jersey-knit fabric. This makes it great for wearing while playing sports.
Cotton blend fabrics let you choose from the best of several fabric characteristics. For example;
- Adding some polyester to a cotton fabric prevents shrinking and wrinkling.
- Adding some rayon to cotton creates a fabric that has a subtle sheen that's actually softer than cotton.
Finish With Fit
A great tank top isn't just about fabric: It's also about fit. So, when picking a tank, do a quick fit assessment. Start with a glance at the neckline. A scoop neckline is a classic because it looks good on everyone. However, the deeper the scoop, the more you need to consider adding a necklace or other element to break up the area between your neck and chest. Stick with smaller scoop necks for sports and other times you'll need a more supportive bra and better coverage.
Now look at the length. Need versatility? Longer tanks can be worn as tunics with leggings and match well with smaller or tighter bottoms. But remember, balance is key. Fitted tank tops that end at the top of the hip pair better with looser fitting bottoms.
Then assess the hem. A straight hem is a classic option that works for all occasions. However, a rounded hem--which looks like the hem of an untucked shirt--is much more casual. Save these tanks for when you want to create a sporty, retro look.
If the tank has passed all of these tests, consider any distinguishing details. Thin straps draw attention to your gorgeous shoulders and collarbones, which makes them great when dressing up. But they're not great for pairing with most bras. Rolled hems create an unfinished look, so skip this tank unless you're going casual.
So now that you've cracked the code on fabric and fit, you're ready to choose between the hundreds of shirts that bill themselves as favorite tank tops for women to find your true match.