As summer staples go, tank tops get a pretty tough time. Mention this arm-showing staple and the mind will likely wander to visions of gym bros and mirror selfies. But that isn't the direction that it needs to go in.
When the mercury rises, the obvious benefit of tank tops is their superior ability to keep you cool. And with the right styling, it can also be a winning look.
The 90s and early naughts provided countless style moments that prove the power of a tank. Celebrities who have recently developed a cult-like fanbase from their Y2K outfits such as David Beckham and Justin Timberlake could be found sporting tank tops with the era's signature wide-leg pants.
This mirrors the styling that has made tanks re-surface in our wardrobes over the past few seasons and a new generation of celebs are taking note.
The above comparison of Bella Hadid and Marc Kalman with Victoria and David Beckham makes it clear that they're following a blueprint. And they are not alone in copying the 90s homework, most notably Justin Bieber has recently adopted a stage uniform of Y2K-inspired baggy trousers and super slim tank tops.
Along with the likes of Evan Mock, A$AP Rocky, and Joe Jonas, (whose under-appreciated style transformation is a topic for another day), there's a distinct late 20th-century feel to our recent tank top revival. The undergarment has always been popular for its practical uses, but the look folds into the Y2K resurgence that is dominating fashion right now.
And it isn't just through street style, there are also parallels to be found in high fashion. The 90s saw Dolce & Gabbana create a stir by putting tank tops on the runway, subverting the clothing's macho Italian stereotype. This was later followed by designers such as Helmut Lang, Maison Margiela, and Raf Simons bringing their own twist to the style, using their differing approaches to deconstruction and counterculture as a way to also play with the tank top's associations.
The style has started popping up on runways more frequently again: Prada made the tank top lux with its SS22 show, Ludovic De Saint Sernin has been reminding us of the style's sensual qualities, and Matthieu Blazy's used a standard white tank for the opening look of his first Bottega Veneta show.
However, one thing that has to be considered when going for this look is the lack of coverage from the sun, which there is a simple solution for. The combination of a tank top with a shirt is a tried-and-tested summer staple.
Leaving a shirt unbuttoned to present a low-neck tank top is a summer look that has stood the test of time, seen countless times by the likes of Piers Brosnan's James Bond, the GoodFellas cast, and perfected by Michael B Jordan in the photo below.
It's a pairing that has origins in practicality, being a way to keep your nicest shirts clean in hot weather, and has since been a staple look for warm months. Not only does it mean you can enjoy the benefits of leaving a shirt unbuttoned without bearing your naked chest to the world, but there's also something undeniably cool about having a tank top peek out from behind a shirt.
Also, for those looking to get more experimental you can pair a tank top with pretty much any type of outerwear. Justin Bieber wearing a slim white style under an oversized blazer was a highlight of the Grammy Awards, A$AP Rocky wore one under a pair of nylon overalls and our latest lookbook even throws one on top of a polo shirt.
Whether you will be wearing your tank loud and proud on its own or as a layering tool, it's likely to become the hardest working piece in your wardrobe this summer. Check out some of our favorites that are available online now.
Scroll down to shop the best tank tops on the market
Dries Van Noten Hozen Tank Top
We all love Dries for his prints and bold fabrics, but don't let those brightly-colored pieces distract you from his line of essentials. Made from soft cotton, the ribbed fabric on this tank sits tight to the body making it perfect to slip under one of the Belgian designer's standout shirts.
Prada Open-Knit Tank Top
Being sleeveless, tank tops are naturally suited for hot weather, so when you craft one in a mesh knit it's the ultimate summer companion. This one will set you back a pretty penny but that's the price you pay for luxury.
Moncler Logo-Patch Mesh Vest
Another mesh option, this tank takes things in a more sporty direction by being crafted from lightweight polyester. Whether you're headed to the gym or the beach, this is an easy everyday option.
GmbH Ali Rib Tank Top
Ribbed tank tops naturally sit closer to the body so have been considered more of an undergarment. This means that finding one with a print is surprisingly tough, but GmbH has delivered with a print that looks like it's taken from an early-2000s tech company.
A BETTER MISTAKE Exposed Ribbed Tank Top
There's admittedly not much space for experimentation with a tank top, but A BETTER MISTAKE has found a way to make its version have a different shape from the rest. With this top, the regular round neckline is switched for a square one.
Jean Paul Gaultier Évidemment Tank Top
We've established that a tank top is an early-2000s essential, and it doesn't get much more Y2K than one with a glitter print. This top is taken from Gaultier's Évidemment collection, all of which is wonderfully Y2K.
Highsnobiety Sports Reversible Tank Top
The only thing better than one tank top is, of course, two. This reversible design from our Highsnobiety Sports collection is crafted in a breathable mesh and can transform from being black to khaki.
AMI Paris Oversized Tank Top
Taking inspiration from basketball jerseys, this design takes the mesh material worn by NBA players to new levels with large gaps in the loose material.
MAAP Team Mesh Cycling Tank Top
Made for cycling, this MAAP tank top features the latest in fabric technology. Made from a breathable lightweight mesh with moisture-wicking side panels, you'll be thanking the team over at MAAP for their hard work when you're wearing this mid-heatwave.
MUJI Breathable Cotton Tank Top
For an affordable tank top that you can wear day-to-day, MUJI is a great option. Made from breathable cotton fabric, this is bound to be the hardest-working piece in your wardrobe when you're feeling the heat.
EYTYS Gray Ivy Tank Top
There are three colors of tank top that should be staples in every wardrobe: white, black, and grey. This is our favorite pick from the latter color option.
Uniqlo Dry Color Ribbed Tank Top
If you're part of the Uniqlo $15 white tee club, then you can move up the ranks with a tank top that is also from the Japanese brand.
Want to keep browsing? Head to the Highsnobiety Shop for more products that we love. Highsnobiety has affiliate marketing partnerships, which means we may receive a commission from your purchase.