Welcome to The Essentials, our weekly series highlighting a must-have classic, key to building a timeless, pulled-together closet.
Few pieces are as versatile as the humble tank top. The sleeveless style works as a reliable undergarment, a layering piece worn under a blazer or a tee, or a stand-alone statement for both daytime occasions and nights out. And what's most important to note is that the best tank tops are the ones you feel the most comfortable in, whether that be a lounge-y style for hanging around the house or a structured, ribbed option to wear as an effortless standalone piece.
To wit, tank tops are experiencing a trending spike due to fashion's current appreciation for wardrobe basics. "In recent seasons, designers have made a case for a wardrobe that is, well, actually wearable," trend forecaster Kendall Becker explains to Marie Claire. "Initially emerging from COVID, there was a celebratory ethos that sparked trends like hot pink, the naked dress, and all things shiny; now, reality is setting in. Designers are thinking about clothes that will actually sell and have mass appeal while simultaneously, consumers want to ensure their clothes will be quality pieces that will be worn time and time again, making it worth their dollars." You likely know of this fashion phenomenon that reveres high-quality closet essentials as, and say it with me now, quiet luxury.
If you're hoping to cultivate your capsule wardrobe, start by restocking your collection of tanks, whether that be with comfy-casual iterations, more formal options, or a few of each. To make shopping for the everlasting basic easier, we curated a guide that breaks down the silhouette, fabric, and fit of all the best tank tops of 2023 in one place. In keeping with the minimal theme of effortless essentials, you'll notice that all the below tops are offered in timeless, neutral colorways.
What to Look For in Tank Tops
"The thickness of fabrication is key—this may affect what situations you feel comfortable wearing it in," says Becker. "[A tank top] should border between thick enough to avoid a bra and thin enough to be breathable and have a dose of sex appeal if you get what I’m saying."
You'll want to carefully consider the neckline of your tank top, as there's a gamut of silhouettes to choose from. From scoop to square to halter to asymmetrical, each design yields a different style effect and the look will vary depending on body type. Plus, as Becker notes, "certain necklines (like the halter) may make it difficult to hide bra straps underneath," which will dictate its wearability.
Finding your ideal fit is crucial when it comes to tank tops. Do you prefer yours cropped or longline in silhouette? Or, maybe you gravitate toward form-fitting styles instead of loose and baggy ones? Decipher your preference—and the occasion you'll likely be wearing the tank top the most for!—and keep that in mind while you shop.
As with every garment, tank tops are part of the trend cycle; therefore, certain silhouettes experience their moment in the sun as the most sought-after styles. "Currently, we’re seeing higher necklines and ribbed fabrications taking the lead at the 'It' style within tank tops," describes Becker. The trend forecaster also notes that the classic white style is experiencing an extreme peak in popularity in 2023 as well.
The Best Tank Tops
- Best Overall: Banana Republic Fitted Ribbed Tank
- Best Splurge: AGOLDE Bailey Tank
- Best Budget: Caslon Muscle Tank
- Best Plus-Size Tank: Torrid Vintage Cotton Jersey High Neck Tank
- Best Cropped Tank: KOTN Rib Crop Tank
- Best Black Tank: Reformation Keegan Knit Top
- Best Bodysuit Tank: SKIMS The Black Tank Bodysuit
- Best White Tank: Anine Bing Eva Tank
Best Editor-Approved Tank
"I'm of the mindset that if you love a basic piece, you should invest in it. After weeks of searching for a black tank top that was fitted, and could work both in the office and on a day off, I discovered this tank from WSLY. It comes in a full-length and a cropped version (I have two of both), and I wear it constantly. Odds are, if you see me between the months of April and October, I'm wearing this black tank." — Julia Marzovilla, E-Commerce Editor
"The white tank top is the ultimate staple—worn by itself with a pair of denim for summer or underneath a blazer for cooler days in the office, it undoubtedly checks the boxes of nearly every occasion," Becker describes. In particular, the fashion expert shouts out this best-selling style from Banana Republic. It's made of the brand's signature micro-ribbed cotton jersey blend that was delicately pre-washed for a luxe, perfectly worn-in feel. Snag this tank in white, and once you fall in love with it—which you will—try its other colorways like deep navy blue or heathered gray.
Best Cropped Tank
"I have three modes in life: working at the office, shopping in stores around NYC's Soho, and lounging on my couch. When I engage in the latter, nine times out of ten, I'm wearing KOTN's Rib Crop Tank. It's made of a blended fabric of Egyptian cotton and spandex, so it's wonderfully comfortable and breathable. Plus, it's ethically made in Egypt using non-toxic dyes so there's no risk of harm as you wear it—which isn't always the case with other dyed garments. I currently own this ribbed style in black but also have my eye on the bright green hue to add a pop of color to my tank collection."—Emma Childs, Style Editor
Yup—only $19! This breezy muscle tank from the Nordstrom-made brand is our pick for the best budget option due to its unbelievable price tag, yes, but also its impressive quality. It's made from a woven cotton-and-modal knit that's lightweight and breathable, which makes it an ideal option for hot days. "I so adore these incredibly comfortable tops," pens one Nordstrom reviewer. "They are so breathable in the heat [and] are so comfy and cute and can be worn so many different ways." Another shopper succinctly describes this affordable option as "the perfect summer tank."
Best Bodysuit Tank
A good black bodysuit is a year-round wardrobe essential, but you likely reach for them the most during the spring and summer as an easy, one-and-done, no-fuss top. SKIMS square-neck option is our hands-down pick for the best tank bodysuit, as it's one of the brand's top-rated options with over 1,100 reviews. Take it from this enthused shopper: "This is my first bodysuit ever [and] it's a magical piece of clothing. It's so flattering and comfortable and looks high quality. I can wear this without a bra, which is such freedom. It has quickly become a key piece of clothing for me."
Best Black Tank
This square-neck top from Reformation is sustainably made from a stretchy organic cotton and spandex blend. You'll notice that the tank fits snuggly to your form, creating a lovely figure-hugging, but it also offers a welcome breathability that makes it a perfect option for your summer rotation. And if you're hoping to expand your closet color palette beyond black (me too), try this style in either ivory or artichoke green. Oh, and best of all: It hides your bra straps with its wide straps. Need I say more?
Best Brown Tank
"I have a few of these Everlane tanks in my rotation, so trust me when I say that you need one for yourself. It's a tank top I reach for continuously throughout the summer. The scooping, high-neck creates an effortlessly refined look that's so necessary during the summer when the scorching temperatures deplete all of my styling energy. Also of note is the hemp and organic cotton blend that's unbelievably lightweight and breathable, another must-have element in any summer clothing."—Emma Childs, Style Editor
Best Summer Tank
Free People's Rock Your World Tank adds a smidge of playful boho flair to the classic base layer—peep the intricate, knotted back straps. You can mix and match this highly-rated style with your favorite summer bottoms—your best linen pants, maybe?—for a cool and effortless weekend uniform. "This tank makes me so happy; it's classic Free People," writes one enthused Nordstrom Shopper, calling it "so soft, comfy, [and] pretty." However, they note that "you have to find the right bralette so it doesn't take away from the straps in the back."
Best Plus-Size Tank
Here's another wildly affordable find, this one priced at only $30 and from the size-inclusive retailer Torrid. The high-neck muscle tank is offered in sizes ranging from US 10 to US 30 and is crafted from an ultra-stretchy cotton jersey knit. "I just got this and love the fit," gushes a Torrid reviewer. "It's nice to have a muscle tee-type cut shirt that also fits in a more feminine way! Looking forward to wearing this with some cute shorts this summer and not worrying about my bra straps hanging out!"
Best Mock-Neck Tank
A work-appropriate tank that you can also wear to happy hour. Style this mock-neck tank with relaxed trousers and your favorite hoop earrings. It's "the perfect little black top," as a more-than-satisfied Anthropologie shopper writes. "The ruching makes it so flattering, and the mock neck is simple and classy! This shirt looks great paired with your favorite denim and black flats for a casual daytime look, and it can be elevated with a pair of wide-leg leather pants and a strappy heel for a dinner out. I can’t wait to style this over and over again!"
Behold: the perfect white tank top, as recommended by Becker. This piece from AGOLDE is made from almost 50 percent TENCEL, a sustainably made fiber, so it's an eco-conscious buy you can feel good about. And with an average of four-point-seven stars out of a possible five, it's also a purchase you can make in good faith. In particular, Revolve reviewers praise the thick "great quality fabric" and "cut and fit" of this tank. And as for styling this sleeveless number, add some of this season's trendiest must-haves, like silver jewelry and a colorful shoulder bag.
Best Ribbed Tank
This ribbed compressive cami is another that will be your best friend when lounging around the house. Plus, it was made in a circular, sustainable production: the ribbed fabric is made up of 79 percent recycled plastic bottles and 21 percent spandex. And as this Girlfriend Collective shopper notes, the cropped tank fits for several sartorial possibilities: "I'm constantly wearing this cami as both a stand-alone top and a 'bra' under big baggy clothes when I am out and about. It is comfortable while also providing support, and the rib detailing makes it feel a bit more elevated when compared to a smooth cami."
Best White Tank
If you consider yourself a minimalist or at least someone who carefully and thoughtfully curates their wardrobe basics, you're familiar with Anine Bing. The brand is known for its high-quality classics that result in infinite wearability. In particular, its Eva Tank is another top-rated option hand-picked by Becker. It's made of an organic cotton and elastane blend and boasts a snug, body-hugging fit. Style this high-neck option with a great-fitting pair of denim shorts and crisp, cool white sneakers for a casual, off-duty summer look.
Best Square-Neck Tank
Add some structure to all your summer outfits, courtesy of this square-neck top from Abercrombie & Fitch. This top is made of the brand's softAF cotton and elastane blend, a double-layered seamless fabric that's so comfortable it feels like a second skin. Consider it the perfect on-the-go weekend style, as you can put on the unfussy top and effortlessly go about your day. It's a "dreamy staple," as one happy Abercrombie shopper describes. "The material is thick and high quality, cropped but long enough to tuck into high-waisted bottoms, super flattering neckline." Note, however, that this tank top does run small so it's best to size up.
Meet the Fashion Expert
Experienced in luxury editorial, trend forecasting, and strategic consulting, Kendall is currently the Fashion & Beauty Trends Editor at Trendalytics as well as a freelance writer for Refinery29, The Zoe Report, LuisaViaRoma, WhoWhatWear, and Coveteur. Prior, she was the Assistant Fashion Director for Women’s RTW at Bloomingdale’s and contributed to global trend forecasting agencies. Plus, she’s a fashion media personality and expert that’s been featured in ABC, Cheddar News, Harper’s BAZAAR, GQ, Bustle, Sourcing Journal, Brides, and Vice.
Emma Childs is the Style Editor at Marie Claire, where she researches up-and-coming trends, curates shopping guides, and gushes about the must-buy items she can't stop thinking about. She previously wrote for TZR, Editorialist, Elite Daily, and Mission Magazine and studied Fashion Studies and New Media at Fordham University. When she's not writing up fashion deep-dives or finding the season's best pieces, you'll find her fiddling around in Photoshop and perusing HBO Max for the next show to base her personality on (currently, it's "Succession").
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