Menswear | June 14, 2021 1:05 pm

How to Wear a White Tank Top Without Looking Like a Douche

The white tank is the unsung hero of summer

How to Wear a White Tank Top Without Looking Like a Douche
Warner Bros

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It’s time to stop underestimating the white tank. For far too long the item of clothing has been either relegated to the underwear drawer to be hidden underneath button-downs or when worn on its own bearing less than ideal connotations of douchebaggery and a certain not-so-PC moniker.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t reclaim it, especially during the season when we need it most — summer. Because as the temperatures start to inch upwards and the humidity grows oppressing, the white tank is the hero we need to battle the sticky, sweltering conditions.

We recommend viewing the white tank top in a new light, one that casts it as a serious and even crucial component of an outfit, the piece around which everything else is built. In order to help you more easily recognize not only the functionality but stylishness of something as seemingly banal as a white tank, we’ve put together five different outfits suited to various occasions, whether it’s drinks with friends or even something as formal as a wedding.

The Tank and Button-Down

If your usual selection of button-downs are already starting to feel overdone, one of the quickest and easiest ways to make them feel fresh again is by throwing on a white tank underneath. A look favored by the likes of Justin Bieber and Tony Soprano, there’s an inherent coolness in leaving your shirt entirely unbuttoned to reveal a white tank underneath.

In terms of function, the combination proves ideal for sweltering days as the openness of the shirt allows for more airflow, delivering a much needed breeze to your underarms and torso without requiring you to shed the top layer. For those at all inclined to channel your inner greaser, try pairing the tank with a vintage-inspired shirt like the below from Todd Snyder, dark wash jeans and classic loafers for a look that’s retro but not costume-y.

Hanes

Hanes Ultimate® Men’s ComfortSoft® Tank Undershirt

Todd Snyder

Todd Snyder Japanese Embroidered Souvenir Shirt

Everlane

Evelrane Selvedge Slim Fit Jean

Farfetch

Sebago Dan Loafers

The Tank and Blazer

The next time you find yourself dining out with friends or even just grabbing drinks, refrain from reaching for the standard button-down and instead try pairing a white tank with a blazer. What might seem like an unnatural pairing at first in fact offers the perfect mixture of high and low.

However, in this instance we recommend a tank of more substantial quality and weight than those 3-packs you’ll find at the drugstore. Opt for something like Mack Weldon’s 18-Hour Jersey Rib Tank, crafted from a knit that will retain its shape, so if you do shed your jacket at some point in the night, you’ll still look sharp.

Mack Weldon

Mack Weldon 18-Hour Jersey Rib Tank

Buck Mason

Buck Mason Carry-On Jacket

Mango

Mango Straight-Fit Medium Wash Jeans

Converse

Converse Chuck 70

The Tank and Pleated Pants

Okay, so you’re ready to bare it all and show off those guns, but you’re not quite sure how to do so without feeling severely underdressed. In order to elevate the white tank beyond mere undershirt territory, the key is to pair it with tailored, structured pants that are capable of balancing out the casualness on top.

Take Noah’s Single-Pleat Chinos as prime example — made from a solid 100% cotton sanded chino, the slight structure (not to be confused with stiffness) of the pants contrasts the relaxed nature of the white tank, all while the pleat detailing helps in creating a more defined silhouette. Accessories like a sexy, subtle gold chain and chunky derby shoes help to make the outfit more interesting while still remaining simple and easy to wear.

G-Star

G-Star Basic Tank Top 2-Pack

Noah

Noah Single-Pleat Chino

Mr Porter

Miansai Gold Vermeil Chain Necklace

End

Paraboot Michael

The Tank and Denim Shorts

When in doubt, why not put two divisive items of clothing in the same outfit — the white tank and denim cutoffs. While the previous outfits have shown the versatility of the white tank, we’d be remiss not to highlight how essential it is as a casual summertime basic. A white tank and denim shorts might start to hint at redneck territory (as someone from Kentucky, I can say that), but we prefer to think of the combination as classic Americana. If the items still feel too simple or understated, the addition of some on-trend Birkenstocks and a pair of sleek black shades help to take the outfit to the next level.

Selfridges

Tom Ford Slim-Fit Cotton-Blend Vest

Stag

Levi’s 501 ’93 Shorts

Birkenstock

Birkenstock Arizona

Mr Porter

Celine Homme Square-Frame Sunglasses

The Tank and Suit

With wedding season in full swing, add some diversity to your suiting rotation and take advantage of the more casual dress codes by wearing a white tank with your suit. It might seem like a fashion faux-pas, but as long as your suit jacket remains on for moments like the ceremony, you’ll still look appropriately dressed yet in a way that’s updated and feels more current than the expected collared shirt.

Naturally, a nicer tank is recommended for the occasion, so consider MISBHV’s white ribbed version, which is basically a fancier version of the classic Hanes, offering a heftier cotton and slim cut that conforms to the body. As you make your way to the dance floor, you’ll be grateful to find yourself unhindered by sleeves.

Ssense

MISBHV White Ribbed Tank Top

J.Crew

Ludlow Slim-Fit Unstructured Suit Jacket in Irish Cotton-Linen

J.Crew

Ludlow Slim-Fit Unstructured Suit Pant in Irish Cotton-Linen

Adidas

adidas Originals Stan Smith