Tank Tops – Five Plus One

Five Plus One is our weekly series of buyer’s guides. We pick a specific category and dig up five great options along with one that’s a little outside the norm.

It’s hot out there, both literally and metaphorically, and the response to both is obviously to bare more skin. And there’s no better shirt to celebrate the right to bare arms than the t-shirt’s amputated cousin, the tank top. I’m glad “tank top” has become the accepted term for such a garment as opposed to…that other one. But whatever you call them, we’ve got five options (plus one more) below.

1) Hanes: A-Shirt

There’s not too much more to say beyond the name for this one, and even there it’s right on the edge of what can still be considered “A Shirt”. If you’ve never tried a Hanes tank before, they are tight and narrow, but the ribbing expands and encases your torso like a soft cotton sausage. Everyone should own more than one, because as Reed sagely notes at least half of them are defective. Luckily they’re cheap and a defective tank is still an effective rag.

Available 3 for $10 at Amazon.

2) Hemen Biarritz: Tank Top Gari

Careful, your face will sprout a handlebar mustache as soon as your head passes through the neck hole of this tank from the aptly named Hemen Biarritz. The French label makes their tanks in Portugal from 100% organic cotton, but you can wear yours anywhere from the Côte d’Azur to the shores of Lake Havasu.

Available for 50EUR at Hemen Biarritz.

3) ts(s): Vintage Style Tank

Before you fall in love with this oh so tastefully made tank from Japanese masters of coziness ts(s), know that Namu Shop bought it for their women’s section and it only comes in size 0 and 1. But unlike their sizing, clothes do not ascribe to a gender binary and I’m tempted to make a 1 stretch more than the Hanes to squeeze myself into one while they’re still available.

Available for $70 at Namu Shop.

4) Merz b. Schwanen: 1920s Singlet

While the Hemen may have been made for lifting large triangular iron weights, the Merz was made to stroke the winning boat at the Henley Royal Regatta in 1922. I mean look at that shape, the shirt even looks like an oar. Merz b. makes all their knits in their home country of Germany on antique loopwheel machines, so while the price may seem steep it’s one of the most affordable ways to get your hands on that soft tube-knit goodness.

Available for 60EUR at Merz b. Schwanen.

5) Reigning Champ: Pima Jersey Tank Top

For a more modern athletic fit, Reigning Champ knits all their goods at their factory in Vancouver. Their tanks are cut long and narrow and have a curved hem for those pickup games in the park (you can write your own team name and number with a fabric pen).

Available for $55 at Reigning Champ.

Plus One – S.K. Manor Hill: Natural Linen Tank

The year is 2059. Marauding hordes pick over a sun-bleached wasteland as temperatures regularly top 130 degrees. But you, you walk easy, you feel cool, because you had the foresight to pick up S.K. Manor Hill’s tank top nearly 40 years prior. It was made in New York City’s Garment District, the ruins of which you now share with a Macy’s cargo cult of mole people. The natural undyed linen wicks away sweat from your desiccated skin making it easy to wring out and reuse what precious moisture, and the scoop gussets allow freedom of movement as you flee the mutant carnivorous fish that climb the banks of the Gowanus canal to feed on human flesh at night. The price may have seemed extreme back in 2021, but you try trading two pieces of green paper for anything beyond a blank stare these days.

Available for $200 at S.K. Manor Hill.