Speaking with other designers in the activewear industry, it’s interesting to note that across the board, tanks and tees are actually amongst the toughest pieces in any collection to sell. I’m sure there are many reasons for it, but I tend to think that all too often, the focus is on buying the more significant staple pieces; the legging or the sports bra for example, rather than the tank or tee in the collection.
But here’s the thing. We so often end up covering up our beautiful new sports bra with a tank or tee for any number of reasons (mine are usually something like: it’s too cold, I feel fat, there’s so many men in the gym today... so the list of reasons goes on).
So my thought is that on this basis, we need to put a bit more focus on what we wear up top, because the 5-year old fun run t-shirt, or cheap and fraying singlet top, just ain’t cutting it in this modern world of sports luxe!
So where to start? Here’s a few considerations for different body shapes and sizes.
A tankini is a great option because you get two for the price of one! It has a built in bra top that sits underneath (an attached, or sewn on) singlet top. The tankini frequently contains a low-medium level of padding and support in the bra top, so wearing an actual bra is often not required.
I love tankini tops for their no-fuss attitude; a bra top and a singlet top all in one, in a beautiful print, is a very Active Wear Australia look! Regardless of your shape and cup size, tankinis are a winner.
The crop top
But maybe you like to wear a little less fabric. Enter the crop top.
As a (very amateur) dancer for most of my life, I love crop tops. Typically I wear a sports bra or bralette underneath so that as the loose and over-flowing crop top moves around as I dance, glimpses of the bra top are revealed underneath.
And while I do love the crop top in a midriff length for summer, let’s face it, we all have our days when we don’t want to show off our tummy. It’s on these days that I’d say three words to you: womens muscle tanks.
The muscle tank
You heard right… muscle tanks are the ultimate in Fashion workout clothing because they are a stylish take on womens tank tops. Muscle tanks have a “she means business” look, with a feminine undertone. Their signature style is loose fitting with oversized armholes that extend down to the waist. If it seems a bit impractical to you, the idea is that a sexy bralette peaks through to create the perfect Athleisure look.
But if you’re a little body conscious, there’s a variation for you. I’ve seen plenty of women team a muscle tank with a tank top underneath in a different colour, which looks terrific.
I always think of Rocky Balboa when I think of this style. While few women may aspire to Rocky’s physique, I think we all appreciate his drive and determination to get fighting fit. So slip on a muscle tank and get warmed up to Eye of the Tiger!
The simple tank top
I’ve designed a lot of womens tank tops with varying degrees of success. In part, I think this is because, while some love a figure-hugging women’s tank, many others don’t. In fact, I’ve had customers tell me that they hate anything ‘sticking’ to their stomach. I think on the topic of tank tops women need to choose what feels right for them; elastane / spandex for a tighter fit, cotton for breathability or even burnout, for a more urban take on an old classic.
The classic tee
T-shirts, tees, whatever we call them these days, they are still fabulous. Personally, I love women’s tees oversized; with a longer line to sit below the bum, wider sleeves to feel relaxed, and loose enough so that last night’s pizza and wine isn’t apparent (that might just be me hiding the evidence of a Fat Friday night in!).
With this style, I would encourage you to pay attention to the neckline. Some women look great in a v-neck tee, but many customers tell me this shape makes them look ‘scrawny’ around the neck. In this case, a rounder – or higher – neckline might be more suitable. It’s very individual so just keep an eye open for what suits your body best.
Whatever you decide, do make sure that you keep your tanks and tees up to date so that they match back neatly to your staple pieces, and importantly, so your active wear wardrobe keeps its fresh and contemporary edge!
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