Mank Tops – A Cautionary Tale

When I think of men’s tank tops, the first thought that comes to my mind is a plain white undershirt, and the second thought is a too-tight striped tank on a cigarette smoking, sweaty Frenchman – and a beret on his balding head.

When looking at today’s fashion, however, it seems my images are out-of-date. Tank tops worn on their own (lovingly referred to as “mank tops”) have become increasingly popular as of late – for better and for worse. While I realize that the hot summer sun warrants light, as-little-fabric-as-is-socially-acceptable clothing, the mank top should be approached with caution – lest we forget the stigma of the notorious wife-beater.

Luckily, the mank tops I’ve seen come in a variety of colors and even styles, ranging from the tight ribbed look to a more loose-fitting sleeveless tunic. Yet, similar to most other clothing pieces out there, the mank top can become a fashion faux pas of the highest degree if worn by certain body types that it does not compliment.

To look and feel your best, it is necessary to adhere to styles that flaunt your assets. Ladies are all too familiar with this; our male counterparts are sometimes less attentive to such details. If you go ahead and treat yourself to a showing of the new film Magic Mike, you will witness some of the finest male anatomies suitable for the mank top: well-defined deltoids, biceps, and pectoralis major a.k.a. big guns and nice pecs (and some fine gluteus maximus never hurt anyone). While such men are the epitome of mank top perfection, a regular dude with an average body type can pull it off too.

Hey Lady Readers: You’re welcome for that picture above… that was for you!

The worst body type for the tank is one with slender shoulders, which will not benefit from the tank top look, especially matched with a midsection like Homer Simpson. That being said, pear shapes especially should shy away from the tank, as it will fail to compliment the exposed, slight shoulders. A mank top highlights the upper body, so a broad chest and shoulders are the best resources to have.

Notice, though, I said “broad” shoulders, not massive, killer guns. Body builders, or anyone who resembles them, will not be helped by the mank top. Such huge muscles already gain plenty of attention, and wearing a thin, stretched piece of cloth that barely covers the pecs, let alone the arms, seems a bit pretentious. Although, I guess it would be difficult to fit into anything else. Still, the look is reminiscent of a certain giant, angry, green man who got his start in the comic book world.

Needless to say, the mank top is not built for anyone, but the summer heat is quiet the needy mistress; she’ll have you stripping down to indecent levels. On that note, I’ll accept the use of mank tops on anybody, in the privacy of their own home. But body builders and Homer Simpsons beware: the mank top is a fashion danger, and should be avoided in public, unless rude snickers and giggles suit your masochistic fancy.

Written By: Mary B.

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