If it wasn't already obvious, I live for (and in) a ribbed tank top. At some point a few months ago, amidst moving into my new house and enjoying the absolute delight that is Minneapolis in the late spring / early summer, I noticed that basically all I was wearing – to work, to sleep, out to dinner, etc. – were ribbed tank tops. I only had a few pretty weathered options in my closet at the time, so I set out on a mission to really lean in to the most recent object of my sartorial affection.
I've worn ribbed tank tops for years, like pretty much everyone else, but this summer I decided to really make it *the* signature piece in my wardrobe, and I absolutely love the results. What I enjoy most about ribbed tank tops is that you can dress them up, sleep in them, wear them alone or under sweaters, work out in them, do housework in them–the versatility is exactly the kind of thing I look for when I'm getting dressed every day. In June and July, I tried 19 different ribbed tank tops to find the very best of this wardrobe staple, depending on what you're looking for. I did my best to find options that are available in multiple colors (white, black, and grey are great, but extremely limiting!!), easy(ish) to find, at a reasonable price. You'll clearly see my personal preferences shine through in all the winners I bought below–I simply cannot/will not pull off the 90s "reverse racerback" style that was popular this year–but I hope you'll find at least one of this classic piece to add to your wardrobe ASAP.
To begin my ribbed tank top journey, I tried three options under $10 just to establish a baseline in terms of quality/price. Surprisingly, all of them were actually pretty great! I bought two from Target that I picked up in store without trying on first, and they're nice, easy pieces I'll definitely wear. But the standout in this category is Old Navy's rib-knit first layer tank top. If you're looking for the most basic ribbed tank you can think of, that's bra-friendly and not too long/not too short–this is your tank. If you're not picky about your tank being super soft, buy this in every color and call it a day.
Honorable mention: A New Day Square Neck Tank Top, $8 (available at Target). If you value softness above everything else and don't mind a more limited color range, this is the under $10 option for you.
Where has this top been hiding all my life?! The unusual, asymmetrical straps on this tank add an interesting element to any outfit I didn't know I was missing until now. I've only worn it in public a few times so far, yet I've had people ask me about it every single time. Although a strapless bra is necessary, this slightly cropped tank will be in my regular rotation forever and ever amen.
If this tank top from GAP wasn't so long, it might have won my best overall award. I have it in two colors, and don't regret buying multiples of this super soft, micro-rib tank at all. One thing to note is that the Modern Tank Top is the least obviously ribbed of every one I own, but it looks (and feels) so great tucked into a pair of jeans. I love the colors they had over the summer, and if you don't mind a longer length, I'd upgrade to this over the $6 Old Navy option if you're looking to stock up (they're basically always on sale).
Though the Carrie tank isn't compatible with a regular bra, I love her. It feels a little more elevated and different due to the skinny straps and square neckline, and you can easily dress it up with some jeans and heels, or wear it to bed. That's my kind of versatility.
As you can probably tell, I absolutely favor a scoop/low neck when it comes to tank tops (and t-shirts, for that matter). However, there's something very polished about a high neck tank top; almost a little 70s nod that looks lovely paired with wide leg jeans or flares. After being pretty sure I would end up with the Madewell Brightside Tank Top (and then being very unpleasantly surprised when I tried it on), this one from Banana Republic ended up as my pick for both its softness and overall fit. It also comes in extended sizing (up to XXL, and both tall and petite options).
Honorable mention: Club Monaco Racerback Ribbed Tank, $49.50
I discovered this tank top in a little boutique in Edina (a suburb of Minneapolis) that I hadn't been to in probably a decade. It's exceedingly difficult to nail the right length on a cropped tank–there's a lot of goldylocksing for me now at the ripe old age of 33–but this one is juuuuust right. It's also thicker than every other tank on this list which I appreciate, especially for the white one. I'd never heard of this brand before, but I'll be back for more colors next year, of which there are many!
Honorable mention: Open Edit Ribbed Crop Racerback Tank, $19
The Blondie tank also happened to win my "Best Splurge" category, which I identified as anything over $50. Generally I wasn't that impressed with the over $50 options I tried on except for this tank, at least when it comes to value. That being said, I do like the James Perse Daily Tank I bought, but I think more so for the color than anything else (ballerina–the absolutely perfect not-white, not-cream, not-grey neutral). TBH, I also got it on sale. If it was softer, I might have decided it wins the "Best Splurge" category–it has sort of an interesting gauzy texture–but in a more widely available color like white or black, I think your money is probably better spent on many of the other tanks I reviewed!
Ultimately, my favorite tank top out of every one I tried on is the Soft Lounge Tank from SKIMS. It's currently sold out in a majority of the sizes and colors other than black and gray, and sigh... I completely get why. I'm *really* not a fan of Kim Kardashian, and the reviews I read online are true: SKIMS does run really small. Honestly, when the package arrived I kind of wanted to hate everything, and most of the pieces I bought from SKIMS immediately got sent back (including the Cotton Rib Tank, which I thought I would like, but it was still too small even ordering a size larger than my usual.)
However, there was one absolute gem in the mix: this slightly stretchy, unbelievably soft, never-want-to-take-it-off tank top. The length is perfect (not too long, and not cropped), I can wear it easily with a regular bra, it works with both jeans and yoga pants, and I reach for it constantly. If it's in the laundry, I often rifle through dirty clothes to wear it to bed. When it comes back in stock in more colors, I'll buy a few more so I don't have to do that anymore, lol. Although I wouldn't say I'm a fan of the brand, I will say this tank definitely surprised me. I love that it goes up to size 4x (although, since it runs small it's probably more like 2x or 3x), and the color range is more Earth-toned than any other tank I tried on, if that's what you prefer (I hope it eventually comes in all the same colors as the Cotton Rib Tank!). As much as I hate to admit it, you win this one, Kardashians.