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Tank Top vs Crop Top

Tank tops and crop tops are great options for beating the heat. This article will explain the differences between tank tops and crop tops. Learn by reading this.

Collage photo of two girls wearing tank top and crop top.

Summer dressing takes some artful combining since you typically show more skin, but you still need to dress appropriately for work and leisure activities. Tank tops and crop tops make cool choices to wear to beat the heat.

So, which one to pair with jeans? Which goes best with shorts or a skirt?

Let’s consider each, then cover how best to wear them.

What is a tank top?

The term tank top refers to a shirt with no sleeves, held on to the shoulders with straps. These straps can either be spaghetti, wide, tab, cinched, or tie-strap designs.

A tank top might use a stretchy fabric or a loose one. The cut of the tank top varies – some fit loosely, while others skim the body or fit like a bodycon dress. Lycra, cotton, and silk make common fabrics for a tank top.

What is a crop top?

A crop top can use any type of sleeves, but it cuts off at the midriff or higher. Some crop tops end just beneath the breast.

Like the tank top, this type of shirt can use any fabric. The most common fabrics include cotton and terrycloth, but some crop tops also come in linen or silk.

How do you wear tank tops and crop tops?

A photo of attractive model lady raise arms posing wearing casual red crop top and jeans.

Typically, you wear this type of top with shorts, but a tank top can also work well with a skirt. Because a crop top bares the stomach and midriff it reveals a bit too much for dressy events, hence not going well with a skirt.

When you wear either type of top, take a jacket or sweater with you. Indoors in the summer, many convention centers, restaurants, shopping centers, and malls crank up their air conditioning, making it rather cold once you’ve been indoors for a few minutes. Since you have exposed shoulders with a tank top and an uncovered torso with a crop top, you’ll probably get cold quickly wearing either.

Unless you want to completely cover your tank or crop top, plan your jacket or another outfit topper with the cut and style of the top in mind. For example, with a tank top, you could button a cardigan halfway or not at all, but with a crop top, you’d either need a jacket of the same cut (a cropped jacket) or one that covered the end of the crop and the rest of the way down that you button.

A tank top goes well over a bathing suit, but a crop top won’t offer more coverage than a tankini. That means you’ll still expose your skin to the sun before you can get any sunblock on your skin.

Tucked or Untucked

A photo of smiling woman arms crossed wearing white tank top and buttoned pink skirt.

You cannot tuck in a crop top, but you can tuck in a tank top. When wearing shorts with an elastic waistband, do not tuck in the tank top. Let it hang down over the waistband, to cover it up.

When you wear tailored shorts or shorts with pleats that zip up or button or snap closure, you tuck in the tank top for a finished look. This includes Bermuda shorts, walking shorts, etc.

When wearing a tank top with a skirt, tuck it in unless you wear a bodycon skirt or another stretchy skirt. With any other style skirt, you’d tuck it into the waist to create a finished look. You can add a belt if the skirt has loops.

Printed Tank Tops

A photo of cute summer tank tops displayed on a rack.

Like t-shirts, many tank tops come with slogans printed on them. The printed information typically goes over the chest area. For females, this means people may try to read your chest. If this bothers you, a sweater or jacket comes in handy to cover the shirt.

This type of top works best for casual occasions. You’d typically pair it with jean shorts, which can be in any color. The most common would be blue or tan. You can also choose shorts that match the writing on the tank top with red and yellow make ideal summer color choices.

Where to Buy Tank Tops and Crop Tops

You can pick up these types of shirts at most e-commerce department stores, including Amazon, Macy’s, Dilliard’s, and Foleys. You can also purchase crop tops and tanks at clothing stores like Old Navy, Forever 21, H & M, etc.

Designers also produce these shirts. Some of their look books or catalogs may refer to tank tops as sleeveless shells. This sounds much dressier because it is. Although still a tank the straps usually measure about two inches in width.