90s Fashion: Tank Tops


Simple & Sexy - tank top and jeansFor all the outlandishness of 80s fashions, baring full arms or midriffs was not part of it. The love of showing skin and the fashions to go with it didn’t really gain traction until the 90s. Tank tops were a fashion staple for women and girls in the 90s.

I have heard many a man friend extol the virtues of a woman wearing a simple tank top and jeans. For all of our efforts to impress them with short skirts and low cut blouses, men seem to find nothing sexier on a woman then a nice fitting pair of a jeans and an arm showcasing tank top. While the tank top trend seemed to peak in the 1990s its still around today, much to my male friends’ delight!


Alicia Silverstone's Clueless character, Cher, sports a tank top over a tee.  Classic 90s attire.While I am ashamed to admit it, I was sucked into a season of America’s Next Top Model a few years ago, and I remember when Miss Tyra told a contestant that it didn’t matter how poor an aspiring model was, all she needed to go on auditions was a package of tank tops from a store like Wal-Mart and a pair of jeans. It caught my attention because it reminded me of how I rocked this unpretentious look in the 90’s. Even now, it’s a go to look of mine for poker tournaments, rock concerts, house parties and road trips.

In the 90’s the tanks I saw the most were the spaghetti strap kind; today’s versions are generally thicker over the shoulders allowing a gal to actually wear a bra which I prefer. Even the tanks with the built in ‘shelf bras’ never seem to offer enough support for my natural Cs! One way to rock the Blake Lively wearing a trendy tank top with blazerspaghetti tank 90s look is to wear the tank over a different colored, usually solid, T-shirt. In the 1995 go-to teen move, Clueless, Alicia Silverstone’s character Cher, nailed this look. Sarah Michelle Geller also owned the spaghetti strap tank look throughout her time as Buffy on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

The other tank top that adorned many a torso in the mid-1990s was the silk tank. While slightly dressier due to its material, it was dressed both up and down. I wore my silk tanks from Express Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Sarah Michelle Geller in a tank top(haven’t shopped there since the 90s) with both jeans and nicer clothes. Silk has fallen out of favor with the fashion gods, but it may be time to re-visit this slinky and shiny fabric for a reprise.

Although a plain packaged tank as exalted by Miss Tyra as the go-to staple of this fashion trend, I also like to advertise my friends businesses, bands I’ve seen in concert, and places I’ve been, across my tank covered chest. My current favorite tank is from a friend’s winery; it’s black and in subtlety sparkly red print it says, "Kick Butt Merlot." This tank is particularly fun to wear to poker tournaments.

While this look is usually casual it can be dressed up a bit. Wear a tank top that is either a nicer fabric or isn’t ‘worn’ looking with a dark wash pair of jeans and throw on a blazer and some high heels and you’re ready for a night out at a trendy hot spot. Trust me, the men will like your outfit better then the over-eager trixie in the short skirt.

Layered Tank Tops   Floral Tank Top   Sheek Long White Tank Top with Blank Pants   Striped Tank Tops

Layered look


Fun and floral


Long and sleek


Summer stripes


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