How To Wear Singlets & Tank Tops Without Looking Like White Trash

How To Wear Singlets & Tank Tops Without Looking Like White Trash

Singlets (tank tops and vests for our global readers) are part of the Australian way of life. The weather calls for them in summer months and the practical ease of their wear has lead it to be a national icon, and unfortunately, the uniform of bogans. But have you ever wondered how to wear a singlet, without looking like white trash?

From a style perspective, the humble singlet has moved on in recent seasons, reinventing itself from a popular underwear piece to an acceptable casual attire option. But before those white arms are out, certain rules do apply. The road is narrow when it comes to this genre of clothing. So, here are the styles, occasions and brands to which you must stick by.

Know Your Singlet & Tank Styles


The fitted singlet is, indeed, a risk when worn outside of the house, requiring confidence in a non-arrogant/gym-dude kind of way. With the vintage Americana trend (think Marlon Brando) set to continue in 2015, pair a crisp white tank (think simple and minimal, avoiding prints) with linen cotton trousers. Nipple-proof the look by going for a heavier fabric that adds more depth and texture, such as ribbed cotton.

The singlet should be effortlessly tucked or sat at waist height – and can go with or without a leather belt depending on the mood. Finish it off with plimsolls, boat shoes or flat moccassins if in the city.

Tight-fit tanks are also great layering pieces, and give more cooling value than a regular cotton tee. Place it underneath knitwear, a blazer, jacket or even a shirt, making it hard for onlookers to differentiate whether you are actually wearing a singlet.


The slouch-fit versatility of this cut makes it a go-to summer essential (and less controversial) compared to its tight and long counterparts. Go for a print or colour variety this time – whether it’s bold and brave (think tie-dye and geometric-shaped) or a more subtle Bretagne stripe.

Patterns are a great way of giving back some personality to onlookers and also gives your outfit a focal point with illustrations and striking detail. Pair the tank with superbly tailored shorts (above the knee is ideal) and don’t go too short in length.

Finally, resist the urge to adopt shapeless bottoms like long-length boardies or cargo pants, as they may offer to much additional bulk. Finish the look with a pair of minimal trainers, boat shoes or even leather sandals for the super brave.


Only for the fashionably brave, longline silhouettes are predicted to make their way heavily across basic summer (and winter) pieces this year – even singlets.  Like tight-fit, longline can be worn solo but is best for layering – slipping well under a bomber jacket or loose-fit cardigan.

Ramping up longline’s affiliations with sportswear and athleisure, pair the tank with track pants (cuffed at the ankle is best for retaining shape), a cropped relaxed-fit trouser or skinny jeans.  This trend relies heavily on monochrome too, so keep it colourless with only simple prints in grey, black and white.

Sports inspired

With the rise of the NBA and old school team gear it’s no wonder brands have been quick to jump on the style bandwagon. The athletic inspired singlet is perfect for the sneaker head and hypebeasts who want to make a statement of a different kind. Paired back with jeans and sneakers it’s very casual but with the right singlet choice can be a winner.

Suitable Singlet Occasions

Make sure you pay close attention to where you are wearing your singlet. The beach, the pool, the park are all absolutely fine for singlet wear, whatever the fit and style. Meanwhile, anywhere urban and heavily populated (think shopping centre, going for dinner, drinks at a bar or somewhere equally suave) – the singlet is banned. Or at the very least, chuck on an over shirt or relaxed-blazer to hide the fact you are wearing a singlet.


  • Accessorise – watches, bracelets, necklaces.
  • Work out – muscles do make a tank look better
  • Keep sleeping singlets for sleeping


  • Wear to special occasions – ie. Weddings, bah mitzvahs
  • Wear ill fitting singlets. They tend to lost shape quickly so opt for an upgrade every season.

Brands We Love 

Alexander Wang

New York-based, Wang’s singlets are classically relaxed-fit and reflect urban tastes. His latest options include a low neck muscle tank made from lightweight rayon jersey and silk, and soft pima cotton with a statement pocket.


Australian label Bassike is all about creating wardrobe staples with longevity a.k.a combining basics style with premium quality and sustainable fabrics. The organic jersey used in their latest selection are perfect off-duty, gym looks and pair well under a linen blazer.

John Elliot 

Made from the softest cotton, John Elliot offers an assortment of singlets all year around. Hit John Elliot here specifically for plain singlets that are well made and fit perfectly.

Where To Buy Men’s Singlets & Tank Top

For high end brand singlets we recommends SSENSE
For affordable fashion fashion we recommend ASOS or TOPMAN

Final Words

When it comes to selecting and sporting your singlet it all comes down to this: be confident, self-assured and on purpose. If in doubt, opt for super clean colours and relaxed-fit for an unquestionable approach to the tank.

Thematic combinations, such as nautical, bohemian or sportsluxe take some extra planning (and a little courage) to pull-off, but done well, they will take your summer dressing to another level.