Ask Avery: Sun’s out, guns out
blog by Avery Hartmans • July 06, 2012 @ 9:41am
Are tank tops on men ever OK? I say absolutely not, but a lot of my guy friends wear them.
This is a tough one, because I have a love/hate relationship with men’s tank tops. For some men — super buff guys with toned arms — a tank top can really work. After all, dudes have just as much a right to bare arms as us girls, and I can guarantee that no one is going to be upset about a nice pair of pipes. On the other hand, a scrawny hipster or a beefy frat star can really ruin the beauty of a tank top. I may be shallow, but at least I’m honest.
But even if you have a torso to rival the guys from the beach volleyball scene in “Top Gun,” you still aren’t allowed to wear a tight tank. Just because you have rippling muscles, doesn’t mean we need to see them in high-definition through your tiny tee. Just as I tell the ladies, always err on the classy side.
You should also stay away from any shirts that reinforce the opinion that tank tops are for tools. Your shirt does not need to say “Suns out, guns out,” nor does it need to proclaim your affinity for marijuana with an image of a giant pot leaf. I shouldn’t even have to say this, but if you buy a tank top that says “F*** SLEEVES,” you’re dead to me.
So what should you look for in a tank top? Simple patterns, a loose fit and a relatively high neckline. You’re already showing off quite a bit more than people are used to, so there’s no need to treat us to an extra few inches of what I’m sure are perfectly toned pectorals. The best necklines hit anywhere from two to four inches below the collarbone. And if you’re itching to buy something patterned, don’t go crazy: American flag prints, camouflage or a trendy tribal print are all off-limits. Instead, buy something with subtle stripes, a badass graphic or a simple heathered wash.
A tank top can be paired with nearly anything, but looks best with a nice pair of shorts and a casual shoe or sandal. And there’s really no need for the whole “tank-tops-as-ironic-fashion-statements” look that I’ve seen in the past, so resist the urge to wear your tank with shorty shorts. We’re already seeing quite enough of you, thank you very much.
I’ve been blessed with two very fabulous grandmothers: one of them has a penchant for hats, while the other wears sparkly costume jewelry with everything. How can I incorporate some of that into my own style (particularly the costume jewelry) and how can I make sure I look that great when I’m their age?
It’s easier than you think to incorporate your grandmothers’ styles into your own wardrobe, especially if they’ll let you snag a few of their pieces. It is my firm belief that things are simply not as well-made as they were years ago, and that one-of-a-kind vintage beats out the cheap, mass-produced stuff any day.
The fact that you, as a much younger woman, still find your grandmothers stylish says a lot about their classic look. You should remember this when purchasing clothes and choosing investment pieces now, as some of what you buy could last you a lifetime. Certain pieces, like pearls, pencil skirts and simple, well-tailored jackets will never go out of style, no matter what. You’ll wear those things differently as a woman of 25 than you would as a woman of 75, but either way they’ll stay in your closet forever.
When it comes to costume jewelry, the bigger the better. A sparkly antique necklace is the perfect complement to a summer outfit of shorts and a tank top, while a classic cocktail ring is the only accessory you need to dress up a sundress. And while a simple pendant or subtle stud earrings have their merits, costume jewelry is better in large doses. Don’t be afraid to pile on the baubles.
As for hats, you can be inspired by your grandmother’s look without taking it so literally. While she may favor a cloche-style hat, you could opt for a more modern fedora. If she wears hats on fancier occasions that the British royal family would be jealous of, you can do the same — just choose something that screams “Lindsay,” not “Grandma”. You’d likely feel uncomfortable copying your grandmother’s style, but you can easily put your own spin on it.
Most important, however, is finding what your personal style is and sticking to it. Your grandmothers clearly figured out what they like and what works for them, and you should do the same. Knowing what works on your body type, what works with your lifestyle and what you feel most comfortable in will help you become the style icon your grandmothers would be proud of.