If there were ever two types of shirts to define casual and taking it easy, the cut-off and tank top would be it. The cut-off and tank top are synonymous with hard work as much as they are with relaxing. Whether you’re showing off your gains in the gym, or sparing your better shirts the dirt and dust from house work, a cut-off and tank top shirt help you get things done. Don’t want to put much thought into what you’re wearing but you still want that fashionable edge? A quality cut-off or compression tank top has your back.
They are versatile but there’s certainly an unspoken line that shouldn’t be crossed when wearing a tank top or cut-off in public. Let’s take a look at the differences between these two shirts along with where you should and where you should never wear them.
Both cut-offs and tank tops are missing sleeves but it’s the extent of how much that defines one over the other. Cut-offs will still cover your shoulders starting at the bottom of your neck. The tank top is only going to give about an inch of shade to a lucky part of your shoulder on both sides.
Quality and durability can vary, but in general, both should be able to take whatever workout or house chores you can throw at them.
There are a variety of types of cut-offs and tank tops:
Casual: Usually made with cotton or a cotton blend, casual cut-offs and tank tops can be worn as undershirts or when you don’t have much to do.
Compression: Far tighter than your normal cut-off or tank top, compression shirts look good, but they also help your body by increasing blood flow. Remember that a tight shirt is not a compression shirt. Compression shirts are custom-made with a unique amount of tightness.
Fashionable: Believe it or not, cut-offs and tanks tops are becoming a fashion trend. Not just any tank top will do. You’ll need one that is durable, high quality material, and a stylish design.
Fitness: Naturally, cut-offs and tank tops lend themselves to being a perfect choice for exercise clothing. Ranging in material, many fitness apparel tanks and cut-offs can wick away sweat, avoid absorbing odor, and stay strong through every workout.
Let’s discuss the best times to wear a tank top or cut-off on the fitness scene.
Fitness classes are the obvious choice to rock out a tank top or cut-off, but the intensity of the class will determine which one you wear. If you’ll be doing low-impact classes that doesn’t involve a lot of jumping around, go with a cut-off or a loose tank top.
If you’ll be moving at a fast pace and jumping all over the place, you’ll want to go with a tight tank top, preferably a compression-based shirt.
The same idea applies for fitness events. If the going is pretty easy, feel free to wear a cut-off. You won’t need to worry about having the shirt close to your body as much if you’re involved in a casual race like the Color Run.
If you’ll be competing in a serious, in your face event like the Tough Mudder or Spartan Race, then make sure the shirt is as close to your body as possible. A compression tank top is perfect. This will ensure it doesn’t get caught on any obstacles.
Now the more important question: Can you wear a cut-off or tank top outside of the gym and not get judged? Of course, so long as you do it in the right places and you’re wearing the right cut-off or tank top.
If you’re just running to the grocery store or picking up items from a yard sale, a stylish cut-off is the perfect way to go. It’s comfortable and it lets you show off what you’ve earned if you’ve been hitting the gym for the past few months.
Obviously if you’re just hanging out with long-time friends, there’s no need to worry about looking as fashionable as possible. A cut-off shirt or a tank top will both work well here.
Continuing with the point above, if you have plans that involve sunshine and the outdoors, a cut-off and a tank top are both great options within reason. If you’ll be at a backyard cookout, soaking up rays on the beach, or participating in a friendly game of volleyball, go crazy with your choice of tank top or cut-off.
With all of that said, there are a few places where a tank top or a cut-off should be avoided.
Unless you work on the beach or as a life guard, avoid wearing cut-off shirts and tank tops to work. Chances are they aren’t in the dress code.
Again, unless your date is taking place somewhere tropical, put in the extra effort and go with a more formal, covered-arm look.
This one is pretty obvious, but if you receive an invitation that has been printed on a fancy card, go with a full suit and leave the tank top and cut off at home.
When the situation calls for it, which have you been known to sport? Do you prefer the classic solid color or something more vibrant? Let us know in the comments below.
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