Tanks have been invading our campus: Manifesting as the go-to party outfit topper, the new club t-shirt and the ultimate homemade fashion trend and comfortable answer to the scorching days of sunny Southern California. They are worn proudly by both men and women of all the 5Cs.
To some, tanks have become collectibles. They are a convenient outlet for one to rep everything from past sports and activities to hometowns and favorite bands. The tanks are easily layered, adding a personal touch to an outfit as well as the perfect breathable, movable apparel. This trend is not localized, but has been strut down runways as well as College Avenue. In the Isabel Marant Spring 2011 runway show, models wore mesh athletic tanks tucked into feminine skirts and underneath button downs and blazers. Since, tanks have been announced in the fashion forecasts. Blake Lively has been spotted in tanks; even Matthew McConaughey, a man who seems to be picky about what he puts on his torso, is hopping on the tank train.
Variations of the tank offer a style for every wardrobe and lifestyle. Many of the tanks seen on campus are the reversible mesh tanks taken as rewards for participation in sports teams, proving that the wearer does indeed know how to cradle a lacrosse ball down the field or score a three pointer. Such tanks are also convenient for those not dedicated to doing a load of laundry too often.
Many other tanks sported on campus have been accurately coined as ‘cut offs.’ These are your standard run of the mill t-shirts that the owner has adapted by cutting off the sleeves. Sometimes, the collar of the t-shirt is also cut out, to further improve mobility and coolness of the shirt, and in some cases, usually of the female variety, the lower part of the body of the t-shirt has been cropped as well. Not only does the wearer then exude individuality in the print of the shirt, but also in the modifications that he or she has made.
Another style often seen is the prefabricated cotton tank. These are offered by many chain stores as well as smaller boutiques. Such tanks come in stripes, with a businesslike breast pocket, with abstract graphic designs, or with messages of political or social statements. The manufactured cotton tanks have become the new staple for clubs and teams across the campuses. When ordering team shirts, the question no longer seems to be, “T-shirt or long sleeve,” but “T-shirt or tank?” The answer is more commonly becoming the latter.
The Pomona-Pitzer women’s cross country team has declared one practice of the week as “Cut Off Day” in a motion to further unify the team. Kathleen Shea, Pomona senior and seasoned member of the women’s cross country team, attested, “the cut off is an honored team tradition that we take quite seriously. There is nothing like wearing gnarly shirts to bring a group together.” Such cut offs allow each individual to express herself with whatever graphic, color or statement she feels appropriate, while participating in a team activity and, of course, keeping cool while running those scary distances.
When asked why he wears his tanks, Pomona junior David Erf said that the shirts are, “as practical as they are fashionable.” Whether he is out on a run, on his way to class or kicking back for a leisurely game of Corn Hole this statement holds true. Tanks hit all the bases, offering full arm mobility and a flattering cut.
The current tank craze may be born out of practicality, nostalgia for our childhood in the nineties or by a subconscious desire to imitate the rambunctious cast of Jersey Shore. They may have started as a simple cure to the curse of a farmer’s tan, as a way to show off those upper arm muscles that have been worked on during long lonely summer days or as a way to keep it cool in your dorm room that is lacking the convenience of central air conditioning. The fact is, there is a tank for everyone. You might have a lucky pinnie, a self-tie-dyed cotton tank or a near threadbare Rolling Stones cut off from the 1975 summer tour that you stole from your mom. Whatever your style, tanks are comfortable, convenient and seemingly here to stay.