6 Superb Support Tanks for Summer
Support tank, shimmel, long top—no matter what you call it, this bra-and-tank-in-one top is a must-have for stay-cool summer workouts.
To find the best of the new spring and summer bunch, my curvy, short-trunked self and a tall, willowy friend tested dozens of contenders for fit, function, and (of course) fashion. These six stars shone the brightest.
The groovy pattern on the front of the Brooks Glycerin Print Support Tank II ($46; BrooksRunning.com) isn't just for looks—it actually acts as camouflage for your tummy. The solid-color side panels help with the visual slenderizing, and the inner bra has cups to complete the streamlined look by keeping the girls lifted and separated. (Think moderate support, perfect for cycling, power walking, or inline skating.)
The hidden zippered pocket on the back (it's just big enough for a pack of GU or a house key) is a handy bonus, and the double strap racer back isn't just super-cute; it allows for an impressive range of motion, too.
From om to out on the town
First of all, the REI Sariska Strappy Tunic ($42.50; REI.com) is so soft that you might be tempted to wear it to bed. But that would a shame, because this top deserves to be seen!
The stretchy, flow-y, eye-catching fabric skims the body, and the crisscross straps (adjustable, no less) add an unexpected super-style twist when glimpsed from behind. Wear it to turn some heads at the yoga studio, then keep it on to meet the girls for dinner at your favorite outdoor cafe.
(Editor's note: Currently available in sizes L and XL only.)
Beautiful in blue
This tank looks like two! The front zip of the Champion Double Dry 1/4-Zip Workout Tank ($34; ChampionUSA.com) actually reveals the patterned inner bra, giving the top a flattering layered look.
And don't be afraid to show your back—the cross-over keyhole styling is an unexpected style bonus. Mesh insets under the arms add to this top's substantial cooling and wicking power. It's perfect for low impact activities like walking or strength training, or wear another bra if you're up for a tougher sweat session. Tip: Get the Seaport Blue color—it's gorgeous.
How do I like thee, Zobha Julia Tank ($62; Zobha.com)? Let me count the ways: One, the off-the-shoulder cut—fun and sexy! Two, the adjustable straps (such a boon for short-trunked women like me). Three, the removable pads in the bra cups—keep 'em in if you're looking for a shapely bust boost, take 'em out if you prefer a simpler fit. And four, the impressive support provided by the stretchy, substantial fabric and aforementioned bra (though the top might be a bit warm for major sweat sessions).
Strut your stuff in Pilates class, then wear it out to the club for a night on the dance floor.
Introducing the winner of Health magazine's 2011 Gear Awards for Best Supportive Tank: the PUMA Complete Run Top ($44.99; RoadRunnerSports.com).
Here's why we chose it: The layered-look fabric skims flatteringly over your body without making you look like a potato sack. The shirred back is a nice touch, and the pattern (great for hiding not-so-tight tummies) is cute as can be. Bonus: The mesh backing on the shelf bra is a welcome touch on steamy days. While this top isn't super-supportive, it'll work fine for medium impact for A, B, and C cups; if you're larger or planning on hitting it hard, simply wear another bra underneath.
"Ooh, what a beautiful color!" gasped two of my friends when they saw the Athleta PR Tank ($59; Athleta.com)—that would be the Wave Blue, reminiscent of a tropical cove on a sun-drenched day.
Hue aside, this tank provided the best support of the group—high intensity (running, anyone?) for up to a C cup, medium intensity for Ds. The generously placed mesh on the sides and back invite the cooling breeze in, and the two back pockets are deep enough to hold an energy bar, your keys and ID, your cell, and more during a long bike ride. But that's not all: The higher neckline provides great coverage when leaning over the handlebars, and the fit is generous enough that you don't feel self-consciously hugged by the fabric.