A Ribbed Tank Is The Perfect Way To Elevate Your Wardrobe Basics

Hot or cold, rain or shine, day or night, there's one summer (or all-year-round, really) style staple piece that is sure to never let you down. No, we're not talking about the latest denim trends — right now, we're obsessing over the classic ribbed tank top. Why? The versatility of a ribbed tank top is, quite frankly, unparalleled, as is its comfort. You can layer it under your daytime clothes for added warmth or wear it on its own, and the ribbed design lets the shirt stretch as you move throughout the day. 

If your wardrobe already includes a ribbed tank top in several colors, we don't blame you (and, if you don't, you should go get some stat!). But if you've been styling them the same old way since middle school, it might be time to switch it up a bit. We're not suggesting you go back to wearing ribbed tanks over long-sleeve shirts — actually, we beg you not to — but there are loads of ways to wear a ribbed tank beyond the basic that will keep you stylish and comfortable all day long. So, without further ado, let's get into all of our favorite ways to elevate your ribbed tank style.

Pair with a loose kimono-style sweater

You can always wear a ribbed tank on its own, but we love them because they're understated enough to let your other pieces shine. Try wearing a ribbed tank in a neutral color under your favorite lightweight kimono-style sweater. This is a great outfit combo for the transitional months and will have you looking effortlessly chic — nobody will guess you've had that ribbed tank in your closet since 2007. 

Make it knit

Of course, your ribbed tank doesn't have to be the standard cotton one you grab off the sub-$10 shelf at Target or Old Navy. Why not make it a little more interesting by grabbing a knit ribbed tank top? Knits will often boast a wider rib, making them a bit more of a standout piece than your traditional ribbed tank. Layer it as you'd like, or let your tank shine on its own.

Buy one in white

Everyone — and we do mean everyone — should own a white ribbed tank top. You'll find yourself wearing this staple everywhere, but we love seeing it styled underneath an oversized windbreaker for a simple spring or fall running-around-town 'fit. To elevate your white ribbed tank, layer some gold jewelry on top, or pair it with chunky gold hoops. 

Elevate a pair of jeans

A ribbed tank top and jeans is an effortless style combo that won't go away anytime soon. Wearing a ribbed tank with your favorite pair of blue jeans offers a fantastic slate for endless style options. You could dress your outfit up with an oversized blazer and some jewelry, dress it down with a zip-up hoodie, or keep it as is for a casual look. You do you, boo. 

Wear it with sweats

Are sweats your go-to pants no matter what you have going on in your day? We get it — and we also get that a sweatpants-and-sweatshirt combo often isn't the greatest out-on-the-town look. Don't give up wearing your sweats to the grocery store, though — just pair your favorite sweatpants with a ribbed tank top. Ribbed tanks are fitted enough to keep your silhouette balanced, and you can always let your favorite one peek out from under a zip-up hoodie if you need some added warmth.

Crop it

Is the classic crop top your favorite piece of summer attire? Well, newsflash — you can get ribbed tank tops cropped, too. A crop top adds some visual interest (and some relief from summer heat) to your 'fit, and crop tops look great paired with anything high-waisted. Wear a cropped ribbed tank with your favorite pair of high-waisted jeans or shorts to really let your hourglass figure shine.

Layer with a bralette

Is a plain white ribbed tank top just not doing it for you, yet you don't want to wear anything over it if it's too hot and your tank is a bit see-through? What's a gal to do? Well, friend, if you find yourself in this sticky situation, layer a white ribbed tank top over a bralette. Grab one with scalloped edges to add some visual interest to your look. To go the extra mile, make your bralette match whatever you're wearing on your lower half.

Tuck it in

One way to instantly elevate your basic ribbed tank top is by simply tucking it in. Tuck your tank into a pair of high-waisted jeans or a high-waisted skirt to accentuate your figure and give your outfit a bit of a sophisticated edge. Bonus points if your top and bottom are contrasting colors so each piece can really stand out.

Grab some color

We've been talking a lot about ways to style neutral ribbed tank tops, as they're probably what you have the most of. But while you're at it, why not grab a colorful ribbed tank? Nobody said ribbed tanks can't be a style statement in and of themselves. Let a colorful (or patterned) ribbed tank top stand on its own with a pair of understated pants, or pair it with pants (or a skirt) in a different color for a cute color-blocking moment. 

Wear as cute workout attire

The beauty of ribbed tank tops is that they're stretchy, breathable, and move as you move — this makes them a great choice for workout attire! Of course, you don't have to actually work out in them. You could also pair a ribbed tank top with your favorite athleisure outfit of choice for a look that says, "I'm busy, don't mess with me."

Dig into details

Your ribbed tank top doesn't have to be plain, and it doesn't even have to incorporate other colors or patterns. If you're looking for a ribbed tank that goes a bit beyond the basic, find one with some embellishments! Grab a vintage tank embellished with rhinestones, or go for one that boasts some buttons. However you do it, incorporating little details will make your tank top — and your whole 'fit — far from boring.

Wear it to work

A ribbed tank top to work? Yes, it can be done — depending on your work environment, of course. If you can wear jeans to the office, you can probably get away with a ribbed tank top, provided it's styled correctly. Wear one in a dark color or one that's not too sheer underneath a blazer. Pair it with your favorite work jewelry, and your co-workers probably won't even know you've worn a tank top to work.

Pair it with a button up

A great casual way to style a ribbed tank top is by pairing it with your favorite button-up shirt. Any button-up goes — you could wear a more elevated linen (or even silk) blouse over your favorite ribbed tank, or keep it super casual by wearing it under a flannel in the fall. 

DIY one

Don't have a ribbed tank top, don't want to buy one, and just so happen to be skilled in knitting or crocheting? Friend, make your own ribbed tank top! Not only can you make it in whatever color and style you want, but nobody else will have one like it — and we bet everybody will be asking you where you got it. Plus, who knows? You might find yourself with a ribbed tank Etsy shop down the road. 

Go graphic

If you don't want a plain ribbed tank top but embellishments aren't quite your thing, go for a graphic tank top instead. We bet you can find one at your local thrift or vintage store, and, with any luck, you might even find one supporting your old favorite band. A graphic ribbed tank is a great way to create a nostalgic moment for you and everyone you encounter as you go about your day.

Go with a wide rib

You can barely tell that most ribbed tank tops are ribbed until you're up close. That's totally fine, of course, unless you want some more visual interest in your shirt. You can still wear a simple ribbed tank and keep it interesting (without dressing it up with other pieces) when you find one with a wide rib. It'll be easiest to find wide ribbed tanks in knits, so don't be afraid to look at handmade online shops during your search.

Snag one with cutouts

Finally, another way to elevate your classic ribbed tank top — buy one with cutouts! Your cutout could be a simple keyhole cutout near the neckline, or it could feature cutouts in the back. If you already have ribbed tanks, you can always DIY your own cutouts with the help of an online tutorial. Cutouts are also a great way to keep your tank from getting too sweaty during the summer months.