One of our favorite menswear sites recently made fun of this practice. But when it’s done with a spirit of preservation (say, rescuing your vintage concert tee with the dorky, tight neckline from getting Goodwilled), we think there’s something to be said for giving old favorite T-shirts a new lease on life—with scissors.
Eric Yanez, a buyer for The Rail department, showed us three ways to chop a T-shirt into a tank top in no time at all. He used new T-shirts—but use your imagination and picture a rare gem from the back of your drawer.
See instructions below, plus ideas for how to wear them this Labor-Day weekend (perhaps your last chance to exercise the right to bare arms for a while).
- You can use a ruler and marker if you want to get technical…But Eric just eyeballed it.
- Use the part of the scissors near the hinge to cut through thick seams easily.
- Once you cut off the first sleeve, use it as a rough template for the other side before you toss it.
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Style 1: Classic Tank Top. For the most straightforward approach, simply cut an inch or two inside the sleeve seams, and take off the ribbed collar as well. Works for a backyard BBQ, but bring an extra layer in case the after-party heads downtown.
Shop: The Poster List T-shirt | Reyn Spooner button-up shirt | Zanerobe swim trunks
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Style 2: Beach Bound. [Black lines = front of shirt. Red lines = back.] This one cuts in further in back—advisable for the beach, poolside, and anywhere else clothing is optional. Make sure you follow the red lines above for the BACK only.
Shop: Bowery Supply T-shirt | Maui & Sons swim trunks
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Style 3: Muscle Tee. Lose the sleeves but keep the neck intact. A good option for the gym, where you want to stay cool while keeping some fabric between you and the machinery.
Shop: Altru T-shirt | 1901 oxford shirt (also in green) | Original Paperbacks shorts
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Final Tip: When in doubt, heed the advice of menswear designer and all-around class act Ms. Eunice Lee: Tank tops, like flip-flops, are more at home at the beach than in the city.
SHOP ALL: Ready-Made Tank Tops | Future-Classic T-Shirts