eBay Fabric Criteria?
July 4, 2012 10:58 AM   Subscribe

What brands of tank tops have high-quality fabric?

I'm going through a typical middle-class 30-something phase wherein I realize much of my life I've ignored fabric quality and so have a ton of clothes I dislike because I don't like how they feel or look close-up. I'm also nursing a borderline eBay addiction and so have purchased a lot of silk and linen items lately. Now I need tank tops, lightweight and stretchy, yet the terms "cotton" or "cotton spandex" don't go far in determining quality. There's a ton of low-quality cotton clothing in existence (burn it!) and sellers don't take close-up fabric shots for tank tops. I search for L.L. Bean and Land's End and didn't pull up anything in my size. What brands should I look for to find tank tops of high-quality fabric? Any other fabric-quality determining tips are welcome, I'm developing a mad interest in textiles. Thank you, lovelies!
posted by alice_curiouse to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (23 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I can tell you right now to forever avoid anything by H&M as their stuff is absolute pants and will fall apart within weeks. Old Navy is slightly better but definitely has a tendency to unwanted sheerness - I have no idea why they think this "layering" thing is anything other than rank bullshit. American Apparel stuff stands up through repeated washings and wearings and summer sweatings but is also tends towards the inappropriately sheer side.
posted by elizardbits at 11:21 AM on July 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: They are not high style by any means (though for basic tanks, I don't know that it matters) but Eddie Bauer knitwear is pretty darn durable.

The also have expanded sizing online -- so if you are petite/tall/women's sized you have more options.
posted by pantarei70 at 11:24 AM on July 4, 2012

Response by poster: Ugh, I couldn't agree more about the "layering" crap and Old Navy, I used to work there and even my coworkers made fun of the quality.

I think I've heard H&M can have good quality, but not consistently.

But, don't get me STARTED on American Apparel. Angelenos have been buying there stuff for well nigh a decade--I have three of the same item that I've ordered from them -- I can tell which I've ordered first, second and last as the decrease in fabric quality is consistently deteriorated (but not their price). I'm very, very sorry to say, because I used to rely on them for high-quality modal clothing and now I can only rely on them for pornography. (Just kidding.)
posted by alice_curiouse at 11:30 AM on July 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Also the euro chain Mango (MNG) makes some fairly good quality stuff but a lot of their stuff might be a little too silly/forever21ish for your needs.
posted by elizardbits at 11:33 AM on July 4, 2012

Best answer: I really like the tank tops from Banana Republic and J Crew. They typically last me several years and stay richly pigmented and stretchy throughout many washings.
posted by joan_holloway at 11:46 AM on July 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You might want to check out Eileen Fisher. Lots of tank top options and beautiful, beautiful natural-fiber textiles in all her clothes.
posted by smilingtiger at 11:48 AM on July 4, 2012

Best answer: If you are interested in tanks that can have a slightly sportier look, try REI. Better quality clothes (for active folks, so the item and material tends to stay put), but definitely can be pricey. You can generally find items in solid colors, too, which will help with getting the most out of them. Prana, I believe, is a decent brand from there.

I agree with you all, I despise the necessity to layer things due to the sheerness. I loved the times when you could buy a regular old t-shirt, that had a little bit of spandex, didn't come down to your knees, and you didn't have a wear a cami under it.
posted by foxhat10 at 11:48 AM on July 4, 2012

Best answer: Ann Taylor makes good ones.
posted by bluefly at 12:10 PM on July 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Patagonia has some really nice ones. The Sespe is a spandex/cotton blend.
posted by k8t at 12:18 PM on July 4, 2012

Best answer: I have a few (mens) Alternative Apparel tanks, and they're pretty awesome.
posted by yellowbinder at 12:19 PM on July 4, 2012

Best answer: Seconding Eileen Fisher. I have several EF tank tops from Ebay.

If you can find tops from Cotton Basics on Ebay (they are a small company - I shop their sales because they are local to me) they have good quality (nice and thick) cotton tank tops.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 12:42 PM on July 4, 2012

Best answer: Ibex makes really nice tops with good materials- some pure wool, some blends. Really well made clothing and a great company, too.
posted by release the hardwoods! at 12:56 PM on July 4, 2012

Best answer: You don't say why you have size issues, but J Jill makes high quality clothes that come in women's, petite, and misses sizes. Link to tanks here. I bought some of the Pima cotton ones. Thick enough that you don't need to worry about that whole sheer layering thing, and, at least so far this summer, they've held up just fine in the wash.
posted by AMyNameIs at 1:16 PM on July 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Also recommending JJill and Eileen Fisher. Also-- this is getting out of "tank top" territory into "shell" territory--I got a tank from Misook a few years ago and I swear to god, it is the most excellent garment in my wardrobe. A beautiful plum color, absolutely bulletproof, feels great, washes like a dream. And, freakish enough, is acrylic, of all things--must be a far cry from the formulation that goes into cheap, pilly sweaters made with acrylic, cause this stuff is luxe.

Breathtakingly expensive, but worth every penny. I'll probably be buried in it, at this rate. Saving my pennies for more from that line.
posted by Sublimity at 1:47 PM on July 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Flax has very nice linen, but, "stretchy"? You want a basic cotton, knit, rib-knit, form-fitting tank? Or no?

Lands' End runs from XXS [in "Canvas"] to 3X; were they sold out of your size, or do you literally mean Bean/LE do not carry your size? As that would narrow down options quite a lot.

"Lightweight and stretchy" is a good way to describe throwaway mall stuff -- I think if you want sleeveless tops that aren't disposable, maybe get away from that idea? Instead this, or this?

Thirding Eileen Fisher.
posted by kmennie at 1:56 PM on July 4, 2012

Best answer: I love my James Perse and J Crew tank tops. James Perse is spendy, but worth it. I'm currently wearing one that I've had for 3 years; it still looks new.
posted by hotelechozulu at 4:57 PM on July 4, 2012

Best answer: Land's End Canvas has some reasonably good quality tanks. They are pretty much identical to Old Navy but not as thin. I don't know if your Land's End search included their Canvas offshoot or not, but I really like the stuff they make under that label (sub-label? whatever).

I will be checking all these links, though; generally I just get a bunch of Old Navy tanks on sale and re-purchase a handful every six months or so. They have the best colors I've found.
posted by librarina at 5:40 PM on July 4, 2012

Best answer: I love the Banana Republic favorite tank top, or whatever they call it. They are often on sale for $10 each and are high quality with a bit of stretch.
posted by k8lin at 8:17 PM on July 4, 2012

Best answer: If you're looking for something that is casual/sporty I really like the ribbed long length tank tops from Soffee, a t-shirt/athletic wear co.
posted by NikitaNikita at 10:26 PM on July 4, 2012

Best answer: Icebreaker merino wool! Amazing, doesn't smell and very soft.
posted by ZEsockpuppet at 6:32 AM on July 5, 2012

Best answer: Boden shirts are usually very high quality, with nice cuts.
posted by barnone at 7:32 AM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: My Uniqlo lace-trim tanks have lasted really well - I wear them under dresses a lot. They're a fine rib, though, which might not be what you're after.
posted by mippy at 10:55 AM on July 5, 2012

Response by poster: You guys are great. Fantastic, I'm excited about having another clothing question so ya'll can enlighten me, lucky yoos! Seriously, thanks a million, ladies and gentlemen. Happy Fourth!
posted by alice_curiouse at 3:42 PM on July 5, 2012

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