I don’t really approve of underwear as outerwear. I don’t mean this in a puritanical way. I’m certainly not slut-shaming anyone here. I just have a low opinion of it as a genre, in the same way that I have a low opinion of sleeveless knitwear (comfortable in absolutely no weather situation, so what’s the point?) and of contrast white collars on colourful clothes (unless they detach so that you can wash them separately, these look good for a maximum of three laundry cycles).
Clothes should make your day easier and a spaghetti-strap camisole, or one of those flimsy cotton vests, is a bra-strap minefield. Even if by some miracle the front straps behave themselves and sit flush over your underwear, the back view is almost always a spaghetti-junction mess. Half-dressed just isn’t a vibe that works for me – nothing to do with the raunch factor, but because clean lines always look more chic.
Enter the glamisole. A camisole, but with a little more substance to it, and enough extra detailing to be clothing rather than lingerie. It’s a very simple formula, really: what you are looking for is a top that is sleeveless, but not spindly-strapped. What Americans call a tank top, rather than a vest. This shape is surprisingly hard to find on the British high street, which has a tendency to favour a level of skimpiness in summer clothing out of all proportion to RealFeel temperatures. Again, not being priggish, I just don’t think goosebumps are chic.
Your ideal glamisole goes like this. Straps that are at least an inch wide where they sit at the shoulders, maybe two inches. This width will cover bra straps comfortably and sit between your skin and the strap of your bag, so that you don’t wind up with a nasty welt where you carried the shopping home. Also – this is key – loose, rather than tight. Unless you enjoy feeling sticky, a little natural air conditioning is the way to go. A small amount of breezy volume makes it easier to tuck your top into the waistband of your trousers or skirt; just tug it slightly loose, for a relaxed silhouette. The fabric can be silky and lace-edged, as here, or athletic and preppy.
Michelle Obama – who always has an unerring eye for showing skin in a way that looks dynamic and healthy and vibrant, rather than naked – gives excellent sleeveless tank top. So if you don’t want to take my word for the glamisole, take Michelle’s instead. Either way, it gets my vote.
This article contains affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if a reader clicks through and makes a purchase. All our journalism is independent and is in no way influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative. By clicking on an affiliate link, you accept that third-party cookies will be set. More information.