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Camisole Vs Tank Top: What’s the Difference?

In the summer months, camisoles and tank tops are my favorite garments. They are so versatile and cool. But which one should I be wearing? Is a camisole OK on its own? Or should I go for a tank top? When it comes to camisoles vs tank tops, what’s the difference?

The main difference between camisoles and tank tops is the type of fabric used. Camisoles are dainty garments. Often embellished with lace and paired with jackets or shirts. They’re made with delicate materials like silk. Tank tops use sturdier fabrics like polycotton and have wider straps. They can be worn alone or under a shirt.

So camisoles and tank tops are two different garments. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at each one. Identifying their pros and cons to explain if a camisole or a tank top will suit your needs best.

Camisole Vs Tank Top

Camisole vs Tank Top: Key Points

At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be much to choose between camisoles and tank tops. Both are sleeveless tops worn during warm weather. One of the main differences is the material they are made from. Another is who wears them.

Camisoles are a lightweight lingerie item normally worn by women as an undergarment. A camisole helps add an extra layer of modesty under see-through blouses or shirts. Tank tops, on the other hand, can be worn by men or women.

Normally made out of heavier fabrics like cotton or polyester blends, a tank top is essentially a sleeveless T-shirt. Worn on its own, it creates a super cool casual look for women, men, and children.

Let’s compare camisoles vs tank tops to see how they differ. Take a look at this table for a brief overview. We’ll look at each characteristic in more detail later in the article.

CharacteristicsCamisoleTank Top
CostPrice varies depending on the fabric. Can be expensive if made from silkAffordable wardrobe staple
MaterialSilk, polyester, nylon may also contain SpandexCotton, polycotton, may also contain Spandex
Size of StrapsSpaghettiThicker straps
StyleClose-fitting, sleeveless with thin straps. Straps can be adjustable. Designed as a delicate undergarmentClose or loose-fitting, sleeveless
. Straps are part of the bodice and are not adjustable. Designed for sportswear or casual wear
UsesLayering, modesty, slinky pajamas, minimal bust supportSportswear, casualwear, pajamas, warm weather wear
Visibility of Bra StrapsVisibleLess visible
Worn byWomenMen, women, children

What Is a Camisole?

What Is a Camisole

A camisole is a sleeveless shirt worn by women as a modesty garment. They are usually worn under suit jackets or low cut and see-through tops. Made from dainty, feminine fabrics, they have spaghetti straps and minimal bust support.

Originally, the camisole would have been a corset cover. It has evolved to become an item of lingerie. Traditionally, it would have been made from thin, lightweight fabric and would have been fitted to the body.

The 1980s saw a re-think when it came to the camisole. No longer restricted to underwear, they became a fashionable alternative to blouses.

Working women began to wear them under suit jackets to the office. The hint of lace peeping out of a loosely buttoned blazer added a touch of femininity to the famous boxy and over-large shoulder-pad silhouette of the decade.

These days, camisoles are worn on their own as a cooling summer top or as part of a summer pajama set paired with shorts. Embellished with lace and bows, they offer a frilly change to a cotton t-shirt.

What Is a Tank Top?

What Is a Tank Top

A tank top is a sleeveless garment similar to a t-shirt. Worn by both men and women, it is made from cotton fabric or polyester blends. Known for its comfort and durability, the tank top is an ideal garment for sports and casual wear. Made from opaque fabrics and having integral straps, a tank top offers more top-body coverage.

Tank tops began life as swimwear for women. The first ones were seen as early as the 1920s. Men caught on to the comfort offered by the sleeveless wonder a decade later.

By the 1970s, both men and women were wearing tank tops as a cool alternative to t-shirts. The casual, laidback persona of the tank top teamed perfectly with the 70s penchant for bell-bottom pants and flared jeans.

It wasn’t long before the tank top was a wardrobe staple for men and women. Easy to wear and care for, either close-fitting or loose, it became a fashion statement for those interested in looking good and feeling comfortable.

What’s the Difference Between Camisoles and Tank Tops?

Cropped tank tops

Although fairly similar in appearance, camisoles and tank tops are very different garments. The first is a lightweight, delicate piece of lingerie; the latter is a robust garment ideal for sportswear.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the characteristics of the two garments. Identifying their pros and cons will help you figure out which one is best for your needs.


Camisoles and tank tops are both sleeveless, collarless, and designed to be worn on the top half of the body. Style is one characteristic where the two garments start to differ. While tank tops can be loose-fitting or figure-hugging, camisoles are designed to be close-fitting and figure-flattering.

A camisole can have built-in tailoring devices like darts or princess seams to hold the shape or structure of the upper torso. They also have minimal bust support. This helps create a flattering silhouette that flows over the body shape to camouflage any lumpy bits.

Ideal for smart wear or lingerie, camisoles are usually a solid color giving them a more formal appearance than the tank top. They also have thin spaghetti-like straps which can be adjustable. This offers an opportunity to further improve the fit of the top for added comfort and support.

In comparison, tank tops, particularly if made from a knit fabric, hold close to the body and accentuate the curves. Their straps are an integral part of the construction and can’t be adjusted.

Designed to show off muscular torsos, a tank top, whether it’s loose or tight-fitting, is a casual garment ideal for showing off a perfect body and a fantastic tan. Coming in a range of colors, prints, and patterns, a tank top can match the wearer’s personality through the use of design and embellishments.


Tank tops and camisoles are made from different materials. Because of its robust nature, a tank top is made from opaque fabrics like cotton and polycotton, giving it a stronger and more durable finish than the camisole.

A popular casual garment, the tank top is a ubiquitous item worn by men and women. The fabric used reflects the unisex nature and helps cement the appeal of the clothing to everyone.

Camisoles are lighter garments made from silk, polyester, or nylon. Designed to be feminine and floaty, they have a more romantic feel. The fabric used helps create a feeling of luxurious underwear.

The fabric used for camisoles mirrors the audience these garments are marketed to. Only women wear camisoles. So the fabrics are softer, delicate, and slinky.


Hanes Women's Stretch Cotton Cami with Built-in Shelf Bra, White, LargeThe more obvious difference between a camisole and a tank top is the size of the straps. A tank top doesn’t have straps as such. With the look of a sleeveless t-shirt, the straps are part of the bodice.

This means the bodice section is cut to frame the armhole. Meeting the back bodice at the top of the shoulder, a seam is formed to hold the two parts together. Being integral to the bodice means the size of the shoulder seam can differ. It can either reach from the neck to the top of the arm or be an inch wide, resting in the middle of the shoulder.

Camisoles tend to have thin, lightweight straps, sometimes called spaghetti straps. These are designed to be as small as possible, so they are easier to hide under clothing like blazers. They are usually adjustable like bra straps and offer a minimal amount of support to the bust.

Unfortunately, in a lot of circumstances, camisole straps are too thin to hide bra straps. Not as much of a problem if you don’t mind not wearing a bra underneath your camisole. For ladies with a slightly heavier cleavage, it can prevent them from wearing camisoles, preferring to stick with the wider straps and better coverage provided by a tank top.


Both camisoles and tank tops have similar uses. They can be worn as the top half of a pajama set, particularly in warmer weather. The floaty nature of the camisole can add a hint of seduction to a set of ladies’ sleepwear. While the tank top’s rugged nature is an ideal option for guys and girls to sleep in.

Tank tops can be worn on their own and are popular as sportswear and casual wear. Depending on the style and pattern on the tank top, they can also be combined with smart wear for a day at the office. This only works for women though, as they can hide the fact it is a tank top under a suit jacket. Men can’t as many offices still require them to wear shirts with collars.

Similarly, the camisole works well as an undergarment for a lady’s suit jacket. Camisoles tend to work best if used as a layering item. Used under a blouse made from a sheer fabric, they can help protect the modesty of the wearer from the see-through nature of the outer garment.


When it comes to cost, there is little to choose from between camisoles vs tank tops. Both are priced depending on the fabric used and the design of the item.

You may find a camisole made from pure silk will be more expensive than a tank top made from polycotton. But, silk camisoles are also more pricey than nylon ones. Another factor to consider, camisoles are aimed solely at women. This may make a lace-trimmed camisole slightly more costly than a plain tank top.

Tank tops are designed to be useful and fashionable. They are also marketed to men and women. On the whole, they are a relatively cheap wardrobe addition for everyone.

Popular Camisoles and Tank Tops

Hanes Women’s Cotton Cami with Built-in Shelf Bra

Hanes Women's Stretch Cotton Cami with Built-in Shelf Bra, White, LargeMade from 95% cotton and 5% Spandex, Hanes camisole is soft and flattering.

The added hint of stretch allows the fabric to move with you, making it a perfect garment for all-day comfort.

With an in-built shelf bra, you will have the support you need without wearing a separate bra.

Suitable for casual and workwear, it can be worn on its own, or layered under a jacket for a chic business vibe.

Shadowline Daywear Adjustable Strap Camisole

Shadowline Women's Daywear Adjustable Strap Camisole, 22304, Ivory, 42The Shadowline Adjustable Strap Camisole is comfy to wear and form-fitting. Made from 100% nylon, it is lightweight and easy to care for.

Available in a choice of three colors, there is sure to be a shade to match your wardrobe.

Lace trim detail and tailored side seams add a hint of structure to the garment. Making it an ideal choice for layering under a jacket for instant officewear style.

ETCYY Sleeveless Workout Yoga Tank Tops

ETCYY Women's Tie-Dyed Tank Tops Loose Fit Scoop Neck Sunmmer Sleeveless T ShirtsMade from a polycotton blend, this machine-washable tank top is comfortable, casual, and fun to wear.

Available in a range of prints, from color-blocked to tie-dyed, you’ll be able to pick your favorite color and style for a top to match your personality.

Loose-fitting and fast-drying, this tank top is ideal for yoga, sportswear, or a day at the beach. Better still, its moisture-wicking properties will keep you cool and fresh all day long.

XIEERDUO Neck Lace Tank Top

Womens Tank Tops Summer Lace V Neck Cute Tanks Soft Dressy Lake Green SDelicate and flattering, this lace-trimmed tank top has a touch of femininity with built-in practicality.

Available in either polyester or rayon, each tank top has 5% Spandex for added comfort.

The top is loose fitting with a flattering V neck and side splits making it the perfect partner for jeans and leggings. You can dress it up by pairing it with a smart skirt and heels for a super chic, on-trend outfit.

Camisoles vs Tank Tops: Which Is Better?

With camisoles and tank tops being so similar and almost interchangeable, knowing which one is better can be a tough call. It’s down to your personal preferences and your preferred style.

A camisole isn’t for everyone. If you’re a guy, you’d be more comfortable in a tank top. Similarly, if you aren’t a lacey type of girl, you could find the solid coverage of a tank top more to your liking.

Neither garment is better than the other. Both can lift a garment into the smart requirements of an office setting. Alternatively, create a casual style perfect for the beach. It’s up to you. Whatever your needs, you’ll find a camisole or tank top to suit them.


Camisoles vs tank tops is a pretty close call. As this article shows, the two garments have a lot in common. You may find one will work better in a situation than the other, but it’s really down to you which one you go for.

If you liked the article, let me know in the comments. Have you chosen between a camisole and a tank top? Which do you prefer?