I hate visible bra straps. My closet houses several items that require a strapless bra, but, alas, I don’t love the feeling of those either. One day, as I was struggling to get dressed in a chambray tube top, I decided to experiment by layering it over a crop top that I’d only ever worn for athletic activities — and it completely changed everything.
Something about the Outdoor Voices Athena crop top makes anything I wear just slightly more interesting. Maybe it’s how the high neck flows into the racer back, and how it turned my boring outfit into something sporty. All I know is that it felt like I had a whole new piece of clothing.
Thus began my experiment in wearing the Athena crop with virtually everything. That new striped, off-the-shoulder dress I never felt comfortable wearing? The crop made me feel on-trend without being overexposed. A sleek black, sleeveless dress with an impossibly high neck? Layered over the Athena, it was as if the pieces were made for one another. Nearly weightless, sheer tanks that have called to me all summer? The stretchy, sweat-wicking top held me securely all through July and August (it’s double-layered spandex and polyester). Living in the Athena is like wearing a sports bra all the time, only one that’s surprisingly sophisticated and presentable enough for situations that aren’t spin class.
Once this summer, I even wore it as a bathing-suit top, which prompted a storm of inquiries and “I want one” cries from my fellow beachgoers. Now, even though I own the rich, almost-black charcoal version, I’m spying other colors like the grayish Cloud or earthy Desert. Who knows? I may even go back to wearing it as intended — with workout leggings for a hike or jog.
Other Strat-approved tops and tanks
For Flattering Week, writer Alison Freer wrote about the best support camisole she’s ever tried: “For starters, the straps are adjustable; they can also be converted to a tasteful cross-back. What’s more, the gossamer-fine fabric does not do that cruel, upward-squishing thing to the underarms. I can walk about feeling confident and secure.”
Author Lucy Sykes swears by her Madewell crop cami: “I stole the look from Taryn Toomey who runs the Class, which everyone I know is obsessed with right now. She was wearing a tee without any bra, but it wouldn’t work for me with my 34DD’s, but I stole the idea with this shirt. It’s a cool look to wear when you’re grabbing a coffee, so you don’t look too much like you came from the gym.”
Yet another Flattering Week favorite from Alison Freer, the Nordstrom tank top is the one thing even Oscar winners can’t resist stealing from the costume designer: “As a Hollywood costume designer, I put them on every single actress I dress. Since this tank top has absolutely no seams, it doesn’t create extra lumps under thin garments, like a cashmere-blend sweater. It’s also a godsend for clothes with strange cutouts or open-weave sweaters that would otherwise expose your bra to the whole world. The shirt is a perfect length: not so long so that it hangs out beneath shirts, but not so short that your guts are left exposed.”
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