Summertime is here and we’re all trying to stay cool. That means the lighter your wardrobe, the happier you’re going to be. So grab your favorite tank top and feel that wind beneath your wings! When it’s comfort you’re after, there’s nothing better than bamboo. Now let’s see if we can find the best bamboo tank tops for men and women who appreciate this miraculous grass.
Bamboo tank top criteria
When you go looking for the best bamboo tank top, there are a few factors to consider.
- Comfort is crucial. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of wearing bamboo fabric, you know that it’s about the softest thing on earth. In addition to being anti-bacterial and anti-microbial, viscose from bamboo is also softer and more breathable than even cotton. The comfort of a bamboo garment has a lot to do with the specific composition of the fabric. Most bamboo textiles are actually a blend of bamboo and cotton (or organic cotton), and maybe some other synthetic material like spandex or lycra. Bamboo clothing is almost never 100 percent bamboo. Blending it with cotton can improve the fabric and give it more structure.
- Gender versatility. There’s definitely a greater selection of bamboo tank tops out there for women. Men’s and unisex styles are hard to find. So if you prefer to wear men’s clothing for any reason, you’ll be thrilled if you can locate a men’s tank top made from bamboo.
- A nice price. Let’s be honest, the price tag on your bamboo tank top is going to influence your decision. As a speciality product with superior performance and environmental advantages, you should expect bamboo clothing to cost a bit more than a conventional piece of cotton or polyester. People who purchase and wear bamboo products understand this equation. At the same time, there are limits to how much a person will pay for an article of clothing.
- Labor conditions. Consumers who are willing to pay a little more for a tank top that’s made from a super sustainable eco-fiber are often interested to know how and where it’s made. Those who are conscious about the conditions under which their clothing is produced will want to avoid Fast Fashion purveyors like H & M or The Gap. (Fast Fashion is to the clothing industry what Fast Food is to the restaurant business.) These Fair Trade enthusiasts might also try to avoid products made in China. The fact is, most commercial bamboo (Moso bamboo) grows in China, and China also processes the vast majority of bamboo textiles. So most bamboo clothing is produced in China, but not always, and not always under the same conditions.
Comparing the best bamboo tank tops
Based in Australia, Boody Wear produces a high-quality line of casual bamboo apparel and underthings, including women’s undies, leggings, tanks and camisoles. They also have a couple styles of shirts and underwear for men. Women are especially fond of the silky material, consisting of bamboo, cotton and spandex.
Their selection for men is not so extensive, however, and includes no tank tops. Boody also has a limited color pallet. Some styles are only available in black; their women’s tank tops come in black or white. Conscious natural fiber consumers will also notice that Boody blends bamboo with synthetic fibers and does all its manufacturing in China.
- Fabric: 80% viscose made from bamboo, 13% nylon, 7% elastane
- Price: around $20
- Production: made in China
One of our favorite bamboo clothiers, based in Toronto Canada, Jerico has an extensive and colorful line of bamboo items for both men and women, including a variety of tops and sweatshirts, as well as a few dresses. Most of their bamboo catalog is a simple blend of bamboo and organic cotton. They also have a “bamboo stretch” line which incorporates 5% spandex in the fabric. All of Jerico’s products are proudly made in Canada.
Jerico offers the only men’s bamboo tank tops that we know of, and they come in a range of colors. These ultra soft, super breathable athletic tops are actually unisex, and the women love them as much as the men do. They come in black, white, midnight blue, heather grey and charcoal grey.
- Fabric: 70% viscose from bamboo, 30% organic cotton
- Price: around $24
- Production: made in Canada
A mid-sized fashion designer based in Los Angeles, Renee Collection offers an extensive line of women’s wear with just a handful of bamboo items. Unlike most of our partners, Renee doesn’t specialize in bamboo, but all their clothing is made in the USA and their prices are very reasonable.
- Fabric: 95% bamboo, 5% spandex
- Price: around $18
- Production: made in USA
We’ve been doing business with Yala since they launched their first catalog around 2006, with a whopping 2 or 3 pages and about a half dozen styles of bamboo apparel for women. Since then, Yala quickly positioned itself as the vanguard of bamboo clothing. Each season, their bamboo fabric has gotten better and better, always setting the standard for the industry.
Working closely with partners in China, they ensure fair working conditions and meticulous quality control. Yala’s trademarked “Bamboo Dreams” fabric is the softest, silkiest and most durable on the market. Quality comes at a price however, and their garments can be about twice the price of their bamboo competitors.
- Fabric: 95% bamboo, 5% spandex
- Price: around $45
- Production: made in China
If you’re looking for a men’s bamboo tank top, Jerico is the way to go. It’s made in Canada, with solid construction, consisting of nothing but bamboo and organic cotton. The material is soft, breathable and ideal for athletic wear. The tank tops are unisex and popular for women too. Jerico also makes a men’s bamboo v-neck t-shirt, in the same fabric and colors, and it’s another one of our top sellers. The mix with organic cotton makes their fabric a bit fluffier, and not quite so sheer and silky as the bamboo/spandex or bamboo/nylon blends.
For women, it’s probably a toss up between Boody and Yala. Their fabric blends are slightly different, but both are great quality. Boody definitely comes at a more competitive price, but Yala has a far greater selection of colors. I’ve always been very impressed with Yala’s commitment to social and environmental justice.
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