Emily Ratajkowski, who famously slathered her lingerie-clad body in pasta this past December, has lately been spotted out and about in a more wearable, also spaghetti-related item: the 90s favorite spaghetti-strap tank top.
Needless to say, the model-actress isn’t the only street style regular to readopt this hallmark of 90s minimalism. Her partners in nostalgia include Kim Kardashian West, Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid and more cultish fashion stars like Reese Blutstein, Kate Bowman and Maryam Nassir Zadeh.
Ratajkowski appears to prefer cropped versions (the better to show off her impossibly chiseled abs), which she’ll pair with curve-hugging light-wash denim or silky sweats, accessorizing with layers and layers of delicate gold chains. For a sleek, day-to-night look, mimic Bowman’s all-red ensemble: red strappy tank top, red wide-leg trousers, boxy red purse, red lip. Blutstein, never one to play it safe, styles her baby pink cami with statement fly Lorod jeans, a yellow python-print belt and zero bra. “Saucy sassy” indeed.
Why have these well-followed ladies all chosen the tiny-strapped tanks as their warm-weather go-tos? First, there’s the obvious answer: they involve very little material. They’re something you could wear to yoga but also out in a sweltering New York City summer. They’re practical but chic: one fashion step above a — shudder — “gym” tank. They’re also comfortable, breathable and because they’re the definition of minimalist (read: solid, basic colors, simple silhouettes) they go with pretty much everything.
Then there’s the fact that nipples are #trending. Sure, nipples — or should we say, female nipples — have been a hot topic for some time. It’s been six years since filmmaker Lina Esco launched a movement targeting sexist public nudity laws called Free the Nipple and 17 since Samantha Jones wore fake nipples and “attracted a big baby.” True, women still can’t post uncensored, bare-chested photos to Instagram. Nevertheless, the fight for nipple destigmatization has come a long way.
These days, exposed nipples on the runway (or 2018 Cannes red carpet) barely turn heads, naked dresses are a street style staple and disposable nipples are once again a Thing. And for those who want to dip a toe in the pool of exhibitionism, spaghetti-strap camis worn sans bra make for sexy date-night — or daylight, depending on how “saucy” you’re feeling — toppers. (They’re usually rendered in some sort of see-through knit or spandex/polyester blend, making them form-fitting and semi-transparent.)
Last but not least, there’s the general 90s resurgence, which we’ve written about ad nauseam (see: our tributes to fanny packs, mules and logomania, for example). For a fun, throwback look, make like the stars of the day — Gwyneth Paltrow, Julia Roberts, Kate Moss — and pair yours with a floral-print midi skirt, square-toed mules and a tied-around-the-neck cardigan. (Note: Generally speaking, when wearing a seriously thin top, it’s good to have a sweater or light jacket on hand in case you need to enter an environment where visible nipples or even a visible bra are persona non-grata.)
And now to stock up on the slim-strapped tank top models, actresses and fashion-minded normals have worn summer after summer, decade after decade. Shop our picks in the slideshow below.