Thursday, July 18, 2013

Yeah or Nay: Tube Tops! (And my Finished Tube Tops!)

Okay folks, here is a yeah or nay where I am firmly in the yeah camp. But I realize this style is really not for everyone: the tube top. 

According to urban fashion lore the tube top was invented just steps from the NYC Garment District and popularized by Elie Tahari in the Studio 54-infused 70's. Who knew? But tube tops are considered rather low brow as fashion. There are loads of strapless styles on red carpets and runways, but the humble tube top seems to be more of a street style. Seriously, just google "tube top". Very very low brow results, true?

Anyway, you've seen me in one of my favorite tops - a black and white striped tube top - on numerous occasions. It really is a workhorse in my wardrobe. It gets layered in the winter and worn solo in the summer. I wear it with jeans or skirts or trousers. It gets worn under low cut tops when I want more coverage or a pop of contrasting fun.

The thing I like about tube tops - aside from how versatile they are - is that they show off the collarbone, neck and shoulders so nicely. They're a great backdrop for a dramatic necklace.

Now, I totally understand not feeling like the top is secure or going to stay put - I'm all about the staying put. And not all tube tops are equal in this department. I prefer tops that have elastic across the top edge and that fit with a little bit of negative ease over the bust. A top that is too big or small will slide down, but a tube top that fits my criteria, partnered with a supportive, well fitting strapless bra is a recipe for success. I have never had a tube top wardrobe malfunction.

It was with this thought in mind that I decided that I could knock off my beloved striped tube top. So, I ordered a bunch of half yard cuts of some fun knits from and made four of them.

What did I do before we got a new post-Sandy fence in the yard?

This was the easiest project ever since it is a one seam top with elastic in a casing at the top. All I did was measure my RTW top and then it was cut and sew, trying on to tweak the fit as I went.

The Prototype!

#2 - Disco Fabulous

Then I made slight variations to the next two tops. The first one needed a little extra length since the fabric cut I received was no more than 16" and cut crooked. So, I used some of the excess width to create a band that I added to the bottom to lengthen it. 

#3 - Stingy cut of fabric

OK, I shan't be too peeved

And my last variation was to use some of my left over faux stretch leather (you remember) and some black jersey to do a leather-blocked version. I think this one is my favorite.

#4 - Corset-y faux leather
Now, I've heard lots of women say that their bust is too small or too large for a tube top or say they feel insecure in them. I thoroughly understand women who are busty not being able to find a suitably supportive strapless bra, but I don't really understand the too small argument since it's not my (mid-sized) boobs that are holding the top up. But perhaps I am some kind of magical size that makes tube tops fit and stay up? Feel free to weigh in on this and enlighten me.

Anyway, what are your thoughts on the low brow tube top?  Is it a yeah like me? Or a nay? And why?

Oh, I should add that Phin gives tube tops a yeah simply because they are teeny tiny to pack. Today we are in Santorini.


Clio said...

Seeing as I was around when they were first created (yeah I am that old), I like them. IF you are young enough not to have worn them the first time, IF you aren't too booby, and IF you don't have back fat hanging out all over the place. This means on all three counts I am a no go.

PS-We used to call them boob tubes.

Clio said...

You've certainly got the right shape to wear tube tops, and beautifully proportioned (and square) shoulders to boot. You absolutely should be wearing tube tops! And your new range has some kick ass fabrics. I've never felt 'supported' in a strapless bra - it's actually a goal of mine to sew a corsolette so I can comfortably branch out into strapless (or even spaghetti strap style) and not have to hoike everything up every 5 minutes. Have fun in Santorini, lucky you!

Clio said...

I was in my 20's in the 70's (yes, I am now in my 60's) so I wore tube tops a lot back then. My build is very similar to yours. Now, not so much. But to tell you the truth, I would wear one around the house without a bra if I had one. I may have to make one for "home clothes". By the way, the tube top has been around a lot longer than people think. I have a picture of my mother in the 40's in a tube top, which was actually gifted to me when I was a kid to use to dress up play. It was yellow and quite "rubbery". You look good in a tube top, so go for it!

Clio said...

You look great in a tube top, Clio. The ones I remember from the old days had an exposed midriff -- that's what made them look trashy (depending on who was wearing them. The style you wear is akin to a strapless dress -- it can look very elegant and, on you, it does!

Clio said...

These are all fantastic and I really love your rocker chick faux leather one. And tube tops are a nay for me!

Clio said...

For a long long time tube tops and tank tops were no way. Same goes to skirts. Now everything has changed, don't really know why - long skirts and small tops are definetly yes for me for like two years now.

Clio said...

I would never have thought to wear a tube top other than by the beach, but you have some great styling ideas here. hope you are having a lovely time on holiday and rocking all your new tops!

Clio said...

Thanks everyone! Many a tube top was worn on vacation!

Clio said...

These look great on you! The faux leather one is so awesome. I imagine Phin is appreciative. `-)

I'm in the "boobs too small" camp. I don't think I could ever get over my fear of it falling down.

Clio said...

These tops are so sweet! I wouldn't call them tube tops, though. To me, they are more like strapless camisoles. To me, who lived through the 1970s-80s iteration, a tube top leaves shoulders, upper chest, and midriff bare. Most usually they were a simple loop of fabric, sewn with many rows of elastic thread to make them "one size fits all." One size did not fit all.

In my neighborhood, the same old women who were too old for them in the 1970s are dragging THE EXACT SAME TUBE TOPS out of storage; and once again assaulting our eyeballs by wearing them as they mow their lawns with giant lawn tractors. They pair them with THE SAME hot pants or bikini bottoms; and with what used to be known as tennis visors. The women, the tube tops, the shorts, and the visors are all much faded and very wrinkly. The lawn tractors are brand new and shiny.

Clio said...

LOL - Yeah, he did kind of like the faux leather one.

I'm beginning to think that the main issue is insecurity about the top staying put rather than needing to be a certain size

Clio said...

Thanks, Lin! LOL - I love your perspective on this. I did notice that when leggings started to come back in there were a number of ladies in my area that pulled out leggings that looked suspiciously like the ones they wore back in the 80's. I guess the mantra that if you wore the trend the first time, sit it out the second time has merit!

Clio said...

Yes, apparently so. Our church organist just wandered in to rehearse ... she is wearing plaid short-shorts and a knit top that I recognize from when her son and I were in high school. I graduated in 1976. She is a dear sweet thing, though, and I love her.