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A sleeveless shirt is a shirt manufactured without sleeves, or whose sleeves have been cut off. Sleeveless shirts are worn by people of any gender, depending on the style. They are used as undershirts, or worn by athletes in sports such as track and field and triathlon, and are regarded as acceptable public casual dress in most warm-weather locales.
The term "A-shirt" is short for "athletic shirt" because it is often worn in sports, such as basketball and track-and-field events. In the United States and Canada, it is commonly known as a tank top and also by the pejorative nicknames wife beater (sometimes just beater) and guinea tee or dago tee ("guinea" and "dago" being US ethnic slurs for people of Italian ethnicity). In the UK an A-shirt, especially when used as an undershirt, is known as a vest (compare the American usage of "vest"). Another term is singlet, used in England, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, Ghana, Nigeria, Hong Kong, Singapore and New Zealand. In the Philippines, when used as an undershirt it is called a sando. In Bangladesh and the State of West Bengal in India it is called a sando-genji; in other eastern states of India it is called sando-ganji. In India it is known as a banian and is used extensively as an undershirt to absorb sweat and prevent its penetration to outer layers of clothing. In France it is commonly called a "marcel" since its first large-scale production by Marcel Eisenberg for the Parisian handlers during the mid 19th century, or more formally a "débardeur", meaning "docker", "porter" or "stevedore".
In addition to athletic usage, A-shirts have traditionally been used as undershirts, especially with suits and dress shirts. They are sometimes worn alone without a dress shirt or top shirt during very warm and/or humid weather, mainly in North America where the climate is warmer and more humid in the summer. A-shirts are often worn alone under very casual settings, as lounge wear, and/or while completing yard work or other chores around the home.
The build of an A-shirt is simple: the neck and armholes are often reinforced for durability. One usually has large armholes and neck holes and a neckline that can reach down as far as the bottom of the chest. (Women's A-shirts have smaller holes, to conceal their breasts.) They are also sometimes made long to make tucking into a pair of jeans/shorts easier. In almost all cases, they are buttonless, collarless, and pocketless. An A-shirt worn as an undershirt is designed for a tight fit and is often made of ribbed cotton.
A tank top consists of a sleeveless shirt with low neck and different shoulder straps width. It is named after tank suits, one-piece bathing suits of the 1920s worn in tanks or swimming pools. The upper garment is worn commonly by both men and women.
A camisole, also called just cami, is a sleeveless undergarment for women, normally extending to the waist. They often have spaghetti straps. Originally worn as an undershirt, like the A-shirt they have become increasingly used as warm-weather outerwear. The camisole is usually made of satin, nylon, or cotton.
A dudou ("belly cover"), known as a yem in Vietnamese contexts, is an item of East Asian clothing resembling an silk apron or bib but traditionally used as an undershirt or bodice to flatten the figure and, medicinally, to preserve stomach qi. Beginning around the year 2000, Western and Chinese fashion has also begun incorporating them as a sleeveless and backless shirt for women.
A halter top is a sleeveless shirt in which a strap goes around the back of the neck, leaving the upper back uncovered. Halter tops are worn mainly by girls and women.
A sleeveless T-shirt, also called a muscle shirt, is the same design as a T-shirt, but without sleeves. Some sleeveless T-shirts, which possess smaller, narrower arm holes, can be worn by both women and men, but those with larger, wider arm holes are primarily worn by men, since the larger arm holes would expose the female breast under certain circumstances. They are often worn during athletic activities or as casual wear during warmer weather. They are colloquially known as shooter shirts in the southern United States. They were quite popular in the 1980s and were stereotypically associated with surfers and bodybuilders (hence the name "muscle" shirt) who often bore the logo of their gyms on these shirts. Muscle shirts/shooter shirts without logos are now more commonly worn as casual wear.
A tube top is a shirt with no sleeves or shoulders, basically a tube that wraps around a woman's torso. Some versions cover most of the torso while others leave a large midriff. In British and Australian English, they are informally known as boob tubes.
- "Cambridge Dictionaries Online – Cambridge University Press". Retrieved 19 June 2008.
- "definition of tank top by The Free Dictionary". Farlex. Retrieved June 5, 2015.
- "Define Boob tube at Dictionary.com". Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. HarperCollins. Retrieved June 5, 2015.