Ideal by themselves in hot weather or layered under warmer tops in cooler temps, camisoles and tank tops serve many of the same purposes -- but they're not quite the same thing. Tank tops come in a variety of styles and with different size straps, while camisoles have a more uniform look with skinny, and usually adjustable, bra-style straps.

Camisole Characteristics

Because the camisole or “cami” evolved from corset covers, the camisole tends to look a bit like lingerie; in many cases, it's meant only to be worn as an undergarment. Camis are usually fitted and made from a cotton blend or from stretchy material, such as spandex. Some camis have lace trim, making them perfect to add modesty to lowcut dresses and tops.

Tank Top Types

With styles ranging from satin-crushed to casual ribbed A-line cuts, tank tops are more loosely defined. All tank tops are sleeveless and expose the shoulders. The straps vary as well -- racerbacks crisscross in the back, halter tops tie behind the neck and spaghetti straps are thin and may or may not adjust like bra straps. You find tank tops with collars, deep V-necks or simple scoop necklines. Tanks tops may be fitted or flow loosely.