The big trend this year amongst the southern universities has been neon — lots and lots of neon. Specifically: over-sized, ill-fitting, neon tank-tops. 

Over spring break, I visited my best friend at the University of Texas, and she took me to Round Up, UT’s big, annual Greek System party extravaganza. Coming from a small, northern college with virtually no Greek life, I was stunned by the sheer amount of girls — and guys — in these unflattering, brightly colored shirts. 

I saw this trend start last year, when I was a senior in a large Texas high school, but it had been mostly popular amongst the female athletes, who wanted cute shirts that would allow for minimum skin coverage while working out. And being an ex-lacrosse player, I can understand the need for fashionable-yet-practical clothes during the hotter months of training. 

But at UT — and most of the large southern universities, as far as I can tell — these tanks are the staple piece of sorority fashion. Paired with equally bright shorts, cheap sunglasses, and ironic fanny-packs, the Greek girls have taken “sporty casual” to a whole new level.

The sorority girl stereotype, as long as I can remember, has been as such: perfectly straight hair, classy, designer clothing, Coach purses, Channel No. 5, etc. And up here in the north, where it’s too cold most of the year to wear such summery clothes, that stereotype still remains true. But the southern sororities have adopted this new look, and very nearly have turned it into a uniform, a symbol of their sisterhood and like-minded fashion senses. 

But this style isn’t just for athletes and frat parties anymore — neon is the big color palette for the summer, and these tanks are everywhere. Even I, the man-tank skeptic, own at least three myself.  While this trend is growing in national popularity, there’s still the ever-lingering question that comes with it: are these shirts even cute?

There are pros and cons for this style, and in the end, it’s up to you to decide just how these man-tanks look.  The shirts hide the shapes of the female body, decreasing boob size and poofing at the stomach, and can look sloppy or too casual at times. But they also show off any girl’s arms without making them look too flabby, and are great as swimsuit cover-ups and sleep shirts. 

So what do you think: cute and casual, or blinding and unflattering?