Adulted by some, rejected by others, one thing is certain: this garment has a cult following in history, and we couldn't miss it (even less as truckers!). The tank top, or Marcel for short (name coming from the Marcel factory which started its production at the end of the 19th century), is originally a popular piece of underwear for its hygienic qualities and worn in a fitted manner, so much so that it is called an “undershirt”. Then, from underwear, its popularity rose and made it become a garment in its own right, especially among workers. Quickly, it was associated with confidence and virility, revealing the bulging muscles of workers, then entered the female changing room without ever coming out, like a consecration. But also and above all, when we talk about Marcel, we instinctively think of great figures of the pop-rock scene (Queen) or cinema (James Dean, Marlon Brando , Bruce Willis, etc.). This knitting, as grandma would say, is regularly brought up to date, and in a unique way, we decided to test it! It comes from a French brand, Les Tricots Marcel, which we discovered during the summer of 2020. Without further ado, here is the test:
“We should all have a Marcel in our life” : a phrase, a state of mind, until the creation of a brand: Les Tricots Marcel. If in 1980, the Marcel tank top made its entry into the dictionary, it was in 2019, in Roanne near Lyon, that the brand (re)emerged in France. And their ambition is not the least: to restore this garment to its letters of nobility. This involves several criteria: carrying out the entire manufacturing of its products in France (Loire), using a workshop which favors cotton extra long fiber Pima grown without any fertilizer or other product , design robust and durable parts, etc. Without forgetting the social, economic and professional integration of people with disabilities. Note that although the brand specializes in Marcels, it also produces other pieces such as t-shirts, a design, and even a bag or a mask!
- Model: Classic Edition
- Color: white (also available in pink, khaki, charcoal, heather gray, navy blue, red)
- Material: 100% cotton
- Cut: fitted
- Ribs: no
- Sizes available: XS to XL
- Manufactured: France
Our new friend Marcel likes to get noticed when he makes his entrance. Being quite demanding, the brand has comfortably installed it in a custom-made box made from 70% recycled products. Because yes, Marcel likes ecology, which is why the name of the brand is printed on the brown cardboard box with solvent-free water-based inks. To reduce its environmental footprint and the costs associated with its transport, Marcel is made very small and rolled into a ball, which is rare enough to be highlighted. This position will allow him to make room for his khaki-colored sidekick, because Marcel does not like to be alone. A small box therefore, which could easily be reused for another use! Please note that the brand also offers to individually deliver tank tops that prefer to be alone.
For this shoot, we selected the most versatile color possible, the one that we instantly think of when we imagine a Marcel for men: white. In terms of design, we are far from the oversized models that we often see worn by tanned, long-haired surfers on Basque (or Finisterian!) beaches. We are also far from the more sporty and tight-fitting models worn by bodybuilders in gyms. We are rather dealing here with a Marcel with a fitted cut, with a rather vintage look, which allows us to operate the time machine to find ourselves in the middle from the 50s. I opted for the most minimalist design that is offered, the “Classique Edition”, but be aware that it is also available with a logo on the left of the chest. So let's move on to the design, because something tells me that this is one of the strong points of this tank top!
The brand manufactures artisanal sleeveless knitwear, like this one, which is entirely made within a 5 kilometer radius around Roanne. And for those who don't know, it's not a city in a foreign country. No no, it’s made in France! Local manufacturing therefore, with the exception of the spinning carried out in Greece, whether it is dyeing or photography, without forgetting the packaging, as mentioned in the Presentation section (if you have follow up !).Eco-responsible and supportive manufacturing, ISO 14001 certified for the protection of the environment.
As I usually do, I ordered Marcel in size M. The ideal size for those who like to wear this piece in a fitted way (knowing that I am 1m82 and 75 kg). Although I'm not a fan of wearing a "bare" tank top, I do find that this model with its pleasant material is perfect for everyday life, worn under an open shirt in the summer. It is neither too thin nor too thick, it seems that the right balance has been found by the brand. But maybe the day I'm more tanned, I'll allow myself to wear it without the shirt! To be continued…
Our stylist’s opinion
The Marcel is a very interesting partner for sunny days. For my part, like Alexis, I find that wearing it under an open shirt, printed or not, remains the most obvious. I chose shorts that day, but they would have worked just as well with rolled up chinos. To match with a pair of sneakers (without socks, of course!).
let's say it frankly: it's not tomorrow that I'll be walking through the streets dressed only in a tank top. However, this test convinced me of one thing: if the tank top has established itself in the men's wardrobe, it is not without reasons! And at Les Tricots Marcel, we understood this well, by offering a tank top that has several cards to play: its design made in France, its look vintage, flexibility and softness of cotton, and the ideal cut, neither too tight nor too wide. All for €39.99, a fair price. So, take out your best shirts, pop the buttons, and wear this tank top casually for the summer!