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The Very Best Men’s Long-Sleeve T-shirts

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

Long-sleeve T-shirts are an underrated wardrobe staple. “Short-sleeve tees may get all the love,” explains stylist and fashion designer Jordan Page, the curator of the fashion-history Instagram account @veryadvanced, “but the long-sleeve tee is often the more appropriate choice, for both style and function.” When it comes to style, Page explains that a long-sleeve tee “can look classier than short-sleeve ones” by making an outfit feel a tad more formal, even if, at the end of the day, it’s still a T-shirt. There’s also function in the added coverage of the longer sleeves, which Page says make the shirts “more comfortable for layering because you don’t get that direct, sometimes itchy on-skin contact from outer layers made of more textured fabrics like wool.”

But as our previous reporting on oxford shirts, jeans, and chinos has taught us, not all basics are created equal. To find the best men’s long-sleeve T-shirts, we asked a panel of stylists, fashion designers, and all-around cool people to tell us about the ones they reach for the most.

Best overall | Best pocket | Best less expensive pocket | Best heavyweight | Best supersoft | Best for taller people | Best slub cotton | Best splurge-worthy slub cotton | Best performance | Best with hemp | Best relaxed-fit

What we’re looking for

Fit and sizing: As we compiled this list, we looked for a wide range of available sizes, as well as different fit options to suit people of all proportions, whether they prefer a slimmer, tighter fit or a loose, boxier fit. We also looked at whether each brand offers longer-length shirts for guys who are tall or who have longer torsos.

Neckline and style: A variety of details will determine the overall look of a long-sleeve T-shirt, starting with the neckline. The most common neckline is the classic crewneck, but there are also V-neck options and the henley style, which usually has three buttons at the chest, as worn by Ryan Gosling in the film Drive. The sleeves may have cuffs for a snugger fit at the wrists, as well as staying power if you like to wear them pushed up onto your forearms. Or they may be hemmed looser and more open so they have a French sailor shirt kind of vibe, as seen on Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol in the 1950s and ’60s. Finally, some long-sleeve T-shirts have a chest pocket; some don’t. We’ve noted all these details for the shirts listed below, along with how many colors each shirt comes in, so you can find one that suits your personal taste.

Fabric and weight: Most of the options on this list are made of cotton, which is comfortable and breathable as well as machine washable and durable. The weight and type of cotton will determine how heavy or airy the shirt feels and how smooth it looks. Slub cotton, for example, has a bit of a lumpy texture due to how it’s woven, but is extra lightweight and breathable, making it great to wear in warm weather. Ring-spun cotton will be a heavier weight than slub cotton but softer than regular cotton. Regular cotton will be one of the heaviest weights and rougher in feel, but it will also be more durable.

Some long-sleeve T-shirts are made with a blend of materials, incorporating synthetics like spandex for added stretch or linen for added breathability. I’ve also included one hemp-blend option, as hemp is a sustainable natural fiber that can be grown almost anywhere, so it has less environmental impact than cotton. It is also more durable than cotton and gets softer over time, but it comes with a heftier price tag.

Best overall long-sleeve T-shirt

Sizes S–5XL | Crewneck | Cuffs | No pocket | 28 colors | 100% cotton (a few colors are cotton-polyester blend)

For anyone who wants to “improve their look without breaking the bank,” you can’t do better than Gildan, says actor and model Kyle Andrew. He notes the brand’s Ultra Cotton long-sleeve T-shirt is a “great option, especially for layering,” not least because it comes in more than two dozen colors. Andrew is among a growing cadre of guys we have spoken to who’ve recommended Gildan’s long-sleeve tees. Strategist columnist Chris Black has called them a “wardrobe staple,” and pop-music critic Jon Caramanica, former Critical Shopper columnist for the New York Times, told us Gildan’s long-sleeve tees are not only “durable” with an “unflappable crewneck” but that their “personality begins to emerge” after a couple washes.

Best pocket long-sleeve T-shirt

Sizes XS-2XL | Crewneck | Cuffs | Pocket | 9 colors | 100 percent open-end cotton

Jared Johnson, co-founder of Season Three, favors Los Angeles Apparel’s pocket shirt because the heavyweight cotton “doesn’t stretch out after several wears,” making it “worth the price.” It has a relaxed fit throughout the chest and arms, according to Johnson, who typically styles his with sneakers and a pair of vintage Levi’s. He owns multiples — some of which date back to 2017 (and are still in wearable shape) — in black, navy, and a custom forest-green dye for his brand’s shirts. When asked why Season Three chose Los Angeles Apparel as their wholesale supplier, Johnson replied, “We felt like we couldn’t make shoes in Italy and print our tees on Gildan quality.” And the pocket was “especially necessary to fit with our utilitarian aesthetic.”

Best less expensive pocket long-sleeve T-shirt

Sizes S–3XL | Crewneck | Cuffs | Pocket | 13 colors | 100% cotton (a few colors are cotton-polyester blend)

If you’re looking for a more affordable pick, consider this Hanes option, which has a handy front pocket and comes recommended by Mark Miguez, a co-owner of the Friend of a Barber barbershop. Miguez describes the fit as “boxy but sits on the body” and says that, like the tees, above, this one “gets better with every wash.” It’s available in 13 colors; Miguez owns it in black and gray and says he wears both “all the time: at work with jeans and sneakers, on the beach with shorts, and dressed up with a leather jacket.”

Best heavyweight long-sleeve T-shirt

Sizes S–3XL in regular length; sizes M–3XL in tall length | Crewneck | Cuffs | No pocket | 14 colors | 100% ring-spun cotton with cotton-elastane–blend cuffs

L.L.Bean has long been a Strat-favorite brand, and Andrew Favorito, who works in marketing for Tatcha, says this long-sleeve pocket tee deserves just as much attention as the Maine-based outfitter’s tote bags, slippers, and fleeces. “It’s exactly what you’d expect from L.L.Bean in regard to quality, cost, and styling,” he notes. “No frills, no fluff, no ridiculous markup — just a good shirt.” It has a relaxed fit in the arms, shoulders, and chest; comes in 13 colors; and has ribbed cuffs. It’s made of 6.1-ounce double ring-spun cotton, which is heavyweight and meant to resist shrinkage in the wash. Selecting one of the “tall” sizes adds two inches to the shirt’s body length and one inch to the shirt’s sleeves.

Best supersoft long-sleeve T-shirt

Sizes XS–2XL in regular fit or slim fit | Crewneck | Cuffs | No pocket | 10 colors | 100% cotton

Favorito also recommends this Polo Ralph Lauren long-sleeve shirt, which comes in both classic and “custom slim” cuts. He says it’s “supersoft, with a fit that’s forgiving but still tailored” enough to “layer under an unforgivingly itchy sweater without being bulky.” Plus a Ralph Lauren tee like this one “truly never goes out of style,” according to Favorito, which is why he owns “several, in a smattering of classic neutrals, that are in constant rotation.” Sometimes he even sleeps in them, he says. It has cuffed sleeves, the trademark Ralph Lauren pony logo, and no pocket for a more streamlined look.

Best long-sleeve T-shirt for tall people

Sizes S–3XL in regular length; sizes M–3XL in tall length | Crewneck | Cuffs | No pocket | 10 colors | 60% cotton, 40% polyester

Next to his favorite Gildan long-sleeve tee, Andrew stresses that this one from Eddie Bauer is “the best,” because it’s “frequently on sale and available in up to 3XL and also in a tall cut.” It’s made of a cotton-polyester blend that’s treated with a moisture-wicking finish. It has a classic fit and is available in 11 different colors, and Andrew says it has a long shelf life. It comes in both regular and tall sizes, with the tall sizes measuring about 1.5 inches longer in the sleeves and body.

Best slub cotton long-sleeve T-shirt

Photo: retailer

Sizes XS–2XL | Crewneck | No cuffs | No pocket | 4 colors | 100% slub cotton

This long-sleeve T-shirt from Alex Mill is a favorite of Christopher Echevarria, the founder of loafer brand Blackstock & Weber. “I bought it in L.A. in 2017 and have been rocking it ever since,” he says. The shirt stands out for its slub cotton material, which Echevarria says “gives it the added elements of texture and softness.” It comes in four colors with no chest pocket and no cuffs on the sleeves, for a looser fit at the wrists than you’ll find on the shirts listed above.

Best splurge-worthy slub cotton long-sleeve T-shirt

Sizes S–2XL | Crewneck | No cuffs | No pocket | 18 colors | 100% slub cotton

This tee is made with a unique Peruvian slub cotton that allows Donnell Baldwin, a former style director for men’s fashion online retailer Mr. Porter, to “dress it up or down for whatever needs I have at the moment.” While it is pricey, Baldwin promises that it “can be worn year-round,” and the “worn-in” fabric makes it supremely soft from the first wear — plus he says “it gets better with every wash.” It comes in 17 colors with no cuffs at the sleeves and no chest pocket. It also features some distressing at the hem and a bit of sheerness as well as a looser neckline and a soft, free-flowing drape.

Best performance long-sleeve T-shirt

Sizes XS–XL | Crewneck | No cuffs | No pocket | 7 colors | 94% polyester, 6% spandex

Outdoor Voices is known for elevated athleisure, and its extensive inventory is full of hits. Multiple Strategist staffers and contributors swear by Outdoor Voices sweats, and MichaelAnn Cohlmia, a co-founder of CBD brand WeedSport, feels the same way about the brand’s long-sleeve tee. “I always grab it no matter what I am doing: traveling, hiking, or playing tennis on a winter day in L.A.” Cohlmia says she — yes, she (the savviest shoppers are not restricted by gender norms) — has “washed it many times, and it always comes out perfect. No shrinking or warping, and it’s forever soft.” While she notes that the lightweight fabric is a touch clingy, she says its looser cut ensures it’s still comfortable and looks good. The best feature, she adds, are “the thumbholes that are like hammocks for your thumbs” and keep the sleeves from rolling up or flapping around. It comes in six heathered colors, and the CloudKnit fabric’s blend of polyester and spandex is stretchy and quick drying.

Best long-sleeve T-shirt with hemp

Sizes XS–2XL | Crewneck | No cuffs | No pocket | 16 colors | 55% hemp, 45% organic cotton

“When I first saw this tee, I assumed it would look like I was wearing a slub cotton shirt,” says former Strategist writer Jordan Bowman. “But when I tried it on, it felt more heavyweight and draped the body in a more appealing way than slub cotton shirts I’ve worn.” This Jungmaven Jung shirt is made with hemp, a sustainable natural fiber that’s more durable than cotton, even as it gets softer over time. Brand new, it has a “broken-in look that calls to mind a well-loved vintage tee,” says Bowman, and it feels “supersoft and incredible.” Plus, the classic crewneck is available in 16 different colors.

Best relaxed-fit long-sleeve T-shirt

Sizes XS–2XL | Crewneck | Cuffs | No pocket | 6 colors | 100% cotton

Perhaps you’re looking for a long-sleeve tee for lounging or you simply prefer a more relaxed look. If so, Keith Nowak, the founder of athletic brand Ten Thousand, recommends this one from Reigning Champ. He says it’s “part of my daily uniform and literally the only thing I wear that isn’t my own brand.” Reigning Champ, he adds, is known for doing “classics with a tech angle.” This mid-weight jersey tee is thicker than the brand’s basic long-sleeve shirt and has a relaxed fit throughout the arms and body. It also has flatlock seams, which means the fabric doesn’t overlap, to minimize chances of chafing or irritating the skin. Reigning Champ added raglan sleeves with a drop shoulder to reveal an even more relaxed look.

Some Strategist-approved men's short-sleeve T-shirts

Our experts

• Kyle Andrew, actor and model
Donnell Baldwin, former style director for Mr. Porter
• Chris Black, former Strategist columnist
Jon Caramanica, pop-music critic at the New York Times
• Jared Johnson, Season Three co-founder
• MichaelAnn Cohlmia, co-founder of CBD brand WeedSport
• Christopher Echevarria, founder of loafer brand Blackstock & Weber
• Andrew Favorito, marketing for Tatcha
• Mark Miguez, co-owner of the Friend of a Barber
• Jordan Bowman, former Strategist writer
• Keith Nowak, founder of athletic brand Ten Thousand
Jordan Page, stylist and fashion designer

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The Very Best Men’s Long-Sleeve T-shirts