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What Are the Best Long-Sleeved T-shirts for Women?

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

As with any kind of T-shirt — whether black, white, or borrowed from the boys — determining the “perfect” long-sleeved tee is subjective. There are ribbed numbers so fitted they’re almost bodysuits, while others are oversize enough to throw on over bike shorts, and of course you’ve always got crop tops you can pair with your highest of high-waisted jeans. To find the lay of the land, we turned to stylish women for information on their favorite long-sleeved T-shirts, including boat necks, crew necks, V-necks, and even a couple of thermals. We’ve noted the colors each T-shirt comes in, too.

Girlfriend Collective’s ethos of size inclusivity and sustainability has turned it into a favorite among the cool-people crowd, earning a spot on our list of best sports bras and making it a top pick with Strategist readers. The Leila is another beloved item from the brand — two of our stylish women recommended it.

“I love Girlfriend Collective’s long sleeves because they do very simple basics in neutral colors,” says Sade Mims, founder of the jewelry and accessory line EDAS. Like EDAS, Girlfriend Collective releases its pieces in limited lines, so “when something drops, it’s a get-it-while-it’s-hot kind of thing,” which Mims appreciates. Mims told us she opts for a snugger fit for the long-sleeved tee and wears it “with a denim jean or with a skirt and a cardigan.” Gabrielle Arruda, a fashion designer who runs a style blog, points out that the slightly shorter hemline can rise when you lift your arms above your head, but she still likes it as a layering piece for going to the gym. It is available in nine colors including Lava, Sea Salt, Pepper, and Oyster.


We heard about Kotn’s tee from two stylish women. “I have to hand it to Kotn: They really know their way around a long-sleeved T-shirt,” says illustrator and Quartz art director Alexandra Citrin-Safadi. It checks off all the things she wants in a long-sleeved tee: It’s fitted, made entirely of cotton, and has a crew neck (“No V-necks allowed”), a hem that hits the waist of mid-rise jeans, and sleeves that hit the wristbone. She isn’t a fan of waffle weaves or ribs, preferring more of a flat weave (this one has a barely there micro-rib). And she points out that this T-shirt “comes in some offbeat colors (like marigold and sage) in addition to the requisite black and white.” Fran Miller, founder of skin-care line F. Miller, raves about it, calling the tee an “ideal seasonless style” and “a snug fit.” Miller adds that it “allows for comfort and movement without ever stretching out.”

Citrin-Safadi was raised in the Northeast, and most of her long-sleeved T-shirts were technically long underwear, “which must have set the baseline for my preferred long-sleeved T-shirt as an adult.” This Hot Chillys crew neck checks off most of her requirements: It’s fitted, with flat seams throughout, and acts as a more modern version of the long underwear she grew up with. It comes in black and April, a lilac shade.

For another fitted option, take note from Strategist writer Chloe Anello, who owns about three of these tees from Splendid. She bought them at a sample sale a while back and keeps them in heavy rotation to this day. “They’re so soft and a really great layering piece in the fall,” Anello says. The shirts, which are available in black and white, have a simple crew neck and a slim fit that hits at the hip. Just remember that if you have a shorter torso or prefer a crop, these run a little long, Anello advises. Along with black, this T-shirt comes in navy and white.

Miller preordered this T-shirt from the new Amsterdam-based brand Flore Flore. “It’s all in the understated details — the slightly thicker banded collar and cuffs and the center back seam make this one special,” she says. Miller describes it as having a “classic, slightly cropped silhouette” that can work with a high-rise skirt or pair of pants. She adds that the tee, which comes only in white, seems like an updated version of the undershirts she wore as a child.

[Editor’s note: While only sizes XS and S are available for preorder now, sizes M through XL are ready to ship.]

Photo: retailer

If you’re in the market for a ribbed option, try this T-shirt from Everlane. “It’s a must-have staple for your closet,” says stylist Jasmine Caccamo. “Good for layering under an oversize blazer, tucked into a pair of black jeans, or just thrown on with a pair of sweats.” The shirt has a bit of elastane blended in with the pima cotton, making it stretchy and sturdy enough to hold its shape after many wears. This T-shirt comes in a range of neutrals including Burnt Sugar and Heathered Fatigue.

This top is like the adult version of all those lettuce-edge baby tees. It comes recommended by Tessa Jennifer, founder of Auralie, who loves the frills-but-not-frilly seams along the sleeves and neckline. Unlike many ribbed styles, this shirt offers some room, and Jennifer describes the fabric as warm but not hot. “I could imagine wearing it inside a heated building in the winter and still feeling comfortable in it,” she tells us. “It’s also not superthick, but it’s warm enough to wear by itself without a coat when it’s 65 degrees outside.” The top comes in only this cream color.

This ribbed option comes recommended by stylist Jessica Cadmus of the Wardrobe Whisperer, whose main must-have quality for a long-sleeved tee is shape retention. “I want my T-shirts to be fitted when I pull them on and stay fitted until I pull them off,” she explains. Rag & Bone T-shirts do just that, she says, so she adds two to her wardrobe every year. This one is her favorite “because of its super-flattering exaggerated deep-V neckline.” It’s a “heavy lifter” in terms of versatility (she can wear it with almost anything) and layering (“If you need to strip off your outer layers, you remain polished,” she says). You can choose between three hues: Morning Mint, Mauved Out, and black. Cadmus likes Rag & Bone’s very similar bias-ribbed long-sleeved T-shirt, too.

One of the writers of this story, Hilary Reid, wears this long-sleeved boat neck layered under sweaters or on its own tucked into jeans and loose pants. Reid says the boat neck hits just under your clavicles in a flattering way. The fabric is a blend of pima cotton and modal with a little bit of spandex, which makes it feel soft and fitted without being restrictive. There are six shades to choose from, including New Off-White, True Black, Crayon Blue Indigo, and Heather Gray.

A longtime Vince fan, Cadmus constantly recommends the company to her clients. “The cuts are always supermodern, and the fabrics are Über-soft,” she says. Cadmus particularly likes the brand’s pima-cotton T-shirts, which she describes as “wonderful on the skin.” The crew neck is available in several neutrals, but we’re partial to this Dark Acorn color.

Mock-neck aficionados: Jennifer calls the French Fry her best T-shirt purchase by far. She describes it as an “elevated basic” that’s easy to throw on but doesn’t look as loungy as some other tees. The fit and length are ideal for a petite person like her, she says — neither too large nor too long. “The slightly boxy fit makes it look stylish,” while it still works “for the everyday,” Jennifer explains. She adds that this tee hasn’t shrunk in the wash and has kept its shape despite the usual wear and tear. It’s available in nine striped colorways, including Sweet Potato and Artichoke.

If you’re a turtleneck fan, LaRue PR senior account director Amy Ziskin calls this one “a tried-and-true tee that I keep coming back to when I’m not quite sure what to wear.” It has that traditional turtleneck fit and makes Ziskin feel dressed up even when she pairs it just with jeans.

Jennifer has been alternating between the AYR T-shirt above and this Donni one while working from home. The Donni is relaxed, comfortable, and easy to take care of, she says. And she points out that its square neck isn’t usually offered in a T-shirt. It’s available in six shades, including lime and rust.

Jewelry designer Pamela Love told us this seamless shirt from sustainable-clothing line Baserange is “just a great basic.” It’s made in Portugal from an ultrasoft cotton blend that’s light enough to wear as a base layer but also works as an elegant piece on its own. Reid bought one of these in yellow last year during a Net-a-Porter sale, and though it’s splurgy, she says it’s worth it. Love chose this one in black, but it comes in a range of other hues, like Ritz Rose and Ibn Brown. For a non-ribbed version, Miller recommends this Baserange tee, which is a little looser and more draped.

[Editor’s note: Baserange lists its prices in euros; this is an approximate conversion to U.S. dollars.]

Arruda frequently buys basics from Universal Standard for the brand’s high-quality cotton, which holds up after regular washes. This T-shirt — which is made of Peruvian cotton, modal, and a hint of elastane — feels supersoft “without being overly thin or see-through, which is a surprisingly hard thing to find in a long-sleeved tee,” she says. The Tee Rex skims the body just as a ribbed T-shirt would but isn’t as tight, Arruda says. She owns it in two colors (there are six to pick from including Bordeaux and Merlot), and both have become go-to layering pieces. It’s a basic for when you’re on or off duty: Arruda has worn it during business-casual meetings on Zoom “and in person back in the day.”

Reid was so impressed by this tee, which was originally gifted to her by the brand, she bought a second one herself. This T-shirt is larger than some of the other styles on our list, and it’s made from a slightly heavier material that, according to Reid, feels like a hybrid of a lightweight sweatshirt and a traditional cotton crew neck. Other highlights: the cuffing details around the neckline and sleeves; the drop shoulders that give a flattering, rounded shape; and the hemline that hits just above the hip. You can choose from four currently in-stock shades, including Stretch Limo and bone.

Photo: retailer

If waffle loungewear has become your uniform, consider this long-sleeved number from Aritzia, which Strategist senior writer Karen Iorio Adelson first bought a few years ago. “It’s so comfortable and goes with everything,” she says. “It’s really cozy and a good layering piece for working from home.” It’s also the T-shirt with the most variety of colors (18) on our list, including Kelp, Mauve Desert, and Plein Air. If you prefer a shorter length, the cropped Alamo Waffle is almost identical.

One of Strategist writer Kat Gillespie’s earliest style inspirations was Donna Pinciotti from That ’70s Show, and this thermal tee seems like something out of that character’s closet. Gillespie owns two of these, which are “vintage inspired without feeling too costumey,” she says. Her favorite feature is the “subtly exaggerated cuff, which elongates your wrists in a flattering way that also somehow makes them feel way more cozy.” We can’t resist this cheery Mustang Red, but there are 13 shades available, including Fudgesicle Brown, Gross Green, and Butter Yellow. Gillespie loves Big Bud Press for its ethics, sustainability, and unisex sizing.

Photo: 19-09-23 ilianachernakova PM1 B3

“Although this top is meant to be sleepwear, I think this is the ultimate WFH piece you can wear to be comfortable at home while still looking chic on a video call,” says Shopbop fashion director Caroline Maguire. Her original cropped recommendation is currently sold out, but the Great makes the same henley in a longer length that’s just as comfortable. It comes in five colors, including this heather gray and a pastel-peach shade called Tuscany. If you do want to complete the set for sleep or lounging, the Great makes some equally cozy-looking cropped lounge pants.

For more fashion-forward comfortwear, try this crop top from Eterne, which celebrity trainer Tracy Anderson recommends. “You don’t have to wear old-school long johns that look all funky and weird with legs that are a bizarre length,” she says. “This takes the comfort of those yummy things but looks really cool.”

When it comes to long-sleeved shirts, LPA designer Pia Baroncini steals from her husband’s closet. For an oversize henley, she jumps at his J.Crews, and for a polo style, she reaches for his Ralph Laurens. “I think they’re so chic,” she says. “I like to wear white, camel, or navy. I keep it classic.” J.Crew’s henley comes in 11 colors, including Red Currant and Smoky Orchid, while Ralph Lauren’s polo comes in three, including Jamaica Heather, a perfect sky blue.

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Arruda appreciates the boxy, loose fit of this T-shirt, which was designed for men. “It’s not stiff, but it doesn’t collapse or hug my body closely,” she says. It’s not as easy to layer as her preferred Universal Standard pick, but she likes to French-tuck the tee to look more put together. If you’re looking to just lounge around, this T-shirt works well for that, too. Arruda likes to wear it while bingeing TV on the weekend or tidying up her house. She owns it in white and gray, but there are nine other shades, including oatmeal heather and Surf the Web.

Dr. Lily Talakoub, founder of Derm to Door, says the best T-shirts usually come in the form of bodysuits. These prevent “scrunching, bunching, and wrinkling” and make for “a flattering look,” she says, adding that she never has to worry about their length. She learned about Good American from a girlfriend, and it has become her absolute favorite bodysuit. Talakoub loves how well this one fits, as if it were tailored for her body. The material is more matte than many of the tees she tried in the past, which tended to show her bra, so she opts for bodysuits that hide bra lines or offer enough support for her to go braless. You can choose between white and black.

If you’re searching for a twist on the traditional T-shirt, this is one of Talakoub’s more recent buys. She likes to look for statement details like an off-the-shoulder cut, a deep V-neck, or an exaggerated sleeve when it comes to her basics. This one offers a twisted front. The material is thicker and has more coverage; as someone with a larger bust, she says this is a quality that’s not always easy to find, especially in white T-shirts.

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What Are the Best Long-Sleeved T-shirts for Women?