Like most basics — whether it’s a short sleeve T-shirt, jeans, or a button-down — it’s not hard to find a long-sleeve T-shirt, but it is difficult to find the perfect one. And an “ideal” long-sleeve is subjective, anyway: Is it a ribbed and fitted number with just-right trimness for layering under sweaters or tucking into a skirt? Or is it a standalone baggy long-sleeve, perfect for wearing with bike shorts and leggings? To find out the lay of the long-sleeve land, we consulted with a panel of stylish women to hear about their favorites — below, their picks cropped, ribbed, neutral, and bright.
You might be familiar with Girlfriend Collective’s leggings and sports bras (they’re one of our favorite brands for sustainably made activewear that’s size-inclusive and reasonably priced) but were you aware they also make a really good long-sleeve T-shirt? We heard about it from Sade Mims, founder of jewelry and accessory line EDAS. “I love Girlfriend Collective’s long-sleeves because they do very simple basics in neutral colors,” she says. Mims notes that like EDAS, Girlfriend Collective releases their pieces in limited lines, so “when something drops it’s a get it while it’s hot kind of thing,” she says (the leggings and sports bras have been known to sell out especially quickly). Mims told us she’d opt for a snugger fit for one of the long-sleeves, and would “wear it with a denim jean, or with a skirt and a cardigan.”
For another fitted option, take note from Strategist writer Chloe Anello, who says she owns about three of these long sleeve T-shirts 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,” she 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 note if you have a shorter torso or prefer a crop, the Splendid shirts are “kind of long,” says Anello.
For a similar style that’s made with ribbed cotton, stylist Jasmine Caccamo recommends Everlane’s Pima Micro-Rib Long-Sleeve. “It’s a must-have staple for your closet,” she says. “Good for layering under an oversized blazer, tucked into a pair of black jeans, or just thrown on with a pair of sweats.” The shirt is available in a range of neutrals, including heather grey and olive green, and has a bit of elastane in the fabric, meaning it will hold its shape even after many wears.
I’m a fan of Gap’s long-sleeve boatneck, which I’ve worn layered under sweaters for the past few winters, and on its own tucked into jeans and looser pants. The boatneck hits just under your clavicles in a flattering way, and 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. I’m also into the slightly more linear neckline for wearing under cardigans to avoid some of the crewneck-on-crewneck twin-set effect.