Following on from our last article on T-shirts and how they are basic items for any man’s wardrobe, I thought I’d expand on the topic a little more and broaden our horizons into the world of long-sleeved T-shirts. Now there are quite a lot of them about on the high street at the moment with the coming of autumn/winter making them perfect for layering as a base for your outfit. I can’t say I’ve ever really been that much of a fan of long sleeve T-shirts in the past, other than using them for extra warmth under other items… but nonetheless I dived into all the stores in town and had a look at was on offer and what was being done with them.
Similarly to T-shirts, the long sleeved variety come in crew neck and v-neck styles and a myriad of colours to match. A big trend at the moment is the ribbed versions that are being sold in places such as Burton and Topman and seem mainly designed to be used as your first layer when dressing yourself. On the other hand, with the Henley-style (y-style neck with button opening) thick-knit jumpers and T-shirts making a big impact on most designer’s autumn and winter collections, long-sleeved varieties have appeared to become more of a focal point for outfits and can be used singularly when matched underneath some great open knitwear or statement jacket like a trench.
I have in fact purchased a black and charcoal grey striped one from H&M just the other day and think its amazing. When it comes to the Henley versions I would say you’d want to go for some kind of detailing like stripes or patterns, maybe even in bold colourings to differentiate them from your bog-standard under-layers, which should be without details and in neutral colours so they will go with most of your other clothes.
As always, here are some fool-proof ways of using long-sleeve T-shirts in outfits:
- The most obvious one here is the layered look and you’ve got two options. First would be a boldly coloured one in a sky blue, plum purple or a maroon over a neutral one (which hopefully you’ve remembered is either black, white, grey or navy) and just mix up the style of crew and V-neck (open cut version on top). Or go with a white or black crew neck and put a patterned Henley-style one over the top and let the top layer do the talking. Partner with dark-wash jeans, chinos, blazers, scarves, gloves, beanies, anything you can get your hands on.
- Try pairing it with a T-shirt or even a Polo Shirt over the top. Kind of the same as what’s been said above but think about getting a graphic T-shirt involved giving the look more of a grungy/skater vibe to it. Go with a more relaxed jean in a lighter wash (but please not those baggy jean shorts from yester-years) and some Vans sneakers to round it off.
- Swap them for the T-shirts that you use as the base layer for your casual shirts. Either keep it simple with a white or black crew neck or pick one that will highlight or co-ordinate with a colour already in the shirt. For example, with a red and black plaid shirt think about keeping it in the red family and go with a maroon long sleeve. But remember to roll up the shirt sleeves a little bit to show more of the layer underneath it.
- Use a long sleeve t-shirt under a statement jacket on its own. This look can work with neautral colours with something like a mac or military coat to give a really clean and chic look. Alternatively you can use a thick statement long sleeve t-shirt under something like a gilet in order to show off the longer arms and pair with cut off gloves and a great winter scarf.
- Don’t think or try too hard. Long sleeve t-shirts can essentially be used just like a normal short sleeved version worn on it’s own, under a hoody, under a check shirt or with a great piece of knitwear or statement jacket. Experiment with layering and using new items within your wardrobe.
So there you have it, something to think about as a variation to T-shirts now that the weather is getting worse and the wind is picking up. I know I’ve changed my mind on them just from walking around on a Saturday morning and checking them out. They’re great for that transition from autumn to winter when you need a little more warmth for your body. They are timeless items which can create a variety of casual or relaxed formal looks when paired with the right items. Find out which way of wearing them works for you and then go out and grab yourself a couple for the coming months and start of next year.
Long Sleeved Product Picks
What I’m Wearing At The Moment – mid-blue denim jeans, white V-neck T-shirt under a blue plaid shirt, White Adidas Stan Smiths with matching white belt and a black Pittsburgh Pirates baseball hat.