This Spring, Embrace the Long-Sleeve T-Shirt
By Lee Cutlip / February 25, 2020 2:41 pm

Long-sleeve t-shirts may not rank particularly high on the list of clothing purchases you’d think of as inciting a whole lot of joy. But as unremarkable as they may seem, have you ever considered that you’re just not buying the ones? Because if you really took the time to delve into the world of long-sleeve tees, you would soon discover that it’s vast — and far from boring.

While they’ve largely grown to become a necessity in many people’s closets, employed as little more than a layering piece, they have so much more potential than many give them credit for. Instead of playing second fiddle, they can easily be the star of your outfit.

With that being said, we’re not just talking about some plain, run-of-the-mill solid white tee shirt. We mean something with a little more pizzazz and oomph, like a graphic long sleeve tee. Before you declare yourself too mature to wear such a thing, know this: despite its recent popularity in the world of streetwear, it’s an item of clothing that knows no age limits.

There are plenty of sophisticated, adult options on the market. The key is to identify the brands you identify with and make sure it’s at least adjacent to your lifestyle. Spent your teenage years skating? By all means rock that iconic long-sleeve Vans number. Have you been embracing your inner sneakerhead and dropping coin on the newest Air Max iterations? We think they’d look great with something from Saturdays. The long-sleeve graphic t-shirt is noteworthy for its ability to communicate if not who you are, exactly, then at least who you want to be.

And on top of all that, spring is, of course, the perfect time to make them an integral part of your wardrobe. Below, our favorites.

Noah Pure Juice LS Tee

Noah has dominated the long sleeve t-shirt game for some time now, so if you’re looking to show people that you’re in tune with what’s hip and cool, get this one. The vibrant orange and yellow colors are warm-weather appropriate, and the little orange and lemon graphic is pretty damn cute. We’re assuming that “Pure Juice” refers to your massive muscles, so go ahead and let people know you’re absolutely jacked.

Patagonia Long-Sleeve Capilene Cool Daily Graphic Shirt

It’s hard to make a misstep when you’re wearing Patagonia, especially when you’re wearing a shirt with Patagonia’s iconic logo front and center. This otherwise plain white t-shirt is upgraded with a retro-looking typeface we’re really enjoying. Even better, it’s a performance knit so it’ll be ideal for hiking. Or not.

Penfield Storrs T-Shirt

Return to the youthful days of sleepaway camp with Penfield’s Storrs shirt. The shirt is printed with badges that resemble those you might earn for building a fire in the wilderness or giving someone CPR. And even if you didn’t earn any badges, or never attended camp, you can at least pretend you did.

Nike Breathe Rise 365 Long-Sleeve Shirt

Sometimes you gotta work out and sometimes you need a long-sleeve shirt to work out in. Look no further than Nike’s Breathe Rise 365, perfect for running in those in-between temps that don’t allow for short sleeves, all while allowing you to still breathe (hence the name).

Levi’s Long-Sleeve Skate Graphic T-Shirt

The little lopsided guy on this Levi’s tee is bound to make others smile. The back of the shirt also says ‘Have a nice trip!’ but we think they might mean something other than vacation. (Hint: it’s acid. They mean acid.)

Deer Dana Henry Tattoo Long-Sleeve Tee

Maybe you’ve always wanted tattoos but have never been able to commit to something so … permanent. Now you can get a sense of what you would like tatted up (sans actually doing it) with Deer Dana’s Henry t-shirt. The shirt gets its name from punk legend Henry Rollins, and the ‘tattoos’ reflect the punk attitude: the grim reaper, snakes and even Black Flag’s logo on the left sleeve.

Saturdays NYC Moon Flower Long-Sleeve T-Shirt

If you really want to get in the spring spirit, what better way to do so than with a lilac tee featuring flowers on the sleeves? But don’t worry, the flowers are black (save for two) so you won’t come off as girly or whatever you’re worried about.

Altru Apparel Beautiful Day Long-Sleeve Tee

There’s nothing quite as exhilarating as scoring a super cool, super rare vintage tee, but it’s often easier said than done. This long-sleeve tee by Altru Apparel has the look and feel of vintage, without the hefty price or the strenuous searching involved. You can always tell people it’s vintage — what they don’t know won’t hurt ’em.

Vans Checkered Vee Long Sleeve T-Shirt

There are few things as classic as Vans’ checkerboard pattern, but instead of wearing it on your shoes you can now wear it on your sleeves. Perfect for the reformed skateboarder who wants to show he’s grown up but also still cool.

Online Ceramics We Think We Have Time Long-Sleeve

This t-shirt will make you think. And it also might just freak you out a little bit. What appears to be an innocent enough looking frog is actually wielding a scythe (you know, the thing the Grim Reaper carries). Let this tee serve as a reminder of the inevitability of time (and death).

Bianca Chandon Lover Long-Sleeve T-Shirt

Let your shirt do the talking.

L.L.Bean MIF&W Tee, Long-Sleeve White-Tailed Deer

We have no idea what the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is, but this dope-ass t-shirt is emblazoned with its logo, and we need to own it immediately. There’s also a white-tail deer on there, which we hope makes you go, “Oh cute” and not, “Oh, where’d I put my gun? I’d really like to kill that deer.”

Outdoor Voices Endorphin Long-Sleeve T-Shirt

Outdoor Voices is one of our favorite activewear brands, but this long-sleeve tee is a perfect example of why we love their casual offerings as well. It’s cut just right, and the graphics are playful enough that it turns heads without making us feel stupid or try-hardy.

The North Face Long-Sleeve Red Box Tee

You say basic, we say classic. You can’t go wrong with this simple design from TNF. Perfect for a quick run to the coffee shop or the first spring day when it’s warm enough to get drunk outside.

J.Crew 1984 Rugby Crewneck Shirt in Multistripe

Okay, while technically not a graphic tee, this rugby crewneck from J.Crew is still an upgrade from any boring plain ones. You’ll look like you just stepped off Yale’s campus in the 1980s.

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