what to wear with long sleeve shirt

Outfits with long-sleeve shirts aren't just confined to chilly weather. While it's easy to pigeonhole long-sleeve shirts as cold-climate essentials and their shorter counterparts for warmer temperatures, this perception barely scratches the surface of fashion's versatility. In reality, long-sleeve shirts can be a stylish choice year-round, provided you carefully select accompanying pieces.

While you might not choose a chenille sweater for a trip to Vegas in July, a breathable button-up shirt might be perfect. Long sleeves provide fantastic benefits in warm climates:

  1. They protect you from the sun.
  2. They repel bugs.
  3. They’ll keep you warm when you head into the air conditioning.

Certainly, winter naturally calls for long sleeves. However, when you can see your breath, the true potential of long-sleeve outfits shines through.

Understanding Types of Long-Sleeve Shirts

Just as there is a great variety of footwear for different environments and occasions (think hiking boots vs. casual flats), the same can be said of long-sleeve shirts. Here are a few great choices.

1. Cardigans and Sweaters

With a substantial, woven texture, cardigans and sweaters are practical garments that keep the wearer warm and cozy. UNIONBAY’s cardigans button up in the front, allowing you to decide whether to keep it closed or open it up for more breathability. Our sweaters also feature pockets on the front for added versatility.

2. Cotton Button-Up Shirts

Cotton is a wonderful fabric for summer long-sleeve wearers because it’s light, airy, and perfect for stylish button-up shirts. You can roll up the sleeves and keep the front unbuttoned for a carefree feel while out and about, or pull the sleeves down and button it up if the AC is too cold.

3. Wraps

Wraps toe the line between jacket and shirt, making them much more versatile. Want to keep it on while mingling with friends in the living room? Absolutely. Want to hang it on the hook the moment you arrive at a dinner party? That works, too.

Wraps are heavier and baggier than plain shirts, and UNIONBAY’s wraps also feature a built-in hood. They give a more upscale vibe than a sweatshirt or hoodie, and since they are open in front, wraps are more practical, too. Want to be warmer? It’s just a matter of wrapping yourself up tighter.

4. Flannel Shirts

Grunge changed music in the 90s, but it also impacted fashion. Without Nirvana and Soundgarden rocking it out in flannel, would the fabric have left Seattle and permeated into the public consciousness? Regardless, with 100% cotton construction, heavy flannel shirts excel at keeping wearers warm in the cold but breathing well in the hot. Flannel shirts will do the trick if you want a casual chic look.

5. Let’s Talk About Jackets

While technically not shirts, you can add a comfortable jacket to your look and wear it all day. A distressed black denim jacket, a textured blazer, a twill jacket, or a bomber jacket can be so integral to an outfit that no one will bat an eye if you wear them for an entire get-together. It all depends on what clothing you pair with your jacket.

long sleeve outfits

What to Wear With Long-Sleeve Shirts

Being fashionable is about more than purchasing items that, on their own, are fabulous. You must combine them well, too. You can wear a dress over long-sleeve shirts, but would you wear a cocktail dress over a cardigan? Just as a sommelier thoughtfully serves the perfect wine for a particular meal, consider your outfit ingredients, from your tops to your bottoms.

1. Black Long-Sleeve Shirt Outfits

Remember to contrast your colors. If you want to rock a contemporary, well-executed look, contemplate what to wear with a black long-sleeve shirt. A solid or striped light-colored crop top would look killer underneath, buttoned or not. Pair with jeans for a can’t-mess-it-up classic appearance.

Long-sleeve shirt outfits don’t have to rely on pant legs that go to your ankles. Shorts work great, too. A pair of white skimmer shorts or even stretch shorts will look flawless. Outfits with black long-sleeve shirts can feel dark and mysterious when buttoned up and paired with dark or black pants but then feel cheery and inviting when open and billowing like a cape in the wind at the beach.

2. White Long-Sleeve Shirt Outfits

White opens up your choices for bottoms. Greens, blues, and oranges all work super well with white. For an “I went to the gym yesterday, so I’ve got a pep in my step today” look, pair a white long-sleeve shirt with joggers and some sneakers.

3. Long Shirt Outfits

Leave your long-sleeve shirts untucked for a look that simultaneously says you’re relaxed and unbothered yet busy enough that tucking in a shirt will get in the way of your plans. Again, think in contrasts. If you have a long button-up, go for the crop top. Alternatively, button up the shirt and leave the sleeves unrolled, but wear it with shorts.

4. Flannel Outfits

Choose a non-clashing T-shirt color or crop top underneath. Flannel shirts have visual weight and work best with other weighty clothing choices. Lean toward pants rather than shorts, so a pair of jeans or appropriately colored woven pants would complement the rustic and earthy vibe given off by flannel. As for shoes, you can’t go wrong with work boots for that early 90’s Seattle feel.

5. Cardigan/Sweater Outfits

A smart look demands smart clothing and a chenille sweater will make you look like you just aced your English exam. The shirt underneath should not compete for attention with the sweater or cardigan, even when unbuttoned. Complementary solid colors and a lighter fabric for your undershirt will let the cardigan take center stage.

The pants should also highlight the cardigan, with the universally accepted jeans working alongside any color. High-rise wide-leg pants or bootcut uniform pants give the outfit a commanding, intelligent feel.

6. Denim Jacket Outfits

A denim jacket can be effortlessly chic when styled correctly. Avoid the "Canadian tuxedo" look by steering clear of pairing it with denim pants. Instead, pair a denim jacket with colors such as green or orange. Leave it unbuttoned and wear a light T-shirt or crop top underneath. A denim jacket won’t score you points in a formal setting, but it is perfect for a casual night out.

7. Wrap Outfits

Consider a breathable, cotton button-up shirt underneath so you can layer yourself toward comfort. Alternatively, wear a sweater underneath for a more upscale, brainy look. Consider tencel woven pants, skinny zip cargo pants, or uniform pants instead of jeans. The wrap will already be pretty baggy, so contrast it with tighter pants.

8. Layered Outfits

Multiple long-sleeve tops can be both practical to wear and compelling to look at. You can have your twill jacket on top of a button-up shirt of contrasting color. This takes more coordination with your pants, of course, because you’ll have to ensure that your jacket, shirt, and pants colors all work together. Still, multiple long-sleeved articles of clothing give you options as you walk from air conditioning to humid heat.

9. Vest Outfits

Vests look amazing when put over long-sleeve shirts. Yes, your shirt's collar needs to be on the outside of the vest. Play with color combos. How about a green sweater vest over a white button-up shirt? And a killer pair of jeans or dark red skinny pants could pull it all together.

10. Don’t Be Afraid to Roll Up Your Sleeves

Rolling up sleeves is an art because it’s not just about keeping them up — it’s also a matter of style. A nice cardigan or button-up shirt practically invites a good rolled sleeve. Just remember to unroll them before you wash your long-sleeve shirts, lest your washer and dryer give your sleeves difficult-to-remove creases. While rolled-up sleeves work great with all pants, this isn’t always the case with shorts.

types of long sleeve shirts

Common Mistakes With Long-Sleeve Outfits

Now you know what to wear with long-sleeve shirts. Here’s what not to wear.

1. Don’t Wear Fighting Patterns

Plaid with stripes, stripes going in opposite directions, and clashing colors make outfits look haphazard and poorly planned.

2. Don’t Over-Layer

While layering long sleeves can look and feel incredible, you can overdo it. Practically speaking, the most you can really get away with is three layers. If you’re wearing a cotton long-sleeve button-up, a cardigan, and a jacket, that will most likely be your limit. Beyond that, not only will you get hot, but you’ll look extra bulky, too.

3. Don’t Jump Layers

Part of wearing long sleeves is regulating your temperature. The next layer shouldn’t be a thick winter coat if your base long-sleeve shirt is thin and breathable. If you go somewhere that’s too cold for the shirt but too warm for the coat, you’re out of luck. But if you wear multiple layers that can be easily removed and carried, you can always have the right amount of clothing for the situation.

Find the Perfect Look With UNIONBAY

Cultivating the perfect long-sleeve look is possible with UNIONBAY. From women’s tops to sweaters to coats, UNIONBAY has what you need to craft your long-sleeve style, from shirts to sweaters to coats. And UNIONBAY isn’t exclusively for women. Men, you can upgrade your wardrobe with UNIONBAY’s diverse selections, too. May long sleeves be with you year-round.


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