Long-sleeve shirts that don't make me sweat
August 29, 2012 7:28 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for very cool, light-weight long-sleeve shirts. I have scars on my forearms that I don't like to answer questions about, but my work uniform is short-sleeved. In the past I've worn long-sleeve t-shirts underneath, but I already have a tendency to overheat and these can make me really hot. So what are the lightest weight, thinnest long-sleeve shirts available? They need to be fairly tight-fitting to go comfortably under my work outfit. I'm a lady, if that matters.
posted by bookish to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (18 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Patagonia capilene silkweight
posted by desjardins at 7:31 AM on August 29, 2012

Well, one option that might work for you is Under Amour. They have a line of Heat Gear clothing to include long sleeves that I swear by in Florida summers. (Skin cancer runs in the family, so I prefer to keep covered up.)
posted by skittlekicks at 7:37 AM on August 29, 2012

Seconding Patagonia's capilene silkweight. Light and body-skimming and totally comfortable. Unfortunately, you've just missed Patagonia's annual clearance sale, which is a good opportunity to stock up on capilene, but get on their email list for sales.
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:46 AM on August 29, 2012

What about just sleeves? These are for 'sports' but there are a number of sites that sell them. I've seen them on Kosher Casual (I was looking for long sleeve layering tees) and of course Amazon.
posted by tilde at 7:52 AM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Seconding just sleeves - cheaper version, scour goodwill for thin long sleeved shirts, cut 'em off, and pin them to the inside of your work uniform sleeves.

Google is not being terribly helpful at the moment, but I've seen very thin material tshirts labeled as "paper tees."
posted by troika at 8:19 AM on August 29, 2012

If you mean a 'collared shirt' as I think Americans call them, then linen is very cool.
Probably not available as t-shirt...
posted by BadMiker at 8:20 AM on August 29, 2012

I'm not sure if these are too casual, but I picked up some long sleeved sleep tees once that are super-thin; I wear them comfortably in the summer, but I rarely overheat. I think the ones I have are these or these.
posted by sa3z at 8:29 AM on August 29, 2012

I think the keyword you want is "tissue tee." At least, that's what Target and J. Crew and a bunch of other places seem to generically call their lightweight cotton t-shirts. Old Navy made some years ago that they called Tiny Fit; those are discontinued, but maybe they still have the same weight under a different name.

(Per BadMiker above me: Linen jersey does exist and would be great for your purposes, but is harder to find, probably much harder to find in a fitted long-sleeved t-shirt. The brands that have it will be a little more nichey and expensive, like Madewell and Alternative Apparel.)
posted by clavicle at 8:31 AM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

You want to look for "layering tops." I'm actually kind of annoyed at this trend, as I hate wearing layers, but this might work for you.
posted by JoanArkham at 8:32 AM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

I prefer long sleeves myself -- I don't have a specific store or brand to recommend, because I buy my blouses at thrift stores. But the secret to being comfortable in the heat is to get woven fabrics, not knit, because they will sit away from the skin, and to look for 100% cotton or linen (because they will breath and absorb sweat).

Some casual Indian or Indian-style blouses are good for this (I had an Indian friend who had a whole collection of long-sleeved, hip-length salwars). I have a couple of 100%, woven cotton blouses I've picked up at thrift stores or Indian-style clothing places that I love - they are fitted enough to put a shirt overtop, but still very cool in the heat (cooler than a traditional T-shirt, which is knit fabric).

if you can find "peasant blouses" with long sleeves, these might be ideal: they tend to be sewn of a very light-weight woven cotton. Forever 21 had some that were so thin they were almost see-through (much less of an issue if you are wearing a shirt over it).
posted by jb at 8:36 AM on August 29, 2012

How about lightweight Indian cotton kurtas - easily found in most thriftshops (google kurtas to get best prices). They are made for hot weather! Also, I used to find really sheer cotton tees from Japan in thrift shops (but haven't found them online). They had a little bit of stretch, but only came in small sizes.
posted by Surfurrus at 10:02 AM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Kurta is the word I was thinking of, but couldn't remember - thank you!
posted by jb at 10:11 AM on August 29, 2012

You can find the Patagonia tops on sale on REI and other places if you hunt for them.

And I love my armwarmers from SockDreams for keeping my arms warm in my chilly office, but some of the lighter ones might work for you.
posted by gingerbeer at 11:05 AM on August 29, 2012

I got a couple of these that have been useful as layers.

I also got one of these that was fantastic, but too expensive. This has been useful, too.

If you have Forever 21 or H&M near you, they have a lot of this kind of thing for cheap right now.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:39 AM on August 29, 2012

If you go to a shop that sells running specific stuff they should have a range of lightweight long sleeve tops.
posted by trialex at 5:20 PM on August 29, 2012

I've hacked up opaque stockings to use as sleeves before. If you get footless ones they already have a nice seam for at the wrist, then cut length as needed. You can do a little strip/tie at the top to keep them up but I found they stay up okay. It means you don't have another layer under your shirt which is what really traps the heat.

I never found opaque nude stockings though, which would have been great. Black or coloured looks a little emo, but I just rolled with it. It covered the scars enough to stop questions.
posted by geek anachronism at 6:52 PM on August 29, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for all the good answers. I'm going to try out a couple of different options and see which ones are the most comfortable. I'm intrigued by the capilene shirts but put off by the price, so I may buy just one and see if it does the job better than "tissue" tees.

I actually have couple of shirts from Target that are designed for layering, but I found them to be too hot. I'm going to check out some of the other brands suggested to see if there are any that work better. I also may try some just sleeves/hacked stockings. Basically, lots of things to try!

As for the kurtas, I agree that they are wonderful for wearing in hot weather. However, I don't think they are fitted enough to wear under my uniform, and the loose arms would stand out too much.
posted by bookish at 6:59 AM on August 30, 2012

A note about capilene and the price - I have had one capilene t-shirt since 1997 and the other long sleeved capilene since about 2000, and both still look perfectly new after dozens of hikes and bike rides and washers and dryers. You really, truly get what you pay for with those.
posted by desjardins at 2:44 PM on August 30, 2012

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