The T-Shirt Solution When You Want to Cover Up a Little
The basic t-shirt is a wardrobe staple that we all have. It’s one of the most versatile clothing items there is. I’ve always been a t-shirt girl. But as I’m getting older and not loving the aging skin on my upper arms, I need a t-shirt option that I can wear and feel good in.
Solution: the elbow sleeve t-shirt.
I tried my first elbow sleeve t-shirts last spring. I shared it on the blog in this post. The three I bought were great – I wore them a lot and felt better in them because the elbow length sleeve (it ends just above the elbow) covered the part of my arms that I’m uncomfortable with.
I decided that I need to add a few more elbow sleeve tees to my closet and thought it would be helpful to me and to you to do a comparison of a few brands that seemed to offer quality, affordability, and a nice fit: Gap, Eddie Bauer, and Nordstrom. It was fun too!
The unexpected – I like all of them! I’ll give the highlights below. At the end of the post, I’ve linked these elbow sleeve t-shirts as well as a few others that check the boxes of quality, price, and fit.
The first t-shirt below is the Modern Crew Neck T-Shirt from Gap (available in light and dark blue, white, gray, pink, and yellow). It’s not technically an elbow sleeve, but the sleeve covers the upper part of my arm that I don’t love. I didn’t expect to like this style because a crew neck is not the most flattering neckline on me. But I do really like it – it has just enough scoop to the neckline. The fabric content is: 58% cotton, 39% Lenzing Modal, 3% spandex. It has just enough stretch to keep its shape. (Not familiar with modal? Learn more here.) It’s regularly priced at $24.95 and currently on sale for $18-$19.95 (depending on color).
The next style is Gap’s Modern Square Neck Elbow Sleeve T-Shirt. This is the style I purchased last spring. The square neck is really pretty, but it’s a very wide cut (you can see that I struggled a bit with my cami and bra straps showing in the photo of the tan t-shirt below). It’s available in the tan (fawn), rose shown below, white, as well as two striped versions. The fabric is: 58% cotton, 39% Lenzing Modal, 3% spandex – the perfect amount of spandex for the fit to stay in shape and not stretch out throughout the day. The regular price is $24.95 for the solids, now $18, and $29.95 for the striped tees, now $22. This style is a little heavier than the crew neck above, and feels really substantial. The neckline makes it stand out from the standard crew neck style t-shirts. One difference in this season’s version is that the square shape neckline extends to the back of the t-shirt. Last year’s version had a regular, higher back. The low neckline in the back is pretty, but it may not be everyone’s cup of tea (not sure it’s mine).
Eddie Bauer T-Shirt
The gray and black tees below are Eddie Bauer’s Favorite Elbow Sleeve T-Shirt. This tee is long – there’s a lot of fabric! You can see that I kind of scrunched it up in the body to deal with the length. I was surprised to find that it’s 100% cotton as it does feel like it has some stretch to it. It’s good quality and the fabric is a nice weight. It’s regularly priced at $35 and is currently sale priced at $17.50. It comes in gray, black, blue, and “adobe”.
I think the volume of fabric will make styling this t-shirt a little challenging for me, and I do wonder if it will hold its shape throughout the day with the 100% cotton content.
I thought I’d ordered size small in both colors, but the black is a medium and seems to not be a very different fit from the gray small.
The final elbow sleeve t-shirt style I tried is the style below: Nordstrom’s Caslon Ballet Neck Cotton & Modal Knit Elbow Sleeve Tee. I was really curious about this Nordstrom tee as I’d read a lot of reviews that mentioned the fabric had changed from what purchasers had loved and it was too thin. I don’t agree. It may be lighter weight than previous versions, however, the t-shirt is a perfect weight for spring and summer. I always wear a lightweight cami under t-shirt as it gives a smoother look to the tee and feels a little more substantial than a t-shirt alone, especially for a lighter weight tee. With this Caslon t-shirt, the white is a bit see-through and I’m wearing a nude color cami under it, which works just fine. The fabric content is: 60% cotton and 40% modal – again, nice stretch and should hold it’s shape. This tee comes in the navy stripe, black, white, light pink, and light blue. It’s priced at $25.
I’ll have a hard time deciding which of these elbow sleeve t-shirts to keep and which to send back. The prices are so affordable, adding an assortment to my spring and summer wardrobe is a given.
I hope this curated selection of elbow sleeve t-shirts is helpful. I’ve linked the Gap and Nordstrom options below, as well as several others. (Eddie Bauer isn’t one of the retailers that’s available for linking in the widget below, but I linked it above in the description if you want to check it out.)
Browse Elbow Sleeve T-Shirt Styles
There are a variety of colors available in most styles below. Click on the image to visit the retailer site where you’ll see options.
In all of the t-shirts shown in this post, I’m wearing a small (except the Eddie Bauer black tee). I could probably make a medium work as well with a slightly less fitted silhouette. I would say the t-shirts I tried are all true to size.
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