This post on wearing long sleeves in the summer was originally published in 2016 and most recently updated in June 2023.
My boyfriend would tell me I’m nuts for wearing long sleeves in the Texas heat, but when it is upwards of 100 degrees, it doesn’t make much of a difference what you are wearing as long as it breathes.
Of course, I don’t wear just any long sleeves in the summer heat, I usually stick with cotton, linen, or chambray. It all comes down to fabric choice. As you probably know, cotton is the most breathable fabric you can find. It’s natural and allows air to move through it freely while wicking away moisture. According to Who What Wear, linen is the second best fabric for summer (which I’m wearing in these photos), because it is super light, and in the off-chance that there is a breeze, it’s loose and breathable. Linen is also known to be used in summer-weight bedding, as well. Of course, there’s always athletic material that boasts wicking powers, but I prefer the natural fabrics when I’m not working out.
Growing up in Ohio, we barely put away our sweaters and coats to switch over our wardrobes for spring and summer. I remember going home from college one year in June and it was still in the 60s! So, as much as I wanted to wear cute tanks and shorts, I was frozen, so I always had a sweatshirt or chambray button-up nearby.
To style long sleeve tops, I wear them over dresses, tie them up with skirts, or as pictured below, with shorts!
There are so many ways to wear long sleeves in the summer and so many reasons to!
I have my personal opinions, but there are also many practical reasons too!
4 Benefits of Wearing Long Sleeves in the Summer
Long Sleeves Protect From the Sun
If you are pale, sensitive to the sun, or already sunburnt, long sleeves are a savior. Earlier this summer I burnt my shoulders and it actually hurt to be out in the sun, so my only saving grace was super lightweight tops with sleeves! However, long sleeves don’t necessarily protect you from the sun! While they will provide much more protection than no sleeves at all, brighter colors such as red or darker colors such as black have a higher Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) than lighter colors such as white.
The weave of the fabric and the material also play a factor. Tightly woven clothing such as jeans or synthetic materials can protect you better than a cotton tee or sweater. You’ll also want to wear loose fitting clothing so you don’t stretch the threads to create a wider opening for the sun to penetrate. For those really concerned or sensitive to the sun, you can get clothes with sun-blocking technology like these UPF styles from Lily Pulitzer.
Long Sleeves are Better Than Mosquito Repellant or Bug Spray
I’m not sure what it is, but I get major mosquito bites. They love to bite me. One bites and tells all their friends how tasty I was, and sends them over. I get the biggest welts all over. Of course, I’ve tried all of the bug sprays, but sometimes I just don’t want to be sticky and smell bad, so wearing long sleeves in the summer helps prevent them from getting to me.
Hiding From the A/C
I’m actually cold more often in the summer than in the winter. After spending all weekend in the sun by the pool, the A/C always gets me! At home, I’m usually under a blanket, and I am always cold in the office, out to dinner, and especially at the movies! Long sleeves are again, the best option!
Wearing Long Sleeves in the Summer Can be a Habit
Like I said, I’m from Ohio, and I lived in sweatshirts during the cool summer nights. You never know when the temperature will drop or you’ll be frozen at a restaurant. So I always leave a sweater or jacket in my car! I totally got this from my mom, too. She also believes that sweatshirts or long sleeves are a must year-round!
Where to Wear Long Sleeves in the Summer
In the summer I try really hard to be a Texan and love the A/C, but I am constantly cold! I live in sweatshirts and long-sleeve tops in the summer more than in the winter! When the air conditioning is on, I am typically on the couch with my Barefoot Dreams Blanket and a sweatshirt. Kale thinks I’m nuts, but I can’t help it, I love a cozy vibe. Being cozy is a big part of wearing long sleeves in summer, too. It’s more about comfort than anything else.
As we make our way back to the office (fingers crossed it’s optional, for you if that’s your preference!) we’re remembering how uncomfortable corporate offices are for females whose summer wardrobes are in stark contrast to our male co-workers’ clothing choices which don’t vary throughout the year. The A/C is typically set cold because someone somewhere mentioned that it might be better for productivity, but that seems a bit antiquated and sexist if you ask me. I digress, given we still live in a world where most companies are run by men, I always have a sweater in the back of my chair when working in the office.
As much as I love a cute tank and skirt or summer dress, I typically need something to cover up in the A/C as you’ve probably discovered at this point. With a date night look, I typically opt for a denim jacket or as we move into August-October (still in the 80s or 90s in Texas) I’ll grab a leather moto jacket!