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The Best Men’s Long-Sleeved Work Shirt

Last updated on December 30, 2022

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Our Picks For The Top Men's Long-Sleeved Work Shirts

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Key Takeaway
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Great Outdoor WearThis thicker shirt is great for fishing trips or any outside jobs.

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Buying Guide

Clothes make the man, as the saying goes. And when we’re talking about blue-collar work, clothes can make the man sweaty, constricted and looking tattered — if they pick the wrong shirt. Nobody wants to think too much about long sleeved shirts that are only worn on the job, but comfort is crucial when you’re putting in plenty of hours.

To be clear, when we say “work shirts,” we mean tops made for active labor with an eye toward durability. Dress shirts might be technically worn at work, but all they really need to do is look clean. Long sleeved work shirts have to be presentable even on a job where the occasional hazards might include dirt or abrasion, and that’s the bare minimum.

As you might imagine, a good work shirt is usually made of thicker material than the average dress shirt. That might mean anything from a standard polyester / cotton blend to twill. What you pick will largely depend on what kind of work you do. For construction or industrial jobs, twill will probably be the standard unless you wear coveralls or some other kind of protection. It’s a particular kind of weave that results in a slightly raised, diagonal pattern. It’s very tough, but not always the most comfortable thing to wear directly against the skin. For most jobs, polyester blends will do just fine. They resist stains nearly as well as twill and have a softer overall feel (which gets even softer when blended with cotton). They’re also less prone to wrinkle, which is a definite plus when you’re trying to get to work on time. Denim is also an option that won’t stain easily, though some employers might consider it too casual.

If you’re going to be outdoors a majority of the time, you’ll want to go for shirts that are a little less thick. That said, you will want some protection from the sun. Polyester does the best at this, though there are other fabrics that block UV rays effectively even if they’re not darker colored. You can get shirts specifically designed for fishing, and these will usually have a UPF rating that tells you how much protection they provide. Shirts with a 5 UPF rating will allow one out of five units of UV to pass on to your skin, while UPF 50 will allow only one in 50. A rating of 40 or above should be sufficient for all-day outdoor wear.

Finally, don’t forget about the pockets and buttons. These things might be purely cosmetic on most shirts, but work shirts are a different story. If you’re on the job with a lot of specialized tools, make sure those shirt pockets are big enough to hold notepads, phones, levels or any other items you might need handy. Metal fasteners might save time when dressing, but if you work around high heat they can become painful. Stick with traditional plastic buttons instead.

What to Look For

The more work you do in your shirt, the more frequently you’re going to want to wash it, but improper care can ruin it faster than the toughest day on a construction site. Make sure you follow the washing instructions on your shirt and remember to empty any loose items from the pockets before washing. If there’s a lot of dirt or oil to get off, you may want to consider throwing it in a laundry bag or washing it separately altogether.

More to Explore

There are many jobs that require you to wear a specific uniform these days, but postmen were among the first jobs where a uniform was specifically required. There were many reasons for this, not the least of which being that postal workers needed to be recognized as such no matter where they went. In a bid to scare off potential robbers, Great Britain’s Mail Coach Guards were assigned red uniforms in the late 1700’s that were meant to make them look like military personnel.

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