Last week, an otherwise stylish friend asked me something I’d consider a pretty basic fashion question: How can you wear a turtleneck under a dress without looking bulky? She’d seen the ol’ shirt-layered-under-a-summer-staple trick a million times over, but every time she tried it for herself, she’d choose a shirt with heft (to keep from freezing) and ended up feeling “wide”—not the worst offense, but certainly not flattering. The trick, I told her, lies in the material: If you’re going to layer, make sure you start with a tissue-thin shirt. This can be a turtleneck or a run-of-the-mill long-sleeve shirt, but it must be lightweight (and preferably, ribbed).
But deciphering heft from an online photo isn’t easy, so to take the guesswork out of it, we culled a dozen-plus of the best long sleeve shirts that are ripe for layering. Our favorites ahead.