Budget Baselayers

For about half the year I live in sunshirts or tank tops, since Texas is balls-hot (scientific temperature reading) most of the time. However, once it stops being so aggressively Texas and things dip below 70, I feel like I’m always struggling to figure out how to dress myself. Layers tend to be key, since even when it gets “cold” here, it doesn’t tend to stay that way for long. Right now we’re doing the thing where it’s in the 40’s or 50’s at night and swings up to the 60’s or 70’s during the day. Which… it’ll do from basically now until April, with about a month’s worth of colder temps somewhere in there. I feel like every fall I’m caught off guard and find myself scrambling for long sleeves that aren’t sunshirts. Last year I found myself eyeballing the Anique shirts a lot, or the similar Lulu style long sleeve workout tops. I struggled with the idea of paying $70-$120+ for what was essentially just a baselayer though.

Lululemon Swiftly Tech Long Sleeve 2.0 - Slate / White - lulu fanatics
you know the ones I’m talking about

I ended up spending most of last winter in the Sporttek tech shirts, which worked out fine. They aren’t as fitted and don’t tuck in or layer as nicely, but the weight was suitable and they were only like $20. But over the past year a lot of equestrian brands have been popping up with Lulu knockoff type shirts like the one above for closer to the $40-50 mark, which was more enticing to me. One company put them on sale at one point over the summer and I snatched up two, just to see how I liked them, and well… I’m fairly obsessed. They’re fitted, they’re soft, they’re super stretchy, they’re comfortable, they’re the perfect length, they’re warmer than a sunshirt but not hot, and they have thumbholes (which I love when it’s chilly). I’ve been wearing them basically every single day that the weather is cool enough to allow it.

the blue one

When I got them though I noticed that the packaging was VERY generic. Not branded in any way, and looked like something you’d buy off Amazon. I went to Amazon and scoured the listings of shirts like these but couldn’t find any that looked exactly the same. I ordered a light blue in a similar-looking one, and yeah… not the same. The cut was a little boxier and the fabric was slightly different. Then Holly had the idea to look on AliExpress and bam – found them. The exact ones I had ordered from the equestrian brand, like the same exact packaging and tags and little quote on the inside hem. They even come in the exact colors that a couple of the equestrian brands sell, so I’m pretty confident that this is where they’re sourcing them from. Except straight from AliExpress they’re $15 vs the $40 or $50 that they’re charging at resale. Granted, I think other people have figured this out too, or some brands have done a big order recently, because right now their online stock is pretty low. I’ve ordered 5 more myself now – 3 long sleeve and 2 short sleeve.

waiting on the last two to get here – black and white

They ship from overseas so it does take a while to get them – mine took 3 or 4 weeks. I’ve spent a grand total of $74 though on 5 shirts, which would have cost me $200 even buying from the cheapest equestrian brand, so… to me it was worth the wait. I really love these shirts a lot and think they’re super versatile for the cooler months. Great to layer, and perfect to ride in. Since they’re fitted and aren’t too long (if you’re familiar with the Lulu Swiftly shirts, these are shorter like their race version), they tuck perfectly into breeches and stay put. I wear them a lot with jeans too though, especially if I’m doing anything active. They would make great cross country shirts too since they do sit so nicely under a vest.

wore them pretty much every day at Maryland

I have a 35″ bust and bought the small, since I did want them pretty fitted for layering. They’re very stretchy but if you prefer a looser fit you should go up a size or two from your regular size. I was pleased with them at $40 a pop but I’m even more delighted at $15… can’t beat that!

8 thoughts on “Budget Baselayers

  1. I often say “I need more good base layers”, so this was timely! When you say they’re not too long though, have you noticed if they ride up at all if they’re not tucked in?

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  2. Thanks for the tip! Im from a much colder climate but layers are always the best. I’ve found i dont think winter breeches are worth the investment so layer leggings under m my normal breeches and usually live in a down vest from fall – spring. I’ve also found the smartwool base layers to be worth the money and have picked them up cheap at REI ‘Garage sales’. A smart wool base layer, a light 1/4 zip or sweater and a down vest is great for riding 30s and below.

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    1. I found some fleece leggings at Walgreens of all places, and wore them under my breeches when it was 30 (I’m also in TX so this was basically the coldest day of the year) and was nice and warm (well, my legs were anyway).

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  3. For anyone looking for a more expensive brand on the cheap, can highly recommend Poshmark for new and light used secondhand clothes. I’ve bought most of my fancy show breeches on there for $50-75 in excellent condition instead of $300+ (the key is to either know your exact size already via trying on in the store or getting measurements from the seller and comparing to measurements of breeches you have and like). There’s even more non-equestrian clothing, of course, so I’ve gotten some excellently priced Smartwool base layers.

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  4. I swear by Uniqlo for inexpensive base layers! I have one right by my office but they actually have more womens options online. Their Heattech line is especially nice and I have a lot of skin issues with seams and tags and things and their stuff is so lightweight while still offering amazing coziness without bulk.

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  5. Yep just bought myself several. You are the best for finding good stuff! (Not sure my bank account agrees but I try to tell it the more we buy the more we save, right?)

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