Infiltration of T cells is a key step in the pathogenesis of the inflammatory skin diseases atopic dermatitis, allergic contact dermatitis and psoriasis. Understanding the mechanisms of T cell recruitment to the skin is therefore of fundamental importance for the discovery and application of novel therapies for these conditions. Studies of both clinical samples and experimental models of skin inflammation have implicated specific adhesion molecules and chemokines in lymphocyte recruitment. In particular, recent studies using advanced in vivo imaging techniques have greatly increased our understanding of the kinetics and molecular basis of this process. In this review, we summarise the current understanding of the cellular immunology of antigen-driven dermal inflammation and the roles of adhesion molecules and chemokines. We focus on results obtained using intravital microscopy to examine the dermal microvasculature and interstitium to determine the mechanisms of T cell recruitment and migration in experimental models of T-cell-mediated skin inflammation.