Time-dependent shear stress versus shear rate, constitutive curve, and velocity profile measurements are reported in entangled polymer solutions during start-up of steady shear flow. By combining confocal microscopy and particle image velocimetry (PIV), we determine the time-dependent velocity profile in polybutadiene and polystyrene solutions seeded with fluorescent 150 nm silica and 7.5 μm melamine particles. By comparing these profiles with time-dependent constitutive curves obtained from experiment and theory, we explore the connection between transient nonmonotonic regions in the constitutive curve for an entangled polymer and its susceptibility to unstable flow by shear banding [Adams et al. Phys. Rev. Lett. 2009, 102, 067801-4]. Surprisingly, we find that even polymer systems which exhibit transient, nonmonotonic shear stress-shear rate relationships in bulk rheology experiments manifest time-dependent velocity profiles that are decidedly linear and show no evidence of unstable flow. We also report that interfacial slip plays an important role in the steady shear flow behavior of entangled polymers at shear rates above the reciprocal terminal relaxation time but has little, if any, effect on the shape of the velocity profile. © 2010 American Chemical Society.