How & When to Roll Up Your Shirt Sleeves

How & When to Roll Up Your Shirt Sleeves

Method One:  The Basic Sleeve Fold

This is perhaps the most intuitive fold that the most of us would do when we roll our shirt sleeves for the first time.
This is the hardest fold to be undone and not aesthetically the best looking.  However its simplicity and ruggedness make it a staple for the working man.

1.     Unbutton the cuff and any gauntlet buttons further up the sleeve.

2.     Using the cuff as the measuring point, simply roll the sleeve over itself until it passes the elbow, depending on your cuff size and arm length.

3.     Adjust the fold until you are satisfied, ensuring each fold is clean and straight to get the best final look.

Method Two:  The Master Sleeve Roll

You can achieve a more casual look with the end of the cuff still showing, turned inside out and shoved up your sleeve.
This gives a decidedly more creased look that many consider stylish – especially if your dress shirt has a contrasting cuff colour.

1.     Unbutton the cuff and any gauntlet buttons further up the sleeve.

2.     Fold the cuff inside-out and keep tugging, without folding, until you expose just a little less arm than you want to with your finished look. The turned-back sleeve should just be inside out and unfolded at this point.

3.     Fold the bottom of the inside-out sleeve about halfway up so that it makes a band beneath the inside-out cuff.

4.     Adjust the fold until you are satisfied, leaving the unbuttoned and inside-out ends of the cuff sticking out of the rolled fabric.

Method Three:  The AIFA Roll

This is a casual roll, sporting a stylish look and you can easily roll the sleeves down with no wrinkles.  It is limited though by the size of your dress shirt cuff – too big a cuff and this roll is impractical.

1.     Unbutton the cuff and any gauntlet buttons further up the sleeve.

2.     Using the cuff as the measuring point, simply roll the sleeve over itself 1-2 times, stopping below the elbow.

3.     Adjust until you are satisfied.

Method Four:  The Devil Dog Fold

This provides a crisp and professional look.  It is recommended for office settings.
The finished effect is a band of cuffed cloth that’s even in width all around, with no corners or buttonholes showing.

1.     Unbutton the cuff and any gauntlet buttons higher up the sleeve.

2.     Fold the cuff in half upwards, so that the very outer edge is folded back to meet the bottom edge of the cuff.

3.     Fold again, keeping the same width (half the width of the cuff) and tucking the end of the cuff underneath the new fold.

4.     Keep going until you reach the desired point on your arm.  The roll of folded fabric should be even in width and should hide the cuff itself entirely.

Rolling up your Sleeves when you have Thin Arms

Rolling up your dress shirt sleeves will draw attention to your biceps & triceps. For those with thinner builds or thick non-defined arms, you would need to think about proportion and strive for balance.

Wear dress shirts that fit you and compliment your physique. For example, petite men should choose dress shirts with smaller cuffs and thinner sleeves.

Keep your sleeve rolled below your elbow as this will look better. And it helps to draw focus to your forearms that are normally closer to an average size than biceps.

When rolling the shirt, roll the sleeve over on itself length-wise to reduce the sleeve width and create a tighter fit on the biceps.  A loosely rolled sleeve will only exaggerate already thin arms.

How Far up to Roll your Sleeves

Above the elbow is more practical if you are actually working with your hands.
Aesthetically though, it violates the “rule of thirds” and never looks quite as stylish as leaving the rolled sleeve a bit below the elbow.
In addition, if you have a loose cuff or a lot of sleeve fabric, it can start to look odd as more and more fabric gets bunched up around your elbow, ruining the line of your biceps.
Stick to thin, tightly-fitted dress shirts if you are rolling your sleeves high.

On the other hand, below the elbow is a less practical, but more stylish option.
It is good in situations where you are deliberately trying to look relaxed. Do keep in mind that your rolled sleeves should be tight on your forearms and hence you might need to roll the turned-back fabric over on itself a few more times.