Demystifying the Shirtsleeve Roll

Demystifying the Shirtsleeve Roll

So you think how you choose to roll your shirtsleeves is a trivial thing? Well it’s not. In fact, it’s an incredibly weighty thing – so important, in fact, that Business Insider devoted an entire post and video to the issue, with the bold headline “You’ve Been Rolling Your Shirtsleeves Wrong Your Entire Life.” Woah​, woah. First of all, we didn’t realize there was a right and wrong way to do it. Secondly, why does it matter? We’ll answer that latter question in a bit, but first, let’s turn to the Business Insider piece.

According to BI, the majority of people out there are apt to do what the video dismissed as “the classic roll” – that is, starting from the cuff and rolling again and again until the sleeve hits the elbow. But this method, the video asserts, is “hurried and sloppy,” and bears the marks of a job poorly done – namely, lots of creases and an imbalance between sleeves. The video then advances a rolling suggestion for “a more refined look.” This entails first unbuttoning the buttons along the bottom of the sleeve and turning the cuff inside-out. Then, you take the inside-out cuff and pull it all the way to the elbow. Once that’s complete, “fold the bottom until it reaches the top of the cuff.” This method allows you to easily smooth out the edges of the shirt and therefore not risk any bunching. It’s definitely a neat and highly presentable way to handle shirtsleeve rolling. But it’s neither the only way nor the best way. Indeed, rolling your sleeves is largely situational. The best roll for the office may not be the optimal one for a night out. Here are some of the different ways to roll sleeves, compiled by The Art of Manliness:

  • The casual chic look: You work at an office that doesn’t require you to suit up. Or you’re looking to hit up a jazz concert in the city. Either way, this is the roll for you. Fortunately for you, this kind of roll is exactly the version described above by BI. So just follow the details in the video and you’ll be set with a look that’s optimal for casual environments.
  • Forearm fun: Depending on your body type or just personal preference, you may not want to roll your sleeve all the way to your elbow and instead have it cover most of your forearm. Have no fear – there’s a stylish roll for that. For this roll, you need to first unbutton any and all buttons toward the bottom of the sleeve. Then, take the cuff and flip it inside out. Next, fold the cuff over once. And – that’s it! This type of roll works great for more formal ensembles, such as if you’re wearing a sweater over your shirt. This should also be the go-to roll if you work at a place where you may need to put a suit on at any moment.
  • The down and dirty: You work with your hands a lot, and are the kind of no-nonsense person who just wants a shirt that won’t get in the way. Well fortunately, there’s a roll for you too. With this roll, you take the cuff and just roll back continuously until you achieve the desired length. Usually, this method will be deployed by people who need the sleeve to go past their elbow in order to complete physically involved work. But it’s not just a hands-on work style anymore – it’s also a fashion statement.