Dear gentlemen, as summer is coming, more and more men would rather wear short sleeve shirts or roll up their long sleeves to stay dry and cool. In the respect of etiquette, is it proper to roll up the sleeves? If so, do you know how to do it elegantly? Now, let me help you review together.

Short sleeves or Long sleeves

Traditionally, short sleeve shirts are only for children. But there are only two exceptions for adult men to wear short sleeves: 

  • as uniforms in some certain professions; 
  • for vacations or leisure time. Indeed, hawaian shirts can not be considered with long sleeves.
Short sleeves uniform for butler team in the Ritz-Carlton Sanya

I know some of you may insist that gentlemen in China also wear short sleeves in business occasion, which is common and nobody would consider it as inappropriate. That is because the shirts protocols in Asia are not as strict as in Europe and America, where short sleeves are forbidden for business. Therefore, I still recommend you gentlemen to wear long sleeves whatever it is for business or for casual to remain serious and elegant. However, in case of severe heat let’s see how to stay fresh when the circumstances allows it.

How to roll up your sleeves

Rolling up your sleeves is acceptable in semi-formal or casual occasions, where you only have your shirts but without your jackets. There are three heights you can choose:forearm height, elbow height and above elbow height.

Forearm height 

The casual way

It is the simplest and the most casual way of rolling. If you want to be a little bit relaxed and to show your watch, the casual way is a nice choice. Appropriate for semi-formal and casual occasions.

  • Start with the sleeves unbuttoned
  • Roll up the cuff along the cuff line
  • Roll again with the width of the cuff from the bottom. (once or twice, no more than twice)
  • Adjust and smooth the folds, with the height below the elbow

The gentleman way

Real gentlemen will use a cuff bond to help with the rolling. This is the most delicate way of folding and it prevents your shirts from wrinkling. If you need to stay formal and elegant, please use a cuff bond.

  • Tie up the bond on your upper arm, about two fingers space from the elbow
  • Pull your sleeves through the bond from above, and adjust
  • Put the sleeves above down to cover the bond
  • You can choose to unbutton one or two buttons on your sleeves

Elbow heights

This fold is also called the Italian way, and it is most commonly used when you have to work in high temperature. As the edge of cuffs will be exposed at the elbow level, this fold especially fits shirts with hard cuffs. Appropriate for formal environments.

  • Start with the sleeves unbuttoned
  • Roll up sleeves to about twice the width of the cuffs
  • Roll again with the width of the cuff from the bottom, reach the cuff line
  • Roll again to cover the cuff, only expose the edge of the cuff
  • Smooth the folds, with the height at elbow level

Above elbow height

You can only roll your sleeves up above the elbow height with shirts of soft fabrics and of big sleeves. This is a good height to show your masculinity for it will make your biceps muscles looks bigger. But it may cause discomfort if you don’t do it properly. Only acceptable in casual occasions.

  • Fold your sleeves to the casual way of folding
  • Try to roll up again at least twice
  • Adjust to proper height and smooth the folds

Dear gentlemen, I know you must have your own ways of rolling your sleeves, please don’t hesitate to share with us! And you are more than welcome to leave us a comment!