Rolling your shirt sleeves is a great way to cool off when it’s warm out and still look great. Here’s how to roll up shirt sleeves.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in September 2018. It’s been freshened up with new pictures and commentary on December 20, 2019.
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When to roll your sleeves
The purpose of rolling your shirt sleeves can vary from staying cool in warm weather to preparing for manual labor. Aside from the reason, how you roll up your shirt sleeves can alter the look and formality of your outfit.
If your job requires that you wear a button-up, you can’t wear a t-shirt or short-sleeve button-up because they’re too casual. Therefore, rolling your sleeves is your best option.
The rolled sleeves look simply makes you look cool. James Dean and Steve McQueen are two icons that contributed to making rolled-up sleeves look masculine and effortless.
The following are common reasons where you’ll need to roll your sleeves:
1. Manual labor: If you’re doing a physical activity that may get your shirt wet, stained, dirty, or cause it to rip, roll up your shirt sleeves.
This will ensure that you don’t ruin your shirt and it’s also the classic working man look.
2. Make your outfit more casual: When you roll up your shirt sleeves, you’re dressing down the outfit.
If you want to look more relaxed and casual, rolling your shirt sleeves is a great way to do so without swapping your button-up for a t-shirt.
3. Too hot outside: Rolling up your shirt sleeves allows airflow to your arms which can be a relief during hot weather.
How to roll up your shirt sleeves
Here are three ways to roll your shirt sleeves. The three methods we cover are versatile, simple, and will make you look great when you roll up your shirt sleeves.
The Basic Roll
The Basic Roll is the most simple and intuitive way to roll up your shirt sleeves. It’s one roll after another and if you’re going to be doing manual labor, this is the easiest way to roll your sleeves above your elbows.
Take the following steps to do the Basic Roll:
Step 1: Unbutton your cuff
Step 2: Roll your sleeve once and even it out.
Step 3: Second roll
Step 4: Third roll
Step 4a: If you’re doing physical labor, roll once more.
Step 5: Even it out
The AIFA Roll
The AIFA or Forearm roll requires the least amount of folds. It’s also the most casual roll and a quick way to dress down a button-up. The result of the AIFA roll is a relaxed look that shows a third of your arm.
Take the following steps to do the AIFA Roll:
Step 1: Unbutton your cuff.
Step 2: Fold your cuff back so that it’s inside-out.
Step 3: Roll your sleeve once and don’t smoothen it out.
The Master Roll
The Master Roll is a stylish and simple way to roll your shirt sleeves. Out of the three, this is the least restrictive and it’s also the sturdiest which means it won’t come undone throughout the day.
Take the following steps to do the Master Roll:
Step 1: Unbutton your cuff.
Step 2: Roll your shirt sleeve up the length of two cuffs and smoothen your sleeve.
Step 3: Roll the bottom of the sleeve to cover most of the cuff. Leave a small portion of the top of the cuff exposed. Then even out your sleeve.
Frequently asked questions
If you’re rolling your sleeves to cool down, keep it below your elbow. If you’re rolling your sleeves for manual labor, roll your sleeves above your elbow.
No, you shouldn’t roll your sleeves for an interview because that results in a casual look. For most interviews, you want to look formal and present yourself professionally. Therefore, it’s best to be slightly overdressed than to look too casual. Remember, first impressions are very important for interviews.
Yes, you can roll your sleeves for business casual as long as your shirt sleeve is neat and wrinkle-free. In fact, this is a great look for business casual in the summer.
Rolling your sleeves is a great skill to have. It’ll keep you cool when it’s hot, and your shirt clean when you have to do physical labor.
There are different ways to roll up your shirt sleeves. The basic roll is the easiest and most versatile.
Featured photo by David Em/Next Level Gents.