The Art of Camouflage

Rolling up sleeves of a dress shirt: tips, do´s and don´ts

It seems so easy, but there is much more to rolling up the sleeves of your dress shirt than you might think. Did you know for example that rolling up the sleeves of your shirt was considered poor taste for a long time? People thought it looked sloppy. While nowadays it is a great casual look and sometimes even used, for example by politicians, to give the impression that the person who wears the shirt is a ´normal guy´.

But how to roll up your sleeves properly? We will give you some tips as well as the do´s and don’ts.

Rolling up your sleeves: do´s

Rolling up your sleeves can serve a practical purpose and is a good idea when you want to keep your sleeves clean. It is also a great way to keep cool during warmer days, like summer! And last but not least rolling up sleeves is a super practical solution for guys to ´dress down´ a little bit. Going out with colleagues after work? Taking off your jacket and rolling up the sleeves of your shirt does the trick. And last but not least, shirts with short sleeves are generally considered a fashion no-go, whereas shirts with rolled up sleeves are seen as cool and modern. What are the do´s as it comes to rolling up the sleeves?


  • Do fold the sleeves. Rolling is actually the wrong word. The thing you should do, as displayed in the image above, is first fold the cuff towards the elbow. And then fold it again. This way the folding will be steady and doesn´t look like too ´bulky´. It will also give a cleaner look.
  • Do unbutton the sleeves, or take out the cufflinks before you start to fold the sleeves.
  • Do keep the sleeves even, it is not a pretty sight if one sleeve is much longer than the other one.
  • Do stop the folded or rolled up sleeve around the elbow or halfway the forearm. If it ends much higher, let´s say halfway the upper arm it will look weird and probably also feel very uncomfortable.

Rolling up your sleeves: don´ts

There are a few occasions where it is better to not roll up your sleeves, like funerasl, weddings, when wearing black or white tie, during official or formal meetings. Neither should you roll up your sleeves if your shirt is part of a uniform. Other don´t as it comes to rolling up sleeves include:

  • Don´t mind wrinkles. That is just what happens and it contributes to the more relaxed and casual look. However, do start folding the folding with a clean and preferably wrinkle free shirt. This way it is easier to roll up your sleeves, without it becoming to sloppy.
  • Don´t wear something over the shirt with rolled up sleeves. So no jackets, no jumpers, nor vests. It is a complete ´fashion faux pas´ to roll op the sleeves of a jacket too. Please don´t!
  • Don’t ´just roll up your sleeves. Use the folding technique from the ´do section´ or use the more casual approach from the image below. For this technique you fold and double the cuff and then ´tuck it all in´ a little bit. This is clearly a much more casual look, making it ideal for outside activities like a short family hike or sailing, BBQ with friends or an afternoon having a few drinks on a terrace or in a park.





Methods for folding your shirt: a few more tips

Although we won´t pretend folding or rolling your sleeves is rockets science, there is some technique to it. We already told you about the classic fold and the casual fold. But there are more options. Let us give you some tips.

  • You will get the cleanest fold by folding the sleeve while not wearing the shirt. In this case you can just start at the cuff and fold it, do it again, and if necessary once more. This way of folding is rather ´ridged´ and only recommended if you intend on wearing your sleeves rolled up the entire day.
  • Rolled up sleeves will cause your shirt to wrinkle more. If you plan on alternating between rolled up sleeves and straight sleeves, you should consider wearing a wrinkle resistant shirt. Or carry a jacket for when you wear your sleeves down.
  • Always unroll your sleeves when washing your dress shirt. If not, the lower part of your shirt won´t be cleaned properly and maybe even more importantly; it will cause more wrinkling, which means more ironing, which simply isn’t the favorite task of many people.

Take all tips and do’s and don’ts into account, and we are sure you will look splendid this summer!