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How To Roll Up Sleeves – The Ultimate Guide For Guys

How To Roll Up Sleeves – The Ultimate Guide For Guys

How To Roll Up Sleeves – The Guys Guide


How to roll up sleeves? Perhaps it’s not a question you’ve thought too hard about. After all, they’re just sleeves – right? But when a man rolls up his sleeves it could mean a number things, like wanting to relax after a long day, getting down to some hard work or maybe just because he’s hot.

So while on the scale of important things in life, knowing how to roll up sleeves properly isn’t on the extreme end, it adds to your overall look, and what you project, and I’m sure you’ll agree that’s a good enough reason to give it some care.

Here I’m going to show you how to roll up your sleeves in 4 ways. These are practical,and easy to implement, so let’s get started.




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When to roll up sleeves? Rolled up sleeves meaning

how to roll up sleeves: how to keep sleeves rolled up

Before we explore how to roll up sleeves, lets just have a look at the occasions when its called for.


1. Roll up those sleeves when it’s hot.

It makes sense to roll up your sleeves on a hot day or in a stuffy room. It allows air to flow freely, helping to lower overall body temperature.

Although certain work places view rolled up sleeves as unprofessional (read below), most will overlook them on a warmer day.

If you work outside you will find rolling up sleeves handy, since you will be able to take advantage of any passing breeze.


2. When necessity calls.

Ever tried unclogging a toilet without rolling up your sleeves? Yeah, thought as much – not going to happen. Rolled sleeves are usually needed in messy jobs, heavy lifting and in dusty environments.

Then there’s washing your hands, or doing a spot of gardening. In fact, whenever a task can get you dirty in any way, just roll up those sleeves! Rolled up sleeves when you are getting down and dirty is the universal style of the “man at work”. It’s not just suggested, it’s required.

If you’re only rolling up your sleeves because they are too long, just remember this is a short term solution. If you get a well fitted shirt from the get go, like ones found here, you can’t really go wrong.


3. Whenever the situation is casual.

Rolled up sleeves, are seen as “less formal”, or dressed down, and even a way to express personal style. It also signifies to those around you that you are ready to chill out, hang loose and just relax.

This is the “Happy hour” style adopted by men when leaving work to something less functional. It indicates to others that work mode has been switched off and now he’s ready to party or “paartay”.

If it’s the boss rolling up his sleeves, it signals to the other colleagues that he’s relaxed and they should be too.

After loosening the tie, rolled up sleeves are the most common way a man can express that he’s done with work and ready to express his fun side.



How to roll up sleeves: Method #1 The Basic Sleeve Roll

How to roll up sleeves - basic sleeve roll

how to roll up sleeves – basic sleeve roll


More than likely, this way to roll  your sleeves is the most natural to you. It is the basic sleeve roll, there are no airs and graces, it is what it is. I would suggest this roll when you’re about to work and need your sleeves out of the way.


  1. Ensure that shirt cuff is unbuttoned.
  2. Turn the cuff back inside out.
    Continue folding back,  stopping short of your elbow.
  3. If you are going to be involved in physical work, go past elbow.


Pro tips: While this is more a “man at work” type sleeve roll, you can still keep the look sharp by using the cuff width as a guide as you roll.

You should only ever show your elbows when you’re working, keep your knobbly bit’s tucked in when it’s a general sleeve roll.


How to roll up sleeves: Method #2 The Marine Sleeve roll

how to roll up sleeves

How To Roll Up Sleeves: Method 1 – the marine sleeve roll


Just like the basic sleeve roll, but a little more precise, the Marine sleeve roll begins with the shirt sleeves laid on a table. These will be rolled up before you put the shirt on. The outcome of this way of rolling is crisp and uniform sleeves, hence the reasons that they are used by marines.

Bear in mind, while worth it, it is time consuming. I would suggest this for occasions when your look has to be on point and as smart as possible.

  1. Immediately after ironing, lay your sleeves flat out on the table
  2. Fold your cuff upwards just once until it is inside-out.
  3. Here is when you flatten and straighten the fold. This means the first fold you make needs to be crisp, neat and crease free. This is why a freshly ironed shirt is recommended.
  4. Once again, fold the cuff up until you reach the desired height. Repeat 2 and 3 with each fold you make. This method is ideal for folds above the elbow.

Pro tip: As the sleeve fold suggests, this type of fold is great in uniforms and accompanying suits.


How to roll up sleeves: Method #3 The Master Sleeve roll or Italian Roll

how to roll up dress shirt sleeves

how to roll up dress shirt sleeves: The master sleeve roll


Never heard of the master sleeve roll? Well you’re in good company. Even though the master roll, or Italian sleeve roll, is the preferred way to roll up sleeves in the fashion world, most men have never heard of it.

So if this is all news to you, don’t worry let me show you how.

  1. Roll up your sleeves to around two widths of the cuff.
  2. As you go make sure all creases are smoothed out in the fabric.
  3. From the bottom end of the sleeve roll once again, covering the cuff and leaving just the top part of the cuff exposed.
  4. If the inside of the cuff has a contrasting color or design, show just a hint of it and cover the rest.
  5. Hold the top edge of the cuff and pull down to undo the fold.

Pro Tip: This is how to roll up sleeves for shirts with contrasting design or lining on the inside of the cuff. This contrast can only be made visible with the master sleeve roll.


How to roll up sleeves: Method #4 The Quick Sleeve Roll

types of sleeve rolls: The quick sleeve roll-1

types of sleeve rolls


Want to know how to roll up sleeves when you’re in the restroom, or  perhaps when you’re avoiding sauce stains from a juicy burger? Then this is the sleeve roll for you.

The quick sleeve roll is essentially about getting your sleeves out of the way in the quickest way possible without being sloppy.

  1. Start by unbuttoning on the buttons on your sleeve.
  2. Turn the cuff up to the point just below your elbow, follow this by folding the edge of the cuff upwards.
  3. Roll up your sleeves by folding it over itself.

Pro Tip: This is definitely convenience over style, it’s the fold you do at a crunch. However, if you want a more fashion forward sleeve roll leave this one alone.



Are rolled up sleeves unprofessional?

There is a general question about whether rolled up sleeves at work is unprofessional, but it really comes down to individual work culture.

There are workplaces where being suited and booted is an alien concept, so in this casual styled office rolled sleeves are fine. However, in a cooperate workplace, if you came into work daily with rolled up sleeves, you may find yourself getting hauled into to see management.

New at a workplace and not sure of the dress protocol? Simply watch the other the people in the workplace. What are the general standards of work attire? Once you find it, that’s the one to adhere to. That being said, just because your workplace is more casual, and you have more freedom to express your style, it doesn’t mean that rolled up sleeves are always appropriate.

For example, when meeting an important client, or head of department, sleeves rolled down will make you look more professional.

Bottom line: If you are wearing a long-sleeved dress shirt, or work shirt, wait for one of the above situations to unfold before rolling your sleeves up. Otherwise, there’s a chance you will end up looking dishevelled and like you simply don’t care.



BONUS Tips – How To Roll Up Your Sleeves, The Do’s And Don’ts

The Do’s

  • Always make sure that when you roll up your sleeves, the length is the same on both arms.
  • If you are about to do work then your sleeves should be above the elbow.
  • Unless your aim is the marine roll, a few creases here and there is fine. This way it looks natural and not like the shirt was bought that way.
  • If you are just cooling off, leave your rolled sleeve below the elbow.
  • Do undo buttons before you attempt a fold.
  • Do make sure your shirt sleeve cuffs are clean at all times. You don’t want to roll up your sleeves only to highlight general hygiene slackness.
  • When your clothes are loose fitting make sure your sleeve rolls are neat and crisp. This way you avoid looking like a complete slob.


The Don’t’s

  • Never roll up sleeves when you have a long sleeve vest or t-shirt underneath, not only does it defeat the point, but you will be committing some serious crimes against fashion.
  • Don’t leave your shirt rolled up underneath a jacket or coat, see the above comment as to why.
  • Don’t roll up your sleeves just because your shirt is too big. If that is your main reason, then you need a better fitting shirt my friend. Take a look at these, and thank me later.
  • Don’t roll up sleeves when you have a long sleeve vest or t-shirt underneath, not only does it defeat the point, but you’ll be committing some serious crimes against fashion.

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