Wondering how to handle shirt sleeves that are too long? You’re in the right place. Here’s how to prevent (and fix) this annoying problem.
If you’re a shorter guy, or if you just have short arms for your build, you’ve probably dealt with shirt sleeves that are just too long.
It’s a super frustrating fashion problem that totally ruins your look. Even if everything else is on point, overly long sleeves will make you look like a kid playing dress up.
So how do you deal with this annoying problem?
2 Ways to Prevent Overly Long Sleeves
The best solution is to avoid sleeves that are too long altogether. As the old saying goes:
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
For most guys, this means you have two options:
- Buy custom shirts
- Buy from specialty brands
Let’s look at each option in more details…
#1: Buy Custom Shirts
Going custom is a great option, as there are so many made-to-measure shirt brands these days. You can get a decent quality custom shirt for as low as $50 right now, which is pretty cool!
But going custom has its drawbacks. If you buy from an online made-to-measure brand, which is what most guys do, you’ll have to submit your own measurements.
This is a tricky process that often results in an ill-fitting shirt, especially for first time custom buyers.
It just takes a while to really dial in your fit, and most guys give up too soon, feeling frustrated because they expected the process to be easier (which is what MTM brands always promise).
It also takes a long time, usually 3-6 weeks, to get your shirt made and shipped to your door.
Bottom line: buying custom shirts is a great option for guys who need shorter sleeves, but don’t expect to get a perfectly fitting shirt the first time.
#2: Shop Specialty Brands
These days, shorter guys (who guys with shorter arms) have the option to shop brands like Jimmy Au’s that make clothes specifically for shorter men.
All of their shirts, including casual button ups and dress shirts, have shorter sleeves. You can find a complete list of these brands right here.
They’re perfect for shorter men or anyone who has issues with off the rack sleeve length from most major brands.
Since these are ready-to-wear shirts, you won’t need to go through the custom fitting process or visit a tailor. You can just buy the shirts online and start wearing them within a week.
You can also try brands like Hugh & Crye that use proprietary sizing systems based on height and weight.
More and more brands are trying to solve these fit problems using technology and smarter sizing systems, and these brands are definitely worth a shot.
But what about all of those shirts you already own?
5 Ways to Fix Sleeves That Are Too Long
You probably already have a few shirts in your closet that look great, other than the sleeves being too long.
Here’s how to deal with these shirts:
#1: Wear Another Layer
This works best in cooler seasons, but it can be done in spring and summer as well.
Just wear a jacket or sweater over your dress shirt or button down. This extra layer will hide the excess length of your sleeves.
I know, it’s an obvious solution, and you probably already have a few shirts that you only wear under sweaters.
But this trick is clutch during fall and winter, so I wanted to mention it!
If you need help with sweaters, check out this guide to sweaters for shorter men.
#2: Roll Up Your Sleeves
With increasingly casual workplaces, most business casual professionals can get away with rolling up their sleeves everyday.
It’s a casual, masculine look that totally hides any excess sleeve length (in a non-obvious way).
If your sleeves are nice and slim, you can roll them however you’d like. If your sleeves are a bit baggy, I recommend rolling them above your elbow using the so called J. Crew roll (shown above).
#3: The Faux French Cuff
If your sleeves are really long — like several inches past your wrist — try this trick.
You simply roll your sleeves once, then button them in reverse (or inverted) to create a French cuff look.
I wouldn’t do this without a jacket, as it’s a somewhat obvious trick.
#4: Try Sleeve Garters
Sleeve garters are an old school accessory that you really don’t see much anymore.
That said, old-timey accessories always seem to come back into style eventually. Just look at the resurgence of suspenders, bow ties and fedoras.
You could definitely set yourself apart with a pair of sleeve garters, if you had the confidence to pull them off.
If you do wear sleeve garters, I recommend avoiding other bold accessories (like a fedora or suspenders), as you could easily slide into Peaky Blinders cosplay territory (great for Halloween but not Wednesday staff meetings).
#5: Get Them Tailored
This is the best way to deal with sleeves that are too long on shirts you already own.
Simply go to a tailor and get the sleeves shortened, and they’ll fit your arms perfectly.
This will cost you anywhere from $10-25 depending on where you live, but it’s totally worth it (and cheaper than buying a new shirt).
For more info about getting your shirts tailored, check out the clothing alterations guide.
When it comes time to buy a new shirt, try to prevent sleeves that are too long by going custom or buying clothes made specifically for shorter men.
For shirts you already own, the best long-term solution is to get them tailored. For a quick fix, try rolling them up or wearing an extra layer.
Got any other tricks up your overly long sleeve? Leave a comment below!