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Rolled up sleeves – how high on the arm should sleeves be rolled up?

There’s a lot of debate on how high on the arm shirt sleeves should be rolled. Just above the elbow is what traditionalists will say is the right height. At that level, the bulk of the roll’s folds is balanced by the widest part of the forearm. This is because one very, very important point to remember about rolled up sleeves is that they add visual bulk to the part of the arm where the roll is. As a result, the exposed part of the arm looks comparatively thin. 

However, we southerners tend to prefer a lower roll that reaches somewhere between just above the wrist to at most, mid-forearm. Since the wrist is the thinnest part of the arm, a roll just above it will of course make the wrist look even thinner. That makes a low sleeve roll perfect for men with a bigger frame, who can also afford a wider roll, especially if on the taller side and with long arms.

On the other hand, men with a small frame will look better with a higher roll that is also neatly folded and not too wide – so as not to look too chunky. This allows for the roll to be balanced by the natural width of the forearm. For better results, add volume to the wrist with a watch or bracelet. Generally though, skinny men, especially if on the shorter side will look best with an above the elbow roll that makes the biceps look bigger and the shoulders broader. It will also visually elongate the arms. However, it just doesn’t look very Mediterranean – if that’s the style you’re after. 

Regardless of one’s physique, the sleeve should never be wide enough to leave a visible gap between the arm and the roll. This seems to cut the arms in a way that makes them look hanging limp. 

Finally, if you’re not too sure about how to get a neatly rolled sleeve, here’s a video that will show you how to do it. 

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