Proper dress shirt sleeve length

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by acarlton, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. acarlton

    acarlton Well-Known Member

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    Quick question re proper dress shirt sleeve length: in the past I've mostly bought 35" sleeves on my dress shirts, but I was getting fitted for a suit at Brooks Brothers last week and the sales person has me questioning if that is right, as he measured me and was sure I was a 35.5" or 36".

    Is there a set guideline for where the sleeve supposed to hit on the wrist/hand? The 36" that I bought feels a little long (obviously, since it's in comparison to the ones I have). When unbottoned, the cuff hits about an inch above the thumb/finger V. When buttoned, there is a bit of extra slack in the sleeves that I'm not used to. Is that how it's actually supposed to look?

    I've always been under the impression that you want the sleeve to hit just past the palm, but that could be b/c I mostly have OTR dress shirts w/ cuffs that are too large and don't keep the cuff from falling over my hand...

    Thanks in advance for the help! :thumbs-up:
     


  2. acarlton

    acarlton Well-Known Member

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    Also, I realize that the shirt will shrink some in the wash, so the current fit may change slightly, but I need to get another shirt, and want to buy it before the sale ends today (as well as figure out if I should exchange my current shirt).
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2012


  3. ashjini

    ashjini Well-Known Member

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    The simple rule is comfort. When wearing 35", with the sleeve buttoned, are you able to raise your hand to shoulder level and then over your head without causing uncomfort at your wrist?
    If yes, then you are fine with 35", if no, try the same with 36"

    The simple reason for the "sleeve should end at x point" is for the comfort factor I mentioned. Now, one may say, I do not exercise or pitch baseballs with my dress shirt on, hence I do not care about these weird movements.

    In that case, ignore the advise. Go for what you like and have been comfortable with. If that would have been hanging an inch above your wrist, it was cause for concern, not otherwise.
     


  4. acarlton

    acarlton Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the response. That makes sense to me, and I understand that there is no hard/fast rule for sleeve lengths. I was just thrown off when the sales guy was so adamant about me needing a 36.
     


  5. Seph

    Seph Affiliate Vendor Affiliate Vendor

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    An inch above the thumb/finger V is right. Of course the cuff should also fit close enough around your wrist to prevent it from sliding too far over your hand. A bit of extra length in the sleeve like that is good since it allows you to bend your arm without pulling the cuff too far up your forearm. 100% cotton will shrink 2% or so. This is about 1/2" in the sleeve, so if you think the 35.5 is perfect off the peg you may really want the 36.
     


  6. arirang

    arirang Well-Known Member

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    This thread got me thinking about my sleeves...

    I usually go for a 16/35, but that ends up with the sleeves ending about 3 inches above the thumb/finger v as opposed to the 1 that Seph recommends (I used a ruler to measure). I took a quick look at the WAYWRN thread and there is no question that most people wear sleeves longer than I do.

    I had some 36/37 sleeve lengths before, but I didn't like how far they stuck out and how they would get in the way when washing my hands. Using the ruler, 1 inch seems exceptionally long, even by WAYWRN standards. But of course, now I'm second guessing myself?!?
     


  7. acarlton

    acarlton Well-Known Member

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    Haha, welcome to my world! I do think that the key is to have the sleeve length a little longer, but have a proper fitting cuff to keep it above the hand.
     


  8. CYstyle

    CYstyle Senior member

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    My shirt sleeves stay just at the bend where the palm begins. My suit sleeves end at the wrist bone. I show about .5" sleeve cuff
     


  9. McBindle

    McBindle Well-Known Member

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    I size my shirt sleeves according to how they fit with a sportcoat/jacket on so that they allow about .5"of cuff to show (I also try to account for shrinkage during the fitting). I have found that the jacket armholes and sleeves tend to pull the shirt sleeve up an inch or so therefore a sans jacket arms-by-your-sides method frequently does not work. My method is similar to the descriptions above of the necessity of being able to raise your arms and not show a lot of wrist but has the added benefit of all your shirts fitting your jackets (assuming that one has proper jacket sleeve length). Also I rarely do not wear a "dress" shirt without a jacket and if I do it is in a casual setting where a little extra length is no big deal.
     


  10. Cant kill da Rooster

    Cant kill da Rooster Senior member

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    ^ this is the right answer. When you bend your arm the sleeve should not rise up past your wrist. There should be a little material in there to play with.
     


  11. acarlton

    acarlton Well-Known Member

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    Brooks Brothers shirts can be returned after multiple washes, correct? I may just wash it a few times and see how it fits.
     


  12. Kiwi Man

    Kiwi Man Senior member

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    I was told this rule is no longer applicable because so many people abuse their return policy
     


  13. MadAboutPlaid

    MadAboutPlaid Senior member

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    This is how I like them, too. One inch from the thumb/finger V seems too long to me. When you button it, doesn't it bunch up? That drives me nuts. To me, material bunched up at the end of your shirt sleeves looks just as sloppy as excess length on pants bunched up at your feet.
     


  14. RDiaz

    RDiaz Senior member

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  15. shilleck

    shilleck Well-Known Member

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    you should be able to wear them comfortab;y just past your thumb, in excess of that would just look silly in my opinion.
     


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