Proper Sleeve Length on a Dress Shirt

For the past 25 years I have worn dress shirts to work, five days a week, give or take an occasional casual day on Fridays. I’m a slow learner, so It took me ten of those years to finally figure out the proper sleeve length for a dress shirt. Plus for many of those years I just didn’t care very much. As long as the sleeve made it to the base of my hand I was good.

The quality of my dress shirts didn’t really mean much to me either. On the high end I’ve worn Van Heusen, Gap and several brands that I could get for cheap, like 2 for $20 cheap. But now, I’m pretty much just buying Brooks Brothers. 

At first the price for a Brooks Brothers dress shirt stopped me. $100 for a dress shirt?!? But two for one sales convinced me to at least give them a shot. Oh, and the fact that I was throwing out too many of those 2 for $20 dress shirts after a few washes. Have you ever showed up to work and realized there was hole worn through in the elbow? The rest of the day is s

Image courtesy of Primer Magazine

pent with your sleeves rolled up. Some places I worked frowned on that look.

So how do you know your sleeve length is correct? Go ahead and put on the dress shirt you are interested in. Unbutton the sleeve, and let your arm hang.

If the sleeve stops at your wrist, it’s too short, if goes practically down to your fingers, it’s too long. If it stops at the knuckle on your thumb, it’s just right.

You might think that’s too long, but you have to remember that the shirt is going to shrink a little through the first few washes. Plus it gives you plenty of room to raise your arms without them going halfway up your forearm.

You’ll now look great in your dress shirt.

Have a great day everyone!

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