Express Lane Style Tips: How to Cuff Your Shirt Sleeves
02.21.20

Sleeve cuffing: we all do it, but do we all !do! it? You can roll them up meticulously and get them out of the way, or you can scrunch them up haphazardly, forcing you to have to fuss every time they fall down because, uh, you scrunched them up haphazardly. The latter looks more, how you say, fashion, but the former actually works, so what’s a conscious citizen of style with sleeves to roll up but selfies to take to do? I guess the first thing is to not call themselves a citizen of style but that’s on me.

Many moons ago, Jenna Lyons showed me how she rolls her sleeves up in the inaugural video for the now-defunct series, The Chatroom. I never forgot that tip (chiefly because I was party to the haphazard scrunching brigade) but have since expanded upon it so consider the below a refresher on how to cuff your sleeves when you want to look cool and show off your hip wrists. If you stick around, you’ll also be able to enjoy bonus content on how to get your sleeve cuffs the hell out of the way when you’re wearing a sweater. That’s not a bribe or anything though.

Let’s begin!

Before and After

Step 0: Pick your shirt

Slim sleeves are harder to cuff ambitiously, and the following steps work best on rigid forms of cotton and poplin, though denim and flannel are fair game too. I just can’t help you if you’re trying to cuff like, a silk sleeve. Not today at least.

Step 1: Defy the odds

Instead of literally cuffing your sleeve, I’m going to ask you to take the cuff between your index finger and thumb and ride it up to above your elbow. Once it’s there—positioned as a single, very wide fold…

Step 2: Cuff the fold

I’m going to tell you to roll your wide cuff over itself, creating a meta-cuff just above your elbow with the actual cuff of your sleeve kind of flailing around the circumference of your bicep.

Step 3: Now actually flap the cuff over the fold

Someone help me make sense of the truly drunk description I just wrote for what the corresponding image presents. I’m basically asking you to take the actual cuff of your sleeve now, which has been flirting with your biceps and fold it ever-so-slightly over the folded cuff you made. Does that make sense? Is this why they say a photo is worth a thousand words? Anyway, that’s it. That’s the whole thing. Vwala: straight out of a catalog. I hope you have a job interview for which the description included, “Must be willing to roll up their sleeves.”

Sleeve Cuff

And as for that bonus content?

Here’s a one-step trick to adding a little bit of personality to the marriage of sweater and button-down shirt: After putting on your button-down, hold the sleeves in the palms of your hands with the tips of your fingers. Now put your sweater on over the shirt but make sure the cuffs of your button-down are coming out of your sweater. Now: scrunch up your sweater sleeves to that point by your elbow where you’re confident they’ll remain stationary and one more time: Vwala! Put on a cool bracelet. Your wrist deserves it.

Sleeve Cuffing

Photos by Beth Sacca.

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