Consider salt. A recipe may be fine without it, but adding even a small pinch means a huge boost in flavour. And so it goes with sartorial details. You can do without them and still look good, but small touches can mean huge boosts in style. Learning how to roll sleeves and cuffs is a simple way to add flavour to an outfit, whether it’s in your trousers or your shirt. Not only does it look casually cool, it can also serve the functional purposes of keeping fabric out of the way, keeping you cool in warm weather, and highlighting pieces of your wardrobe like a great watch or a killer pair of shoes.
Not only does it look casually cool, it can also serve the functional purposes of keeping fabric out of the way, keeping you cool in warm weather, and highlighting pieces of your wardrobe like a great watch or a killer pair of shoes.
Next time you feel inclined to say “This is how I roll,” make it about your clothes:
The Lowdown: How To Roll Sleeves & Cuffs
Let’s say you like the look of the roll, but require a more neat and less bulky cuff. The answer is the pin roll, a casual and clean cuff option suited to straight or loose-fit leg pants. To get the look, start by pinching one pant leg in at the side seam, at the bottom of the hem. Aim for 1-2″ of fabric. It should look like you’re pinning the leg into a slimmer fit. Then simply roll upwards while keeping the fabric pinched in. The result should be a tapered shape that’s smaller and more precise than if you were to roll it.
We find shorts can be a little boring so a simple roll can breath some street life and detail into the look. If you’re wearing longer shorts, then we suggest a couple of rolls to get them sitting above the knee. Even shorter shorts can be rolled too. The trick here is to not go too short. One small roll will suffice.
This look is James Dean-approved. When rolling a dress shirt, your sleeves are meant to look tidy. When rolling a t-shirt, they’re meant to look a little dishevelled and teenage angst-y. Don’t overthink it or re-roll too many times. The trick to ensuring your sleeve stays properly rolled is an elastic band – wrap one around the base of an unrolled sleeve, and it will hold each roll in place while remaining invisible. Note: resist the urge to roll all the way to the shoulder. Two or three rolls is all you need.
You have a few options when it comes to rolling the sleeves on a dress shirt. On the most basic end of the spectrum, simply unbutton the cuff and any gauntlet buttons on the sleeve and, using the cuff as the measuring point, roll the sleeve over itself until it extends beyond the elbow. The exact number of rolls will depend on the length of your arm. For a more advanced look, start again by undoing all buttons. Fold the cuff inside-out and keep tugging, without folding, until just a little less arm than you want in the finished style is exposed. Fold the bottom of the inside-out sleeve up so that it makes a band beneath the cuff – about halfway. Adjust as desired.
Blazer / Jacket
Think rolling your sleeves is only for the above? Think again. The French and Italians love a rolled sleeve on a blazer and jacket. This solution is perfect for those warmer months or when you want to show off the detail of a shirt or jewellery. Ideally your blazer or jacket will have working button holes or a zips for easy release. Simply roll one or two folds (max) and away you go. Please just don’t try this on a suit. It will look shit.