How to Roll Up Dress Shirt Sleeves

Learn how to properly roll shirt sleeves and cuffs by using these 4 great methods!

How to Roll Up Dress Shirt Sleeves

Sleeve Cuffs

There are 4 main ways to roll up the sleeves of your dress shirt, which are: The basic method, the master roll, the high roller, and the forearm roll. The most straightforward method is the basic roll, which can be completed by unbuttoning your cuff, flipping it inside out, flipping it one more time by another cuff width, and then smoothing out the edges and wrinkles with your fingers. 

This is How to Roll Up Dress Shirt Sleeves

You may need to roll up the shirts on your sleeve because you are changing a tire on your car, or you may want to roll them up to show off your biceps. No matter what your intention is, we have methods that you can use to in every situation!

I started rolling up shirt sleeves while I was in elementary school, when my mom would make me wear cotton dress shirts to school all the time. It didn’t like the way it felt so I started rolling up my sleeves. Fast forward to adulthood, and I was still wondering how to roll my shirt sleeves properly. 

Thankfully, I can now successfully roll the sleeves on my dress shirts, and I have learned about a few different techniques along the way. 

Below, I’ve listed step-by-step instructions for 4 different rolling methods that you can use to roll your sleeves. These methods are: the basic method, the master roll, the higher roller, and the forearm roll. 

I’ve included written steps, as well as photos of how to complete each method. If you have any questions about any of these instructions, please leave me a comment and I’ll reply to you asap!

How to Roll Up Dress Shirt Sleeves

Follow the instructions below and learn how to complete the 4 most popular methods to use when rolling up the sleeves on your dress shirt. 

Dress shirt sleeves are much easier to roll when they are not wrinkled, so iron your dress shirt before you start to roll the cuffs up. To avoid creating wrinkles in the first place, make sure you learn how to fold a dress shirt as well as how to hang your dress shirt properly

If you find any dirt or stains on the shirt, please read our full guide on how to wash dress shirts before you administer any type of care. 

For your best care tactics, follow our detailed guides:

In all honesty, if your unsure you can take your dress shirt from dirty to perfectly lean with no wrinkles, then you should take it to your local dry cleaner.

1. The Basic Method

The basic method is named as such because it is straightforward and intuitive. This type of roll is best used with long sleeve dress shirts that have wider arms and extra space. This method requires a generous amount of extra fabric, so if your shirt is super tight, this will not be the right method for you. If you find your dress shirts are too tight or too loose fitting, be sure to read how should a dress shirt fit

1. Unbutton the cuff gauntlet

Completely unbutton the cuff gauntlet of your shirt.

a photo of tall paul unbuttoning the cuff and gauntlet of a dress shirt

2. Flip the cuff inside out

Flip the cuff inside out, upwards, creating the first roll.

a photo of tall paul turning the cuff of his dress shirt inside out

3. Fold the cuff back again

Using the cuff to set the width, fold the cuff back once again.

a photo of tall paul rolling his dress shirt cuff up by one width

4. Smooth out the fabric

Use your fingers to smooth out the fabric and wrinkles.

smooth out excess fabric

5. Roll until comfortably sits below your elbow

Roll once more, or as many times as necessary, until the roll sits comfortably just below your elbow.

a photo of tall paul rolling the sleeve of his dress shirt to just below the elbow

2. The Master Roll

The Master Roll is particularly useful for shirts that have a contrasting color lining on the inside of the cuff. Using this roll method will help to show off that part of the shirt’s design, and it can work well with color coordinated outfits. 

This method is nice because it looks the cuff in place, and it won’t easily come undone as you move about and go through your day. This is a very neat roll that is underutilized by the majority of men and women when wearing long sleeve cuffed shirts. 

1. Unbutton Cuff and Guantlet

Completely unbutton the buttons on your shirt’s cuff and gauntlet

a photo of tall paul unbuttoning the cuff and gauntlet of a dress shirt

2. Flip Cuff Inside Out

Flip the cuff upwards/inside out.

a photo of tall paul turning the cuff of his dress shirt inside out

3. Pull Cuff Into Position

Pull the flipped cuff to where you want the roll to eventually end. This is usually equal to two cuff widths, or to an area just below your elbow. This will result in your forearm sleeve being turned inside out.

a photo of tall paul pulling his cuff into position so he can complete a master roll with his dress shirt sleeve

4. Fold the Bottom Upwards

Take the bottom off the inside out forearm sleeve, as if it was a cuff, and fold it upwards until it overlaps or covers the bottom of your actual cuff.

fold the bottom upwards

5. Smooth the Fabric Out

Use your fingers to even out the fabric and smooth out wrinkles.

smooth out fabric with fingers

Pro Tip: If your cuff has a contrasting color, adjust the roll to leave some of the contrast showing.

3. The High Roller

This method is best for guys who are looking to show off their bicep muscles or upper arm tattoos. This roll finishes high on the arm, which leaves the lower part of the bicep exposed. 

1. Lay Shirt Flat

Lay your shirt flat and evenly on a flat surface.

lay shirt flat

2. Unbutton Cuff and Gauntlet

Completely unbutton the cuff and gauntlet on the shirt.

unbutton cuffs and gaunlets

3. Fold Cuff Inside Out

Fold your cuff upwards/inside out approximately one cuff width.

tall paul's purple dress shirt cuff turned inside out

4. Fold Upwards Again

Fold the cuff up once more, using the same width.

roll again

5. Continue Rolling

Roll the sleeve one or two more times.

the sleeve of tall paul's dress shirt rolled one final time

6. Smooth Out Excess Fabric

Use your fingers to smooth out the fabric and edges of the roll and get ready to wear!

smooth out wrinkles

4. The Forearm roll

This is a casual roll that is best done with sleeves that are a little looser and have more fabric to play with. This method is quick, easy, casual, and can be done on the go.

1. Unbutton the Cuff and Gauntlet

Completely unbutton the cuff and gauntlet of your shirt.

a photo of tall paul unbuttoning the cuff and gauntlet of a dress shirt

2. Fold Cuff Upwards

Fold the cuff upwards/inside out one time, the width of the cuff.

a photo of tall paul turning the cuff of his dress shirt inside out

3. Fold Upwards Again

Fold upwards once again, with the same width.

tall paul rolling his dress shirt sleeve up to the middle of his forearm

4. Smooth Out Wrinkles

Smooth out the fabric and wrinkles. The bottom of the roll should be sitting somewhere in the middle of your forearm area.

tall paul smoothing out excess fabric and wrinkles at the top of his forearm roll

How to Roll Up Dress Shirt Sleeves FAQ

The 4 best methods to use when rolling up sleeves on dress shirts are: the basic method, the master roll, the high roller, and the forearm roll. 

Depending on the setting, it is usually ok to roll up sleeves on a dress shirt. Some types of rolls, such as forearm rolls, are more casual than others, so if you are in a formal setting you may choose to use the master roll or forearm roll. 

Written and reviewed by:
Tall Paul
Tall Paul
I am 6'7 (203cm) / 235lb (106 kg) model and ex-athlete. Since I was a teen I had trouble finding clothes. I was too tall for off the rack and was too lean for Big & Tall.

Get Men's Fashion Tips