Shirt Sleeves: A Lesson in Mobility

How a Regular Shirt Sleeve Fits

Most dress shirts have sleeves that are cut for comfort and nothing else. If you were to put on a regular long sleeve dress shirt from the maker of your choice, you’d notice several things immediately:

- The cuffs cover your hands: The barrel cuffs stop about halfway down your hand when your arms are by your side, at rest.

- The sleeves are poorly constructed: The sleeve is cut with straight lines, and only slightly accounts for the tapering off at your forearm, if at all.

- Movement is restricted: When you raise your arms to reach for something, the armholes are cut so wide that they lift the shirt body out of your pants and the cuffs retreat up the forearm.

Skin-tight Sleeves

However, many long sleeve dress shirts labelled as “slim fit” are astonishingly too tight for most men to wear. Take this Italian, handmade dress shirt: (all shirts shown are 15.5)

You can see that the sleeve follows the contours of the model’s arms perfectly, like a second skin. Don’t let this deceive you into believing that this is a good fit. If your shirt is tight enough to barely allow natural movement, then its too tight, no matter how good you may think it looks. To prove this, look at what happens when you try to move in a shirt with sleeves that tight:

Comfort and Elegance: Sebastian Ward’s Sleeves

Take a look at our sleeve here:

As in the skin-tight Italian model above, you’ll see that Sebastian Ward shirt sleeves closely follow the contours of the arm, but with a wall of air between the skin and the shirt fabric, allowing air to circulate and natural movement to occur without strain.

Most importantly, however, you’ll notice that the sleeve spills over slightly above the trim-fitting cuff:

This feature allows you to do more in your shirt. Namely, it helps isolate the movement of the arm away from the body of the shirt by releasing extra fabric length as you reach naturally.

A normal dress shirt with baggy sleeves and wide cuffs addresses the problem of reach by making the sleeve long enough so that the cuff stops halfway down your hand, but its hardly an elegant solution. Moreover, this feature accelerates the staining and wear of your cuffs.

For these reasons, we designed our dress shirt with cuffs that fit snugly around the wrist and forearm, ensuring that you can move your hand freely and precisely without a loose cuff dragging against its movement.

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