Short sleeve button up shirts and polos… they get a bad rap, man. I think that’s mostly because the nerds and dorks who wear them in TV shows and movies wear them all wrong.
The fit is off, the color is off, the length is off… everything is wrong.
But in warm weather, short sleeve shirts are a life-saver! Especially if you run hot, like myself.
In this article, we’re gonna cover every detail about how a short sleeve button up
Let’s get into it!
By the way, click on any of the fit images below to enlarge in a new tab (for a more detailed view!)
How should a short sleeve
shirt fit overall?
Overall, your short sleeve button-up
“How do I know if my
Try the sit down test. When trying on a new
It should feel as comfortable (and have enough give) sitting down as it is while standing. The buttons shouldn’t be pulling apart; the
If, while sitting, you can pull the
By the way, the short sleeve shirts you see in these photos are from Peter Manning. PMNYC is a long-time partner of EG and I’m psyched to have as the perfect example of a well-fitting short sleeve
If you haven’t come across PMNYC yet and you’re a shorter / smaller guy, you’ve probably run into the issue of clothing proportions being off somehow… Whether it’s:
shirthem being too long
- the sleeves being too long & wide
- or the pockets being too big and low on your shirts and pants
Peter Manning’s taken care of all that with their clothing. They’re designed specifically for the guy of smaller stature (5’8″ and under), meaning everything—length, width, proportion, even pocket sizes!—are designed with the smaller man in mind.
PMNYC as a brand is the perfect fit for a “not so tall” effortless gent looking to build his Lean Wardrobe. They make modern, proportionately-sized versions of menswear classics. Each piece is thoughtfully designed and well made using high quality fabrics.
Think Ralph Lauren or Brooks Brothers style with direct-to-consumer pricing that we, the internet shopping generation, have gotten so spoiled by 😉
The guys at PMNYC are offering Effortless Gent readers a sweet deal (you lucky dog, you). Be one of the first 100 people to use code EG20 at checkout and receive 20% off your entire purchase!
Check out the short sleevers above, or click through to see the rest of their collection here »
Similarly to a suit, the shoulder seam needs to sit right on top of your shoulder bone. Get as close as possible.
Hem or Body length
In order to wear a short sleeve
If the hem goes past mid-butt, it can start to look sloppy worn untucked.
Opposite problem if the hem is too short. Like if the hem hits too close to the waistband, whenever you put your arms up or raise the roof at a dance party, your
Looking for style inspiration? Check out our Five Ways to Wear One article on short sleeve shirts »
Imagine a line drawn from your shoulder bone to your elbow… bone. You want the hem of your sleeve to end right in the middle (or at the peak of your bicep if you lift your arm to flex ??
If the sleeve hem hits before mid-bicep, it’s too short, and you might get an armpit wedgie.
Past mid-bicep, closer to your elbow? Also bad. Too long and will look off, proportionally.
I often cuff my short sleeve shirts when they’re too long. So that’s an easy solution if yours hit too far down on your arm.
Point being: keep your sleeve hems close to the middle of your arm!
Your sleeve should hug your arm. Not too tight, but more like a gentle hug. If you can fit a finger in between your sleeve and the skin on your arm, that’s comfortable territory.
Sleeves shouldn’t be too tight, of course, because that would be uncomfortable.
And if they’re too loose (like if you can fit your whole hand in between your sleeve and your arm) the sleeves will flare out and generally look terrible.
Cuffing your sleeve (see above) can sometimes help if they’re only slightly wider than you’d like, so give that a try. Otherwise, go with a different
Here’s the thing. Some shirts are meant to be looser, more billowy, and more boxy. Think of the aloha
When I wear a
Does that make sense?
You might not have to worry about this just yet, as it’s more of an “advanced” style thing, but it’s something to keep in mind.
“What if my
shirt doesn’t fit perfectly everywhere?”
You may end up with a
shirtfits in the body, but the sleeves are too long
shirtfits in the shoulders, but is too loose in the body
shirtfits fine but the sleeves are too long / wide
And on and on.
You have to pick and choose your battles. Ideally, your
Maybe your body isn’t perfectly designed for the
Could be a number of reasons.
This is the order of importance, as far as fit is concerned, if you can’t have it all:
- Shoulders – if the shoulder seam doesn’t sit on top of your shoulder bone, chances are the rest of the
shirtwon’t fit correctly either
- Sleeve width – this is hard to fake. If it’s too loose (often the case) then you can’t make it smaller without tailoring, which is a pain. If it’s too tight, then it will be uncomfortable
- Body – generally, shirts that fit well in the shoulders tend to fit the body. The silhouette may be boxier, or it may be more slim, but you’ll have to try on the
shirtto find out. Typically, you wear short sleeve shirts in the warmer months, and in my opinion, it’s OK if the body is a bit looser (allows for more airflow and I don’t like when my shirts stick to my body when it’s hot) Shirtlength – Usually a good french tuck / half tuck solves the problem when the shirtis only a tad too long. If it’s way too long, like covering more than half your butt in the back, then tuck it in, or don’t wear that shirtat all
- Sleeve length – As long as the sleeve width is fine, you can easily cuff the hem so the sleeve is shorter
How should polo shirts fit?
Polo shirts should fit the same way I described short sleeve button-up shirts, so simply follow those fit guidelines.
A few things you want to pay attention to:
How your polo
Overall, yes, your polo
That’s because the fabric is different. Typically, polos are made with a softer, lighter knit fabric (pique, almost like a waffle texture, or jersey cotton, like a T-
Button-up shirts are generally made from a heavier-weight, woven fabric, which lends more structure to the
So if you aren’t super slim and trim, and maybe you have some excess weight you’d rather not put on display, it’s OK if your
Traditional polo shirts have a longer back hem compared to the front.
These are designed to be tucked in, and if the back tail is more than halfway down your butt, it’s too long to be worn untucked.
Now you know how your short sleeve shirts should fit!
Hope this article helps! If you have any other questions, I’d love to clarify. Hit me up on Twitter.
Thanks to our friends at Peter Manning for partnering with us on this article, and thanks to our dear readers for shopping the brands that support this site. Check out more of