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3 Steps: How to Measure Sleeve Length

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When you know how to measure sleeve length, you can look forward to a better fit. A common misconception, however, is that sleeve length is based on the length of your arms. On the contrary, this isn’t always the case, as there are quite a few variables to consider.

For starters, it’s important to factor in the shape and size of your shoulders. Since everyone’s shoulders are different, shirts fit differently on each person. Secondly, the armhole shape of the sleeve plays a role in how a shirt fits over your shoulders.

What’s more, there are several styles of sleeve armholes, such as:

  • Drop shoulders
  • Straight
  • Raglan
  • Saddle
  • Set-in

Because there are so many differences affecting sleeve length, clothing designers take their measurements from the middle of the back of your neck, over each shoulder, and just below your wrist.

With all of these measurements combined, you can determine an accurate sleeve length. For casual sleeve lengths, your arm length is the only measurement taken. This length starts at the top of your shoulder and goes to just below your wrist. 

But you want a precise measurement of your sleeves. For that, you simply need to follow three easy steps. 

sleeve length mens dress shirt

Measuring Sleeve Length

You’re ready to measure your sleeve length, but you aren’t sure where to start. Fear not; we have you covered! Below, you will learn the steps needed to ensure a precise sleeve length so that your shirts fit comfortably and look great.

Step 1

When measuring for your sleeve length, you want to start from the center of the back of your neck to the top of your arm, where your shoulder meets. If you’re having trouble finding a good place on your neck to start, simply feel around for your spine.

That’s where you want to place your measuring tape. Then, pull it down to where your shoulder and arm meet. Once you have this length measured, you’re ready to proceed to the next step.

Step 2

Starting at the point on your shoulder where you left off, measure from there and on down to just past your wrist bone. You can measure before or after to better accommodate your preferences, as the ending point is where you would like the cuff to sit.

When measuring your sleeve length, you want to make sure that you bend your elbow slightly. Doing so serves a couple of purposes. One, it allows for just enough additional length so that your fit isn’t too tight. 

And two, your arms naturally rest in a slightly bent position. As such, your measurement will be more precise and provide better comfort. 

Step 3

Once you have this length measured, add it to the measurement you got from Step 1. Take the total and round it up to the nearest sleeve length. 

And that’s it! You now have an accurate measurement of your sleeve length and can order shirts more easily.

mens shirt sleeve length with watch


You don’t have to wrestle with uncomfortable shirts ever again. When you know your sleeve length, you can buy clothes that provide a better fit while looking your best!