Are Short Sleeve Dress Shirts In Style? | How and When to Wear Them

Are Short Sleeve Dress Shirts In Style? | How and When to Wear Them

When you are shopping for men’s dress shirts, you have to choose between long and short sleeve dress shirts? So, which one is best for you?

Some men are skeptical about short-sleeved dress shirts as they claim it is challenging to get the perfect fit. Additionally, there is the myth that short sleeve dress shirts are only meant for a business casual dress code. 

Short sleeve dress shirts have partial sleeves that extend up to your biceps. Long sleeve dress shirts, on the other hand, extend to your wrist. Short sleeve dress shirts are very common around summer as men seek to keep cool. But are short sleeve dress shirts only meant for the hot weather? Can you wear one with a suit or semi-formal or formal attire?

So, which is the right type of dress shirt?

Basic Rules of Wearing a Short Sleeve Shirt Dress 

Choose the Proper Shirt Length 

Mostly, short sleeve dress shirts look more elegant and stylish while worn untucked. Unfortunately, most men are unaware that a shirt meant to be tucked in is different from one meant to be untucked. 

Short sleeve shirts meant to be untucked have a few considerations in terms of style and fit. For instance, if you decide to wear an untucked short sleeve dress shirt, you should ensure that the front part of the short sleeve shirt doesn’t go past your mid fly. 

You should also consider whether you want to go for the classic (curved) hem or you prefer the straight hem

If you are working in an office, tucking in your shirt is going to be a requirement. If you go for a short sleeve dress shirt that you can tuck in, ensure the shirt's front part goes beyond your mid fly. This will make it seamless to tuck in the shirt and it will remain tucked for the whole day. 

If you prefer shirts that you can wear untucked for a more casual look, here are our recommendations of dress shirts you can wear untucked. And if you're a shorter guy, we have a separate guide on our recommend best dress shirts for short men.

Choose the Proper Cut 

A perfectly fitting shirt looks better on your biceps than a loose one. As such, when looking for a short sleeve dress shirt, you should ensure you get the proper cut. A short sleeve dress will look much more appealing and flattering if cut close to the body. 

Looser or fuller shirts don’t have an attractive appearance as there is limited surface area for the dress shirt to drape. On the other hand, a trimmer and slim-cut fit for a shirt flows better on your arms. 

If you want to get a perfect fit, it will be best to go for a contoured cut from the chest going down to the waist as well as the sleeves. If you want to buy your dress shirt off the racket, you’ll notice the difference if the shirt comes with higher armholes or a slimmer chest opening. 

Go for the Proper Length 

The sleeve length for your short sleeve dress shirt can be challenging to choose. If the shirt is too long, your whole arm will have a loose look. On the other hand, if the sleeve is cut too short, you may end up with a dress shirt that resembles a cut off. Read our article on shortening dress shirt sleeves for a deeper dive on this topic.

Additionally, if the sleeves of your dress shirt are too tight, then your biceps and upper arm will not enjoy movement. The golden rule regarding the length of your sleeve is that it should end mid-bicep, and you should only be able to fit a finger between the sleeve and your arm. 

Wear a Long Sleeve Dress Shirt With a Suit  

Let's say, for example, you're wearing a dress shirt to attend a wedding. Typically, you should wear a long sleeve dress shirt with a suit. Although there are exceptions, short sleeve dress shirts can look somewhat awkward if worn with a suit. 

For instance, if you are wearing a three-piece suit with a matching jacket and trousers, wearing a short sleeve dress shirt will leave your wrists exposed. 

Wearing a long-sleeve dress shirt with a suit will enhance your appearance and give you a complete look. 

mens long sleeve dress shirt with suit jacket


Shrinkage is also an essential factor to consider when deciding on your dress shirt. Long-sleeve dress shirts are more likely to shrink than short sleeve dress shirts. 

Since they are meant to cover your arms all through to the wrist, a small amount of shrinkage can result in a long sleeve dress shirt not fitting you anymore. 

If a long sleeve dress shirt shrinks, it may not reach your wrists anymore. This will result in an appearance that is not particularly stylish or attractive. 

On the other hand, a short sleeve dress shirt is also susceptible to shrinkage. However, shrinkage effects are not conspicuous in a short sleeve dress shirt like their long sleeve counterparts. Since the sleeves only extend up to your biceps, they are less likely to shrink. 

To deal with such issues, you should go for long sleeve dress shirts or short sleeve dress shirts with high-quality material that is resistant to shrinkage. 

Consider the Weather  

When you want to choose between a long sleeve dress shirt and a short sleeve dress shirt, it's essential that you consider the weather and temperature. A long sleeve dress shirt will be a perfect choice if the weather outside is cold, while a short sleeve dress shirt is most appropriate for hot weather. 

A long sleeve shirt will offer you more protection against the cold as it covers your entire arm, all through to the wrist. On the other hand, a short sleeve dress leaves your arms exposed, allowing for aeration and your body will lose the extra heat. 

A short sleeve dress may not be the best choice during winter as it may not offer you the necessary warmth to deal with the cold. On the other hand, it will help you feel cold during the summer, which enhances your comfort. 

The bottom line is that you need to consider the prevailing weather and temperature before deciding between a short sleeve or long sleeve dress shirt. 

Go for a Short Sleeve Dress Shirt When Wearing Shorts 

casual mens short sleeve dress shirt

A combination of a long sleeve dress shirt and a pair of shorts doesn’t look flattering. If you are planning on wearing shorts, it will be best to pair them with a short-sleeve shirt. 

On the other hand, a long sleeve shirt will be an excellent pick to pair with trousers or long pants that cover your legs completely. 

How Can You Look Professional in a Short Sleeve Dress Shirt? 

It is possible to look professional in a short Sleeve Dress Shirt. But how can you pull off the look?


If you choose a short sleeve dress shirt for a professional look, it would be best to consider colors you’d choose for your business. Here's a guide on how to decide between a sport shirt vs dress shirt.

Some of the colors you can consider for the shirt include white, blue, pink in plain poplin, and subtle checks and stripes. 

On the other hand, bright colors and casual stripes and checks are excellent ideas for dress-down workdays.

Wearing a Tie 

Putting on a tie with a short sleeve dress shirt may not offer the most attractive appearance. As such, the best way to go with a short sleeve shirt is to have an open neck button-down collar


If you want to put on a formal suit, it’ll be best to wear a long sleeve dress shirt. The sleeves cover the whole hand up to the wrist. 

As such, short sleeve dress shirts should not be used together with formal suits. 


As mentioned earlier, it will not be the best idea to put on a tie with a short-sleeve shirt. As such, the type of collar you choose for your short sleeve shirt will significantly impact the effect you want to create. 

For instance, a buttons-down style of the collar will offer you a neat, attractive, classy, and preppy look. On the other hand, a cutaway collar will offer a clean, neat, and fussy look. 


The fit of a shirt is an essential factor to consider while looking for a short-sleeve shirt. Several men prefer a loose short sleeve shirt. However, you shouldn't lean on the loose side when you want to purchase a short sleeve shirt. 

The most appropriate fit for your short sleeve shirt is to match the size of your trousers. It should be a slim fit, but it shouldn’t be too tight so that nothing pulls or creases. The appropriate size of the shirt on the shoulder helps to ensure that the sleeves sit well. 

The sleeves shouldn’t be too wide as they will affect your sleek and elegant look. Also, the sleeves shouldn’t be too long. It will be best if they stop just before they get to your elbow. You should wear casual short sleeve shirts without tucking in. On the other hand, business short sleeve shirts should be long enough and must be tucked in.

Final Thoughts 

mens short sleeve shirt

Short sleeve shirts are essential in making a fashion statement, especially in a business casual setting. However, you can also have a design fit to use in a formal environment. Short sleeve shirts are an excellent choice during summer or hot weather as they help your body to remain dry and cool.  

If you decide to go for a short-sleeve shirt, ensure it is a perfect fit. A perfect fit short sleeve shirt should match the size of your pants. If you intend to tuck it in, the length should cover your crotch. If you don’t intend to tuck it in, the length should reach your mid fly. 

Additionally, the shirt should allow free movement of your hands. You should also be able to pass your finger in the space between your biceps and the sleeves.  


1. What is considered semi-formal wear?

Semi-formal clothing is dressier than what you would wear to work but not as formal as an evening gown or tuxedo. Typically, semi-formal attire is worn to weddings, holiday events, and fine dining establishments. A number of dances for adolescents and preadolescents are classified as semiformal.

2. Is shirt a semi-formal?

During daytime semi-formal events, lighter suits are acceptable (but keep shirts and ties towards the conservative end of the spectrum). Shoes should remain dressy and accessories, like pocket squares and wristwatches, should be understated.

3. Do you tuck short sleeve shirts?

A semi-casual dress code is a norm in the American context. Despite being less formal than semi-formal, it isn't as casual as full casual clothing, which may be sexually provocative. The majority of dress codes are sexist, albeit to a lesser extent than formal wear.

4. Do you tuck short sleeve shirts?

Shirts with short sleeves look best tucked in or worn untucked. Therefore, the shirt hem should not be too long or too short, but exactly between your waist and crotch.

5. How should a short sleeve dress shirt fit?

The most straightforward solution to how to fit short-sleeved shirts is to wear them thin, but not too tight. It is best to let the shoulder seams sit directly on your shoulder or slightly above it. Make sure the neck can be buttoned comfortably, but that the chest buttons don't come apart when you move your arms.

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