How to: Measure your Sleeve Length (US and EU): To determine your sleeve length you need to measure the length of your arms. The measurement of the sleeves can be done the European (EU) or the English way (US/UK). The English method measures sleeve length from the centre of the back/neck  to your wrists. The EU method measures from the top of your arm to your wrists. To find the right sleeve length you can simply measure and add 1/4 inch or ½ centimeter. Round up to the closest ½ inch size (US) or whole centimeter (EU). This will allow for some shrinking.  

If you want to buy a new (dress) shirt it is important to do the right measurements and to know your sizes. Because it won't look good if the shirt is not fitting perfectly. Finding the right measurements is not hard to do but you need to know how to find them. The following steps will help you and everyone else who is looking for a well-fitting dress shirt. The best way to measure is if you let someone else do it for you. This guide will help you to determine your exact sleeve length size.

Step 1: Importance of knowing the right Sleeve Length

First of you need to measure your arm length to know the right sleeve length. It is really important that the sleeve is long enough (and not too long) for your arms. If the sleeve is too short you will possibly neglect the shirt and hardly wear it again. If it’s too long the shirt won’t be your best friend either and it will look a bit sloppy. You can measure the sleeve length as following:

Step 2: Measurement of the arm - Sleeve Length

Point the measuring tape at the bottom of your wrist (where the arms starts). The measurement of the sleeves can be done the European way (EU) or the English way (US/UK). The US methods measures sleeve length from the centre of the back where the neck starts to your wrists. The EU method measures from the top of your arm / shoulder to your wrists. Be aware that the measuring tape is at a right angle (perpendicular) while measuring the sleeve length.

Measuring your sleeve length

Step 3: Add some margin to your measured length

To find the right sleeve length you should add another 1/4 inch or half a centimeter. You then round that number to the next (or nearest) half inch or whole centimeter. Dress shirts are often sold in half inch (or sixth and quarter inch) in the US/UK system or whole centimeter measurements in the EU/JPN system..

Depending on the country you live in the sleeve length size is expressed in inches or centimeters. Normally the sleeve length ranges between about 23-38 inches or 60-95 centimeters - depending on which method you use.

Measuring your arm length to find the sleeve length

Step 4: Converting your Sleeve length between EU and US measurements

The easy way to convert from inches to centimeters is to multiply your sleeve length by 2,54 centimeter per inch: this will give you your sleeve length in centimeters. Don’t forget to round off to the nearest whole centimeter (preferably rounding up). To convert from centimeters to inches you do the opposite and divide by 2,54 centimeters to find your sleeve length in inches.

Inch to centimer sleeve length conversion

More information on the American/English Method

In the United States and the United Kingdom the sleeves are measured from the top middle back of the shirt to the wrists. First of you measure the distance between the centre of the upper back, slightly below the neck, and the stitching of the shoulder of the shirt. Write the measurements down. Now, measure the length of the stitching at the top of the shoulder to the bottom of the wrist, right where your hand starts. Make sure not to measure too high above or too far below the wrists or the sleeves can be too short or too long which can look really untidy. Also write these measurements down. The next step is to add the two values together and you will find your sleeve length. In most cases the sleeve length varies from 32 inches (81.3 cm) to 37 inches (94 cm) and everything in between. Some (mostly taller) people may have arm lengths over 39 inches (100 cm) and should wear dress shirts with extra long sleeves.

More information on the European Method

In most European countries the sleeves are measured from the top of the shoulder to the end of the wrist. When you measure your sleeve length make sure you relax your arm and let it hang straight down. Place the measuring tape on the tip of the shoulder right where the arm starts and measure slightly over the wrist (2cm or 3/4 inch over the wrist bone). This will determine your sleeve length and can be between 65-76 centimeters or 25-30 inches. Most (tall) people with sleeve length over 70 centimeters (27,5 inches) should wear dress shirts with extra long sleeves.