I’ve been having an ongoing email dialog with a few readers who wrote in with questions about short sleeve undershirts, sleeve length, and their tendency to ride up throughout the day.
The following two questions from readers really sum up this topic fairly well:
Short Sleeve Undershirts Riding Up
I am extremely active when wearing a suit at my job (bending, lifting, squating, etc.).
The problem I have with every undershirt is that after a little activity, the arms ride up into my armpits.
Then I have to go into the bathroom and undo my shirt to pull them back down (very annoying).
The best I have found is the Tommy John that you have recommended, but it still happens.
Any advice as to another brand that will stay put would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.
Sleevs Keep Getting Shorter
i’m hoping you can help me.
because of the amount of sweat i produce (every day, no matter the temperature), i wear an under shirt every day…under every type of shirt.
but i’m running into a consistent problem with todays short sleeve shirts and polo shirts.
the sleeves keep getting shorter, making it more difficult to keep my undershirt sleeves hidden.
what brand can you recommend that has sufficient length for a six footer, but has pretty short sleeves?
Undershirt Sleeves: The Problems
Fundamentally, both of these readers have generally the same problem – undershirt sleeves that are either too long or that ride up.
Since the recommendations I made to both of them are pretty similar, I figured I combine them and write a post about it.
Here was my initial response to Dan:
Thanks for stopping by the site and sending in your question!
To be perfectly honest, I have not found any short sleeve undershirts with sleeves that won’t ride up a bit during the course of a normal day of moving around.
The challenge really is that most short sleeves are designed to reach about mid bicep.
Naturally, when you move around, the sleeves will slip up and then when you bend your arms, since the edge is no longer mid bicep, the shirt sleeve will bunch up a bit and creep up even further.
Either the sleeves need to be longer, so they go over your bicep (which we normally do not want) or they have to be shorter so they come to where your bicep starts (which I have not come across yet).
Here are couple ideas to consider.
1. Buy A Smaller Short Sleeve Undershirt
Find a fitted/stretchy undershirt you really like and buy one size smaller.
In most cases, the sleeve openings will be narrower, the shoulder strap will be shorter, and the sleeve length will be a bit shorter than one size up.
Since the undershirt is stretchy, the smaller size will still likely fit you.
Hopefully, the combination will help the short sleeve undershirt fit a little better around your arm and not creep up as much.
2. Hem The Sleeves Shorter
Take your undershirts to a dry cleaner or seamstress and see if they can either shorten your sleeves or make the sleeve opening more narrow by simply opening the seam and re-stitching it tighter.
I’ll keep my eyes peeled for some short sleeve undershirts whose sleeves stay in place better, but in the meantime, you might want to try out both of the ideas above to see if one works for you.
Keep me posted on what you decide to do so we can share this information with everyone else!
Update From Dan
Dan tried my first idea and bought a TJ undershirt one size smaller. He also tried a large size Jockey Echelon (another in my top 5), but neither option worked for him.
The arms on both still rode up on the TJ and the torso was too short on the Echelon.
I looked back at my undershirt inventory and as best I could and measured up up the sleeve length on many of them.
I also measured the sleeve width. The sleeve length plays a part in this solution, but if the sleeve opening is too wide, it won’t fit tight enough around the bicep.
In fact, the shoulder strap length will also play a critical role in the overall equation because if the shoulders are too long, the sleeves will come even farther down the bicep!
Short Sleeve Undershirt Inventory
In reviewing my inventory at the time, I found that most of the undershirts had sleeve length of 8″ or longer, and an opening of around 5.5″ or more.
A select handful of my size Medium undershirts have slightly smaller sleeve length & width dimensions:
- RibbedTee (sleeve length = 7.25″, sleeve opening =5.25″)
- Silverback Bamboo (sleeve length = 7″, sleeve opening =7″)
- CK Micromodal (sleeve length = 7.25″, sleeve opening =5.25″)
- Sweatshield (sleeve length = 7.5″, sleeve opening =6.25″)
Side Note: There is one other undershirt that offers a shorter sleeve.
The moisture wicking 100% polyester undershirt from Campbellsville Apparel has a sleeve length of 6.5″ inches (roughly .75″ inches shorter than the ones above).
The only problem is that particular undershirt only comes in a sand color and most of us are actually looking for white undershirts.
I shared the above information with both readers and each have tried out the various recommendations.
But so far, they haven’t found an undershirt that totally solves the problem yet.
A Hair-Brained Idea
After some additional thought, I came up with what I thought was a pretty hair-brained idea, but since it was an idea, I figured I’d share it.
This is what I suggested:
I know this is going to sound really stupid, but have you ever tried using a little two sided tape on the inner cuff of the sleeves?
Women use those types of products all the time to keep their dresses in place (like around the bust area).
Bathing suit models use this method too (I’ve heard about this on shows like miss usa).
I also thought of a secondary idea for Joe which was the following:
If the length is real big problem, you really should consider taking them in to a dry cleaner and having the sleeves shortened, or try using hem tape and an iron to shorten them.
The latter will only set you back a few bucks and you can try it out on some older undershirts that you wouldn’t worry about ruining.
Well, I’m happy to report that I recently heard back from Dan and he reported the following:
Many thanks to you, my problem seems to be solved.
I purchased some tape called Hollywood Fashion Tape. I place a strip on my tricep and press the sleeve to it and it stays in place for a whole day.
Then removes easily when I take the shirt off.
It’s simple and works well. No more pulling my sleeves back down.
Thank you for the recommendation!
If I hear back with any more feedback, I’ll post the information here!