It’s rare that I need to wear anything other than jeans, a t-shirt or sweatshirt, and tennis shoes. Fortunately, my job allows me to choose comfort over the style that I will choose whenever I have the option. However, there are times when, for one reason or another, I have to open the closet and dress a little more than usual. And every time I do that, I don’t know why there are little buttons in the middle of my shirt sleeves. What’s their point ? Should I button them? Should I leave them unbuttoned? I have so many questions. Fortunately, the Internet exists to provide the answers.
They actually have a name
They are called “Placet Buttons”. Technically, this also applies to the buttons on the front of the shirt. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a button placket is “a slit in a garment (such as a skirt) often forming the closure”. The purpose of a button placket is to make it easier to put on the shirt. When a t-shirt or sweatshirt is made of materials that allow them to stretch when you pull them over your head and slip your arms through, dress or casual shirts don’t. Chances are, if you tried to slip your arms through a fully buttoned shirt while pulling it over your head, you would end up tearing the stitches, leaving a nice hole under your armpit and a shirt. that you can no longer wear.
The sleeve tabs work the same way. Since button-down shirts are designed to be a bit more fitted, the sleeves narrow at the end around the wrist. Without the button placket and buttoned cuff, you probably wouldn’t be able to slip your hand into the sleeve opening without tearing it. They also allow the sleeves to be rolled up when you go for a more elegant but relaxed look.
Should it be buttoned?
Several years ago, this question was posed on the Ask Andy About Clothes bulletin board, founded by Andy Gilchrist, the Southern California male style expert, author of The Encyclopedia of Men’s Clothing. According to Mr. Gilchrist, the button “must be closed unless you have the sleeve rolled up”. Apparently, not doing this and showing the skin on your forearm is considered sloppy.
So this is it. If you are wearing a shirt with small buttons on the sleeve just below the cuff, button these suction cups! If you have to dress up, you can also make sure you look beautiful from head to toe, including your arms.