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What are Raglan Sleeves? Diagonal Comfort & Serious Style

What are Raglan Sleeves? Diagonal Comfort & Serious Style

Raglan sleeves extend from the collar to the underarm in a single piece, creating a diagonal seam from the neckline to the armpit. Named after Lord Raglan, who wore this style after losing his arm in the Battle of Waterloo, these sleeves offer an improved range of motion and a relaxed, athletic appearance.

Historical Origins of Raglan Sleeves

In the 1850s, the raglan sleeve was designed for Lord FitzRoy Somerset, 1st Baron Raglan, who lost his arm at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. To accommodate his injury, British outerwear company Aquascutum created a coat with sleeves that extended in one piece to the neckline, offering greater freedom of movement.

This innovative design allowed Lord Raglan to dress easily and handle a sword. By the 1860s, it had gained popularity, appearing in various garments, from sportswear to formal coats.

Raglan in Men’s Fashion

Raglan sleeves remain a popular choice in fashion due to their comfort and practicality. You’ll find them on casual t-shirts, sweatshirts, and formal coats. The diagonal seam and relaxed fit suit various body types, offering ease of movement.

Designers often use a form of a raglan sleeve for color-blocked designs, contrasting the sleeves with the body of the garment. Brands like Grenfell and Valstar offer classic raglan coat styles, while modern labels like The Row and Coherence provide contemporary interpretations.

Raglan Sleeves vs. Set-In Sleeves

Raglan Sleeves vs. Set-In Sleeves

Raglan sleeves differ from set-in sleeves in both construction and appearance. Raglan sleeves are a single fabric extending from the collar to the underarm, resulting in a diagonal seam. This design allows for greater freedom of movement and a relaxed, sporty look.

Set-in sleeves, however, have a seam at the shoulder that continues around the arm, offering a more tailored and formal appearance. While set-in sleeves are cheaper to produce, raglan sleeves provide increased comfort and flexibility. Raglan sleeves don’t accentuate the shoulder seam, making them flattering and providing more room in the underarm area.

The choice between raglan and set-in sleeves depends on the desired style, formality, and individual preferences. They both look good.

Raglan Sleeves in Sportswear and Athleisure

Raglan sleeves are a staple in sportswear due to their unique design that enhances movement and comfort. The seamless transition from collar to underarm reduces friction and chafing, which is ideal for athletic activities. Many baseball and football jerseys are made with these sleeves to give athletes optimal flexibility and mobility.

Raglan sleeves are also a significant part of athleisure wear. The diagonal seam adds a sporty look, making any fit fashionable on and off the field. Brands like Public Rec, Ministry of Supply, and Truwear offer raglan sleeve t-shirts, hoodies and quarter-zips for the athletic look, combining the benefits of the raglan design with moisture-wicking fabrics for added comfort.

The diagonal seam adds a dynamic element to your outfit, while the fit provides a contemporary, stylish edge. Brands have embraced this design in everything from hoodies to jackets, making them a versatile and essential feature in men’s athleisure wardrobes.


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