In his younger days, my grandfather wore little leather thongs pulled tight on the sleeves of his upper arms, so that his cuffs would not pick up ink, brushing what he was writing. I've heard someone else describe ribbons used for the same thing.

I am wondering if there are standard names for those thongs or ribbons. Is "garter" the right word? Are there others? I see "tie-up" in the OED, defined "(makeshift) garter", with two citations from the 1970s, one of which is in connection with shirts.


Sleeve garter is in fact the correct term.

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I found this neat explanation as to why accountants and copy-editors wouldn't simply roll up their sleeves to avoid wear and tear.

Those 30's shirts were a lot baggier/less form fitting than todays so cuffs had a tendency to drop lower on the arm/hand. Garters when wearing a jacket stabilized the shirt length like garters do for socks.

When working jacketless they'd just hike the garter to move the sleeve higher so it wouldn't drag on the work surface leading to premature wear.

Why they just didn't roll up their sleeves could have been a social no-no in white collar environments. Blue collars rolled up sleeves and were generally looked upon as inferiors in the social whirl of the 30's and before. Though they rolled them down when putting on their jackets for apre'work cocktail hour. Some of them would "shoot the cuffs" ala Cagney to straighten out the wrinkles underneath

An alternative term is armband the one shown in the link is a metal spring band, but nowadays they are mere fashion accessories.

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