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Dress Shirt Cuffs

Dress Shirt Cuffs


Cuffs – you know, the part of the sleeve that keeps it securely attached to your wrist so it doesn’t slide all over the place while you extend your arms. We think they’re important – so important in fact that we offer a few different options that we’d like to share with you. At J.J. Threads, you can create your own dress shirts online and design your perfect shirt with the cuff that best matches your personal style.

Button Cuff:

Given that the button cuff is the most common, we think this guy pretty much stands on his own. So, let’s get down to specifics. A button cuff is best worn by those who like a fitted feel to their shirts. At J.J. Threads, all of our cuffs have rounded edges as it gives the sleeve a more harmonious look. However, we still offer two additional options: single button and double button. The single button cuff is slightly shorter than the double and is considered a bit sportier, though it is still commonly found in formal dress shirts. The two button cuff was and still is the most common choice among the famed Savile row tailors in London’s West End.

French cuff:

A French cuff, is comprised of a double layer of fabric folded back on itself and secured with knot closures or cufflinks instead of a button. In the past, French cuffs have been considered more formal, particularly when paired with fancy or valuable cufflinks. These days you’ll see them worn for every occasion. With men’s clothing culture becoming more and more popular, there are now many cufflink options on the market – ranging from fun and irreverent to super chic and expensive.

Some French Cuff history

Though shirts and buttons have existed since antiquity, it was really during the European Renaissance that the modern dress shirt took shape. Buttons began to be used as shirt fasteners originally during the 13th century, but they were not initially used to close cuffs. Before cufflinks first appeared in the 1600s, the shirt cuff was usually fastened with a pin or a rope. The first cufflinks – used mostly by the upper classes for special occasions - were essentially two fancy buttons attached by a short chain.

It was the invention of glue in Britain in the 1750s that allowed cufflinks to become much more elaborate, decorated with precious gemstones and the like. They became fashionable as a result and were ultimately adopted for more casual use. The work cufflink was first recorded in 1788.

The merchant baron class, created by the Industrial Revolution, began to wear shirts and suits with regularity instead of the less serious courtly dress of the nobles. Cufflinks became a popular and understated way to show off social class while wearing more serious clothing like a suit and tie.

This practice was particularly common in France, immortalized by Alexandre Dumas in The Count of Monte Cristo. A description from the book: “the owner of so splendid an equipage must needs be all that was admirable and enviable, more especially when they gazed on the enormous diamond that glittered in his shirt, and the red ribbon that depended from his button-hole.”

Legend has it, after the book came out all French tailors began creating double cuffed shirts and they soon became known as French cuffs.

How to Wear French Cuffs

When you put on a French cuff shirt, you’ll see that the sleeves extend past your wrists with the cuffs unfolded.

Fold this flap that covers your hands back toward your wrist to form a cuff.

Line up all four buttonholes on each side of the cuff. Put your cufflinks through the buttonholes to secure your cuffs together.

Please don’t wear your French cuffs hanging. (If you do, don’t mention our name, ok?)

French Cuff Style Tips

An executive essential, French cuffed shirts can be formal when worn with fancy cufflinks. If you have a hard time finding cuff links you like, try silk knots (sometimes called monkey’s fists). They’ll tone down the look of your French cuffs and avoid you the hassle of choosing a cuff link. Monkey’s fists and colored cuff links should coordinate with your shirt and tie while metal cufflinks should match the tone of your belt buckle. It isn’t necessary to match colors exactly. Pick up an accent color or if you’re feeling bold, go a different direction altogether.

When you plan to buy a new French cuff shirt, you should always bring your favorite cufflinks. This way you’ll be able to make sure they pair well together.