The Guide: Shirt Cuffs
Understanding what lies at the end of your shirt is generally a good thing. Here’s a guide to some of the most common shirt cuffs you’ll encounter—plus some advice on wearing shirts with no cuffs at all.
Single Button Cuff
A single button cuff is the most common—and most casual—type of sleeve. It’s the natural choice for shirts made from more casual materials, like chambray or flannel. Plus that single button fastening means it can be unbuttoned and rolled-up in a snap.
Yet the single button cuff also works with suits and sportcoats. It will look out of place only in the most formal of occasions, such as black tie events.
Double Button Cuff
The double button cuff is a close cousin of the single. As the name implies, it has two buttons rather than one. However, that’s not the only difference: It’s also longer, taking up slightly more space on the sleeve.
The extra button and length make this a slightly more formal style. While it can still work for casual shirts, it’s a great match for suits and sportcoats.
The French cuff is the most formal of sleeve styles. When unbuttoned, it will look twice as long as a typical sleeve. That’s because the French cuff must be folded over itself before fastening, resulting in a heftier, more extended cuff that’s meant to be shown off.
All that fastening is done not by a conventional button, but by a cufflink. Cufflinks are functional jewelry and come in a nearly endless variety of shapes, designs, and materials. Whether you’re using some simple silk knots or antique coins, they’re a good way to let your own personality shine through.
French cuffs are best suited to your more formal suits. They make a great compliment for three-piece suits and are the natural choice for tuxedos and dinner jackets.
Ok, so it’s not technically a cuff. But it’s still important to know where the sleeves on a short sleeve shirt should end. Too many short sleeve shirts have been compromised by sleeves that hang down to the elbow, giving them a blousy, too-big appearance.
The sweet spot for guys of all body shapes is the mid-bicep. That way you’re neither showing off too much of the arm or allowing the sleeve to hang down too low and lose its shape.