If you are keen on fashion, you probably want to know about the different types of cuffs. An outfit's appeal and level of formality are affected by important fashion factors, including the fabric, collar, and style. Another element that matters when it comes to various outfits is the types of cuffs.
Types of Cuffs Tutorial
Here, we will learn about the different types of cuffs and their uses.
What is a Shirt Cuff?
A cuff is an additional piece of fabric sewn at the end of each sleeve. It serves as an enclosure for the wrists, and it comes in various styles. These days, it is possible to sew replaceable cuffs since they are prone to get worn out faster than the rest of the shirts.
History of Shirt Cuffs
Clothing sporting cuffs with lace were first seen between the 15th and 18th centuries. You will still see similar styles worn today by Catholic clergies. Throughout time, various designers have adapted styles in the different types of cuffs. The first renowned move was the invention by the popular Savile Row tailors, where they used different types of cuffs for their shirts. The first styles they produced included the convertible, link, and button cuffs.
Since then, cuffs have begun to dictate the formality level of a shirt. It is deemed that cuffs with links are the most formal in the fashion world, while those with buttons are the least formal.
You may hear the phrase "show some linen" when talking about the cuff's size that can be seen while wearing a jacket sleeve. This phrase came about because shirts were first created from linen. Through time, shirts made from different materials, including cotton, were developed.
What are the Different Types of Cuffs?
You will find various styles and types of cuffs in the market. However, there are five major types of cuffs that are most common:
- Cocktail cuffs
- French or double cuffs
- Convertible cuffs
- Single cuffs
- Barrel or button cuffs
1. Cocktail (Turnback) Types of Cuffs
This cuff style goes by many names – the turnback cuff, the James Bond cuff, the Portofino cuff, and the Casino cuff. No matter what you call it, you will not miss this cuff when you see it. It's rare but quite a magnificent sight. The cocktail cuff is a barrel cuff with a double-length cuff folded over until the hems form a diagonal line.
Although these types of cuffs existed earlier, their popularity was boosted by the Dr. No movie, as seen in James Bond's character, played by Sean Connery. It has since then been adopted by connoisseurs as one of the most well-regarded fashion styles.
The book on which the Bond movie was based never mentioned these types of cuffs. It only hinted at a shirt maker, which coincidentally happened to be a specialty of Turnbull & Asser. The latter was commissioned to make the shirts of Connery's character in the film. Even up to this day, the shirt retails as the Dr. No shirt.
2. French or Double types of Cuffs
French cuffs are twice as long as single cuffs. However, these two types of cuffs need cufflinks to close them at the wrist. This dressy cuff style is popular in England. Its name comes from the fact that it doubles back over itself.
This cuff style was among the most sought-after until it was replaced by barrel cuffs in the middle of the 20th century in terms of popularity. Here are some ideas on where to sport French cuffs:
- Events that require a black-tie outfit - French cuffs are not only recommended in tuxedo attire, but they are a must. A black-tie event is among the rare occasions when this kind of cuff is obligatory.
- Weddings - The cuff style will add classiness and personality to your ensemble, whether you are a guest, official, or the groom.
- Casual wear - This cuff style is now being incorporated in bold patterns and bright colors to suit casual wear, such as sports coats, dark denim, or casual jeans or trousers.
- Business attire - It is a norm to wear French cuffs with your business suit every working day.
- Job interviews - This cuff looks good and is suitable for job hunters, especially if you are applying for a high-ranking position in sectors such as law or finance. If your overall outfit is not put together neatly, you will run the risk of turning off your interviewer at first glance.
3. Barrel Types of cuffs
This style is considered the most common types of cuffs, and they are common in casual wear and business attire. They are typically done with two horizontally-placed buttons with ¾-inch space in between. There is also a certain make where the buttons are placed vertically, but you will only see this style in custom-made or fashion-forward shirts.
4. Convertible Cuff
Convertible types of cuffs are not common, and you will only find them as an option in shops that offer custom-made clothing. More often than not, they are a double cuff, but some brands make them similar to barrel cuffs with an added hole between the buttons.
5. Single Cuffs
This cuff looks like a barrel cuff but fastens differently. Single cuffs can be closed using a cufflink. It is rare to find them off the rack since they are rarely used. They only look good and neat on wing collar shirts used in a white tie ensemble.
How to Customize Attire with Types of Cuffs
There are different ways to customize the style of the different types of cuffs you’re wearing. While you can sometimes find different-looking types of cuffs readily available at stores, you will need to have them custom-made most of the time.
The Shape of Cuffs
When it comes to shapes, the most common among cuffs are mitered, squared, and rounded. Among the three, the most subtle and most common are rounded cuffs. The square type is less common but looks good for casual attire. Mitered types of cuffs are seen as the most formal and elegant among these.
The corners of mitered cuffs are spliced at an angle of 45 degrees. They look dressy and stylish. They are also fairly common, so you won't have a hard time looking for them at RTW retailers.
On the other hand, straight cuffs or square cuffs have angled corners. They are rare to find, but you can have them custom-made or get them at fashion-forward retailers. Rounded cuffs have rounded off-top corners.
Colors of Cuffs
The good thing about many types of cuffs is you can get them in contrasting colors to the shirt. For a long time, white cuffs and collars have been used in non-white shirts. This fashion development resulted from the cuffs and collar getting worn out or stained faster than the rest of the shirt. To reuse the shirt without looking untidy, the cuffs and collar were made in such a style that they could be replaced.
You will find this kind of style both in custom shops and readily available at the store. This fashion style typically uses French cuffs, but there are also times when barrel cuffs and other types of cuffs are used.
Monograms and Shirt Cuffs Embroidery
Monograms have become a popular style in various types of cuffs. They are typically placed on the left side; some say that this is to avoid getting distracted when shaking hands. The style remains popular despite critics saying it is showy and gauche.
In the old days, monograms on cuffs were hidden and also placed on the left. They were made solely for identification purposes in the laundry. The owners' initials were commonly used as a design.
Now, you can have many types of cuffs in contrasting or discreet colors. You can have them made in a red thread on a blue shirt or a navy thread on a white shirt if you want contrasting colors. You can also have the monograms in the same thread color as the shirt for a more discreet appeal. The fonts vary depending on where you had them done. However, the more commonly used fonts come in a conservative block style.
Sleeve Length – How Much to Show?
How do you know how much shirt cuff to show in your attire? The general rule when you are sporting a shirt and suit jacket or sports coat is that the sleeve length should be between ¼ and ½ inch longer. This is despite the types of cuffs.
If you happen to be short, you can opt to show more so that your arms will appear longer. Taller men should stick to showing less of the cuff for their arms to appear less long.
Can you hide the entire cuff? Why wear varying types of cuffs if you are not going to show them? However, it is also a bad thing in fashion if you show too much of the cuffs because it will make you look as if the jacket is too small and no longer fits. You can always ask a tailor's help when you need to get the sleeves shortened or lengthened.
Types of Cuffs - In Conclusion
How you wear your cuffs will have a great impact on your fashion sense. You have to learn when to use them and what types of cuffs you should use depending on the occasion. While you can experiment with different styles, it is safe to stick with conservative options, especially when attending an important event like a job interview or wedding.