Single Cuff vs. French Cuff

These days, classic menswear rules aren’t as strict as they used to be a few decades ago. However, choosing the right kind of shirt for the right occasion is a skill every gentleman must acquire. Otherwise, we are sorry to admit that he wouldn’t be a gentleman, but instead just a guy in a wrong shirt. To avoid this unfortunate situation, one needs to know a thing or two about fabrication, cut, and, above all, the style of the shirt.

And what is one of the most important parts of a shirt’s style? That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, it’s the cuff. There are a few different kinds of shirt cuffs out there, but most of them would fall into two main categories: a Single Cuff and a French (Double) Cuff.

The Single Cuff

A Single cuff wraps around the wrist, usually with a single button for fastening. There are also other cuff types out there that go with two or even three buttons used as the closure.  A Single cuff is the most common these days. It is functional, versatile and easy to wear. It also comes in a variety of shapes; it could be round, square or angled.

The French (Double) Cuff

A French cuff is constructed in double length of a regular cuff. It is folded back over itself and secured with cufflinks. It is more complex than its single cuff relative and it does indeed look more formal. Obviously, you would need to have a pair of decent cufflinks to be able to wear this type of cuff. This is a great opportunity for those who would like to elevate their style and add a bit of a personal touch to their look.

What Kind Of Shirt Cuff Is Suitable For Which Occasion?

All this might seem like a lot of information to take in, but the decision you make could be based solely on whether you like a particular style or not. Rest assured, whatever cuff type you choose, no one is going to judge your appearance – all of them are acceptable in almost every occasion.

Black Tie
There’s only one exception. If you’re getting prepared for a Black Tie event – meaning you are wearing a dinner suit and a bowtie – a crisp white shirt with a French cuff, without a doubt, would be the most appropriate.
Aside from this, there are no strict rules on when you choose one type of cuff over another.

Casual Friday
It does depend on the industry you’re in, but most businesses have accepted a smart casual dress code. Whether it’s the last day of the work week or the whole period of time (usually a week or two prior to the end of the year) you might want to leave your usual two piece suit at home and put on something a bit more relaxed.

For this occasion, our recommendation for you would be to wear a Single cuff shirt as a more casual alternative to a very formal French cuff. It could be combined with a blazer, smart chinos or jeans, and a pair of leather shoes or even sneakers. There is no rule against you taking the jacket off at some stage or even rolling up the sleeves of your shirt. Luckily, a single cuff option does allow some frivolity in this case.

Important Business Meeting
Assuming you wear a full suit for this occasion, a French cuff option is more appealing. A double cuff shirt would make your look more refined. Additionally, a pair of thoughtfully selected cufflinks might send the right message to the observer and show a bit more personality.

Sartorial Advice

Keep it classy
If it’s a French cuff option that you’re going for this time, we would discourage you from taking your jacket off while wearing a suit – a double cuff shirt looks best in a formal look. Keeping this in mind, make sure your suit is not too heavy; and go for a thinner fabric when dressing for the day.

The right kind of layering
At times you might prefer wearing a smart v-neck or crew neck knit instead of a jacket or simply want to throw on another layer of clothing because it’s chilly outside. If that’s the case, we recommend wearing a single cuff shirt instead of a double – it would look much tidier underneath your knit and won’t stretch its sleeves too much.

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