French Cuffs: How, When, & Why to Wear Double Cuffed Shirts

French Cuffs: How, When, & Why to Wear Double Cuffed Shirts


Welcome back to the Gentleman’s Gazette! Today’s video is all about French cuff shirts. We’re going to discuss their history and construction,
how to wear them and when it’s appropriate to do so, as well as the overall discussion
on this topic and our own personal thoughts. Before we get into the specifics of French
cuffs today, let’s do a brief overview of shirt cuff styles, in general. First, button cuffs also called barrel cuffs. They’ve got buttonholes on one side of the
cuff and buttons on the other. Anywhere from 1 to 3 buttons or sometimes
more. Although one to two buttons is standard just
so the fit of the cuff can be adjusted. Barrel cuffs are the everyday choice for most
men. And with a variety of button styles and cuff
shapes they provide some versatile options while still being practical. Link cuffs have holes on both sides of the
cuff and as you might imagine are meant to be closed with links as opposed to buttons. There are two principal types of link cuffs. Single cuffs which are just one layer of fabric
fastened together with a link are standard for the white tie dress code and are also
acceptable for black-tie if not necessarily standard at this point in time. You can learn more about the white tie and
black tie dress codes by checking out our related videos on the subject here. And also by picking up our PDF guides on these
dress codes in the Fort Belvedere shop here. Double cuffs on the other hand are twice as
long and are worn folded back upon themselves. They’re the standard choice these days for
the black tie dress code and are also a staple of business wear. If you haven’t guessed it yet, double cuffs
are more commonly known as French cuffs and they’re the subject of today’s video. First, to round out our summary though there
are also a few other kinds of cuffs such as convertible cuffs which can be closed with
either a button or a link depending on how you’d like to wear them. And finally, you may also sometimes see a
buttoned cuff that has excess fabric that can be turned back upon itself. This is known as a turn back cuff, cocktail
cuff or sometimes a James Bond cuff. All right with our summary of cuff styles
out of the way, let’s focus in now on French cuffs starting with the details of their construction. As we already mentioned, French cuffs feature
a length of fabric that is folded back upon itself and then fastened together with cufflinks,
There are holes on both sides of the cuff going through all the layers of fabric. In other words, most French cuffs will typically
have four holes in total to a cuff. Some manufacturers however will include more
holes on the inner portion of the cuff for a total of six. This was originally done so that if there
was wear or staining on the edge of a cuff a man could adjust it in the middle of the
day without having to worry about looking at that staining. One such manufacturer to offer these six holed
French cuffs is the British retailer Charles Tyrwhitt. As I’m a frequent wearer of their shirts and
many of them are in my closet I’ll use these adjustable cuffs on jackets that I have where
the sleeves aren’t quite as long. That way the cuffs won’t come out from beneath
the sleeves of the jacket when I’m moving my arms around. Some shirt makers may also include a button
on the inside of the French cuff to make things more secure and to make inserting links a
little bit easier. This button on the inside of the cuff isn’t
to be confused however with a gauntlet button which is featured on some shirts a little
bit further up the sleeve. French cuffs can come in a number of shapes
as can other cuff styles. Straight edges are most common for French
cuffs but you’ll also see rounded edges, angled edges or mitered edges. Now that you know how they’re built, here’s
a quick digression. Just why are they called French cuffs anyway? To answer that question we have to touch on
the history of the double cuff. Since at least the 16th century upper-class
individuals used elegant ribbons to prevent the ruffled ends of their shirt sleeves from
coming open. This practice of adorning the wrists with
some sort of decoration continued throughout the centuries. And by the early 19th century, when the modern
style of shirt was coming into its own, the ruffles had been replaced with cuffs that
were secured with links. As an example, Alexandre Dumas 1844 novel,
The Count of Monte Cristo, features the character of Baron Danglars, a banker who wears ornate
cufflinks with his double cuffed shirts. One apocryphal story also claims that French
cuffs got their start when Napoleon ordered extra long sleeves for the shirts of the soldiers
in his armies so that they could wipe their noses on the ends of their sleeve and then
fold their cuffs back. There isn’t any historical evidence to support
this theory however so it’s really just more of a fun story. Whatever the case the term French cuff didn’t
really come into popular usage until the style immigrated to America. In other words it may just be that calling
it a French cuff made it sound a little bit more exotic and special to American consumers. And from then on the term stuck and it’s the
one that’s most commonly used today. So with all that said then, what are the guidelines
for wearing French cuffs on your shirts? The traditional view on this subject is that
French cuffs should really only be worn in more formal scenarios, such as if you’re wearing
black tie or if you’re wearing a conventional business suit and necktie. Some will even argue that wearing French cuffs
with a blazer or sport coat is a stretch. However as standards of everyday dress have
become more relaxed over the last half century and within the last 10 to 15 years, we’ve
seen a resurgence in an interest in menswear. Some of these old style rules are able to
be more freely bent now. So even though some traditionalists might
give you a little bit of a questioning look, we believe that you can definitely pull off
French cuffed shirts in more casual environments than just black tie or white collar business
suits. As just a few examples of this fashion designer
Tom Ford has worn French cuffs without a tie for a number of years now. And here at the Gentleman’s Gazette, our founder
Sven Raphael Schneider, estimates that he wears French cuffed shirts around 75% of the
time. Also I personally am a big fan of smart casual
styled French cuffed shirts and almost all of my everyday shirts have French cuffs. I believe that wearing them with some fun
cufflinks to provide a breezy vibe is a great way to show off a little bit of personal expression
without being overpowering. In fact a typical everyday ensemble for me
is a French cuff shirt worn without anything over the top of it in addition to a pair of
slacks and shoes and so on. If you wanted to really go to the nth degree
with this you could even emulate Italians who go for the sprezzatura style of dressing. They’ll wear French cuffed shirts unfastened
over the ends of their jacket sleeves. This is a little bit of an extreme look of
course but we just wanted to make you aware that the look is out there, so French cuffs
are definitely more versatile than they used to be. With that said, there are a few tips you can
follow to make sure that no matter how you’re wearing them they still look smart. First of all it’s always a good idea to show
at least a little bit of cuff at the end of whatever you’re wearing. Be that a suit jacket, a blazer, a sport coat
or even a sweater. You could shoot for keeping a quarter to a
half inch of shirt sleeve visible at all times under these types of garments just to make
sure that people know that you intentionally wore French cuffs. Keep in mind though, that if you’re wearing
something with more constricted sleeves such as a sweater you may want to orient the cuffs
a little bit differently. Where French cuffs are usually worn in the
so called kissing style with the inside portions of both sides of the cuff together, they can
also be configured more similarly to a barrel style and this is a convenient way to do it
if you’re wearing something like a sweater. And of course, there are a wide variety of
different kinds of cufflinks to go with your French cuff shirts to suit the occasion. You should aim for a balance between your
own sense of personal style and the formality of the environment you’ll be in. There are all kinds of metal cufflinks of
course, in materials like gold, silver, platinum and so on. And at the other end of the spectrum there
are simple fabric knot styles of cufflinks also called silk knots that are definitely
more casual. In conclusion then, to answer the question
of when it’s appropriate to wear French cuff shirts? The short and simple answer is almost whenever
you want with a few key exceptions. As we said, just make sure that the French
cuffs and their accompanying cufflinks don’t overpower or dominate the outfit you’re wearing. Use a little bit of discretion and you’ll
have a wide variety of situations where cufflinks and French cuff shirts are appropriate. So what’s your personal opinion of French
cuff shirts and how often do you wear them? Also if you have any other styling tips related
to French cuffs be sure to let us know in the comment section below. And as a reminder don’t forget to subscribe
to the YouTube channel and hit the little bell icon so that these kinds of videos can
come straight to your inbox. In today’s video I’m wearing a French cuff
shirt underneath a sweater to illustrate the principle that some of these more casual combinations
can certainly be pulled off with French cuff shirts. The shirt itself which is from Charles Tyrwhitt,
features a grid pattern of blue and red on a white background. If you’d like, it could be considered a nod
to the French flag. I’m wearing a pair of casual and compact cufflinks
in red and silver so that they can fit more easily
under these slightly more constrictive sleeves of the blue gray cardigan sweater that I’m
wearing. My trousers are plain navy blue, as are my
socks. And my shoes are plain toed Brown derby that
pick up some of the red tones in the shirt and the cufflinks. If I were layering this shirt under a garment
that had a little bit more room in the sleeves, I would probably wear the cuffs in the conventional
kissing style and would choose a different pair of cufflinks. Take for example, platinum plated sterling
silver Eagle Claw cufflinks with carnelian as the stone which are available in the Fort
Belvedere shop here, along with a wide range of other cufflinks and accessories.

100 Replies to “French Cuffs: How, When, & Why to Wear Double Cuffed Shirts”

  1. Having inherited a collection of vintage cuff-links from my father, and added some contemporary links of my own, I wear French cuffs most of the time I wear a tie. In fact, while I own several made to measure shirts, I don't have a single mtm shirt that does not have french cuffs. And the majority of shirts I have with button cuffs are the OCBDs I rarely wear a tie with.

  2. Mr. Schlueter, my tip is to get the right size when you buy a shirt, especially if you are going to make a video about it. The cuffs of your shirt are way too big, probably even two inches longer than your right size. I bet you can slip your hands through the cuffs with the cufflinks on. They don't look good at all. Just compare your cuffs with Sven's, and you will understand. I don't have any experience with the brand you are talking about, but after a quick check at their website, their products don't seem very interesting in terms of quality. You are very thin, and so must be your wrists. It is very hard to find a RTW shirt with the correct cuff size for slim wrists. You can always move the button in a normal cuff, but of course you can't with French cuffs. I recommend you to buy your shirt MTM, you don't need to spend a lot of money in a bespoke shirt, the result will be much better. Regards.

  3. I'm a high school science teacher and I always wear a suit to work -do you suppose French cuffs are too formal for my vocation? Any thoughts?

  4. I don't like single cuffs much, they look a little flimsy to me. Double cuffs look cool, though.

    (For Preston) You seem like a great addition to the team so far. I can't wait to see the way that Gentleman's Gazette will grow now that there's TWO cool guys, rather than just one.

  5. Amazing video! I really love your videos, I actually had a question that how to fold French cuff shirts properly, as a teenager I actually don’t know how to fold them, I do wear French cuff shirts everyday.

  6. Surprised you didn't mention that some french cuff shirts have the links placed closer to the end of the cuff instead of more commonly the middle. I think I learned that in another one of your videos actually!

  7. Sometimes I find thrift shirts I love, that sleeves are too long. I fold them back & button the barrel as if it is French. Also button covers help to dress up any standard barrel cuff.

  8. I'm an older guy in an office with mostly younger sloppily dressed guys. I purposefully wear French cuffs frequently just to make a statement and show these young guys that it's ok to give a dam* about how you look. I even brush my hair nicely and occasionally wear cologne. Maybe it will make a difference, maybe not.

  9. Preston: A very good video, informative and comprehensive. And well presented in a relaxed and confident mood. Don't be put off by by rude comments posted by immature 14 year olds.

  10. Great video , super informative and Preston has a very relatable manner of presenting. You can tell he's a little uneasy infront of the camera still since he almost doesn't blink, but when there's a second's pause and the dialogue breathes more of a conversation style he really pulls you in. Subscribed!!!!

  11. If you want a more traditional shirtmaker, and made in England, try Joseph Turner.
    I wear double-cuff shirts most of the time, and in England they're not often called 'French cuffs'.

  12. I don’t have any double cuffed shirts. But if the need arises, I fold a barrel cuffed shirt’s cuffs over, then push the button through the other cuff to make it look like French cuffs.

  13. I always try to wear French Cuffs. I wear them to travel mostly but I never limit them to just travel. I love the French Cuff look!

  14. I always think French cuffs are too formal for everyday office. But one guy that used to come to our office for meetings always wore them. And the girls always noticed and said how smart he looked.

  15. Come on! This guy has spent as much time undressing other men as dressing himself! Being a well dressed girly man is worse than any minor fashion mistake you might make!

  16. About 80% of my shirts are French Cuff, I like the look and always have. Both my Father and Grandfather were fans of the French Cuff! Enjoyed the video.

  17. Preston, you are TOTALLY owning this episode! In the first video you were a bit “fish out of water”. Now, you’re glowing confidence and charm! Love it, and keep up the great work!

  18. Wrong to worry about your shirt sleeves being longer than your jacket sleeve as suggested in this piece. Shirt sleeves should ALWAYS be longer than you jacket, normally by one inch (2.5cm)

  19. If you wear French cuffs and have a wedding ring or a ring you should not wear a wrist watch because you're adding too much decoration to that part of your arm.

  20. Single and double cuffs are especially well suited for guys with large wrists/hands and in humid environments, as they breathe a little more.

  21. I am a working manager and I love French cuffs. Thanks for the tip about rolling the cuff for use with sweaters. I always wear with a tie and generally try to match with a tie bar. Keep doing what you guys do!

  22. PLEASE dont start featuring Charles Tyrwhitt shirts! So few Americans know about them, keep the hidden gem a secret! Otherwise they’ll adopt an American pricing model and will never be the same shirts again.

    Preston is doing great though!

  23. Excellent choice of background music.
    All my shirts are French cuffed and I wear them with anything up to my old rugged leather jacket, which may be up to taste 🙂

  24. GREAT VIDEO. PERSONALLY, 90 PERCENT OF MY SHIRTS HAVE FRENCH CUFFS. I THINK THEY LOOK DIFFERENT AND ALWAYS ONE MAKES A STATEMENT.

  25. Nice and informative video. The problem is that all cuff links i ever encountered are supposed to be worn with french cuff shirts, which is pretty disappointing, because there arent many french cuff shirts at an affordable price and many shirts i own have the option to use cuff links too. The problem here is that there isnt enough fabric so the cuff is extremely loose :/ I would really appreciate it if there where any cuff links around for the single cuffs specifically 🙂

  26. I'm 48. I dislike "French Cuffs" or double fold style cuff dress shirts. 👔. I noticed the sleeves or cuffs would collect sweat, grit, lint, grime, etc over the day(shift). No matter what you may do or how you avoid dusty or outdoor spaces, the cuffs get dirty-stains over time. 👎. Actor & film industry legend Charlton Heston wrote that he "always" wore French Cuffs. 🎭🎬🎞📽

  27. My own recommendation is not to where French cuffs with denim jeans in the "radical chic" style. It's just "outre."

  28. I do a variation of the single french cuff style. I take the cuff and sew a fancy button, ie. gold, leather or an artistic button to replace the normal button
    Then I sew a duplicate fancy button on the reverse side of the other button. When I "kiss" button the cuff together it forms the single layer french cuff with the button replacing the cufflinks.
    I prefer this than using cufflinks, as I find them all with a wider link to accommodate the more common double cuff.

    The slimness of the cuff and the use of beautiful button make the shirts a less formal and more casual sporty while giving it an eye-catching look.

  29. Thanks for this excellent video! I've been thinking about getting into French cuffs lately, but had been afraid to since I remembered they were only appropriate for formal wear. Glad to know the rules have changed! The explanation of the outfit at the end of the video was also a great example to get me started thinking about possible outfits.

  30. "Although the occasional traditionalists might give you a questioning look, you may feel free to…. destroy Western Civilisation. And nobody will have the balls or righteousness to publicly object."

  31. A button cuff could be converted to wear with cuff links. Remove the button and replace with a button hole. Easily done on a home sewing machine or at the laundry or tailor.

  32. Personally, I am a sucker for a French Cuff (AKA Double Cuff) and Cufflinks. I have designer Cufflinks (well over 15 sets) and wear them 50% of time. Twenty five percent when I am wearing tradetional clothes and twenty five percent of the time when I am wearing Jeans or sports wear, I do not wear them.

    Thnk you for bringing this topic up. God Bless

  33. An excellent tutorial. I like your suggestions regarding the more informal use of the French cuff, particularly the neat trick of converting to a barrel cuff. I will now get greater use from my French cuff shirts.

  34. I believe Preston could benefit a lot by putting on a bit of muscle mass, he looks really lost in his clothes at times

  35. I will tailored French cuff shirt with detachable collar, or better I just use without collar interlining and permanent sewed collar so I can skip tie?

  36. How should french cuffs fit your wrist? I noticed you have rather loose cuffs and I’m wondering if that can also be a proper fit as it would be based on preference

  37. Great video,but I have a question. I have a French cuff shirt that I bought from Charles Tyrwhitt to wear with a pair of beautiful cuff links my wife bought me. When I wore them with a sports coat they wouldn’t show under the jacket. I wanted them to show at least a little bit because they match perfectly with the shirt. What am I doing wrong or what can I do. Thank You

  38. Would the Barrel style be appropriate for black tie or is it considered to be a more casual style of wearing double cuffs?

  39. Can French Cuff be worn with Oxford Collar button down shirt? I have made some of my custom made shirt with OCBD Shirt and French Cuff Style.

  40. Preston, if you're so great, why did the Gentleman's Gazette hype cra++py Ace Marks shoes? I mean really, get off your high horse. Your video content is generally superior. Your advice vis-a-vis what to buy stinks. Money corrupts everything, even The "Gentleman's" Gazette. P.S.: You also charge way too much for shipping. Do you think we're all fools?

  41. My only thought about french cuffs is that if worn with a tie, they should also be worn with a jacket, lest you look like a member of the wait staff.

  42. There are some designers that do French cuffs for women, too. I’m really happy that I found this video because I’m currently looking for a vintage blouse with French cuffs. (I found one the other day, but it was already sold to someone else.)

  43. I was taught the older convention of gold cuffs during the day ( sun) and silver ( moon) in the evening. I only collect double cuffs with chained links and discovered oval cuffs are difficult to put on VS squared corners.

  44. I will wear my french cuff shirts without a jacket in my warm and humid country. It still looks fantastic and makes me stand out because most people in my country just wear standard mass produced shirts.

  45. French cuffs/cufflinks -with a nice darker colored sports jacket and dressier (dark) jeans (with also derby shoes) … would that be to much of a stretch though -jeans and cuffs ?

    I value your opinion.

  46. What about cufflinks with a jacket with surgeon cuffs? Do you leave the top button of the surgeon cuff open?

  47. “These cuffs would be stylish on a beast, let alone a man. You had better find a dress shirt with lesser cuffs.”

    p̶o̶t̶i̶o̶n̶ ̶s̶e̶l̶l̶e̶r̶
    Gentleman’s Stylist

  48. Way too seldom I wear them would say. I don't own any french cuffed shirts to be honest. I should invest in some. But I do own many convertible cuff equipped shirts. Is that style wise okay do you think? Thanks for great videos and ideas, greetings from Sweden.

  49. I sincerely appreciate how informative this video was. Also, I've known and utilized the barrel cuff with French cuff shirts and links for years, nice to see someone discuss and share. The only thing is that your shoe game is severely lacking. So many great shoe options for men these days besides just the traditionals. You shouldn't be scared to try a 'no show' sock with brown dress shoes instead of the old fashioned knee high style you're wearing in this video.

  50. Hello, do you think i can wear them as i am security officer with black suite, pants white shirt and black tie and black waist coat. Thanks

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