Nowadays, the classic menswear rules are not as strict as they were a few decades ago. Still, even in our frivolous day and age, 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 circumstance, one needs to know a thing of two about fabrication, cut, and, above all, the style of the shirt one is about to put on.
And what is one of the important parts of a shirt’s style? That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, its 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 Double (French) 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.
Double (French) 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. It 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 at almost every occasion.
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. There are, however, a few guidelines that might be useful; these will help you master your look for every occasion.
It does depend on the industry you are 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 does seem 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 tell a bit more about your personality.
Nicholas Jermyn 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 the suit - a double cuff shirt looks best in a formal look. Keeping this in mind, make sure your suit is not too heavy; do go for the 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 knitwear instead of a jacket or simply want to throw in another layer of clothing into the mix 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.
Need a bit of style advice when purchasing your Nicholas Jermyn shirt?
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Article written by guest writer, Vlad Tichen (Stylist and Blogger @vladtichen)