Cuffs began to appear outside the jacket sleeve back in the 1500’s, when little ruffles first began to peek out from the edge of the coat. From that time on it has always been fashionable to show about 1/2" of cuff outside your jacket sleeve. Showing less than 1/2" suggests a lack of fashion consciousness, or that the shirt was a hand-me-down. Cuffs should fit closely around the wrist so that they do not ride up when the jacket is put on. Barrel (button) or French cuffs are personal style decisions, except in formal wear where the French cuff is the only proper finish. The sleeve length should be the same whether you are wearing button or French cuffs — you should be showing the same amount of cuff outside your jacket. The opening just above the cuff on a sleeve is called the placket. The length of the placket is usually about 6". Most fine stock shirts have a button on the placket so that it will not gap and show skin. In custom shirts, we find that many men prefer to eliminate this button because they forget to button it or it is often crunched by the laundry. I think the only time it should be eliminated is on the French cuff, which is turned out by design, and makes the placket button unnecessary. The history of the placket button is found in English tailoring. The opening was referred to as the gauntlet, and the gauntlet button was placed there to enable men to fold back their cuffs while washing their hands.
The Barrel or Button Cuff
This cuff is fastened with one or two buttons and is the most common style today. They are easy to wear, less expensive to make, and are appropriate for any occasion except a formal one. They are usually done in a 23/4" width, are quarter-stitched or edge-stitched to match the collar and are lined to keep their shape.
The French Cuff
The French cuff is the dressiest and most elegant of cuff finishes. It is usually 6" wide and is folded back, has no buttons, and must be fastened with cuff links. They are quarter-stitched or edge-stitched to match the collar and are lined to keep their shape.The use of the cuff link helps make this cuff finish even dressier. It is always worn on formal occasions and is usually seen with suits rather than sport jackets.
This cuff style has increased tremendously in popularity in recent years. It seems that men are enjoying being “dressed-up” even in these “dress-down” times. More and more men, when in a suit and tie, are choosing to go all the way and finish off the outfit with the dress cuff — the French cuff and cuff links.
If your first objective is to feel cooler during the summer, short sleeves have a definite place in your wardrobe.If, however, you wish to be dressed properly for the office or any social occasion, do not add the short-sleeved shirt to your wardrobe.
If, however, you wish to be dressed properly for the office or any social occasion, do not add the short-sleeved shirt to your wardrobe. It is generally not accepted in a business environment, nor is it considered appropriate for the special dinner engagement.
Proper dress for the office, the courts, fine restaurants and the theater does not change with the temperature.
Save your short sleeves for the beach or tennis club!