6 Replies to “Under what circumstances should one wear French cuff shirts?”

  1. A French-cuffed dress shirt actually follows the same rules and can be worn the same places as a more typical buttoning barrel-cuffed shirt.

    We tend to think French-cuffed shirts are a little more “formal” because of the extra effort involved, the presence of cufflinks, and the association with black-tie and white-tie formal shirts (which also have French cuffs), but the cuff itself doesn’t really change the role of the shirt. It’s fancier but not officially more formal, if that makes sense.

    Of course, they do LOOK different, so be aware of the visual effect. People are going to sort of automatically double-take, look at your shirt and your hands a little longer, and may ask why you’re looking so nice today. But you wouldn’t be breaking any rules.

    As far as picking cufflinks out goes, it’s always best to err on the side of simplicity, especially with your first few pairs. Single-color metal studs or studs with one color of stone are good, as are simple horn, leather, or wood pieces. Steer clear of anything with a recognizable logo, and especially of novelty graphics.

  2. We talk about French cuff shirts and the difference between dress shirt types on our Real Men Real Style video channel:

  3. You will get only positive affirmation of your choice to wear French cuffs, so I encourage you to wear them often. I only wear French cuff shirts. Cufflinks are a way that a man has of personalizing his wardrobe. Go to an antique shop and you will find there different styles of links. Most links have a torpedo design, meaning that there is a bar that one inserts into the shirt and turns, holding it in place. However, you can also buy older double sided links that are made out of gold, sterling and platinum. These are more formal. At the beginning choose the style of link you like and try to be a bit understated. Plain front or ones with a single stone are good. However, in more casual settings, the fifties “Mad Men” links with multiple stones are fun. To be avoided are the cheap cloth links that are sold by the dozen or sometimes come free with the shirt. These say that you have no personality. Mix it up and enjoy. Be prepared to be noticed as a gentleman of refinement.

  4. Be aware however, if you wear a sweater they can be a real pain in the butt to get on around the cuff. Uncomfortable, plus, the sweater will cover the cufflink so what’s the point? Of course, if you wear a vest or a sleeveless pullover this take care of the issue.

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