When and How to Wear French Cuff Dress Shirts

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Just like any thing worth its salt, truly stylish things never go out of style. The french cuff dress shirt is one of these items that seem to have a staying power far beyond just a fashion trend.

Worn for over a hundred years, the french cuffs were a traditional way to dress up allowing males to don ornate jewelry type cuff links (Think the founding fathers and old time royalty, with the complicated woven coats and frilly shirts). As fashions trend to a simpler look french cuffs became an understated way for men to show a little flair.

It is one of those things in men’s fashion that can transcend the generation gap. Its a classic and elegant look when worn by your grandfather, but put it on with a slimmer fit and some vintage cuff links and it becomes the look of many of the younger hipsters. using a french cuff dress shirt is all about the occasion.

Always remember that is just an accessory and part of the outfit, it should not be the focus.

A french cuff dress shirt for a business meeting:

Think the classic power suit look. Gordon Gecko. Thomas Crown. The look tarts with finely cut off the rack or custom suits Trim but not slim, it should be dark in the Navy or Gray family but not black. For the shirt Stick with solid colors either french blue, or a strong crisp white, in a smooth finish. Wear a traditional square french cuff, with very understated cuff links in sterling silver or rose gold, you want the links to compliment you not speak for you. make sure that what ever metal you choose that your belt buckle and watch matches it as well.

A french cuff dress shirt for a formal affair:

For a Tux the shirt should be near flawless. Look for a fit that is trim and tucks in well, preferably with a wing collar and most importantly tie your own bow tie. Look for  a french cuff with the traditional square shape but a forward positioned link hole. This allows the link to show past the jacket sleeve when you raise your toast. The links should be an heirloom link, made out of a precious metal, elegant, vintage if you have it.

A french cuff shirt for a night out:

Many people are under the false impression that a french cuff shirt is only for dressing up. This is just so not true. A great look is the unbuttoned french cuff, made popular by Brad Pitts Rusty Ryan character in the “Oceans” series. To get this look, have your tailor shorten your sleeves by about 1.25″. This allows you to wear the cuffs unfolded with no links and still have the right amount peeking past your jacket sleeves. Wear it with a light colored suit or a light weight sport coat with no tie. The look is about letting loose, but with the right tailoring so it doesn’t look sloppy.


write by Julio Figueroa

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