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A guide to buying a French cuff shirt

French cuff shirts are a classic and elegant addition to anyone’s wardrobe. These shirts are usually reserved for businesspeople or for special occasions, but can also be used as a stylistic statement if you wish. This article will outline what makes a French cuff shirt, and where you can buy them.

The double cuff

A French cuff shirt is also known as a double cuff shirt. This where the shirt cuff is very long and worn folded back on itself. Unlike single cuff shirts which often have a rounded edge, a French cuff is almost always squared. Some boutique designers way “wing” the cuff to create more of a protrusion from the sleeve, or add a metal decorative piece to the corners of the cuff. If you are wearing a double cuff shirt while doing business, stick to a squared cuff as this is more elegant and simple. A winged cuff may make too much of a statement in the boardroom.

How to wear it

Where a single cuff is secured with a button, the turn up of a French cuff is secured by a cuff link, or a satin knot. A satin knot is a simple way to secure these cuffs, and are usually selected to match your tie.
Cuff links Cuff links come in many shapes and sizes. There are simple linked buttons, decorative pieces on curved rods, a "staple link" that wraps around the outside of the cuff or the classic decorative plate with a short rod and small “stopper” at the end that will bend over once threaded through the cuff to secure it in place. For the most part a simple cuff link is appropriate. Keep novelty cuff links for weekends or evenings.

Where to get it

French cuff shirts are primarily worn by men, although they are becoming more and more popular for women to wear as well. They are usually available through most clothing retailers. High-Street shops will ordinarily stock what is trending at the time, so they may not always carry French cuff shirts. Business wear specialists will almost always carry a selection of double cuff shirts. Try shops like TM Lewin, Thomas Pink or Lipman and Sons for a professional service.

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