How to choose your custom dress shirt cuff style and design

One and a half centimeters of fabric can be glimpsed just under the sleeve of the jacket, no more. Yet if we talk about style, they can really make a difference.

The cuffs of the shirt are one of those small details that can make a tailored shirt more or less suitable for a look or a circumstance.

How to choose the right model? The first thing to decide is definitely the closure: barrel cuffs with buttons or cuffs with cufflinks?

The choice depends on the context and, obviously, on your style. Here are our tips for choosing the right cuff for the right occasion.

Types of men's dress shirt cuffs
The seven main types of cuffs for the formal shirt.

Barrel cuff (with buttons)

The most common choice? Obviously the most practical one: the cuffs with buttons, also known as barrel cuffs . Easy to wear, they adapt to any occasion and are distinguishable based on their shape.

The ends, in fact, can be of different types: the versatile angled model, the elegant rounded model, or a straight version, with a square corner, which is less formal.

In the past, the shirt with barrel cuffs was used mostly for less formal occasions, particularly in situations where the most important aspect of dressing was tied to practicality and comfort, such as business or leisure contexts.

Today the cuff with buttons has also been used for more formal events, no longer relegated to the mere functionality that has always characterized them.

It is therefore acceptable to wear them in more elegant contexts; the choice in this case will mainly depend on the tastes and the chosen shirt collar. Here are the most popular types of barrel cuffs.

Mitered or angled cuff

Light blue mitered barrel cuff with white button

The beveled cuff is the most common and most used. It is probably the most versatile model, usable both in casual contexts and for formal events; it perfectly matches a classic collar.

Collar to match

The beveled cuff is suitable for combining with various types of shirt collars. You can choose it for the straight point, spread, cutaway and button-down necks.

Rounded cuff

Light blue rounded barrel cuff with white button

Undoubtedly the most elegant of the cuffs with buttons, the rounded cuff is characterized by a rounded shape that gives a softer and more refined style.

It is ideally used on more formal occasions, if you want an elegant cuff but without having to give up the convenience of the button. However, it can also adapt to more sporty contexts.

Collar to match

The rounded cuff is perfect combined with the club collar, which recalls the curves and rounded patterns typical of both variants. It can however be chosen and combined for the straight point and cutaway collar.

Square or straight cuff

Light blue square barrel cuff with white button

The most informal and casual choice, the straight cuff (also called square cuff) is the least demanding, perfect for a sporty and less rigorous outfit.

The square corner allows you to roll up the sleeves more easily, a feature that highlights even more the informality of it.

Collar to match

Given its informal features, the straight cuff is perfect when combined with button-down collars, with which it shares the sporty and casual look.

French cuff with cufflinks

Without buttons, but with buttonholes, French-style cuffs can be single or double, depending on whether they are folded on themselves, and round or straight, depending on the final cut.

According to tradition, intended for more elegant occasions such as important business events, exclusive parties or weddings, they require the use of cufflinks.

In the past, in fact, the cuffs – among the parts of the shirt most subject to wear – were characterized by greater strength and rigidity, especially when starched.

For this reason, a simple button would not have been sufficient to guarantee the lacing; consequently the use of cufflinks, which then also became a decorative element as well as a functional accessory.

Although the shirt with the French cuff is a must for particularly formal and solemn ceremonies, today you can also wear it in less formal contexts, combined for example with sport jackets and simple jeans, daring with more casual and less rigorous cufflinks.

It is a less comfortable solution than buttons, but certainly more “scenographic”.

Below you can find the main models of French cuffs.

Classic French cuff

Light blue French cuff with blue cufflinks

Among the French models, it is the most classic, with a straight cut and single thickness. Although typically used for more formal occasions, if closed with cufflinks with a more casual design, made of fabric or metal, it can also be chosen for less formal occasions.

Collar to match

The classic French cuff can be considered the least formal of the formal cuffs; for this reason – in addition to being obviously perfect if combined with the classic diplomatic collar – if closed with informal cufflinks it can also be chosen and combined with less formal collars, such as the straight point, spread and cutaway collars.

Classic rounded French cuff

Light blue rounded French cuff with blue cufflinks

The classic French cuff has a rounded version towards the outside of the sleeve, with a less rigorous and more comfortable style than the traditional version, even more suitable for less formal occasions.

Collar to match

The classic rounded French cuff with cufflinks is as always excellent if combined with the diplomatic collar, also called a tuxedo collar, but given the characteristics and conformation, it can also be chosen for a club collar.

Classic double French cuff

Light blue double French cuff with blue cufflinks

The shirt with classic double French cuff is the most elegant you can expect from a formal look. The right choice when it comes to tuxedos, morning suits and tailcoats, with ceremony or wedding shirts, to be combined with important and classy cufflinks.

Collar to match

The French double cuff cuff tends to be among the more formal variants and therefore requires to be combined with the diplomatic collar.

The double rounded French cuff

Light blue double rounded French cuff with blue cufflinks

As for the previous one, the classic double French cuff has a rounded variant, this time towards the inside of the sleeve. Despite this detail, it’s a type of cuff that remains more suitable for formal and solemn ceremonies and events.

Collar to match

As with the previous model, the double rounded French cuff is particularly formal and requires matching with the diplomatic collar.

In conclusion, if you don’t want to make mistakes, stick to the sacred rule of style consistency between the details.

A formal style collar demands a formal cuff, a ceremony collar requires a double cuff for cufflinks and finally, a casual collar (like the button-down) goes perfectly with a straight cuff with button.

Now you just have to create your own shirt by choosing the cuff that best suits your style.