To cuff or not to cuff

Discussion in 'Suits' started by Matt Deckard, Oct 13, 2003.

  1. Matt Deckard

    Matt Deckard Man of Action

    I had a question from one of the IndyGear guys about suits and thought I would share the information that I gave him here.

    He was asking whether or not double breasted suits in the 30's were common, and how common were cuffed pants on suits, and did Indy's suit have cuffs.

    In the 20's the pants were more close fitting and cuffs were almost never seen. The pants were shorter too, above the shoe. Spats were easy to see that way. Single breasted jackets were the norm and they were very fitted, or if you bought off the rack (a new idea back then) they were straight down formless sack shaped. Lapels were narrow

    In the 30's pants became wider legged (23" sometimes) and cuffs were seen all over the place... not stingy cuffs either, but up to 1 3/4" to 2" deep. You have to fight a tailor to do that today, but it looked great. Extra fabric was left on the bottom of the pants to ad weight, and lengths varied but alot of time went to the top of a shoes hard leather heel.
    The 30's was really a boomtime for double breasted jackets and they could be seen in almost equal proportion to single breasted.
    Sports jackets were for the most part single breasted with the occasional double breasted tweed or blazer. lapels were wider than now

    Today fabrics are much lighter and creases don't keep as well. but I like a deep cuff no matter how tall you are or heavy.

    In the 40's double breasted jackets and cuffs on pants were hard to find because of war rationing.

    In regards to Indy's blue suit. it looks like a 30's suit. High cut double breasted navy with a fitted waist.
    I believe there were no cuffs on it.
     
  2. Kittlemeier

    Kittlemeier New in Town

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Valdosta, GA
    If it's a thirties cut, then why do you think there weren't cuffs on the suit? I've always thought that Indy's(as in the character's) suit would have had cuffs, but the actual suit that Harrison wore would not having been made or at least altered in '79 or '80. Maybe we'll know next week from the DVDs.

    At thirty years old I don't even remember seeing cuffed pants as a child except for my history teacher once wore one of his dad's old suits for halloween one year. Hard to remember but it had probably between 1 3/4 to 2 inch cuffs and it looked so odd never having seen them before. Thinking back it was a pretty cool suit.

    It really is a fight to get more than 1 1/2 inch cuffs from modern tailers/alteration people. I've run into one that wanted to do them 1 1/4. I have 1 3/4 cuffs on my brown suit and had to flat tell them that's what I wanted. I settled in to a 1 5/8 inch cuff on most pants since then though. I think it looks best on my frame at 5'10". If it's a wide leg(like the brown) I'll go up to 1 3/4. K
     
  3. Matt Deckard

    Matt Deckard Man of Action

    Thought I'd revive this thread with a question...

    Do you cuff?
     
  4. Wild Root

    Wild Root Gone Home

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    Matt, I fear that this is where the future is headed. Department stores were once the place a man bought a hat! Now, the choices are ridiculous! Not to mention the price they want for that cheep crap.

    Wow, lots of different ideas on cuffs. Now, what Matt didn?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t mention was that from 1940 to 1942, men had cuffs. However, most off the rack suits didn't have cuffs. All suits sold (Except Sears and Wards) had unfinished hems! It was up to the individual to have cuffs or not. Between the years of 42 to 45 there were no cuffs made on pants. Some men would order a longer pant to have that extra fabric to cuff with. A way of cheating the system you could say. Cuffs I think look good at 1 3/4 deep and if the pant leg is wider, then a two inch looks sharp. No matter what your size or build, a standard was set in those days that 1 3/4 was the depth of a cuffed pant. I have collected for some time and all the pants I have are all in the same boat of having cuffs that are 1 3/4. About Indy?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s suit, it was made in the late 70?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s. In the 70?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s cuffs were not very popular. So, as you all know that period films in the 70?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s would have some period looking stuff, but find a way of not making it 100% correct. Sneaking in 70?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s fashion when ever possible. I have seen some suits from the 30?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s that didn?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t have cuffs. Not every one liked them even then.

    Well, that's my two cents.

    Root.
     
  5. BD Jones

    BD Jones One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    201
    Location:
    Texas
    I don't cuff, but it is more of a professional choice than a fashion choice. I used to have cuffs on all of my pants, but whenever I went outside on the marching field I would end up with grass in the cuffs. Even when I took them to get cleaned the grass remained in the cuffs. About three years ago I decided to go without cuffs to eliminate the problem.
     
  6. Matt Deckard

    Matt Deckard Man of Action

    That's a pretty good reason not to have cuffs.
     
  7. Brad Bowers

    Brad Bowers I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    4,187
    I've worn cuffs on all my pants for years, simply because I like them. I have yet to try the deeper cuffs, though.

    The prevailing opinion today seems to be that if the pant has pleats, it also has cuffs. No pleats, no cuffs. Was this true in the '30s and '40s?

    I'm also told that short, "stocky" guys like myself should never wear pleats, but I don't care. I like them, and I like cuffs, so I don't go along with the prevailing wisdom.

    Brad Bowers
     
  8. Matt Deckard

    Matt Deckard Man of Action

    They used to have flat front pants with cuffs in the 20's 30's and 40's.

    You see alot of pics with guys from the 20's who have narrow pants and 2" cuffs.

    I preffer Pleats and a 2" cuff with a wide leg so you get some swing when you walk... only works well with a good heavy fabric.
     
  9. Wild Root

    Wild Root Gone Home

    Messages:
    5,532
    Location:
    Monrovia California.
    Grass in cuffs.

    Well, this happens to me from time to time. You know, if I want to get it cleaned, I just pick it out. But, most of the time I don't even know grass is in their. One time I got a suit and it had old match heads in the cuffs. Ashes too! Cuffs were used as an ash tray some times.

    Some of the deepest cuffs I have seen are on plane front pants. Mostly in the 30's. Today, cuffs are skimpy and they don't leave any extra fabric in the hem. They are also considered dressy by today?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s standards.

    Pants were designed to wear high waisted back then thus, allowing Pleats to drape and fall straight! It looked good. On lower waisted pants, they don't drape correctly and look ill fitted. William Frawley we all know of his high pleated pants. He was known for his roll as Fred Mertz on "I Love Lucy".

    Here is a really early photo of him with Maxie Rosenbloom (On the right) in 1935.

    For those who are not sure of deep cuffs, I say try it and you'll see that you like it. It really is a small thing, but it really makes a differance!

    Regards,

    Root.
     
  10. Andykev

    Andykev I'll Lock Up Bartender

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    Cuffs

    "The use of cuffs is optional, although they do give more weight and pull, therby emphasizing the line of the trousers. Like any other detail of the suit, cuffs should never be so exaggerated that they call attentention to themselves. For this reason, the cuff should be 1 5/8 inches if the man is five feet ten or less and 1 3/4 inches if he is taller."

    From "Clothes and the Man" by Alan Flusser.

    I highly recommend this book. It is a virtual bible of mens fashion, suits, shoes, shirts. What to wear, when, how, the fit, the cloth, the cut. All the things Dad should have told you, and most men today forgot.
     
  11. Wild Root

    Wild Root Gone Home

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    Well, that book is a good reference for sure! But, it's funny that most suits I find from the golden era are for shorter men and they have deep cuffs. All 1 3/4 and they look nice. It's the finishing end to the pant. Now, we must remember the rules on men?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s fashion were different back then. Today, it's different and they fall back to most traditional styles, but there is a modern influence. That is why most tailors will give you a hard time if you want deep cuffs.

    If you want a true vintage look, fallow vintage tailoring methods. That?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s just my opinion. Take it or leave it.;)

    Root.
     
  12. I can say that I prefer cuffs. At about 6 feet (I know no one knew they could pile manure that high before either )it looks fine for me.
    I have several modern double breasted suits (Only double breasted because I will not wear anything else--Perry Ellis, Baldwin & Clarke and Joseph Abboud).
    I have to do a TV appearance tomorrow morning (don't get excited it is a local access political stuff). I will probably wear the olive herring bone DB with the toe cap shoes I just got from Art. The folks at home will probably never see the shoes or the cuffs but they help me.

    Regards to all,

    J
     
  13. The Wingnut

    The Wingnut One Too Many

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    I cuff pants if I possibly can. I don't like the look of uncuffed trousers, unless they're more casual flat-front pants. I like my trousers to have wide legs, cuffs and deep pleats. I'm a skinny guy, and this adds a lot of volume...

    I found one tailor that only charges $5 / pair for cuffs, unfortunately, he's 2 hours away now that I've moved! He also did a fantastic job of tailoring my copper and blue suits...it's worth a trip down just to drop off a suit to get tailored.
     
  14. Andykev

    Andykev I'll Lock Up Bartender

    Messages:
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    Location:
    The Beautiful Diablo Valley
    Cuffs?

    I was in a bad part of town, and the only reason I went there is there is this old guy who is a tailor. He's very hard of hearing, but has keen eyesight. Does great work, and the place was sorta crowded, but with people you'd not wanna run into some bleak night. Anyway, while he was marking my trousers for cuffs, he was turning the cloth in a fold, and as he turned the hem, said "up or down?"

    I answered him quite loudly, and yelled "cuff up!" Wow! Everyone in the store put their hands up against the wall and spread!LOL LOL LOL

    ok ok bad old joke
     
  15. Wild Root

    Wild Root Gone Home

    Messages:
    5,532
    Location:
    Monrovia California.
    LOL LOL LOL Good one Andy.
     
  16. Pen Collector

    Pen Collector One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    104
    Location:
    San Angelo, Texas
    Cuffs....

    I prefer cuffs. I have both but I personally think that cuffs look dressier.
     
  17. Blueberry

    Blueberry New in Town

    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    New York
    Having cuffs do look dresser. Therefore all my suits have cuffs.
     
  18. STHill

    STHill One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    208
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Cuffs on all my suit pants and dressier slacks. No cuffs on my casual khakis.
     
  19. Wild Root

    Wild Root Gone Home

    Messages:
    5,532
    Location:
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    I don't have any cuffs on my Khaki pants. But, I have seen the baggie ones from the 30's have cuffs. I would love to have some of those made! Back then, cuffs were on most pants unless they were with a tux or the gray and black striped pants that would be worn with a cutaway. So, back then the dressier outfits didn't have cuffs. Just watch Swing Time with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers and you will see a tailor there going out of his mind because Fred wants to put cuffs on a pair of pants he was going to wear for his wedding!

    Any way, I just love the look so, when ever I can, I put cuffs on! Just me.

    Root.
     
  20. Canadave

    Canadave One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,284
    Location:
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    Re: Cuffs

    I searched Amazon and came up with two other titles by Flusser, but not this one. Can you recommend either of these?

    -Dressing the Man : Mastering the Art of Permanent Fashion
    -Style and the Man : How and Where to Buy the Best Mens' Clothes

    (Is it possible you got the title wrong? I doubt it.)

    Thanks,

    David
     

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