To show shirts' cuffs or not to show...

Discussion in 'Suits' started by Anthony_Eden, Dec 12, 2017.

  1. Anthony_Eden

    Anthony_Eden New in Town

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Over the hills and far way
    ... that is the question.

    Dear fellow members,

    I apologize if this has already been covered extensively, as it is a classic question but cannot find a really in-depth answer. So I would like to detail it further, and suggest to have it properly substantiated mainly with 1920-40's evidences and rules.

    So here it is:
    1/ Should or should not show some shirts' cuffs for a proper gentleman? Some says it is just a question of taste, and that some London bespoke tailor do not, but consensus seems to show some...

    2/ If yes, how long? I read almost everything from 50 cm to 2 cm... And then it depends on business suit, country suit, evening attire, odd jacket...

    3/ Other historical or cultural parameters: US versus UK versus continental Europe? Timeframe especially from 20' to 40's?

    4/ Other tailoring parameters: diameter of the jacket sleeve, cufflinks or not, or even single of French cuffs...

    Actually as for myself I try to show a very little cuff aroun 50 cm to 1 cm but if of course varies depending of the shirt/jacket combination, and I am quite frustrated that no one never notices my cufflinks unless I remove the jacket. But I prefer that rather than having a giant cuff growing outside. And unfortunetely I cannot afford besopoke shirts and suits that would solve the problem...

    Thanks for joining the debate! Hope to hear from you... Plenty of pictures and examples welcome!
     
  2. scotrace

    scotrace Head Bartender Staff Member

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    I prefer to show shirt cuffs. French cuffs more so than barrel or other finishes, because I want to show off my cufflinks. I would not fuss with measuring, as sitting, reaching, standing, etc., all constantly change the amount of cuff showing. I do not like to see a jacket (or even a sweater, frankly) sleeve without any sleeve peeking out. I think it just looks boring.

    Here's a fellow who knows what he's about. It's rare to see his suit or jacket cuffs covering his shirt cuffs.

    46168b9a657fc39ec8be37ff52c52e7a.jpg
     
    fabiovenhorst and scottyrocks like this.
  3. Edward

    Edward Bartender

    Messages:
    20,208
    Location:
    London, UK
    Charles is always impeccably dressed - though, to be honest, I would look to his father, the current Duke of Edinburgh, as a better model. Chucky boy, alas, someho never looks entirely comfortable in his own clothes, whereas his father is the exact opposit. Nonetheless, Charles' suits will be an excellent example of what Anderson & Sheppard, at least, consider to be "correct".

    ONe thing I have noticed over the last decade andmore are how many OTR and high street places cut their sleeves quite long, presumably catering to the significant chunk of their market who will wear short-sleeved shirts under them, and treat the suitcoat or blazer as outerwear. I once bought some otherwise very nice cotton-linen blazers from (of all places) Uniqlo (as improbably as that sounds). Had to have the sleeves taken up by almost two inches, as they were clearly cut for an orangutang.

    For bespoke, it will vary based on cut, house style, tailor... In thel ikes of SAvile Row, each house has its own style, and will cut that according to flattering the customer and potentially customer preference (though it has long been said that the young Edward VIII had his trousers cut in New York and his jackets in London to be paired up as a suit onced complete because his Row tailor simply refused to put anything as crass as beltloops on his trousers).

    OTR will vary with not only fashion, but the shape of the person wearing the garment. Even where S/R/L sizings are available, they may not suit all individuals. Thus photos of ordinary people back in the era will show variances not only according to personal taste, but what people wore. It's a bit like how the cuffs some of us buy our jeans too long to achieve these days originated because jeans were only available in one, long length in the thirties - if you were shorter, you just rolled them to the right length. Fashion following function following fashion....

    All that said, personally I prefer a little cuff on show when I bend my arm. I tend to find there is more visible when it's a doubled cuff with a link as those don't easily retract into the jacket.
    I tend to take it from a different angle - which introduces another variable: are the jacket sleeves the correct length on relation to my arms? When my arm is fully down, parallel to my side, I like my sleeve to extend no further than the base of my thumb. That's more where I put my own "rule".

    I just go by the above - no measuring. Measurements are for buying online unseen (try to avoid that!) or for the tailor / seamstress donig my alterations.



    Again, I think it's going to vary more by the vagaries of the combination of the infinite variety human body and OTR uniformity than anything else - if you're interested in what real people wore, rather than the fashion plate ideal, that is.

    I'd certainmly feel that if my cufflinks were on show with my arm extended, the sleeves were too short. All personal taste, of course.

    There are many folks who refuse to wear cufflinks with anything short of a lounge suit, but I prefer a double cuff myself and will wear them with blazer or sportcoat and trousers. Less like if I'm eschewing neckwear, but that tends to be more casual anyhow.
     
  4. Mathematicus

    Mathematicus A-List Customer

    Messages:
    378
    Location:
    Coventry, UK
    I wear double cuffs almost exclusively and I try to always show between 0.5 cm and 1 cm of cuff with arms down. I dislike not showing any cuff and I find slightly clownish to show more than 2 cm of cuff at neutral position.
    However, one has to take into account the mutual behaviour of shirt and jacket sleeves, as it is unlikely that our arms stay all the day at the same positiion. If the shirt is badly made, it will ride up too much, hiding under the jacket's sleeve. The typical causes are tightness of shirt at back/shoulders, too fitted shirt sleeves and chest, giant armholes. Sometimes if the jacket has tight back and/or low-wide armholes, coat sleeves will ride up excessively even with moderate movements.
    Another important factor is the diameter of jacket sleeve. I prefer it to be really close to the shirt cuff (for the double cuff case, of course), as in my opinion it conveys a cleanere look.
     
  5. hatsRme

    hatsRme I'll Lock Up

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    I remember seeing a "chart" in a men's fashion magazine many years back, (when I paid attention to such things) illustrating three variations of revealed cuff lengths, labeling them as (if memory serves) conservative, (most of cuff) classic, (approx. 1/2 of cuff) and contemporary (least amount of cuff) lengths.
     
  6. super17

    super17 New in Town

    Messages:
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    Can not pos Prince Charles pic as an example! it is not fair to common ppl! Lol
    I am for cuffs and not more than 1 inch on jacket on "bent arm" (that is my grandma measuring method) ....so, let say if ur arm is bent at the elbow by 90degrees, ur cuff shouldn't show more than 1 inch...
     
  7. scottyrocks

    scottyrocks I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    8,808
    Location:
    Isle of Langerhan, NY
    I was always told that there should be some cuff.

    My usual guideline is about 1/4 to 1/3 of it sticking out with my arms down at my sides.
     
  8. Guttersnipe

    Guttersnipe One Too Many

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    Try a Google Image search of Lawrence Fellows Illustrations. He was a prolific illustrator, who drew most of the the classic Apparel Arts and Esquire fashion plates. Fellows almost invariably shows ~1/4" for all modes of dress. However, bear in mind the context and intent of Apparel Arts and Esquire: a diffusion of chic, British men's style for an American audience.

    Looking at publicity shots of Hollywood and Britain's leading men from the 1930s and '40s, the amount of cuff shown is all over the place, just like today. Since these stars were dressed by the best English and American tailors of their time, there is no reason to believe any of them were "doing something wrong."
     
  9. Guttersnipe

    Guttersnipe One Too Many

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    Example: Cary Grant, all throughout his life, apparently liked to show a lot of cuff.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  10. Guttersnipe

    Guttersnipe One Too Many

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    Location:
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    Whereas, David Niven and Gary Cooper tended to show less cuff...

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Polterer likes this.
  11. scotrace

    scotrace Head Bartender Staff Member

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    Location:
    Small Town Ohio, USA
    Also -

    5572dda26641a24f334ae6e5fa50b76a--old-hollywood-hollywood-glamour.jpg


    Or for that matter -

    Marlene.jpg
     
    Michael A likes this.
  12. Claudio

    Claudio Vendor

    Messages:
    375
    Location:
    Italian living in Spain
    To show a bit of cuff is fundamental - do not believe someone who says otherwise. With all due respect, this is the basics of dressing well.

    The above pcitures are all with arms bent or folded, and thus do not really show the actual cuff length. To decide this the arm must be straight down, shirt and coat sleeve well pulled down and only then you can evaluate the cuff length. If you are taller then less shirt cuff and if you are shorter than a bit more, but usually between 1cm and 3cm is perfectly acceptable.
     
    Michael A and scottyrocks like this.
  13. Anthony_Eden

    Anthony_Eden New in Town

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Over the hills and far way
    Hello again, and a very happy new year to you all, sorry I was a bit out of town with family for the occasion... Thanks very much for your comments. Actually this question stemmed from a double event:

    - I was watching singing in the rain again (1952), and if the persons wearing white tie show proper cuffs, the black tie ones (see around 20') don't, even leading roles. I thought that was weird...
    - My tailor just butchered an alteration on a vintage black tie jacket. The 2 sleeves are now too short, and moreover of unequal lengths: one is showing 2cm cuffs, the other 3cm (I asked for 1cm for each arms). We tried that with my dinner shirt, so I just understand that the tailor missed it when taking it from the shoulders. He is sorry but apart from buying a new shirt and adjusting it to match the disaster, I don't know what to do now. Any advice welcome !

    Best and again all the very best to you all for 2018!
     

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  14. scottyrocks

    scottyrocks I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    Did the tailor measure one arm and do both sleeves from that measurement? Most people, including me, have arms of slightly different lengths. This affects the way shirts and jackets fit, sleevelengthwise.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2018
  15. Anthony_Eden

    Anthony_Eden New in Town

    Messages:
    39
    Location:
    Over the hills and far way
    Yes, actually, she measured each arms separately, but then if I understand well, he was on holidays and some less skilled person did a bad job... I don't know how this is possible, but I guess it is badly taken from the sleeve and altered everything. Also the sleeve pitch looks weird with wrinckles atop the shoulders. They suggest now just to equalize the arms, so it would show 3cm each side, but the sleeve does not run really parallel to the shirt so it is hard to measure. What a mess !!!
     
  16. Guttersnipe

    Guttersnipe One Too Many

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    Location:
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    If the armholes and sleeve lengths of your shirt and coat fit properly, they ought to move together, causing only a slight variation in their relative length as you move from relaxed to bent positions.
     
  17. Claudio

    Claudio Vendor

    Messages:
    375
    Location:
    Italian living in Spain
    I was refering to taking online pitcures as 'evidence' or as a 'rule of thumb'. These are almost all quasi-perfect IMO (about 2 cm give and take), but my point was to not trust pictures as the arms a bent. Should the shirt/coat sleeve length then be proportional once the arm is down then indeed they are cut well.
     

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