The "Right Cuff"


Shirt cuffs can cause a lot of annoyances—especially when they are not sized properly.

Typical barrel cuffs are sized to accommodate the bloated steel timepieces that men shackle to their wrists, meaning the diameter of the cuff may be well-suited for the steel clad watch wrist but oversized and floppy on the other.

And when the sleeve is even slightly too long, an oversized cuff slides down over the palm, wearing out and discoloring faster than it would have otherwise.

At Sebastian Ward, we follow the more classical approach to cuff length and presentation: That shirt cuffs should protrude from the coat sleeve (around 0.5” being ideal). The old practical reasoning behind wearing your shirt sleeves longer than your jacket, is so that your jacket sleeves don’t wear out at the edge, before your shirt cuffs do (since shirts typically are the less expensive of the two garments).

When your cuffs stay locked in the same position, it affords several things:

  1. Since your cuffs are torsioned around your specific features, it frees up your hands for a greater range of movement while wearing shirt and coat. 
  2. Your cuffs won’t rub up against everything your hands touch, and that will inevitably extend their lifespan.
  3. Having your cuffs stabilized around your wrist lets you wear a longer sleeve. Combined with a high armhole, this affords a feeling of freedom and precision that is without equal.
  4. The secure fit allows you to wear a watch on the outside of your cuff, for easier reading of the dial.

When your shirt starts working in unison with your body, it gets out of the wearer’s way and fades to the background while still offering an elegant appearance to the casual observer.

via The Sartorialist

Gianni Agnelli, the primogenitor of this look, was a man far more interested in practicality than in mere sartorial affectation. When he needed the time, he wanted precisely that… without fussing with a shirt cuff. Perhaps this is what prompted him to purchase a digital watch, early on.

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin during a spacewalk, part of Gemini 12, in November of 1966. (NASA/JSC/ASU) via The Atlantic

Here, this rationale is equally applicable. While most of us will never have to wear a space suit, its all about making your clothes get out of the way so you can go about your job.


All The Best,


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