How It Should Fit: The Cuffs on a Men's Shirt


Off The Cuff

When talking of cuffs, Topper has pithy advice up his sleeve. He says: “So much of the secret of a successful look is understatement. Real impact is not the same as distraction. We look our best when everything is working in harmony, across the whole outfit. We look so much less than our best when there is a glitch, a niggle, or a nagging something that’s just not quite right. And one of the most irritating distractions of all is a shirt cuff that draws the wrong kind of attention - to itself and its wearer.”

Not bad for an off the cuff remark, Topper. And we agree entirely. When it comes to cuffs, it may seem that they’re all pretty much the same. But getting the cuff to fit the way it should is fundamental to finishing your ‘just right’ look.

It may also come as a surprise to learn that there are many different sizes and types of cuffs and your specific choice really can change the look of big and tall shirts. For example, the formality of a French cuff with links can dress up your look, while an elastic cuff can dress a shirt down for a casual yet smart appearance.

Here are a few cuff-fuffles (sorry) we’ve noticed through the years. If you’re noticing them too, what they’re really telling you is that your cuffs just aren’t fitting like they should.

Shirt Sleeves Too Short

"The Trombone Slide"

Help Me Topper: The cuff slides down my forearm and then back to the wrist with everyday motion. It usually isn’t obvious to observers, but I’m sensing a slightly tender feeling just above my wrist, toward the forearm, around the end of the workday.

Topper’s Diagnosis: If this is happening regularly, your cuffs are a shade too big and they’re not holding your sleeves properly in place.

Topper’s Top Tips: Hopefully, you just forgot to do up a button and it’s as easy as that! However, the more likely fix will lie in finding a new shirt that has cuffs both appropriate to your desired look and that fit really well. You can measure your sleeve length and wrist size to find your true fitting cuff dimension.

“The Magician”

Shirt Sleeves Too Long

Help Me Topper: Fabric around the forearms collects in front of my wrist, creating a billowing arm that looks loose and puffy. My credibility is being eroded because I always look like a table magician. Make my problem disappear!

Topper’s Diagnosis: Restrictive cuffs aren’t allowing enough motion; which will be made even worse if the sleeve is too long.

Topper’s Top Tip: First things first, always make sure you’re choosing the correct sleeve length. Then, find a shirt that has a superior fit in the cuff. You may consider a cuff with options for extending the length with additional buttons, or even a French cuff if a dressier look is what you’re after.

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