A button-up dress shirt is an integral part of an attractive and cohesive suit outfit. Whether you're wearing a tuxedo or a traditional suit, you can't ignore the importance of a dress shirt. A dress shirt serves as the base layer by setting the foundation for the rest of your outfit.
When putting together your suit outfit, though, you should pay attention to the cuffs on your dress shirt. You don't want to completely conceal your shirt cuffs. On the other hand, you don't want to show too much of them, either. For an attractive and cohesive suit outfit, you must show the right amount of shirt cuffs.
What Are Shirt Cuffs?
A shirt cuff is a section material at the end of a sleeve. It's typically designed narrower than the rest of the sleeve, allowing it to contour to the shape of your wrist. Most shirt cuffs also feature one or more buttons to protect them from overstretching or otherwise damaging. You can unfasten the cuff buttons, for instance, to put on or take off the dress shirt without damaging it.
Shirt cuffs also allow for a cleaner and more uniform appearance. With cuffs, your dress shirt will have a narrow section of material at the end of the sleeves. Cuffs essentially complete the end of the shirt sleeves, thereby creating a cleaner and more uniform appearance. You can find dress shirts available without cuffs. Most dress shirts, however, feature cuffs because of the benefits they offer in regards to appearance and durability.
Shirt Cuffs and Cufflinks: What You Should Know
You may discover that some shirts have holes for buttons on the cuffs, but they don't have the actual buttons. In cases such as this, you'll need to use cufflinks. Cufflinks are fasteners that are designed specifically for shirt cuffs. You run them through the cuff openings, at which point they'll secure the cuff in place.
As explained in a previous blog post, cufflinks are available in a variety of materials. Some of them are made of steel or titanium, whereas others are made of pearl, plastic or even leather. If your dress shirt doesn't have buttons in the cuffs, you'll need to use cufflinks.
Cufflinks are also available in many different colors. When choosing cufflinks, it's recommended that you choose a color that corresponds with your suit outfit. It doesn't have to be the same color as your suit outfit, but your cufflinks should at least flow cohesively with it. Otherwise, they won't look right when used in your dress shirt.
Why You Should Show Some of Your Shirt Cuffs
If you're wearing a suit, you should try to show some of your shirt cuffs. All suits contain a coat or jacket. A two-piece suit simply consists of a coat jacket with a pair of matching trousers, whereas a three-piece suit consists of a coat jacket, a pair of matching trousers and a vest. Regardless, all suits include a jacket, so they'll typically conceal most of your dress shirt when worn.
Allowing some of your shirt cuffs to show will help you create a more stylish appearance. After all, an attractive dress shirt with clean cuffs is only beneficial in boosting your appearance if it's visible. If no one can see your dress shirt, it won't offer a more stylish appearance. You can show some of your shirt cuffs, however, for aesthetic purposes.
Show 1/4 to 1/2 Inch of Shirt Cuffs
How much of your shirt cuffs should you show exactly? A good rule of thumb is to show between 1/4 to 1/2 inch of your shirt cuffs. In other words, there should be roughly a half-inch to one-quarter of your shirt cuffs visible.
Your suit jacket will naturally conceal most of your dress shirt. Assuming your suit jacket fits properly, though, it shouldn't conceal all of your dress shirt. Rather, you should still be able to see some of your shirt cuffs exposed at the end of the sleeves.
Most fashion experts agree that 1/4 to 1/2 inch is an appropriate amount of shirt cuffs to show when wearing a suit. It's not an excessive amount, nor is it too little. Rather, it's just the right amount to create an attractive appearance.
To determine how much of your shirt cuffs show, take a tape measurer and run it along the exposed section of material. If it measures between 1/4 to 1/2 inch, you're good to go. If it doesn't, you'll need to change either your dress shirt or the suit jacket.
Sitting vs Standing: How It Affects Your Shirt Cuffs
Keep in mind that the amount of shirt cuff you should when wearing a suit may change depending on whether you are sitting or standing. When standing, your suit jacket will cover a greater portion of your arms, meaning less of your shirt cuffs will show.
Sitting typically has the opposite effect by revealing more of your shirt cuffs. When you sit down in a chair, for instance, the sleeves of your suit jacket will stretch. As they stretch towards your body, it will reveal some of your shirt cuffs.
Ideally, you should try to show about 1/4 inch of your shirt cuffs when standing and 1/2 inch when sitting. If you're unable to achieve this amount of exposed cuff, you may need to upgrade to a larger dress shirt with longer sleeves. Alternatively, you can switch to a smaller suit jacket with shorter sleeves. Either way, you should try to show between 1/4 to 1/2 inch of your shirt cuffs.
If you're wearing a suit, you should try to show a small amount of your shirt cuffs. Otherwise, your dress shirt won't offer any aesthetic benefits to your outfit. With that said, you don't want to show too much of your shirt cuffs. Aim for about 1/2 to 1/4 inch of shirt cuffs to achieve an attractive appearance that's synonymous with men's formal wear.