A cuff is nothing but a thicker and stiffer layer of fabric sewn to the lower end of the sleeve of an outfit, like a shirt, that covers the length of the arm and the wrist.

After all, what good can a new watch do if your shirt cuffs aren’t just right?

Now, here are a few most commonly asked questions about men’s shirt cuff sizes and lengths.

  • Do you feel that the cuff it is too tight, that even when unbuttoned it doesn’t move over your hand?
  • Why should you pay so much attention to your shirt cuffs?
  • How can shirt cuffs have anything to do with the overall appearance of an outfit?
  • What magic can a cuff-link do when worn on the right occasion?
  • Aren’t cuff links an unnecessary and gaudy accessory?

This guide aims to answer all of the above questions and more.

What is the ideal Shirt Cuff Size?

Just like the overall fit of the shirt is important, so are details  (always remember, the devil is in the details!) like the shoulder fit, sleeve length, cuff fit etc.
So, here are a few details to keep in mind when choosing the size of a shirt cuff.

  • Though there is no standard cuff size to follow as it is completely dependent on your wrist size, ideally the overall gap between the cuff and the wrist shouldn’t be more than 2 inches (maximum). Most often, it is considered best to stick to an average of 1.5 to 1.75 inches.

Shirt cuff and wrist gap

  • The best way to determine if the shirt cuff is too large or not is by trying to take off the shirt without undoing the cuff. And if it comes off quite easily, it means that the cuff is large and is best to avoid it. Always pick a cuff that has a snug fit once buttoned, that it shouldn’t slide over your hand.

Why there are 2 button holes on shirt cuffs?

Having read so far, now you might be wondering why some shirt brands (dress shirts) come with a double button hole on the cuffs.

mens shirt cuff with two buttons

This is to make extra room in case the cuff is too tight or loose. Also, it makes it extremely convenient when you want to wear a bigger or bulkier watch.

Should your shirt cuff cover the watch?

Always remember these:

  • Your cuffs are expected to cover at least half of your watch.
  • In case your watches are slightly bulky, the double button holes are expected to accommodate them quite comfortably.

Cuff size and watch

  • Though a lot of fashion forwards advocate wearing watches over your cuff (especially when they are quite bulky), they might look slightly awkward and out of place, especially, in a formal setting. Hence, it is best to choose slimmer smaller watches with your formal ensembles or black tie events.
  • It is advisable not to buy shirts with large cuffs, to accommodate your bigger watches, since the overall fit of the shirt then might go awry.

What are the most common shirt cuff types seen in India?

Generally, Barrel Cuffs & French Cuffs are the 2 most common types of cuffs available in India. But there are also other cuff types such as convertible cuff, rounded cuff, mitered or angled cuff, etc.

barrel and french cuff

  • Barrel cuffs
    The most common and standard type of cuff found on men’s shirts, its name evolved from the fact that these cuffs wrap around the wrists in a shape similar to a barrel. The stiffer the cuff, the more formal it is considered. Most often, they come with double button hole, allowing room to create a snug fit.Tip: The more number of buttons, the longer the cuff—and the more formal it will look. But make sure you stick to one or two buttons look. Three buttons or more will make you and the arm look stumpy or short.
  • French Cuff or Double Cuff
    Considered the most formal type of cuff, the French cuff is twice as long as regular cuffs and is folded back on itself and closed with cuff links. Due to the folding back, these are also referred to as double cuffs. French cuffs have a very pronounced look and is the best choice for highly formal or professional occasions due to its very dressy appearance. They are also highly suited for black tie events.

What are Cufflinks and on what occasion they are used?

Cufflinks are the most functional and ornamental accessory that men can wear to portray their sense of style and personality. They come in different types, styles, shapes and materials, letting you choose from the simplest to the most ornamental, depending on the occasion.


They are more or less alternatives to cuff buttons (that comes sewn into the shirt); if its sewn into the shirt, they are cuff buttons, but if they are removable, then its cufflinks.

Irrespective of they being very stylish, most often men are confused about sporting one. This could be due to the apprehension in choosing the right one to styling it right (with the right shirt).

Cufflinks are the perfect accessory in a formal setting and is a great way to incorporate accessories for men in their formal wardrobe. So here are a few tips to make it easy:

  • When beginning to experiment with cufflinks, ideally start with solid whites or light blue shirts to pair them with, since these shades can go well with contrasting shades of cufflinks.
  • Silver and black cufflinks are quite standard and neutral ones that tend to blend in with most shades, hence you will hardly go wrong when pairing them with any shirt.
  • Try to coordinate your cufflinks and the color of your socks for a more subtle and stylish look.
  • Similarly, you could also try to match your cufflinks with your pocket square (if you are wearing one). This will ensure a cool yet coordinated look.

Do you feel that we have missed anything more about shirt cuffs? If yes, drop them in the comment box below.


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