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French Cuffs or Button Cuffs?

What do French cuff dress shirts say about a man? Perhaps that he’s detail oriented. Or maybe that he has an advanced sense of style.

But because French cuffs — and the cufflinks that they hold — are considered more formal than simple button cuff dress shirts, they most likely indicate that the man has power — or craves it. It’s no surprise that when Bud Fox starts dressing more like zillionaire Gordon Gekko in 1987’s “Wall Street,” he starts wearing French-cuffed shirts along with more authoritative double-breasted suits.

Part of the extra formality of cufflinks comes from their ability to display wealth (not surprising, Donald Trump is a fan of cufflinks) through precious stones and metals. But most of us just see them as an opportunity for style and personal expression. Cufflink collecting is very easy to fall victim to, and with no less than 60 cufflinks available at Paul Fredrick, we’ll confess to encouraging this obsession.

Because of the French-cuffed shirt’s elevated formality, some purists would say you should only wear it with a suit, never a sport coat or blazer. But there are plenty of stylish guys to refute this — Roger Moore as James Bond comes to mind. And just because a button cuff shirt is more casual doesn’t mean it plays a less prominent role in the wardrobes of well-dressed men. Plenty of history’s most dapper gents — Fred Astaire, for example — actually preferred button cuffs.

So while formality comes into play, it’s ultimately an individual choice. And if you’re like us, you own both. Variety is the spice of every great wardrobe.

But we’ll leave you with this: A famous woman once noted how sexy it is to watch a man remove his cufflinks. Evidently for women, watching a man remove his cufflinks to take off a French-cuffed shirt is the equivalent of watching a woman remove her dress. Chalk it up to that whole Mars/Venus thing.
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