What is the Difference Between French Cuffs and Barrel Cuffs?

Look Sharp, Powerful, and Confident.

Investing in an excellent suit can make any man look sharp, powerful, and confident. From suit lapels to necktie knots and pocket squares — finishing touches can help perfect your style. However, these nuanced details can leave a lasting impression on those around you. How do you ensure you look great every time you pick out an ensemble? The difference comes down to details, including whether you choose French cuffs or barrel cuffs when selecting your dress shirts.

Barrel Cuff

What is a Barrel Cuff?

Barrel cuffs are the most traditional style of shirt cuff. It is a single band at the end of the sleeve that forms a cylinder, or barrel, around the wrist when fastened with a button. The fabric lays flat against itself and is smooth and seamless. Although a barrel cuff is a proper name, it is often referred to as a button cuff because of how it’s fastened.

Barrel cuff dress shirts are simple, sophisticated, and appropriate for almost every semi-formal event, such as office environments and some weddings. It is easy to dress up barrel cuff dress shirts with a sports coat. You can also pair them with jeans to create a casual, sharp look. We believe every man should own several barrel cuffs shirts since they are a versatile wardrobe staple.

French Cuff

What is a French Cuff?

French cuffs are long, stiff, and have buttonholes on each side. The stiff fabric allows you to fold the cuff onto itself and align the button holes on each side. Once the button holes are aligned, you can pin them together using a cufflink. This style is flashy and formal, and French cuffs look excellent when paired with a tuxedo.

This style makes your outfit appear classy and sophisticated. French cuffs are appropriate for formal, black-tie, and tuxedo events. And unlike barrel cuffs, we do not recommend pairing French cuffs with jeans, as you should only wear them with dress slacks or tuxedos.

Convertible Shirt Cuffs

Convertible Shirt Cuffs

Thankfully — you don’t have to purchase duplicate shirts to have cuff variety. If you frequently switch between barrel and French cuffs, convertible cuffs provide the best of both worlds. Using this newer dress shirt style, you can customize your shirt based on the occasion. You can button it when you want the look of a barrel cuff, or you can use cufflinks to create a classier style. These shirts offer outstanding flexibility and are an excellent option for men who attend numerous events.

What are the Different Shirt Cuff Shapes?

Now that we have discussed the various styles of dress shirt cuffs, we want to break down the available shape options. We can categorize the majority of cuffs into one of these three categories.

1. Rounded Cuffs — This style is appropriate with or without a jacket and is one of the most common shapes on men’s dress shirts. Rounded cuffs have soft edges that form a curve near the button. It is the least flashy shape but is appropriate for varying events.

2. Square Cuffs — This option is dressier than rounded cuffs but is still appropriate for both casual and formal events. Square cuffs have a 90-degree edge and create a sharp, modern, minimalistic look. Additionally, square cuffs make it easy to roll up your sleeves and create an upscale, casual look.  

3. Angled Cuffs — This is the flashiest dress cuff shape. Angled cuffs are similar to square cuffs but create a 45-degree angle to create an eye-grabbing look. This style is a good choice if you want to make a statement and draw attention to your new watch or a set of cufflinks.

How Many Buttons Should a Shirt Cuff Have?

Once you have found the perfect cuff shape, your options do not stop there. There are a variety of choices regarding how you will fasten your cuff. Most button styles fall into one of these three categories.

1. No-Button Cuffs — This is the French cuff. While there is no button, you can secure the cuff with a cufflink. This style is an excellent option for black-tie events.

2. One-Button Cuffs — This can refer to cuffs with a single button or two horizontal buttons. Having two buttons allows you to adjust the size of your cuff.

3. Two-Button Cuffs — Cuffs with two vertical buttons are often dressier than those with one button, but they are not as luxurious as French cuffs.

Made-to-Measure Dress Shirts

While there are countless dress shirt styles to choose from, ensuring your outfit fits properly is critical. Going to any event with an ill-fitted shirt can make you look sloppy and overshadow your intricate outfit details. Please stop by Culwell & Son to create a custom dress shirt for your next event. From cuff shapes to button placements, we will assess your needs and preferences to ensure you look sharp.

Questions & Answers

We wanted to share some common questions we hear and their corresponding answers regarding dress shirt cuffs. If you have any additional questions, please stop by and see us; our team is happy to assist you.

Can you wear cufflinks with a barrel cuff shirt?

You cannot wear cufflinks with a barrel cuff shirt. Barrel cuffs have an attached button to fasten the sleeve. If you want to show off some stylish cufflinks, opt for a french cuff dress shirt.

Does it matter if my dress shirt is high quality?

Absolutely. Regardless of the cuff style, you should invest in nice dress shirts. Designer dress shirts have fine stitching and premium fabric to ensure they last for years. Not to mention, custom dress shirts create the ideal silhouette for your body to ensure you look sharp.

What type of cufflinks should I wear with a French cuff dress shirt?

We recommend matching the cuff link to your other accessories. Therefore, choose gold cufflinks if you wear a gold wedding band. Cufflinks can be understated or flashy, and we recommend having various styles to ensure you are dressed appropriately for every event. Stop by Culwell & Son to shop our vast selection of cufflinks. We carry various styles for every occasion.

Does the color of my dress shirt matter?

If you’re wondering what color of dress shirts you need, we recommend having a variety of colors and neutrals with varying cuff options. Matching the tones of your dress shirts to the season is a great way to look fashionable and make an impact. However, neutral colors, such as white and black, look fantastic all year long. Our stylists can help you decide which colors complement you while keeping the seasons and current trends in mind.

The Best Quality Dress Shirts in Dallas Fort Worth

Are you having a hard time selecting a cuff? Our stylists at Culwell & Son in Dallas will help you tie your outfit together! Stop by our store to get started today; we can’t wait to enhance your look.