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Dress Shirt Cuff

To start, allow me to explain some basic tailoring rules when it comes to men’s suit sleeves. While being fitted for a suit, stand in front of a full-length mirror. Keep your body straight and look forward at all times. If you look down to view the tailor measuring your sleeves, the sleeves will slowly creep down and the final length will be askew. Be sure to observe the tailor, but only in the mirror. The tailor should cuff up your suit sleeves to show you where the suit sleeves’ edges will be once the tailoring is complete. Turn to the side to look at the sleeve profile. Suit sleeves are cut on a slight angle and you want to be sure that the back part of the sleeve, where the buttons are, is not too long. The tailor should then measure with a ruler- not a tape measure- from the tip of your thumb to the bottom part of your wrist. That is precisely where the chalk mark should go on your suit sleeves for shortening. This measurement, on average, is four inches and works well for various shirt type options regardless of whether you plan to wear button cuff, barrel cuff or French cuff shirts. For men who wear French cuff shirts exclusively, I recommend a four and a half-inch measurement from the tip of the thumb. This allows a shirt’s cuffs to show a bit more and will give rise to displaying some cufflink when moving about during the day.

Conversely, if your suit sleeves need to be made longer, the same tailoring rules apply. As an aside, in both cases, whether lengthening or shortening suit sleeves, be certain the tailor replaces the faux button stitching in the correct places relative to the new sleeve length. When the stitching is removed during tailoring and not put back on, you know for certain you got a rush job. Either the tailor is lazy, inexperienced or both. Always request that the stitching be sewn back to the original look. If your suit comes with sleeves prepared for working buttons, also known as surgeon’s sleeves, be sure to review the placement of the holes before they are cut into the fabric.

When the measuring for shortening suit sleeves is complete and the tailor has cuffed the suit’s sleeves to the expected, final length, pull your shirt’s cuffs all the way down. Use the mirror to determine how much shirt cuff will show out from the anticipated, new sleeve length of the suit. Measure from the end of a suit’s sleeve to the end of a shirt’s cuff. If you have one-quarter inch to one half-inch showing for a button/barrel cuff shirt, you are at the ideal measurement. If the amount of shirt showing is longer than that, it is the shirt’s sleeves that are too long and need to be shortened. For French cuff wearers, a half to one full inch is an acceptable measurement, which will show off the double fold of a French cuff very smartly.