The dress shirt cuff style that is simple and innocuous by design
Alright, by now we should all be familiar with the barrel cuff – the more straightforward, less formal brother of the French cuff. We also know that the barrel cuff itself comes in a variety of finishes, so let’s talk about the standard of standards – the rounded cuff.
| BRIAN WEARS | QG Custom jacket, Saks Fifth Avenue shirt, Drake’s tie, A. Lange & Söhne watch | PHOTOGRAPHY | by Rob McIver Photo
The rounded cuff is pretty much exactly as it sounds. Whereas the mitered cuff has a mitered corner, meaning the corner of the cuff facing is cut at a 45 degree angle, the rounded cuff makes a rounded cut instead. Almost a quarter circle, exactly where the miter would be.
The effect is, well, there’s almost no effect. But that’s by design. A square barrel cuff or a mitered barrel cuff both give an air of structure with their hard, straight lines. The mitered cuff takes things up a notch, with some more complex geometry, and a bit more refined profile. The square cuff is a little more masculine and less polished.
The rounded cuff, on the other hand, is largely innocuous. It’s soft on the eye, but doesn’t minimize the clean lines that your shirt may already have. It’s finished and deliberate, but doesn’t take your casual denim shirt or rumpled linen to a stuffy or unnatural place.
For this reason, you’re going to see rounded cuffs everywhere – not because they’re necessarily better, but because they walk the middle of the road in an entirely inoffensive way. You’ll be hard pressed to find the menswear guy out there who hates rounded cuffs and won’t buy a shirt with them.
More likely, it’s going to be the cuff you don’t even notice, which can be great. There are times for your cuffs to grab some attention, or at least hold a strong place in your ensemble, and there are times when they should be part of the solid, foundational background and nothing more.