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The Renaissance of the French Cuff

manschettenknöpfe

The Double Cuffed Shirt and the Art of Accoutrement

Gordon Gekko - the rapacious capitalist antihero who was brought to life by Michael Douglas in an Oscar-winning performance in the late 80’s - is both a byword for the very worst of capitalism and the very best of men’s formal dressing. Despite his rather unsavoury on-screen antics, there is much to admire about the man who coined “greed is good” maxim - particularly his advocacy for the double cuffed shirt…

With a history that dates back to the 15th century - to the renaissance period where well-to-do gentleman and aristocratic types began wearing cuffs that were adorned with lace as a kind of ostentatious display of wealth - the double cuffed shirt as we know it has taken shape over centuries of continuous advancements in the realm of men’s fashion...

The French Cuff Shirt 

The term ‘French cuff’, as the double cuff is often referred to - for reasons that have been the subject of much conjecture on menswear blogs - seems to have taken root centuries after the inception of the cuff. In fact, history suggests that this term was coined in the United States - probably because ‘French’ conjured thoughts of opulence and style to a degree that ‘double’ simply cannot.

Originally, held together by ribbon or some form of laced fabric, as time went on, it became more practical, not to mention more elegant, to secure the shirt cuff with ‘links’. Enter the cufflink.

The Ultimate Accessory: The Cufflink

Simple and discreet, the cufflink exudes and air of sophistication that the button cuff simply cannot. It is one of very few items of jewellery that men should adorn themselves with, along with a watch and other subtle accoutrement such as the lapel chain - a personal favourite of Michael Jondral.

To this end, the quality of ones cufflinks should be on par with one’s timepiece, and of course, one’s suit. The cufflinks should reflect the artisanal tenets of a hand crafted Cesare Attolini suit, and pay respect to feat of engineering brilliance encased in the Swiss timepiece that adorns your wrist. Similarly, cufflinks - or any other accoutrement crafted from precious metals - should be matched in colour and material to the watch wherever possible.

It is for this reason that Michael Jondral stocks wares from makers such as Codis Maya - renowned for their ancient enamelling techniques - Barbarulo Napoli - a fourth generation jeweller hailing from the South of Italy - and Ascione - established in 1855 and revered for hand crafting cufflinks from coral and precious metals.

In an age of declining formality where the suit is becoming less of a mandate and more a means of self expression, the double double cuff - or French cuff if you prefer - is now, more so than ever before, a symbol of discernment; an opportunity to distinguish oneself and a rare opportunity to indulge in the pleasures of artisanal accoutrement.