French Cuffs: American Style: From stodgy to smokin’, cuffs & links resurge

The French cuff (also known as the double cuff) shirt has an uncertain heritage. Some say the style dates back to the 1600s, while other fashion historians claim the cuff became popular through a character in Alexandre Dumas’The Count of Monte Cristo.” I’ve even found research claiming that French cuffs are a British invention. The only thing that makes any sense is the cuff was created so men could adjust the length of the sleeve to all types from fit short arms to knuckle draggers. Sounds smart.

It’s time to give this shirt a new spin and Americanize the European import. It’s also time to rid its association with only the rich, royalty and wannabes. In a sea of skin ink and body piercings, let’s cover up that aging mistake that you call a tattoo and use adornment that is not so permanent — cufflinks!

Here’s where to start.

Every guy deserves to have at least one tailor-made shirt in his lifetime. When in Manhattan, a visit to Mohan’s Custom Tailors is an absolute must. Located across from Grand Central Station on 42nd Street, Mohan “Michael” Ramchandani has been in the business of custom tailoring since 1972. To survive over the years of wash-and-wear, off-the-rack apparel is a testament to his popularity and superior quality. How many shirts and pants have you thrown out due to inferior quality? Mohan’s makes garments that last. You do the math.

Treat yourself or the man in your life to this one-of-kind service. From shirts to suits and topcoats, Mohan will take over 25 measurements and create your very own masterpiece. You will choose the fabric for your garments from over 14,000 swatches, and there is a wide selection of collars and cuff styles to select (of course I recommend including at least one French cuff shirt). Within a few weeks your clothing is ready for pick-up, or it can be mailed to you.

If you can’t make it into their tailor shop, you can send them your measurements or a garment that fits you perfectly and they will create your pant, shirt, suit or coat based on that information or sample. It’s noteworthy to mention that he has created a suit with an inside pocket to carry, protect and conceal an iPad – how awesome is that? Once you invest in custom tailoring, you’ll wonder WTF were you thinking with that disposable bargain basement attire.

Call for an appointment: 212-697-0050.


Celebrate your inner 007 on the outside: Your French cuff shirts from Mohan’s will need cufflinks and I discovered this covert pair at Brookstone.

Imagine you’re in a meeting and that important presentation file went missing. You can save the day by removing one of your cufflinks, flip it open à la James Bond, or Daniel Craig if you prefer specifics, to reveal a 2GB USB Flash Drive containing a copy of the project. Now imagine your boss’s face… That alone is reason for purposely losing the original file.

Buy a pair here:

Swoosh! Dash from your cubicle to Comic-Con with the new DC Comics’ line of cufflinks from Cufflink Inc. They all are freaking Marvel-ous, and will make all your friends Green Lantern with envy. You can add Batman’s mask and Superman’s cape to your accessories, and that’s just the beginning. Now, when you get the urge to punch an evildoer or co-worker upside the head (Pow!), blame it on the Superhero on your sleeve. Zoinks!

Purchase DC Comic Superhero and villain cufflinks at Lord and Taylor and Macy’s department stores or online at

Another option for your French cuff shirt purchasing needs is to buy online from two southern gentlemen. Paul Trible and Paul Watson founded Ledbury in Virginia with a mission to bring quality shirt making back to the U.S.

They tailor their shirts to create a flattering V-shape silhouette on the male figure — no matter your shape or size; it’s all about proper fit. They also go the extra step with double-ply cotton fabric on the collars and cuffs, and no plastic buttons; only mother-of-pearl shells are used. The online guide will help you order the perfect size, style and fabric.

Get your measurements and make a purchase here:

Adornment with a purpose for your Ledbury shirts can be found at Fonderie 47. I discovered this pair of cufflinks and became absolutely enthralled with the principle behind their creation. Artist Roland Iten designed this limited edition, collector’s item out of confiscated Mk 47 rifles from a war-torn region in Africa. One purchase will eliminate 100 assault riffles from circulation. Brilliant! The company’s mission is to convert jewelry for both men and women from seized weaponry – now that’s entrepreneurship. If you aren’t one of those fortunate enough to own a pair, perhaps this idea will spark a new career path and domestic invention!

Read more about the artist here: Roland Iten.

Discover the MK47 jewelry at:

“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” – Aristotle. The same could be said for our clothing.

Okay, gents, we’ve seen the fading “ink, tat or sleeve,” all summer, but this Fall it’s time to cover up and get personally creative with your cuffs. Wear them with jeans, sport them while biking or skateboarding… Maybe some smart designer/entrepreneur creates French cuff flannel shirts, hoodies and sweaters for winter!

But you don’t have to take my research on this topic as absolute advice: Just ask any woman if she’d prefer to see you in a tank top or a fancy new shirt.

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