Cuffs, Please

I am not going to hide the fact that I am a huge proponent of cuffed chinos. I am. I admit it.

I am proponent of cuffs for two reasons. The first is weight which helps with drape. The second is that I think that it makes the pants look complete.I’ve stated why I like cuffs, but what don’t people like about cuffs?
Perfect Chinos WrinkledThey are too formal for chinos. This is the most common reason that I hear as to why people don’t like cuffs. These people are right. Cuffs are the more formal of the two, but outside of menswear blogs this knowledge is not widespread. For example, chinos were once super casual, but are now seen as dressy by most people.

I will also admit that at times I buy chinos for casual wear without a cuff. What I do is usually turn up the hem. I see this all of the time on other people from every range of style and pants from chinos to jean. All I am saying is don’t overthink the formality of it.
Moosehide MocsThe other reason that I hear is that people don’t like the way that they look. This is not a point that I can argue. All I can say is that to my eye chinos that are cuffed especially at work look better. They anchor down the leg opening so that it doesn’t flap around, provide additional structure, add a little taper to the chinos.
Salesman at J.Press New HavenI think that Billax speaks to it the best in Cuff, No Break when he says,

“I believe the importance of joints, intersections, and edges at the top is pretty well understood: the importance of the relationships between shirt, tie, jacket, lapel, notch shape, gorge height, and collar roll is a focal point of men who care about their appearance. It is, after all, what they see in the mirror every morning.

Not one man in a thousand has a mirror to see the equally important bottom of one’s outfit. Yet, those bottom elements – trouser length, crease, cuff, socks, and shoes – are easily seen by everyone who looks at you”

I am by no means saying that cuffs are a must. I fully understand that what looks good to some does not to others. What I am saying is that if you do not cuff just give it some consideration. Billax is much more convincing that I am: Cuff, No Break by Billax

oxford cloth button down
Jerrod Swanton is a simple man interested in simple, classic, and traditional style.

16 Comments on "Cuffs, Please"

  1. Gary says:

    Well said, Ox, and I completely concur. As someone once said (I don’t know the source), I’d cuff my boxer briefs if I could. Cuffs are all important, and while I own a couple pairs of casual chinos without them, I find that they are essential to every other pair of trousers I wear.

  2. Joel Vau says:

    Bravo. Cuffs for all pants worn with dress shoes and for penny loafers. With most casual shoes, other than pennies, I do like no cuff on my chinos. Not sure why, just a bit more relaxed.

    • Hollywood Argyle says:

      I’m with you. In general, I have cuffs on pants I wear with a jacket & tie (i.e., dress pants), but go cuffless on my chinos and corduroys, which are normally worn tieless.

      For trivia fans…

      The trousers worn with a stroller—men’s daytime semi-formal wear—are normally cuffed, but the trousers worn with every other variety of formal and semi-formal wear—the daytime formal morning coat, the evening semi-formal tuxedo, and the evening formal tailcoat—are always uncuffed.

      Go figure.

  3. Lennart says:

    For me flannels are cuffed, chinos are not cuffed no matter if they are worn with sneakers, boat shoes, pennyloafers, brogues or duck boots. But that’s me, a cuffed chino can look great but I tend to keen them uncuffed. I like a more casual look on them.

  4. Fred Johnson says:

    My rule is very simple: all pants which will or might be worn with a tie and jacket will have cuffs.
    I do prefer a slight break however to make up for the back of leg “sit down” creasing which, for me, tends to visually shorten the length throughout the day.

  5. GTwig 63 says:

    Cuffs are a must, whether on dress trousers or chinos. The only time I don’t wear cuffs are on chinos I wear for golf. My bugaboo currently is that cuff openings have gotten far too small. Anything less than 81/2 in. is too small and makes you look like Ichabod Crane. Even the iconic Billax sometimes commits this sin. No one like to look down and see baggy looking trousers, but the size of the knee opening actually creates that effect more than the cuff opening. A recent purchase of a pair of dress tropical weight wool trousers from O’Connell’s came with 9 in. cuff openings,10 in. knees and a whiff of a break. Perfect for grown ups.

    • Tom says:

      There’s no such thing as a universal leg opening measurement. It’s all about proportion, someone who is 5’7″ and 150lbs will need a much smaller opening compared to someone who is 6’2″ and 200lbs. To say that anything less than 8.5″ is too small is frankly stupid.

  6. oxford cloth button down says:

    Appreciate all the feedback! For all the no-cuffer’s of casual chinos I have to ask, do you do a turn-up?

  7. Lennart says:

    As a chinos no-cuffer I turn up only in summertime and when sockless. Also, my latest pairs of chinos are of “high water lenght” so turn up is not always needed.

  8. Charlottesville says:

    I could not agree more. Virtually all of my pants other than jeans are cuffed. They just look unfinished to me without cuffs. There are practical arguments against cuffs when camping, hiking, boating, riding, walking through tall grass etc., but for most occasions, I go with cuffs.

    • Orange Fiji says:

      Totally agree with you Charlottesville. I would fell almost naked leaving the house without cuffed pants.
      I went into a Brooks Brothers not long ago. I noticed that the salesmen did not have cuffs on their suit pants. That goes to show how far Brooks has fallen.

  9. Fred Johnson says:

    I never do turnups with casual, uncuffed chinos. I just make sure to get the length right.

  10. woofboxer says:

    If you are used to wearing cuffs, or turn ups if you are British, then you don’t feel right without them. They are one of those little touchs that set you apart as someone who thinks about how they dress.

  11. Hyuk says:

    A quick question, sir.
    The penny you are wearing from the first picture is I guess from AE, right? Is it burnished brown or oxblood?

  12. oxford cloth button down says:

    Hyuk – Thanks for the question. They are burgundy Bass Weejuns.

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