Barrel Cuffs vs. French Cuffs

Barrel Cuffs vs French Cuffs. What’s the difference between them and when should you wear them? This week on Up Your Fashion Game, let’s explore the differences between the two and figure out when it’s appropriate to wear each.


Starting with the barrel cuff, it’s the most common type of cuff. You will have this on almost all of your shirts. It can come in one or two button variations. You can see this in the diagram below. Two button cuffs are a tad longer and slightly more formal than their single button counterparts, but it really makes no difference.

The other type of cuff is most commonly referred to as a French Cuff but also called a Double Cuff. This is the most formal type of shirt cuff. To close a french cuff, you must use a cufflink. Basically it’s just a piece of jewelry that holds your cuff closed instead of a button. There is a cufflink to fit everyone’s personality. (The one in the picture above is a silk knot cuff link.) Since it is the most formal of the cuffs, you are usually only going to wear them when you’re wearing a suit/blazer. French cuffs aren’t something you’d wear to the office. They are for a formal party or dinner or other event that you’re dressing up nice for.

So, Up Your Fashion Game at a formal event by wearing a french cuff and cufflinks.

“French cuffs are a very attractive, dressed-up look. They frame one’s suit nicely, and furthermore, cuff links are a gentleman’s only legitimate outlet for what a bounder calls bling.” – Glenn O’Brien (The Style Guy)


3 thoughts on “Barrel Cuffs vs. French Cuffs

    • It really depends on who you’re talking to, but here’s a good way to think of it:

      A suit jacket is a the top half of a suit (especially when you’re wearing the whole suit). It’s going to be made of suiting material, which is to say that it’s good quality wool.

      A blazer is when you’re wearing a jacket that you either bought by itself (not as part of a suit) or you’re just wearing your suit jacket without the pants.

      A sport coat is usually just a less formal version of a blazer. I don’t see/hear the term sport coat that often though.

  1. Pingback: Cufflinks | Up Your Fashion Game

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