Tailoring 101: Jacket cuffs

Tailoring 101: Jacket Cuff Styles

When buying a suit, you make not take any notice of the jacket cuffs. They’re one of those minor details which don’t really grab the limelight – but would be obvious if they were missing or if they were a bit too showy and drew the eye to them. If, however, you’re having a bespoke suit manufactured from scratch, jacket cuffs will be something you need to consider. So, here we look at some of the most common jacket cuffs available.


Most off-the-rack jackets are made with buttons that are just or show and which are just sewn onto the outside of the sleeve with no buttonhole. The reason for that is simply that it makes the sleeve length easier to adjust if required. These decorative buttonholes are known as shams and, depending on the color of the jacket and the stitching can be noticeable or not. If you choose to have the suit altered, the shams can be sewn back in or you can choose to replace them with functional buttonholes.

When to use functional buttonholes

These days we don’t really use the buttonholes on suit jackets. Traditionally the holes were there to allow men to roll up the sleeves for work purposes. These cuffs are sometimes called ‘surgeon’s cuffs’ as they were designed to allow surgeons to roll up their sleeves when performing surgery, but it became normal for all men to have functional cuff buttons so they could roll up their sleeves when working – as gentlemen’s etiquette didn’t allow for the scandalous act of removing the jacket!

Today, if you’re having a suit custom-tailored or bespoke made, it’s recommended to have functional buttonholes as it makes tailoring and any future alterations easier.

Button styles

There are three main styles of buttons for cuffs. Spaced is, fairly obviously spaced out and are the most practical if you aim to actually use the buttons; kissing will be just touching making them a bit fiddly to be functional – as well as being a challenge for a tailor to make working cuff buttons so close together; and stacked buttons overlap each other slightly. If you don’t need functional buttons, it’s really down to personal preference which you choose for your suit.

If you’re unsure about which cuffs to choose or whether they should be functional, talk to your tailor. Tailors do more than just make suits, they can discuss aspects of fashion and practicality and help you to find the right balance to ensure your bespoke suit is everything you expected. At Louis Collections in Bangkok, our expert tailors are waiting to hear from you, whether it’s for style advice or to discuss what you want from your next (or maybe your first) bespoke made suit. Check out our website for our styles or for inspiration, or to talk to us about anything tailoring email, call, or mail us.