x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

The French cuff is for everyman

French cuffs allow a man's personality to come through.

Life is about choices. The fashion decisions a man makes say much about him. What kind of suit is worn and, perhaps more importantly, how it is worn speak volumes. Some men revel in the society that celebrates the well-dressed man while others choose not to be a part of it. It is the fashionable man, however, who embraces these choices: brogues versus loafers, double-breasted as opposed to single, one slit in the back of the jacket or a flap. Regardless of the fashion conundrum man faces, the best answer remains French cuff over button cuffs.

If a man has chosen to wear a suit, he must accept that it implies responsibility and authority. Too often, men do not like to wear suits because it means the loss of individuality. Much like a uniform at school, a suit in the business world can make some men feel as though they are just a cog in the corporate wheel. They believe that by wearing whatever they want, they stand out from the crowd and express themselves in a purer form.

If the desire is to avoid that uniform look, then the best decision any man can make is to choose French cuffs. They are the antithesis of conformity. Nothing says free spirit better than French cuffs.

During the 1980s, the image that best personified greed was Gordon Gekko and his blue shirt with the white collar and white button cuffs. Today, nearly 25 years after that first Wall Street film was released, that one fashion choice still sums up the Master of the Universe ideal that Tom Wolfe wrote about in his 1987 novel The Bonfire of the Vanities. Cuffs can resonate more than the cut of your suit or the colour of your tie. To take it one step further, so that the cuff statement is even stronger and reflects more of your personality, there is the French cuff.

In today's world, where the divide between the haves and have-nots seems to grow on a daily basis, the thinking is that French cuffs are not for your everyman. This, however, cannot be further from the truth. Today's everyman is the individual, he is the guy making a living, the one who is not famous and perhaps not even popular. He does not need to be rich or well educated. But this everyman does believe in standing out from the crowd.

There are some men who ruin the idea of French cuffs (the US vice president Joe Biden comes to mind - he of the bad hair plugs, the fake teeth and the constant need to not shut up), but the few should not outweigh the benefits for the many. French cuffs can be elegant without being gaudy; they can be classic without being pretentious; they can make a statement without yelling.

French cuffs allow a man's personality to come through because of the options when deciding which cufflinks to wear: silk knots, sports team logos, government seals or pop-culture icons can all be easily purchased and they can help define the man and project the desired image. They are the punctuation to the statement that you are your own man.

Nearly 200 years ago, the cufflink became fashionable. Today, it is time everyman makes the choice to wear a piece of history and show off his cuffs.

Michael Jabri-Pickett is the news editor at The National

mjp@thenational.ae