Getting the right dress shirt for a tall man can be a challenge. Often they are big and tall in a single category. Or they call themselves ‘tall’ but aren’t really that much longer than a normal shirt. Then there is the add complication of French cuffs. When are they the right cuffs to wear? And how do you wear them?

extra long dress shirts french cuffs

Dress shirt basics - what size do you need?

To get the right dress shirt in the first place, you need to understand your own size and shape. Are you a tall guy who is long in the body? Or does your height come from your legs? If you are the latter, then a normal sized dress shirt may work. But for the guy who is longer in the body, a tall fit is vital. Don’t fall into the trap of simply buying bigger in hope of solving the problem. This will simply leave loads of excess material flapping around. In fact, buying a bigger shirt will look worse than one that is too small.

The slim fit dress shirt should taper towards the waist to create a tailored, athletic look. Classic shirts tend to be straight up and down and this can leave too much material in the wrong places. A shirt fits right when all the elements apply to the parts of the body correctly. This means shoulder seams hit the shoulder. It also means cuffs hang just over the wrist, not covering the hand.

What is a French cuff?

The French cuff is a style that was once seen as the epitome of formal, more so than the button cuff. They are twice the length of normal cuffs and are folded back. Modern times has seen their popularity return with more men wearing them on more occasions. Traditionally, they paired with a lounge suit or formal clothes. But it is now okay to wear them with casual jacket or even without a jacket at all.

The other main difference to the button cuff is the lack of button. French cuffs are a type of link cuff that has buttonholes on either side. This means they are closed with either cufflinks or silk knots.

tall dress shirt french cuffs

How to wear the French cuff

There are various ways that the French cuff can be worn. The most common way of wearing the French cuffs is called ‘kissing’. This is the way they are worn in formal occasion. In it, the ends of the cuff kiss each other with holes lined up for the cufflink to pass through.

cuff links

French cuffs can also be left undone but this can look a little messy. It tends to be the option used if the shirt is going to be under a sweater where the cufflinks would be uncomfortable.

The third way is to make the French cuffs into a barrel, placing one on top of another. This is often the option used when the shirt is worn at work and the cufflinks will get in the way of using a computer.

So which way of wearing the French cuff do you think would best suit you?