To Cuff, or Not to Cuff?
February 7th, 2017
Like many details found throughout the rich history of menswear, the trouser cuff is riddled with origin myths and stories of legendary inventors.
As is the nature of men’s fashion, all of these mythical tales begin with a very real function and purpose.
For example, among the origin myths:
- Cattlemen in the old West would often turn their pants cuffs up to hold small items, like nails or staples. This would keep their supplies handy while riding the range.
- Cuffs started with men rolling up their trousers to avoid getting mud splashed on them when roads were still unpaved.
- Men used trouser cuffs to catch the ashes from their cigarettes, before there were proper ashtrays in places like trains and public waiting rooms.
- Kind Edward VII hated getting the bottom of his trousers wet, so he started to roll them. One particularly rainy season he had his tailor sew them permanently rolled, which caught on with men at large.
- Parents used cuffs to extend the life of children’s clothes by buying pants that were too long, cuffing the legs and then unrolling them as the child grew taller.
- Cuffs were invented by tailors for men with chunky thighs, to add body to the bottom of the trousers and detract from the imbalance of shape between the upper and lower legs.
- Cuffs were invented by fashion designers to add weight to the bottom of the trouser, improving the overall drape and line of the pant on models strutting down the catwalk.
- As World War II approached, cuffs on trousers were actually prohibited in order to save fabric. Flaps on coat pockets were also prohibited for the same reason. (This is true). As a reaction, cuffs became a symbol of access and wealth.
Whether or not we can be certain about where they came from, today cuffed trousers are largely a personal style preference, which is why we offer our custom trousers with or without them.
Generally, we advise on cuffs for trousers that are cut from heavier weight fabrics which are more likely to be worn with boots and footwear with chunkier soles.
Not to Cuff:
Of course, tailoring is all about personal preference… Which fabrics do you cuff?
Thanks, as always, for reading.
Yours in style,