What is Wednesday #16.

What is Wednesday.

WIW #16 - surgeon's cuff

This weekly Wednesday post is aimed at answering some of the more basic and critical aspects of tailoring and the terminology we use to describe them. It stems from realizing that I’m constantly throwing out different terms with my clients and quite often they’re unsure as to what I exactly mean.  The goal of this section then is to alleviate this terminology gap and provide you with some know-how to talk tailoring with a little more ease.

What is…a surgeon’s cuff?

A surgeon’s cuff – or working cuffs – refer to the functioning buttonholes that are found at the cuff of the jackets sleeve.  The fact that they’re functioning gives the wearer the ability to roll the cuff in the event they choose to do so.  The name comes from the 19th century when surgeons would roll their cuffs back when operating on patients.  This allowed them to keep their coats on which was important as men of their stature were always expected to be formal in the public sphere.

WIW #16 - surgeon's cuff II

As for today – it must be stated that nobody should be rolling their sleeves up as if you’re hot then simply take the jacket off.  If you want to show that your jacket has working cuffs then simply unbutton one or two of the buttons to subtly make the point as seen in the image above.

One more note – going back a decade or so the practice of the surgeon’s cuff was maintained as a way to show your suit was of a higher quality.  At the time this was due to the fact that it required an extra sewing operation hence an additional cost – one that would only be incurred on a higher end suit.  Lately however everyone is doing surgeon’s cuff precisely to appear as a higher quality jacket while cutting corners in the more important areas.  The moral of the story – they can be a nice detail but don’t let their presence fool you.

As always please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions or comments. Better yet book a free appointment and we can banter in person and see if we might be a good fit to work together.

Take care – Michael


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