Before we even catch a glimpse of James Bond's face in Dr. No (1962), the camera gets distracted by his jacket sleeve, which has a beautiful shallow turn-back cuff. This design was explicitly written into Bond's character description by Ian Flemming. Fleming saw the origin of elegance in subtle sartorial details such as this.
However, the turn-back cuff is not just a decorative detail. Also known as the gauntlet cuff, the turn-back borrows its name from medieval armour - the gauntlet of a glove - that protects the lower arm from battle wounds. Like the gauntlet, the turn-back cuff provides an "armour" for the end of the sleeve from the inevitable wear and tear of day-to-day life. Once worn out, the maker can easily remove the cuff to reveal a perfect unworn sleeve edge!
Historically, these types of cuffs date as far back 16th and 17th centuries [think old school like Anthony Van Dyck's portraits] on tailcoats and frock coats. Later, they came into fruition as a fashionable vogue in the Edwardian era on a range of jacket and coat styles, e.g. sportswear, eveningwear.
Nowadays, you can find the turn-back cuff on a variety of garments. No rules apply.
We think the turn-back cuff gives our bespoke creations a unique flair that catches the eye.
Here is a piece we've been working on in the studio recently.
Moire Silk turn back Cuffs
Turnback cuffs have always been a pleasure to make. They add Elegance and flair to a jacket without being too ‘showy’. We I have made them in every cloth conceivable however I have to say my favourite is when creating evening wear. I have been working on a single breasted, one button peak lapel evening suit for a customer. The cloth is a black wool/mohair barathea mix which is traditional for an evening suit however he decided on a blue moire silk for the facings, pocket flaps and turnback cuffs to reflect his character.
Making up the turn back:
This is the turn back because the moire has a pattern I must ensure the pattern matches on both cuffs. The cuff is faced with a matching lining to the suit lining.
The cuff basted on to the sleeve of the jacket. As you can see the curve just kisses the corner of the first buttonhole marked here.
The completed cuff and pocket flaps in moire silk.
A special thank you to our intern India Ayles for her help with this post!