Tony Curtis And The French Buttondown

We’ve been on the topic of buttondowns lately, and even rarer in Tradsville than the piqué is this iteration. Pictured is Tony Curtis in a custom shirt (note monogram) consisting of buttondown collar and French cuffs. We can only assume the stubble was for an acting role. It’s an unusual combination, but more of an odd quirk than heresy against some inherent logic of menswear. 

22 Comments on "Tony Curtis And The French Buttondown"

  1. I have a feeling the French would be insulted to hear their name associated with a shirt that has cuffs that take cuff links paired with a buttondown collar. Kind of Franken-monstrosity of a shirt if you ask me. It’s like wearing a double-breasted notch lapel suit. Quelle horreur!

  2. I had a button down/French cuff shirt from Arrow in late 60’s.

  3. I agree with Mitchell. It’s incorrect because french cuffs are formal while the button-down collar is informal. If one wants to make their suit a little less formal wear an OCBD, not this abomination. I am sorry that I found this picture.

  4. There’s a picture of George Harrison wearing a club-button-down collar with French cuffs. Even Ol’ Blue Eyes wore a pink buttondown with cufflinks in… some movie of which its name escapes me. Definitely interesting.

  5. I don’t recall Tony Curtis ever claiming to be Ivy League or represent Ivy style.
    That having been said, I am not a fan of this combination.

  6. Knit tie and French cuffs??

  7. It’s unusual and I wouldn’t do it myself. But we must be careful when applying the formal/informal argument, as that’s so much a part of this style. I suppose the distinction is in how items are worn rather than how they’re made.

  8. I thought about that, which I why I said one could always wear an OCBD with a suit (which is informal and technically incorrect, in a good way) rather than this odd hybrid. It’s not quite an OCBD and it’s not quite a dress shirt. An OCBD can be dressed up and down, this thing tries to do both simultaneously and fails each time.

  9. Kind of sad considering Curtis’ father was a tailor who used to make him custom suits.

    In the 50s, Curtis was famous for his hairstyle rather than the style of his clothing or accessories.

  10. I think Curtis is remembered for the women he married. In that he had a good eye.

  11. Michael Brady | November 22, 2017 at 10:55 am |

    The hard-top convertible of dress shirts.

  12. A Trad Confused | November 22, 2017 at 2:12 pm |

    This look is terrible, and I never liked Tony C.

  13. He married Janet Leigh. The guy can wear polka dot pants and get away with it.

  14. william plumer | November 29, 2017 at 2:29 pm |

    Cary Grant wore a button down shirt with French cuffs in the 1946 film “Notorius”

  15. @ William Plumer

    You are, of course, correct.
    The shirt was 100% American.

  16. Do also please consider the natural shouldered double breasted suit from Brooks with the button down collared shirt.
    Such things were indeed done.

  17. Cary Grant wearing a button down collar shirt and French cuffs in “Notorious”:

    https://www.alamy.com/cary-grant-notorious-1946-rko-file-reference-31475-047tha-image218996895.html

  18. I forget the name of the cuff, but it’s basically a soft, unlined cuff for cufflinks. Norman Hilton favored this style. Instead of the cuff button, there are two buttonholes— a smaller, subtle cufflink (about the size of a blazer cuff button). Seems perfectly Ivy— the merging of the casual and the formal

  19. S.E.,
    Yes, there are single-cuff (not double-cuff/French cuff) shirts with two button holes and no buttons–made for cufflinks:

    https://hollenwolff.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Shirt-InsetsGrey1.jpg

  20. Here’s another example of a single-cuff shirt for cufflinks:

    http://www.raresplendors.com/images/Wear%20Cuff%20Links%202.jpg

  21. michael powell | May 2, 2021 at 4:13 pm |

    I’ve got two OCBDs with “French” cuffs.I wear size 18-36 shirts. I got a great deal on some 18-38 shirts. Rather than spend money with a tailor, I found out you can just fold the cuff (2.5 inches) back on itself one time, button it – and you’ve got an 18-35.5 shirt. Voila – faux “French” cuffs. Nobody notices, because there’s no cuff links to attract attention. And it really doesn’t look bad at all.

  22. There was that interview with Michael Caine where he said he was ordering his shirts with button down collars and French cuffs. I believe from Turnbull and Asser… Cannot seem to find it now.

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