The double cuff, also known as the French cuff, is a type of shirt cuff that folds back on itself and fastens with cufflinks. The double cuff is the most formal type of cuff after the single-link cuff, which also fastens with cufflinks but only has a stiff single layer. For the double cuff to fold over neatly, it needs to have a light and soft interfacing, either fused or sewn. A heavy or stiff interfacing won’t fold over as nicely, and the reason for the cuff folding is to give the cuff stability without the stiffness of the single cuff. Double cuffs should always be fastened in the kissing position and never overlapping like a button cuff.
The formality of the double cuff makes it the standard cuff on shirts for black tie, though cocktail cuffs are also appropriate with black tie. Double cuffs are a minimum requirement for morning dress, but single-link cuffs are a dressier option. Double cuffs are also appropriate with any suit for any occasion. They pair nicely with blazers and most sports coats as well. The formality of double cuffs, however, demands a tie. They should not be worn in a casual environment.
Double cuffs vary primarily in two ways: the corner style and the placement of the link-holes. Most double cuffs have a square corner. They may also have rounded corners or mitred (angle-cut) corners, and typically this describes the corner at the back edge of the cuff and not the folded edge. Rounded cuffs have the benefit of sliding through jacket cuffs more smoothly. Double cuffs may be styled in other ways, such as with a mitred corner at the fold or with a contoured back edge, but these are fussier and less traditional designs.
Though double cuffs with square corners are technically the most formal, practically there is no difference. Any style of double cuff can be worn the same way. Bond has worn square, mitred and rounded double cuffs with black tie, and he has worn square and rounded double cuffs with his suits. The mitred cuffs on his dress shirts in Goldfinger have unusually large mitred corners.
The placement of the link-holes has varied on Bond’s double cuffs. On Bond’s British shirts from Turnbull & Asser and Frank Foster, the link-holes are placed close to the fold, which shows off the cufflinks and gives the cuff both flare and flair. On Bond’s Sulka, Brioni and Tom Ford shirts, the link-holes are centred on the cuffs. This prevents the cuffs from flaring out, meaning they’re less likely to get stuck inside a jacket sleeve. This link-hole placement has the downside of hiding the cufflinks further inside the jacket sleeves.
From Dr. No through Licence to Kill, James Bond almost exclusively wears double cuffs with black tie and other formal wear. Goldfinger is the exception, where Bond also wears double cuffs with his suits and sports coats. Starting with GoldenEye, Bond almost always has worn double cuff shirts with his suits as well.
James Bond breaks the rules in Quantum of Solace when he wears a shirt with double cuffs with his shawl-collar cardigan, but the results are less than favourable. Not only do formal double cuffs clash with this casual ensemble, they bind under a snug knitted cuff.