Have you thought about how many buttons should be on the cuffs of your jacket? There are neither rules nor even general conventions that determine how many buttons should be on your jacket’s cuffs. Some makers vary the number of buttons on their jackets based on the number of buttons on the front, if the jacket is single- or double-breasted, or if the jacket is a suit jacket or odd jacket. The current standard around the world is to have four buttons on the cuffs off any type of jacket. This has long been the standard for English tailors, but now it’s the most common number of cuff buttons on Italian and American suits. Anthony Sinclair made almost all of Sean Connery’s jackets with four buttons on the cuffs. Angelo Vitucci put four buttons on the button two jackets he made for Roger Moore in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker. Douglas Hayward used four buttons on the two dinner jackets and blazer in A View to a Kill. Timothy Dalton’s navy pinstripe suit and dinner jackets in The Living Daylights have four buttons on the cuffs. All except one of Pierce Brosnan’s and all of Daniel Craig’s Brioni jackets—seen in the five films from GoldenEye through Casino Royale—have four buttons on the cuffs. Four cuff buttons is the most common number of buttons that Bond wears on his jacket cuffs, but the number Bond’s cuff buttons has varied over the years.
Three is the next most common number of buttons on the cuffs for James Bond. George Lazenby’s dinner jacket, navy blazer and most of his suit jackets in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service have three buttons on the cuffs. Angelo Vitucci used three buttons for Roger Moore’s double-breasted jackets: the dinner jackets in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker and the skydiving blazer in Moonraker. Vitucci also put three buttons on the cuffs of the single-button cream suit. His sleeve buttons followed a system: his four-button cuffs echoed the even number of buttons on the front of a button-two jacket, whilst his three-button cuffs echoed the three rows on the front of the double-breasted jacket and the button one jacket’s odd number on the front.
Douglas Hayward put three buttons on all of Roger Moore’s jackets in For Your Eyes Only and Octopussy and on the suit jackets and tweed jackets in A View to a Kill. Timothy Dalton’s grey herringbone and beige suit jackets in The Living Daylights have three buttons on the cuffs, and all of his jackets in Licence to Kill have three buttons on the cuffs. Three-button cuffs were common in the 1980s, and at that time they were the standard on Italian suits. Pierce Brosnan’s tan Brioni suit jacket in GoldenEye is oddly the only jacket of his four films that has has three buttons on the cuffs. Three-button cuffs returned to the series with the Tom Ford suits in Skyfall. Those are designed for only the first two buttons to fasten. The last buttonhole is a little longer than the others.
On the Quantum of Solace suit jackets by Tom Ford, the last buttonhole is longer like it is in Skyfall. These suit jackets, however, have a total of five buttons on the cuffs. There is no precedent for five buttons on a jacket’s cuffs, and it’s quite an excessive number of buttons. Then again, three or four cuffs could just as easily be seen as excessive if there wasn’t a tradition of having three or four buttons on the cuffs.
Two-button cuffs on a jacket are something Bond has only worn a few times in the series. Bond has only worn two-button cuffs on odd jackets, and the style is seen by some as less formal than having three or four buttons on the cuffs. The first appearance of this style is on the Anthony Sinclair navy blazer in Dr. No. Sean Connery later wears two tweed jackets in Diamonds Are Forever with two-button cuffs. Timothy Dalton’s gun club check jacket in The Living Daylights is the last jacket of the series to feature two-button cuffs. The two-button cuff was popular in the 1950s and 1960s on suit jackets and odd jackets in America. The classic Brooks Brothers button two show one jackets have two buttons on the cuffs, spaced apart, like on Felix Leiter’s suit in Goldfinger.
One-button jacket cuffs, a 1960s trend, are slightly more popular with Bond than two-button cuffs. George Lazenby wears a number of jackets with this style in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service; his cream linen suit jacket, his light blue suit jacket and his houndstooth check jacket all have a single button on the cuffs. Like two-button cuffs, some people consider one-button cuffs a less formal style than three- and four-button cuffs, and Lazenby’s one-button cuff examples are less dressy than his suits and double-breasted blazer with three-button cuffs. But in the 1960s, a single button was often put on the cuff of dressier jackets as well. Cyril Castle made many of Roger Moore’s dinner jackets, suit jackets and odd jackets in The Saint and The Persuaders with a single button on the cuffs, and they often have a turnback “gauntlet” cuff. The single-button gauntlet cuff made it to Roger Moore’s navy overcoat in Live and Let Die and his white silk dinner jacket in The Man with the Golden Gun. On Moore’s one button cuffs, the button is slightly larger than the standard 24L cuff buttons, but it’s not as large as the button on the front would be.
Roger Moore wears a style of cuff in Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun that resembles a one-button cuff but actually has two buttons. It’s called the flared link cuff and has the sides of the cuff “kissing” instead of overlapping as they ordinarily would. The end result is a button on either side that has the effect of a double-sided cufflink. There’s only a buttonhole on the outer end of the cuff, and a button is sewn to either side on the inner end of the cuff. The flared cuff adds an interesting flair to Roger Moore’s suits, and it is supposedly Moore’s own idea. He first wore the cuff on a few suits in The Persuaders. Patrick Macnee earlier had this style of closure added to a suit cuff in The Avengers that originally had no buttons. James Bond has never worn a jacket without cuff buttons, but Patrick Macnee wears a few suit jackets without cuff buttons in The Avengers, and Roger Moore wears a suit jacket without cuff buttons in The Man Who Haunted Himself. These jackets have a vent without an overlap at the end of the sleeve so it doesn’t look like the buttons were forgotten.
An illustration of the flared link cuff
Cuff buttons can be spaced in various ways. Most English jacket have the buttons touching or with a little bit of space between them. Cuff buttons on Italian suits are often done the same way, but many Neapolitan tailors overlap the buttons in a “waterfall” style. Older American suits sometimes had the buttons spaced a full button-width apart. The space from the last button to the edge of the cuff is also something to consider. Today, the standard is to place the centre of the last button 1 1/2″ from the edge, though on Bond’s suits before the 1990s the last button was typically 1 1/4″ from the edge.