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How James Bond Taught Me to Say “Oui” to French Cuffs

As a former boarding school attendee, I’ve been wearing dress shirts consistently since I was 14 years old. Back then, it was all about function: Personal style was the last thing on my mind when I was putting on a coat and tie for the sake of my biology professor. Button cuffs were the natural choice, and as I grew older they just became the standard.

Then I saw Casino Royale.

I don’t need to go into detail about why Daniel Craig’s first James Bond film is cinematic badassery at its finest. The cars, the women, the world-class poker skills… the movie is two hours of pure swagger. Like so many young men in 2006, I yearned to harness even a modicum of Craig’s cool, despite the fact that the closest thing I had to an Aston Martin was a ’98 Jeep Cherokee. Regardless, I was determined to find something, and the scene that stuck out was when a discrete-yet-stylish pair of cufflinks peeked out from the spy’s perfectly tailored tuxedo. Until that moment, French cuffs had never crossed my mind, but 007 gave them instant street cred in my mind. I bought a white shirt and some simple silk cufflinks—Craig’s looked to be platinum, but I had to start somewhere—and began working them into my wardrobe rotation. While Eva Green wasn’t calling me every five minutes, the compliments did come in droves and haven’t stopped since. I realized quickly that French cuffs are one of those little touches that are easy to implement but come off like next-level style. The key is just to keep them on the simple side (here in 2013 I no longer pine for the platinum set). Anything too ornate or shiny is less James Bond and more ‘90s-era Donald Trump…and I think we all know who wins that contest.

Photo: MGM

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