National Clothesline
National Clothesline
What about those French cuffs?
What do you do with French cuff shirts? These shirts surely present a small percentage of all
the shirts that we process, but they present some interesting opportunities for us and probably,
due to that, they tend to stand out in our minds.
There are a variety of ways to
present French cuffs and surely
there is no wrong way and no
right way. I am not endorsing
one way over another.
What you do may be dictated,
to a certain extent, by your
customers’ expectations. In
certain geographic areas, certain things are done certain ways for no apparent reason. This is
true whether you are talking about French cuffs, equipment layouts or what materials are used
for railings.
I have seen French cuffs packaged like the
one in Photo 1.
This is what I did and it’s probably the way
that I see them least often. You shouldn’t do
this because I did, but you might start doing
this when you learn why I did it. I’ll get back to
I have seen French cuffs pressed folded. I
can’t say that I have seen this often, but a few
times. It seems a bizarre thing to do and I
don’t think that GQ would approve, but if that’s
what your market expects, then you may have
to comply.
You may cause irreparable damage to the
shirt if you don’t press the crease at the
precisely correct place. The buttonholes, of
course, must be perfectly aligned. A Chicago
drycleaner was reviewed on Yelp by someone
complaining that this wasn’t done, “…I continue
to ask for my shirts with French cuffs to be
pressed with the cuff folded… and they
continue to forget to do it.”
Maybe the drycleaner knows better?
Most often, I see French cuffs folded in the
manner in which they are worn — folded gently
and a quasi-cuff link inserted.
I guess that this is OK, but about 30 years
ago an old-timer told me how that custom
began and it put a bad taste in my mouth, so I
never did it. I have seen rental-quality, give-
away cuff links used instead of that little black
nub that is often seen. The budget version of
these is what you see pictured in Photo 2. It
performs the same function.
Sometimes, you hear things that sound
particularly credible, even when what you
heard sounds, well, incredible.
More than 30 years ago, an old-time
drycleaner was chatting with me. He took a set
of French cuffs into his aged hands and said,
“back in the day, shirt laundrymen didn’t know
how to get the dirty ring out of these cuffs, so
they would fold them after pressing because
that way the ring wouldn’t be so obvious.”
Look at Photo 3. I think that he’s right, either
that or he spun a heck of a wives’ tale. I was
taught that any job worth doing was a job
worth doing right, so I just got the cuffs clean
and was proud to show my customers!
“If you do what you always did, you’ll get what you always got!”
Don Desrosiers has been in the drycleaning and shirt laundering