The Mad Tailor strikes again and draws the spotlight on the smallest details that separate the wheat from the chaff in classic menswear. Today we look at a very special detail: the Gauntlet or Turnback Cuff.
Many gentlemen will neither have heard of nor seen a “gauntlet”. This detail is said to have originated in the Edwardian era and was a popular addition to the sleeves of tailcoats and frock coats at that time. The detail is not only decorative as it also served to protect the end of the sleeve from abrasion. Gauntlets experienced a renaissance in the 50s and 60s and are even featured in the very first scene of the Bond film Doctor No.
James Bond always wore it
Before audiences ever got to know Bond (played by Sean Connery, of course), we were introduced to the Baccarat-playing (in the Chemin de Fer variation) sleeve of his tuxedo jacket and its silk turnback cuff. I recall, even from earliest childhood, how much of an effect this style had on me (a massive Bond fan, to the surprise of no one) and it has been a detail that I have always regarded with a certain affection ever since. Bond wore it on many of his dinner jackets. From his midnight blue dinner suit in Dr No and his equally blue equally dinnerish suit in From Russia with Love (both creations by Anthony Sinclair) to his eggshell dinner jacket in The Man with the Golden Gun (tailored by the legendary Cyril Castle), they all feature a turnback cuff. Robert Mendes’ A Quantum of Solace has Bond wear a silk gauntlet on his Tom Ford tuxedo. However, Bond does not only allow for gauntlets on his evening wear. His navy double-breasted chesterfield coat in Live and Let Die (also created by Cyril Castle for Roger Moore’s Bond) is not left unadorned. In fact, Moore and Castle’s relationship was most fruitful for those among us that can appreciate a good turnback cuff. Castle had previously designed suits with gauntlets for Moore to be featured in The Persuaders and The Saint.
A note on gauntlets: Yes, you can really adorn all jackets with gauntlets. That being said, some experts will tell you that is a more sporting detail, making it more suitable to heavy flannel suits or sports jackets, while others insist that it should mainly be reserved for evening suits (with none other than Prince Charles usually requesting silk cuffs for his dinner suits by Anderson & Sheppard).
As I am a believer that you can never have too many gauntlets, we are proud to announce that this detail (in an exclusive Maximilian Mogg design) is now available on all new commissions through our made-to-measure service. The turnback cuff is generally attached after the second fitting and the addition will cost 60 €.
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Ian Fleming himself was a big fan of turnback cuffs and almost of his jackets – from double-breasted navy blazers to tweed sportscoats – were fitted with gauntlets. Little wonder then that a love of gauntlets was not reserved to Bond, but also shared by the occasional villain in the original novels and short stories (Sir Hugo Drax in Moonraker and Wing Commander Rattray in From a View to a Kill to name but two). MM/DC