Cocktail (Turnback) Cuffs

Turnback cuffs in Dr. No

Casino cuff, flowback cuff, Neapolitan cuff, Milanese cuff, Portofino cuff. Some even call it the James Bond cuff. You might know it as any of these names, but Turnbull & Asser call it the two-button turnback cuff and Frank Foster called it the cocktail cuff. Tom Ford called it the Dr. No cuff when they made it for Spectre. I’m partial to the cocktail cuff name myself. Terence Young, the director of Dr. No, From Russia with Love, and Thunderball dressed James Bond as he dressed himself. Not only did he bring Sean Connery to his tailor, Anthony Sinclair, but also to his shirtmaker, Turnbull & Asser, and Young himself wore cocktail cuffs.

Turnbull & Asser turnback cuffs in From Russia With Love
Turnbull & Asser turnback cuffs in From Russia With Love

I’ve read many things about the origins of the cuff, and most people say that they were designed for the James Bond movies and designed for evening wear. Turnbull & Asser claims to have invented them. Frank Foster says that he invented them, and in fact he made some of Connery’s shirts in Dr. No. Yet another story says they were invented for David Niven by Ede & Ravenscroft or Hawes & Curtis. The cuff origin’s may actually be from a century before James Bond wore them, and the true origins of the cuff are unknown.

If cocktail cuffs were designed for the James Bond films, they were not initially intended for evening wear but for only with lounge suits and sports coats. Sean Connery only wears cocktail cuffs with evening wear in Thunderball, his fourth Bond film. He wears them with lounge suits in all of his Bond movies except Goldfinger (in which he wore double cuffs with everything). Except for Thunderball, Connery always wears double cuffs with his evening wear. In You Only Live Twice and Diamonds Are Forever, Connery leaves the second button of his cocktail cuff open and let the cuff roll back a bit more.


Roger Moore wears cocktail cuffs on his Frank Foster shirts with his lounge suits and sports coats in Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun, and wears them with evening wear in The Man with the Golden Gun and in Moonraker. He also wears them with with lounge suits (and perhaps evening wear too, I can’t remember) in the final season of The Saint, and in The Persuaders he wears a single-button cocktail cuff with extra buttons to keep the turn-back in place, similar to a button-down collar. Moore goes back to the two-button cuff for Bond, but the cuffs are cut differently in Live and Let Die than the ones that are in The Saint and The Man with the Golden Gun, though your really have to know what to look for.

Frank Foster turnback cuffs in The Man with the Golden Gun. Notice the design has changed since Live and Let Die.

Then there is Connery in Never Say Never Again, which I don’t include as part of the James Bond series. Connery wears the same button-down cocktail cuff that Roger Moore wears in The Persuaders, with both lounge suits and evening wear.

Cocktail cuffs can also be seen on Don Adams in the first season of Get Smart and on Dick Van Dyke in the The Dick Van Dyke Show. Martin Landau occasionally wears them in Mission Impossible. Peter Sellers wears them in What’s New Pussycat. I once spotted game show mogul Mark Goodson wearing them on an appearance on Family Feud. Peter Ustinov was also a fan. A lot of jazz musicians were very style-conscious in the 60s and too can be seen sporting cocktail cuffs.

There are about as many ways to design cocktail cuffs as there is to design collars, and creating an attractive and unique cuff is just as difficult as it is when making a collar. The turnback should be integrated into the design of the cuff and not look like it was merely stuck on. There really is no practical purpose to the cocktail cuff so at the very least it should look nice. The ends of the cuff should be rounded. If the ends are cut square they will easily get caught inside the sleeve of your jacket and the cuff will need frequent adjusting.


The image above is how Connery’s Turnbull & Asser two-button turnback cuff looks unfolded. Turnbull & Asser’s cuff for Connery is designed to roll back and not just fold back. However, the cuff they make today is not the same as this one.


Next is Frank Foster’s cocktail cuff unfolded, as seen in The Man with the Golden Gun and Moonraker. Foster’s cuff folds back neatly, and it’s very clear exactly where the cuff is designed to fold.


The last design shows how not to cut a cocktail cuff. The corners are the top of the base section of the cuff will curl back while the corners at the end will get caught inside the sleeves. The makers of these usually put a heavy fusing inside so they don’t curl back, though that’s not a good solution for a poor design. Many online shirt makers make the cuffs like this, but most reputable makers save this design for women’s shirts.

This covers the essentials about the cocktail cuff (or whatever you like to call it) but if you have any questions feel free to ask.


    • I know it’s a bit late in the game, but cocktail cuffs can be ordered on any shirt from the website Standardized sizes are available, as well as tailored measurements. I’m not certain how widely they ship, however (i.e. continental U.S. or elsewhere).

  1. Udeshi specialises in them. New & Lingwood often has some. Occasionally Turnbull & Asser offers some RTW. You might find some from Ben Sherman, Finamore Napoli, Domenico Vacca, Borrelli, Charvet, Poggianti, Reiss, Baracuta, Opalona, or Profuomo. YMMV

  2. This is one item that I don't like. Have tried them a couple of times but just don't get it. Prefer either barrel cuffs for regular or french for more formal occasions. But that's just me!

    • I agree. Those look weird and awkward to button. If you’re going for that specific look that’s fine, but for me, like you Mighty Pir, Barrel or French.

  3. Matt,

    Have you noticed that professor Dent also wears a shirt with a turnback cuff in Dr No? I have never noticed it before but was viewing it the other day and accidentially freeze framed the movie at a moment where the cuffs of the good professor were visible. Wonder if he was borrowing one of Connery's shirts?

    (The scene I'm referring to is the one where Bond is at the Queens Club with the gentlemen who last saw Strangways alive)


  4. I never noticed that Dent was wearing turnback cuffs too. Thanks for pointing that out. But his cuff is a little different than Connery's, most noticeably the buttons are spaced farther apart. It's a different shape overall and suggest a different shirtmaker. It looks more like Roger Moore's cuffs from Frank Foster. The clothes in that scene differ a lot from the rest of what he wears in the movie. It is possible that the clothes at the Queens Club were his own and the rest were from the wardrobe department. Desmond Llewelyn had mentioned having to wear his own clothing, so it may have been the same for Anthony Dawson in this scene. He probably saw Terence Young or Connery with this cuff and through he'd wear the same.

    • Most actors in that period wore their own clothing- studios never provided it and when they did it was either inferior quality or for a period piece

  5. Check out Deo Veritas (online MTM shirt maker — They also offer cocktail cuffs…gonna try them out soon. Will let you guys know how it turns out.

  6. The Deo Veritas cocktail cuff seems to put the button too far away from the fold. The cuff will not keep it's shape this way. The only way that it might work is if the cuff is very stiff, but that is not a good solution. A good cocktail cuff should be soft and have a soft interlining. Here is how the buttons should be placed in relation to the fold:

    Point this out to them before ordering.

  7. I contacted them and they told me that they also offer sewn interlinings for both the collar & cuff. He also indicated that they can place the buttons anywhere but that you want to leave at least 1/4" between the fold and the button.

  8. The button should be sewn about 1/2" away from the fold (from the centre of the button). The image on the site has the button at least 1 inch away from the fold, and that's too much.

  9. I'm ordering one today…told him I'd like the button 1/2" away from the fold. They said they could accomodate this. I went with the White Super Dobby (with sewn interlining option)…set me back $78. Should get the shirt in 3-4 weeks. Will send pics when it's in my hands.

  10. Splendid blog! Another person I know of who wore the James Bond Cuff (my favorite name for this cuff) was Martin Landau in the roll of Rollin Hand in the Mission: Impossible TV series in the 1960's. You could see the cuff during the briefing at the beginning of a few of the episodes.

  11. This is a wonderful article on my favorite cuffs since I saw my first James Bond movie when I was 14. I am now 46 and still wear the james bond cuffs.
    I enjoyed even more your work that I was thinking I was the only crazy guy to take so attention to the cuffs.
    another word to say that Pablo Picasso used to wear these cuffs and also the french actor Jules Berry in the 40's and 50's which excludes these cuffs has been created for BOND, unfortunately.
    Charvet has very nice cocktail cuffs they call milanese cuffs.
    bravo et merci

  12. I also bought two cocktail cuff shirts from Deo Veritas. They are perfect in terms of fit and material, and the company is very helpful and accommodating with measurements and details. My only complaint with the shirts, and I blame myself for this more than anyone else, is that the cuffs are just slightly too small for my Omega Seamaster to fit underneath. I'll have to make adjustments for this when I order future shirts. Other than that I love them.

    • I’ve never heard of that, and I don’t think it would be very effective. Double cuffs for cufflinks and turnback cuffs have a soft construction whilst single link cuffs need to be stiffer to support the cufflinks. Turnbacks aren’t very effective when they are stiff. Anyway, cufflinks with a turnback would look too affected.

  13. Thanks for all the precisions. Do you know if Connery’s shirts have fused or non-fused collars ? They seem always very soft and natural, so I guess they are not fused. But the actual T & A shirts, which are non-fused, as they wrote it on their website, have not collars as soft as Connery’s, unfortunately…

    About the cocktail cuff, they claim it was created for Bond, but I have already seen shirts with these cuffs in French movies of the 50s.

    • Connery’s collars were not fused. Turnbull & Asser could possibly use a stiffer interlining now than they did back then, and I’m sure they could make you a softer collar bespoke. There are varying stories on who created the cocktail cuffs for Dr. No. Both Turnbull & Asser and Frank Foster say they made the shirts. Charvet was making cocktail cuffs before Bond, though ones I have seen were different.

  14. It is interesting to note how narrow – almost tight – are the sleeves of Bond’s suit, which push forward and give prominence to the shirt cuffs. Was this deliberate?

  15. Foster’s button down cocktail/turnback cuff (as seen in Never Say Never Again and The Persuaders) was worn, oddly, by Moore prior to that in a 2 part “Saint” adventure (later a limited theatrical release) called “Vendetta for The Saint” in his last “Saint” run in 1968. Odd because for the rest of that final season all his shirts have the regular cocktail cuff.

  16. I’ve purchased a James bond cuff shirt from indy magnoli off of his website and I am very satisfied with the quality of the cuff and of the shirt. They offer it in fine sea island cotton or for a more affordable price in cotton twill. The cuffs are rounded like they should be and the collar is very soft, does not require stiffeners. However I do wish the collar was a little bit longer on the tips bc sometimes it will fold up. But Bc Magnoli is a made to measure tailor I’m sure he can adjust the collar anyway you like…maybe might cost more. But I’m definetly going to buy at least 2 more in a pale blue and possibly ecru.

    • The shirt I see on the website is very little like Connery’s shirts. Does the shirt you got have cuffs that look better than the ones pictured on the website? They are really off in the picture. Also, the stitching on their shirts pictured is edge stitching, whilst English shirts always have the more classic 1/4″ stitching. The placket stitching would also need to copy what Turnbull & Asser does.

      • I’ll email you a pic of the shirt with the cuff. It looks nothing like the shirt they have advertised on their website. The collar on the website and the collar on my shirt are way different and the way the cuff on their site looks compared to mine is more different. Both of my buttons are visible whilst the one they on site shows only 1

  17. Approximately how much do Turnbull & Asser shirts cost and what is the minimum for purchase? The American version of their website is not very informative..

  18. If anyone is looking for cocktail cuffs off-the-peg made in the United States, may I suggest you go to I launched this company in November 2012. My shirts, in addition to the cocktail cuff, offer an underarm I Phone “5” holster or a “party pocket” to carry a condom discretely. Best regards, Clay Tompkins

  19. Whilst I make no comment as to the quality of the shirt TKMaxx sell shirts made by Coton Doux, which seem to have a Cocktail Cuff.

  20. Sir, fantastic website, so difficult to find a good bespoke shirt these days, without Saville Row nearby at least. Regarding the picture above of Roger Moore in The Man With The Golden Gun, and to replicate this shirt as close as possible, do you think it wise to order the C4/Two button collar from to ensure good collar height? Finding a higher collar is difficult these days it seems and I’d like shirts that replicate the ones from this film in particular… Many thanks in advance and please keep up the excellent work! FD

    • The image of the two-button collar on their website doesn’t look so good. You need a tall one-button collar. The way the Deo Veritas collar is shaped will show the collar band above the tie. Notice the way Frank Foster’s collar band is shaped. That’s key to having a taller collar.

      • I went ahead and ordered the basic white poplin shirt from Deo Veritas with a list of extra instructions (button on foldback cuff 1/2″ from fold, 2″ tall collar, 3.5″collar spread, 3.5″ point length etc etc) and couldn’t be happier. The company’s communication is excellent, they are very accommodating regarding specific requirements. It even arrived a week early. Superb fit and very well made shirt – I’ll be ordering more. Thanks Matt Spaiser for your advice and for an excellent site.

  21. Matt, what is the difference between Moore’s blue and yellow shirt in your post…both the cocktail cuffs look identical to me going by the photo…

    • The blue cuff is more like Connery’s in that the line from the base of the cuff to the turned-back part is continuous. It’s not as curved as Connery’s cuff, but use the diagram of his cuff for reference. The cuff on the cream shirt follows the second diagram.

    • It’s a very inaccurate copy of Connery’s shirts, even more inaccurate than most of Magnoli’s copies. Magnoli only seems to copy some of the ties well.

  22. Interesting fact:

    During a TV show promoting SPECTRE (James Bond’s SPECTRE – With Jonathan Ross) on British TV, Daniel Craig was interviewed on the set of SPECTRE and was wearing a dark blue shirt with cocktail cuffs. Not sure if it was part of an outfit for the film or not, but it was interesting to see nonetheless.

  23. Christopher Plummer wears a blue shirt with cocktail cuffs in the 1975 movie Return of the Pink Panther. He wears it in the scene in the Lugash Airport as well as the next scene in a bar with a cream suit. The cuffs looked to be very similar (at least to me) to Frank Foster’s MWTGG cuffs.

  24. I had a bad experience with deo veritas regarding their shirt quality. The gaps between the buttons on the cuffs were wildly uneven, they failed to follow instructions regarding the collar and the customer service was awful with no communication for weeks on end. Not going to use them again.

  25. As someone who likes the formality of double cuffs for business, but also has to get through the TSA lines on a regular basis Cocktail cuffs are a pragmatic solution. No more doffing of cuff links in the security line, god how I hate undressing. A pragmatic piece of clothing for any century.

    PS. Excellent blog, Mr Spaiser

  26. I have three cocktail cuff shirts made by my local shirt maker, the fabric (100% cotton) is soft and the fit is good. However, i think he did a good effort on the cuffs but didnt really nailed them. Anyway i know they are not exactly the same as Connery’s, but i like them and have received quite a few compliments in the office. What are your toughts on the cuffs, Matt?

    • The bottom cuff looks good, but the other two not so much. You could wear the second button open like Connery does in You Only Live Twice and Diamonds Are Forever, which might help a little with the look. Have you considered the more traditional 1/4″ stitching on the collar and cuffs to get more of the Bond look?

  27. Dear Matt,

    I have followed your blog for a few years now and I am amazed at the level of detail that you put in your research and your continued inspiration to find new outfits to look into.

    After pondering for several months if I should part with 125 pounds for a shirt (which is far more than I am used to), I finally went for it and ordered not one but two cocktail cuff shits from Mason & Sons (one white and one blue).
    I am based in Europe so delivery was very quick. I haven’t worn them yet but they do look great, I certainly do not regret my purchase.

    Keep up the good work!

  28. I bought the blue cocktail cuff T&A shirt a while back and this week wore at an event I organised for good luck, my suit sleeves got stuck at the top of the cuffs, however, I will have to get a suit made to suit the shirt…. good excuse. The Dr No suit cut is quite roomy by modern standards but the sleeves are not too long to show enough cuff.
    Sean is a local hero for an Edinburgh person such as myself, my father knew him through the Olympic gym but was more friendly with Sean’s brother, who worked as a plasterer (at least in the late 50s). In those days young tradesmen wore suits when going out in the evening. My uncle who wore suits to work was quicker to go casual in the evenings later in the 60s.

  29. Coton doux shirts with cocktail cuffs are terrible ; the cuffs and collar are fused and both feel very stiff, like a piece of cardboard.

    Matt, isn’t Connery wearing his shirt cuffs with only the top button buttoned on the first picture in Dr. No ?

      • Sometimes doing this can alter the length (or the perceived length) of the sleeve, particularly if the button closer to the edge is undone. I was recently getting measured at T&A and the bespoke director thought I might need some additional length on the sleeves until he realized it only appeared shorter because I had left a button undone and the way the turnback cuff was flaring. I should note this happened with the contemporary incarnation of the turnback cuff though…

  30. I’d been hearing lately that T&A now honors requests to do a more classic version of their cocktail cuffs on bespoke orders, so I gave it a shot with a recent order.

    Here’s a few pics I took for comparison – top is Matt’s diagram mockup of the original cuff (full credit to him for that), middle is a pic of the bespoke cuff and the bottom is the standard cuff they use on the “Dr No” shirts or on any standard request for a cocktail cuff on MTM/bespoke.

    • But worth pointing out is we Bond fans are a very niche demand segment in the world of clothing merchandise to begin with (which we tend to forget being in there for too long). That would never come down as reasonable since we’ll then have to pay for the extra EON licensing (like the Casino Royale dress shirt) when something of equal quality and construction can be obtained through research.

  31. Hey Matt, I heard on your appearance on the buttoned up podcast that you felt the updated cocktail cuff that T&A offers now (in bespoke) is close but not quite 100%. Do you plan to make request any tweaks to improve the design when you get the bespoke shirts you won in the contest?

    • Yes. I did ask them to make me the proper style, but I’m afraid that I’m going to need to wait until my first shirt arrives to see how the cuff turns out.

      • That’s a good point, I guess you can’t see what needs correction until you first see where it’s off. I’m actually not clear where the design comes from… I think Daniel Stroupe said it was based on Robert Gillote’s research and attempts to mimic it (I’m not sure why Robert couldn’t just ask the UK folks to pull out the vintage cuff pattern from the archives).

        I’m sometimes a little wary when it comes to asking them for very specific and minute adjustments to my pattern (particularly when the pattern cutter is right there, lol). It’s sometimes a tough line to ask for what you want vs. telling them how to do their job. (e.g. T&A used to not create the Connery style cuff no matter how nicely you asked).

        That being said, I hope you’re successful in improving the cuff design. Would be great on my next order to say “I’ll have what Spaiser’s having!” =D

  32. Across the Bond movies, it seems like there’s almost two ways of doing the cocktail cuff – one is more of a french cuff style where the part that buttons flares out slightly, and the second is quite fitted (e.g., Connery in at least the early films) where it’s almost shaped like a barrel cuff. The “Dr No” ready to wear shirts you can buy now definitely take the first approach.

  33. Have recently bought a couple of T & A’s plain classic cut shirts with Regent collar and two-button turnback cuffs. Can see why, if such cuffs’ flow requires they be soft, the lower, single-like segment would be unlikely to be stiff enough to ‘support’ modern, stiff, hinged bar closure links. But am less persuaded softish turnbacks would have to ‘support’ more traditionally designed links like either gold ovals (or, better still, tiny, gold-trimmed silver truncheon bars ) conjoined with a short gold or silver chain. Such links would surely ‘go with the flow’ of a delightfully fluid turnback cuff. It might look affected, but are turnbacks remotely about severely restrained understatement? If you’re going to flash, flaunt outrageously is what I say! No point in a subdued or sotto voce statement with such an eloquent shirt; better to embellish it’s uniqueness and draw attention to the difference. That said, T & A were uncharacteristically resistant to tweaking these almost £200.00 apiece RTW shirts by putting linkholes in them for me at any price. That would necessitate a completely bespoke shirt (or, rather, six of them). Howbeit, that point aside, your blog and many of the foregoing comments are valuably informative and interesting, so thank you for your trouble!

    • That’s an interesting idea, and would certainly work with the link holes made into a “convertible cuff” style. Logistically, though, I think you will find it extremely impractical.
      1. you would need a massive jacket cuff to accommodate the turnback portion and the overlapping linkholes, and 2. you would need 2 on both sides, meaning 4 cufflinks in total of which the top two will barely be visible as it hides beneath the overlap. I have a penchant for flashy details too, but imagining myself wearing four cufflinks every day, taking them off…

      • Would James Bond ever wear a 4-cufflink cocktail cuff? To that, I refer you to Pierce Brosnan’s answer on whether Bond would wear a condom…

        “No! Of course he doesn’t. He doesn’t have time for that. Shit, he’s going to get his nuts shot off in about two seconds—he’d better fuck her and fuck her fast.” – Maxim, 1999

      • Well, looking to Bond for the beginning AND end of style aside (I don’t think asking “WWJBD?” is always helpful), it just wouldn’t look good. If you want something similar looking to put cuff links through, you should just get a deeply scalloped or rounded double cuff. That’s probably why T&A didn’t want to do that. They were saving you from yourself. ;)

  34. The cocktail cuffs in FRWL seem a bit different than from in Dr No. Aren’t they a bit shorter in height ? Isn’t the roll a bit different too ?

  35. Between Mason and sons, Tom Ford and T&A, how would you rank their RTW cocktail cuffs Matt, in term of how close they match Connery’s ?

  36. Hello, where can I find a list of shirt makeras who provide shirts with cocktail cuffs. Thanks you

    • The most reliable places to get them ready-to-wear are from Mason & Sons and Udeshi. Turnbull & Asser have a few in their collection now, including one based directly on the Connery’s version of the cuff. In bespoke, there are too many to list.

    • I found the ones from Udeshi too affected for my tastes. This was back in the dark ages of cocktail cuff offerings so I was pretty much willing to give any company a shot. They would’ve had my return business if they could’ve just offered a “normal” version in addition to the one with the red stitching, colored gauntlet, oversized collar, etc. The options are so much better now. T&A and M&S are some top shelf choices.

  37. My go-to cuffs are cocktail cuffs, my tailor makes all my shirts this way. I used to get some combo single button that could also take cuff links, but I prefer these. I’ve never met anyone in the wild wearing cocktail cuffs.


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