Ever noticed the buttons on the sleeve of a suit jacket?

You normally have three or four buttons in a neat row on the sleeve of a suit jacket, dinner jacket, or blazer. These buttons may be functional or non-functional, but you’ll find that they’re normally non-functional on an off-the-peg suit. On a custom-made suit, it’s really up to you – as is picking how many buttons the suit jacket has, whether the lapel has a buttonhole, whether the pockets are slanted, etc. When these sleeve buttons are functional, you’ve got what are called ‘surgeon cuffs’.

Surgeon cuffs, sometimes called ‘surgeon’s cuffs’ or ‘working buttonholes’, trace their roots back to Savile Row in London, in the early to mid-19th century. Military surgeons would unbutton and roll up the sleeves of their uniforms to avoid staining them when attending to patients. It was adopted by tailors as a sign of high quality and craftsmanship, hence the name. Surgeon cuffs are considered a status symbol, as off-the-peg suit buttons are normally non-functional. Thus, the lowest button is often kept undone, ergo showing that the buttons are indeed functional. Alternatively, you might unbutton your sleeve buttons when washing your hands, but otherwise keep them buttoned. Like Milanese buttonholes, then, surgeon cuffs really just serve a cosmetic purpose for the most part – a sign that you’re wearing a good, expensive suit.

Mister Singh’s Fashion Gallery is a suit tailor in Phuket, Bangkok, and Khao Lak with decades of experience in cutting high-quality suits. If you’re looking to get a suit with surgeon cuffs custom-made by skilled tailors at an affordable price, simply send us a message through the contact form below, and we’ll get back to you promptly. Even if you won’t be visiting Thailand in the near future, we have options available to you.

  • You can order online. The process is simple, and we do accept credit/debit card payments, among other options. As part of ordering online, we ask that you send us a well-fitting garment so that we can get your measurements for your new suit. This is then returned to you along with your new suit. We can also assist you in measuring the garment yourself through a virtual appointment, however.
  • We have a travelling tailor service, where we host trunk shows in a number of major cities around the world. At these events, you’re able to look at some ideas for inspiration, and pick the fabric that you’d like for your suit. We’ll also measure you up, and these measurements will be kept on file so it’ll be easy to order additional clothes online in the future.


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