Q You often mention cuffs on trousers. You must favor the look. Aren't cuffs old-fashioned, if not actually dated?
A: Some styles have an aristocratic air. Cuffs on trousers fit this category. They give a fine-finished, polished look to a suit. Men who pay attention to the details of dress invariably have their suits cuffed. Odd trousers, not part of a suit, also benefit from this well-tailored finishing touch.
The abrupt end of a plain hem on pants seems to suggest a hurried bit of casual tailoring. When you're standing in front of the mirror ready to have your trousers marked for shortening, the tailor will generally say, "Plain bottoms?" as more of a statement nTC than a question. He says this quickly, because plain bottoms are easier to finish than cuffs. But if you have been observing how the best-dressed men wear their pants, you will have him make cuffs.
You're probably thinking: "Cuffs are for old men; my father wore cuffs." The truth is that well-dressed Ivy League types have always worn cuffs. And now they are "in" even for the fashion-conscious. Today's dapper dressers favor pleated pants overwhelmingly over plain fronts. Cuffs and pleated pants are naturals together. If you look at the men's magazines, you will see cuffs. Soon you will be noticing them more often. Your eye will adjust and they will no longer seem strange.
When you are buying a new suit, the salesman is not likely to suggest cuffs. Next year when you see everyone else with cuffs, you may be back for another suit. If you try cuffs and really hate them, you can always have them removed. But it's tough to add them. Not impossible, if you save the fabric, but difficult. The current size for cuffs is between 1 1/4 and 1 1/2 inches.
Send your questions or comments to Lois Fenton, Today in Style, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278. Ms. Fenton welcomes questions about men's dress or grooming for use in this column but regrets she cannot answer mail personally.
Ms. Fenton, the author of "Dress for Excellence" (Rawson Associates, $19.95), conducts wardrobe seminars for Fortune 500 companies around the country.