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The Tie Cuff

Long cuffs that fasten with a knot or bow, or ‘tie cuffs’ as I have dubbed them, add a decorative element to what may be an otherwise ordinary sleeve. But if you have never sported a tie cuff, be warned: unsuspected dangers lurk in these knotty waters!

The dropped shoulder of this long sleeve belongs to a rather dramatic, billowy blouse that features very large and long tie cuffs. The first time I wore this blouse I immediately knew why I had found it at the thrift store. While the fabric is soft, it is quite substantial, and the cuff takes the form of long, wide ties, accentuated by black piping, that are knotted at the wrist. As the sleeves are quite wide too, I took care to knot them so that the ties fell on the outside of the hand.

The ties were disconcerting at first, a hindrance until I allowed gravity to drag at the weight of the knots to keep them out my way while using my computer keyboard at work. I also discovered another hazard at lunchtime: because of the heavy, floppy ties, I managed to splash a bit of my curry laksa soup on the cuff (fortunately I was able to wash it out). This blouse is clearly for those who thumb their nose at sartorial danger, and it was admired by my work colleagues.

… if you have never sported a tie cuff, be warned: unsuspected dangers lurk in these knotty waters!

Three-quarter sleeves, such as on this striped blouse with its set-in sleeves, are a more sensible design choice combined with dangling tie cuffs. This cotton fabric (adorably striped like traditional ticking, which I love) is much lighter as well, so the ties pose no danger.

The puff sleeves, also set-in, of this cotton modal and silk tee have silk chiffon ties – lighter still – which are long and thin enough to tie into bows: both decorative and too short to interact perilously with the environment. An asymmetrically-placed bow at the neckline combined with the two sleeve bows create a pretty and overtly feminine top.

Three styles of tie-cuffs, three very different effects with various danger levels: from big drama, to breezy and casual, to whimsical femininity.

Review all the sleeves in the gallery thus far.

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