French cuffs (also referred to as double cuffs) are more formal than their alternative, the button cuff (also referred to as barrel cuffs). Partially as a result of this they necessitate a jacket. French cuffs were not created to be worn without a jacket, they were created out of functionality and aesthetics. They accentuate the elegance of a man’s suit. They look disproportionate and out of place when worn without a jacket, effectively making the wearer look like a caricature. They also serve to draw attention away from a man’s face, which is not the objective of business dress. In fact, one of its objectives is to draw attention to the face. Many men seem to think the jacketless cufflink look is a good one, they are misinformed and wrong. Luckily, they can be saved.
Some people argue, and understandably so, that French cuffs and links should be reserved for those who are further along in their career (aka, your bosses). To many people they can be a mark of success and pretentiousness, especially when the wearer is young. This argument holds more truth in the workplace than in a social setting. If you choose to abide by this school of thought, that is fine. However, in terms of style and formality a well chosen pair of cufflinks can serve to dress up and elevate a man’s ensemble. Most importantly, they allow a well dressed man yet another outlet to display his personal style, for cufflinks can be found to match almost any style or taste.