Skip to Content

A Guide to Leather Cuffs, History, Styles, and Fit

The most important and personal parts of an outfit are usually accessories. When considering leather accessories, one of the simplest, most statement-making are leather cuffs.

Leather cuffs are bracelets made entirely from leather which fit closely to the wrist. These cuffs are a basic yet interesting accessory perfect for any outfit style. Made from genuine or faux leather, these cuffs boast longevity and durability with a fashion-forward look.

Let’s explore more about options, uses, and styles.


What Are Leather Cuffs?

A leather cuff is a bracelet style made of either faux or genuine leather which fits closely to the wearer’s wrist. Typically, these are made entirely from leather and designed to either slip on and off the wrist or fasten with a tie. These accessories can also fasten with metal clasps for both ease and decorative purposes. Made for any gender or style, leather cuffs are a bold accessory choice made to last a lifetime.


Leather cuffs are a bold accessory choice made to last a lifetime.



The History of Leather Cuffs

Leather cuffs have a long history. Leather has been used by many cultures to serve as a connection to nature and animals while serving as a signifier of an important member of a community or tribe. Ancient cultures considered leather a luxury reserved for nobility and those who served their country – Ancient Egyptian nobility wore leather cuffs as a status symbol, and ancient Greek soldiers wore leather cuffs as part of their uniforms. Leather’s durable properties have cemented the reputation of leather cuffs as a symbol of strength, practicality, and taste in fashion history.


Types of Leather Cuffs

Leather cuffs are available for any gender or style choice, in many different sizes, colors, and materials!



Womens Leather Cuff Bracelets

Women’s leather cuffs tend to be smaller, thinner, or more embellished than a traditional leather cuff. They often fasten with metal buckles or clasps for a subdued metal accent, but can also be found in a more traditional cuff style which wraps and fits closely around the wrist. Many women’s leather cuff bracelets fit like a traditional cuff, which hugs the wrist without any clasp or closure. These bracelets may be leather-wrapped metal or simply heavy treated leather. Women’s leather cuffs often feature beautiful embellishment, achieved through hand-tooling, intricate dyework or painting, or metalcraft and jewelry accents. 


Mens Leather Cuff Bracelet

Men’s leather cuff bracelets are traditionally wide, bold accessories made from thick leather. These bracelets typically close or fasten with snaps or a tie, and may feature minimal embellishment with tooling or metal accents. Men’s cuffs resemble the rugged leather cuffs used throughout history with their simple lines and wider shape. Men’s cuffs can be embellished, though this decoration is typically quite bold – metal accents like rivets, studs, or even spikes are common. Bonded leather decoration may also be common, lending an interesting artisan look to the cuff bracelet.


Man With Brown Leather Cuff - Liberty Leather Goods

Man With Brown Leather Cuff

Wide Leather Cuff Bracelet

Wide leather cuff bracelets are a more traditional style of leather bracelet. These accessories are often quite simple and made from a single wide piece of leather. Wide leather cuffs are fitted to the wrist and typically do not feature much, if any, embellishment, instead opting for a bold, modern look. Wide leather cuffs might fit around the wrist like a traditional cuff, or may wrap and fasten with snaps, buttons, or ties. Typically, wider leather cuffs are also made of thick leather, making them a durable accessory that will hold up to daily wear.


Leather Wrist Guards

Leather wrist guards are wide, thick leather cuffs that extend past the wrist and cover part of the forearm. As their name suggests, these accessories are designed to protect the wrist from injury or exposure while working outdoors.


Alternatives Names/Variations

Womens Black Leather Cuff Bracelet

Women’s black leather cuff bracelets are a classier, bolder version of a traditional brown or natural leather cuff. Black leather lends itself to more formal occasions and sets the perfect stage for embellishment or jewel work. Women’s cuffs are typically thinner than men’s and made from softer leather.


Black Leather Wristband

Black leather wristbands are an edgy and bold yet classy version of a traditional natural leather cuff. Black leather works with almost any style choice, from formal to professional to weekend casual.


Wide Leather Wristbands

Wide leather wristbands derive their appearance from the leather cuffs and wristbands worn throughout history. With a strong, bold appearance, wide leather wristbands also tend to be made from thicker leather, making them extremely durable. 


Western Leather Cuffs

Western leather cuffs are either true cowboy cuffs (meant to protect and stabilize the wrists and forearms during farm work and other manual labor) or fashion accessories inspired by these functional cuffs. These accessories extend past the wrists to mid-forearm, providing a utilitarian look.


Assorted Leather Bracelets - Liberty Leather Goods

Assorted Leather Bracelets

Leather Forearm Bands

Leather forearm bands are used to protect the forearms during a variety of manual labor tasks. Those who work with abrasive materials outdoors, on farms, and even those who perform some artisan labor use leather forearm bands to protect themselves from injury.



Personalized Leather Cuff Bracelet

Personalized leather cuffs are a popular choice due to their longevity, wearability, and luxe feel. Personalized cuffs can be embossed, embellished, hand-tooled, or feature a personalized metal tag or plate. 


Leather Cuff Bracelet With Metal Plate

Leather cuffs that are made to be personalized often feature a metal plate designed to be embossed, embellished, or otherwise personalized. These leather plates can be small or large depending on the style of the bracelet. Depending on the metal used, a plate can add to the durability of the bracelet.


Studded Leather Cuff Bracelet

Studded leather cuff bracelets feature metal studs as embellishment. These studs come in an array of shapes and sizes, which affects the style of the accessory. A small design made from delicate round studs is a feminine take on the technique, while a cuff covered in large, spiky studs lends a bold, edgy look to the bracelet.


Custom Leather Cuff Bracelet/Custom Leather Wristbands

Custom leather cuffs of wristbands may be personalized, designed to the wearer’s specifications, or may just be made to precisely fit the wearer. Whatever the case, a custom leather cuff ensures that the wearer has a unique accessory made for them specifically.


DIY Leather Cuff Bracelet

Leather cuffs may be one of the easiest DIY leather projects! Armed with leather, a fastener, and proper tools, anyone can make their own leather cuff. Using leather tools to puncture leather and slide cord through creates a custom leather wrapped cuff, while using snaps created a secure snapped bracelet. Leather cuffs can also be made by wrapping thin leather strips around a metal cuff.

Leather cuffs may be one of the easiest DIY leather projects!



What to Look for in a Leather Cuffs


What To Look ForWhy?
SizeLeather cuffs are meant to fit closely to the wrist. For this reason, many styles are sold based on wrist measurements, which can be found easily with the help of a measuring tape.
WidthLeather cuffs come in a variety of widths, so the best width is up to the wearer. Wider cuffs give a bold, strong vibe, while slimmer cuffs fit with an elegant, classic style. 
Thickness of MaterialWhen it comes to leather, material thickness will determine how stiff an accessory will be. A cuff made from thick leather will be stiff and durable, while a cuff made from thinner leather will be softer, but more delicate.



Where to Buy Leather Cuffs

Leather cuff bracelets are widely available for all genders and styles.

Online retailers like Amazon, fast fashion retailers like Forever 21, and department stores like Target offer leather bracelets and cuffs made from faux leather. These options are low-cost, but lack the durability of genuine leather.

Higher-end fast fashion retailers like Zara, high-end department stores like Nordstrom, and designers offer genuine leather bracelets and cuffs for all genders. These options can be expensive, but will last a lifetime if made from genuine leather.

Artisans and specialty leather retailers guarantee quality craftsmanship and materials, ensuring a long-lasting, fashionable accessory.


Black Leather Cuff - Liberty Leather Goods

Black Leather Cuff

Helpful Insights:

How do you wear a leather cuff bracelet?

A leather cuff bracelet is worn close to the wrist. It can be worn with any style or outfit.


How do you make a leather cuff bracelet?

A leather cuff bracelet can be made easily using leather and snaps. An even simpler solution is a cuff made from leather and cord, fastened by creating holes in the leather, sliding the cord through, and tying the bracelet to fit the wrist.


What does it mean when a man wears a leather bracelet?

Leather cuff bracelets are often viewed as a practical, masculine accessory for men. Wearing a leather bracelet means that a man wants to stand out and be viewed as a bold, confident individual.


What are cowboy cuffs for?

Cowboy cuffs are extremely wide leather cuffs covering the wrist and part of the upper arm. These accessories feature both snap and tie closure for a proper fit. The cuffs are worn to protect against the elements and the daily hazards of working on a farm and caring for livestock.


What does a black leather bracelet mean?

Black leather does not have any inherent meaning in today’s world. However, choosing a black leather bracelet over a more natural tone may be a conscious decision to wear an accessory that will be perceived as bold, edgy, or high-fashion.


Why do cowboys wear wrist cuffs?

Leather has been used by many cultures to serve as a connection to nature and animals while serving as a signifier of an important member of a community or tribe. Cowboys wear wrist cuffs to protect their arms and wrists from injury while working outdoors on farms and with livestock. These accessories also serve as protection from the elements while working outdoors.


How do you wear wrist cuffs?

Wrist cuffs can be worn with any style or outfit, but different wrist cuff styles may work best with different outfits for different occasions. For instance, a bold, wide leather cuff works best for casual outfits, while a delicate and embellished cuff complements a professional or semi formal look.


How do you make leather bracelets out of old belts?

An old belt can be transformed into a bracelet quite simply, using heavy-duty metal snaps, a snap toolkit, and some patience. Snaps and snap tools can be found at any basic craft store, with snaps available in varying weights and sizes. Using a belt to make a leather cuff is as easy as cutting the belt, attaching the snap, and wearing!

Here is a great demonstration on how to turn your old leather belt into a cool cuff.





The type of leather cuff you wear can be a highly personal choice. With so many available, that can reflect personality, functional needs, taste, and style, it’s highly likely you’ll find one that fits well and looks great. If you’re interested in similar leather accessories, click here for my guide to leather rings or article on leather armor, and for fashion, here for my article on leather kilts.




Related Topics

Can you shower with a leather bracelet?

While you can technically shower with a leather bracelet thanks to leather’s water resistant properties, it is not recommended that you do this daily because repeated exposure to large amounts of water can permanently damage leather.


What wrist do you wear a bracelet on?

Bracelets can be worn on either wrist. Choosing which wrist to wear a bracelet on is up to the wearer, depending on other accessories, outfit choice, or simple preference. 

Other Resources: