Cufflinks are particular piece of jewelry that are used to secure the cuffs of dress shirts. Cufflinks can be manufactured from a variety of different items, such as stone, metal, glass, and leather, precious metal such as diamonds or combinations of these. Securing of the cufflinks is usually achieved by toggles or reverses based on the design of the front side, which can be folded into position. There are also variety with chains or a bent, rigid rear section.
The front sections of the cufflinks can be decorated with inlays, gemstones, enamel or inset material and made in two or three-dimensional forms. Cufflinks are designed only for use with those shirts having cuffs with buttonholes on both the sides but no buttons. These might be either single or double-length ‘French cuffs’, and may be worn either ‘kissing’ with both edges pointing outward or ‘barrel-style’, with one edge pointing outward and the other cuff inward so that its hem is overlapped. In the United States, the ‘barrel-style’ was popularized by a famous 19th century entertainer and clown, Dan Rice however, ‘kissing’ cuffs are usually preferred.
Their origin can be traced back to the beginning of the 16th century. At that time, the only thing keeping cuffs from flapping about were small lengths of string that were used to tie the sleeve ends in one place.
At the time French King Louis XIV took to the throne in 1642, these crude cuff fasteners were on the out and in came decorative glass versions joined together by a small chain. In the years that followed afterwards, production techniques evolved and men took to wearing more extravagant jeweled styles as a way to show their status. To put it another way, they were the tacky hedge fund managers of their time.
So, to assist you up to your wrist game, we have put together some info on how to wear cufflinks like a true gentleman.
Knowing How to Use Cufflinks is Simple
When it comes down to learning how to wear cufflinks, more like chess the part about it taking a long time to master. Sometimes, people assume that even the most basic moves of chess are complicated and because of it they never bother to try. The same is true of cufflinks.
Cufflinks are most popularly associated with eveningwear or a black tie, with ensembles including the tuxedo, and a French-cuffed shirt. Moreover, they are not meant to be worn with semi-formal to formal outfits only — ignore any rules you see. They’re perfectly fine as an addition to your work rotation, and are a subtle and refined way to introduce more accessories into your office attire.
French Cuffs vs Convertible Cuffs
French cuffs with dress shirts are the most appropriate option for black tie events and require cufflinks to pair with. In fact, French cuffs do not have buttons sewn onto them at the cuff, and so cufflinks are important when wearing such a shirt. French cuffs are double layered they are essentially extra-long and a certain amount of the cuff is folded back to make an extra thick (and stiff) cuff.
There is even a lesser-known dress shirt option that can pair up with cufflinks – the convertible cuff. Convertible cuffs are exactly what they sound like, convertible between the traditional single-layered barrel cuffs (the typical kind that you button) and having an extra buttonhole adjacent to the fastening button to accommodate cufflinks.
How to Wear Cufflinks with a French cuff Shirt
Fold the cuff back over to make the double layered cuff, so that the cufflink buttonholes align. Since the cuff is folded back to create a double-layered cuff, there should be four buttonholes that are being lined up.
Push the back of the cufflink via the holes. This means that the front part of the cufflinks [commonly the side with an adorned shape or design], is at the bottom of your wrist when it’s secured and is facing away from your body when your arms are at your sides. If the cufflinks are two-sided, this is your final step. If the cufflinks are the more common, clasp type, then…
Close the clasp to secure the cufflink in one place.
Clasp, Double Sided or Silk Knot Cufflinks
Clasp cufflinks are the most widely used as they are easy to carry and are simply inserted through the opening and closed together. Double-sided cufflinks are typically smaller and lighter weight and are differentiated by the fixed backing being the same material as the front. Silk knot cufflinks are made of yarn and are more affordable but seen as the most casual option.
How to Wear Cufflinks with a Convertible Cuff Shirt
Leaving shirt cuff unbuttoned, pull both pieces of fabric out flat so that the cufflink holes line up.
Like with the French cuffs push the back of the cufflink via the holes. Again, if the cufflinks are double-sided you’re done. If the cufflinks are the more common, clasp type, then…
Close the clasp to secure the cufflink in particular place.
How to Wear Silk Knot Cufflinks
Fold the cuff over so that the cufflink holes align.
Push the back of your cufflink through the holes. Since silk knot cufflinks are naturally made, double-sided you’re finished. Note that silk knot cufflinks have a little more friction against your buttonhole due to its material, and might require you to insert the knot into one buttonhole at a moment.
Types of Cufflinks:
For an item that most men pay least attention to, there are plenty of different styles of cufflinks. Including the design options covering off everything from lavish to laid-back there are also a number of ways in which they fasten.
Bullet Back Cufflinks
The bullet back is the most used type of cufflink. The style generally features some form of decorative detailing on one side and a bullet-shaped clip (small) on the other.
The narrow cylinder shaped on the reverse rotates to thread through the shirt’s cuff holes, where it can be twisted back in the position to secure. It is the perfect entry-level cufflink and is perfect for guys who like a snug fit.
Whale Back Cufflinks
Whale back cufflinks work in the same way as their bullet back cousins. The only difference being is that the fastening is shaped like a whale tail as opposed to that of bullet.
After bullet backs whale backs, are one of the most popular styles because to their ease of use and the security provided by the handy T-bar locking mechanism.
Fixed Back Cufflinks
There are no moving parts in this design which means they are a little tougher to insert than bullet or whale back cufflinks.
Moreover, many fixed backing styles are reversible giving you two pairs of cufflinks for the price of one.
Similar to fixed back cufflinks, studs feature no moving parts and are relatable smaller than other designs, making them slightly fiddlier to fasten into place. While, what they lack in practicality they make up for in durability and fuss-free styling.
Comprised of two circle-studs, one slightly bigger than the other, they slot through the empty buttonholes on the shirt to hold the two parts of the cuff together.
Ball Return Cufflinks
Much like the stud design, a ball return cufflink features no moving parts. Instead, the style uses a round head attached to a curved bar at the back.
Due to its rigid body, the ball return cufflink is significantly easier to affix than the chain design. Simply line your buttonholes up pop the smaller end through and you are ready to go.
Silk Knot Cufflinks
Introduced by Charvet commonly considered the world’s first shirt shop, in Paris during the early 1900s, the silk knot is a classic and more affordable option that is hard to go wrong with.
This style is comprised of two adjoining monkey’s fist knots and has since become so famous that metal cufflinks shaped to look like them are now quite common.
Chain Link Cufflinks
They have two heads (usually same) connected by a short length of fine chain. This creates a slightly looser fastening than other various styles with visible decoration on both sides of the closed buttonholes.
Locking Dual-Action Cufflinks
They use a hinge mechanism same to the closure of a metal watchband. The entire part is the hinge the cufflink swings open, the smaller piece is slipped through the opening, and then the cufflink is swung shut once more clipping the sides of the cuff together underneath the head. This is a contemporary style and after a short learning curve is one of the simplest to use and most secure styles available.
They are close to chain link, with two heads connected by a flexible length, short, but they are made of soft cord (usually of silk) rather than metal, and the heads are decorative knots. The irregular surface of the knot work makes this a more casual style, particularly when multiple colors are involved.
They can be almost any fastener style, but have a fabric “button” on top as the ornamental face. They are a deliberately casual style.
Cufflink Dos and Don’ts
Do: Go for clean, simple designs at black tie events or with business outfit.
Don’t: Wear comedy cufflinks unless you have the personality to flaunt it off.
Do: Feel free to get creative with colors, patterns and shapes for less formal events.
Don’t: Go for gold with engraved initials unless you want people to think you are the latest version to Dragon’s Den.
Do: Always wear cufflinks with French cuffs.
Don’t: Fasten your sleeves with bits of string like the men of the early sixteenth century.
Do: Match your cufflinks to your shirt studs.
Cufflinks vs Studs
While cufflinks and shirts studs are often confused with each other, they are two different accessories. Although both are worn on formal occasions, they serve two different purposes. Cufflinks are typically used to fasten the cuffs of a shirt. However studs are also decorative fasteners they fit into the buttonholes on the front of a tuxedo shirt. While, it is important to note that cufflinks are available in stud styles.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do you wear cufflinks?
Cufflinks are most commonly worn on formal events, weddings and with business outfits. They should be worn when a full suit or a blazer is part of the overall outfit.
Why are cufflinks so expensive?
Similar to bracelets or rings for women, fine cufflinks are often manufactured in gold and fine gem stones, hence, reflecting both the high price and level of workmanship. By comparison, new age mainstream cufflinks are much more affordable as comparatively.
Can females wear cufflinks?
These days, there are not many cufflinks that are specially designed for women but rather for both sexes. A smaller sized cufflink with soft circled edges would be a great fit for a woman. Because women tend to have smaller hands and wrists, it is a good idea to avoid big, bulky pieces when choosing a cufflink.
What color should cufflinks be?
If you are new to wearing cufflinks then the first pair should be either gold or silver. Which one of the two you choose depends on the rest of your wardrobe. Match the color cufflink to the color of your wristwatch as well as belt buckle. Most used are silver or stainless steel cufflinks.
When it comes to adding charm and polish to an outfit, there is nothing like a nice pair of cufflinks. Perfect for formal wear as well as business outfit. They add an air of civilized and add style to your look while providing the perfect opportunity to showcase your persona, they actually do so much more than keeping your cuffs neat. Choosing the right pair of cufflinks isn’t always simple or easy and putting them on can also be difficult.