Everything You Need to Know About Cufflinks
The small accessory that will transform your formal wear
Every now and then, it’s important to do something different with your daily attire. If you’ve run out of ideas, give cufflinks a run for your money. Why, you might ask? Because when done correctly, they can be just the finishing touch you need to top off your look. For those of you that don’t know, cufflinks are these nifty little things that replace buttons on a dress shirt, and are traditionally worn with French cuffs. These funky accoutrements date back to the early 1900’s, but will still provide a boost of modern and unexpected flair to those cuffs of yours. Although cufflinks predate the 1950’s, it was during this decade that men became interested in accessorizing with more than just one item. Men increasingly began to wear multiple pieces at a time including pocket watches, tie bars, rings, and of course, cufflinks. It was at this point in history that an accessory’s purpose shifted more toward fashion and experimentation with personal style, rather than just function. Due to the laid-back mentality of the 1970’s, the middle class was not as fond of cufflinks, and most of men’s shirts at that time were beginning to be manufactured complete with buttons, eliminating the need for cufflinks. Although they were seen as impractical among the working class, influential celebrities of the time kept the trend alive. The 80’s brought back these accessories, and cufflinks have since then continued to be a stylish, if not underrated, part of men’s fashion. Skeptical that cufflinks are for you? Our guide to cufflinks will give you insight into everything you need to know about these small but mighty details.
Although cufflinks may appear to be a simple accessory, don’t judge a book by its cover…or, in this case, a cufflink by its face. There are many types of cufflinks, in reference to shape, color, design, closure, and material. Before decking out those wrists, get to know each type of cufflink there is so you can choose which pair best suits your style:
Bullet Back Cufflink
Due to ease of use, this is a highly popular cufflink among menswear aficionados to this day. These cufflinks are categorized by a small cylinder that is set between two short bars, and is flipped 90 degrees to secure.
Whale Back Cufflink
One of the most common cufflink closures there is, the Whale Back Cufflink consists of a flat face with a “whale tail” that flips back to close the link.
Fixed Backing Cufflink
There are no moving parts in this design, and many fixed backings come in reversible styles. These may be a little more difficult to insert, but the “fixed” aspect simply means one less step you need to worry about.
Chain Link Cufflink
This link allows for a looser cuff according to preference, and can be fastened with ease. Many chain link cufflinks are also reversible, but the ends are connected with a chain.
Ball Return Cufflink
A more advanced style, the ball return cufflink can be found in both chain link and fixed closure variations. Faces will vary with design, but the back end will always be differentiated by its ball shape.
Great for informal occasions, the silk knot cufflink provides pops of color and ease of use. Although slightly less durable than metal cufflinks, knot cufflinks are the most affordable option out there. They are perfect for revealing that winning personality of yours, and add a little fun to your look.
A more secure cufflink, this style is fastened with no moving parts. To adjust through the buttonhole of your dress shirt, simply tilt the smaller end and then straighten to secure it for wear. Both ends will usually consist of the same material and design.
A more contemporary style, this cufflink functions as a hinge and is secured via a closure similar to that of a wristwatch. It possesses a dual-locking system and an innovative design.
Defining Your Cufflink Style
Now, the fun part–Which cufflink matches your personal style? Despite their size, cufflinks can make or break a menswear look. Choose which shapes and designs best suit you, but don’t be afraid to try something new. Whether you’re more of a Boss, a Creative, a Techie, Sartorially Daring, or a Comedian, with the sheer amount of cufflinks out there these days, we’re pretty sure you’ll find something up your alley. Here are our some of our favorites. .
Cufflinks for the man in charge! Embrace your boss mentality by sticking to sophisticated shapes and materials for a cutting-edge look. Stud/button and ball return styles should be your go-to’s to accentuate your look. When you walk into a room, everyone will know you’ve arrived.
Nobody remembers the boring guy. Show off your unique, creative personality through the little details of your outfit. Go for a silk knot, or a reversible chain link for a more secure closure. Be sure to put your creative side on display and wear some cufflinks with personality. Style and personality–that right there is the whole package, gents.
Got an eye for detail? Stick to unique designs and showcase your interest in all things innovative. Locking cufflinks and bullet back closures are the perfect styles to represent your appreciation of fashion and function.
The Sartorially Daring
We know your motto: be bold. Rather than conforming to the norm, you like to experiment with your attire by mixing it up with different prints, colors, and statement pieces. Allow this to translate into your accessories, especially your cufflinks.
You enjoy making others smile, and are always down for a good laugh. Your outgoing and carefree personality is often reflected in your fashion-forward yet unorthodox wardrobe choices, and you aren’t afraid to wear things that make a statement. A fun novelty cufflink will suit you just fine, considering you’ve already got the attitude to match.
Some Final Things to Remember
Cufflinks are best suited for formal social gatherings (weddings, galas, and meetings with clients, for example) and for the office (especially if you’re in a position of power). Wherever you plan to wear yours, be sure to have a variety of cufflinks from informal to formal so you can be ready for anything. And, as always, the most important thing to keep in mind is being sure that you stay in tune with your style and wearing what you feel best expresses who you are. With that in mind, don’t be afraid to try a pair or two. Who knows, cufflinks might just become your next wardrobe mainstay.