Every man should know how to wear cufflinks. Cufflinks give you a polished appearance and an elevated look.
You can take an inexpensive suit and make it appear as though it’s luxury just by adding cufflinks. Cufflinks are also surprisingly versatile and can be worn with a variety of different outfits.
That said, it can be tricky to master the art of wearing cufflinks – especially if you’re new to them. Our guide will show you how to use cufflinks, how to choose the perfect pair, and the faux pas you want to avoid.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about wearing cufflinks!
History of Cufflinks
When we’re talking about the history of cufflinks for men, we have to go back to the time when Christopher Columbus was making his way to the Americas. At this time, the collars and sleeves of men’s shirts were being held together with scarves and strings.
In the 1700s, shirts evolved to include small holes with stitched edges. Cufflinks were created to keep the cuffs of the sleeves together – hence where the word ‘cufflink’ comes from. The earliest cufflinks were made using two metal buttons with a chain soldered between each end.
Over time, cufflinks have evolved to develop a personality of their own. While the basic function has remained the same, the style has evolved to meet the trends of each era.
Anatomy of a Cufflink
Like any accessory, cufflinks have their own unique anatomy. Here are the main components of a cufflink:
- Cufflink face – This is the part of the cufflink that most people see. There are endless materials and designs that can be used for the cufflink face.
- Post – The post connects the cufflink face to the clasp. Some cufflinks use a chain here instead of a solid post.
- Toggle / Clasp – The clasp fastens the sleeve cuffs together. There are many variations of cufflink clasps including bullet back, whale back, bean back, fix ball, etc.
Different Types of Cufflinks
The options are almost endless when it comes to choosing cufflinks. There are various styles for you to choose from, meaning you’re guaranteed to find one that works for you.
Here are the ten most popular styles of cufflinks for men.
The most common style of cufflinks for men is the bullet-back silhouette. This style is easy to wear and gives you added security as the bullet flips into a 90-degree angle, allowing it to line up with the post to stay in place.
When it comes to cufflinks for men, the whale-back style is one of the most beginner-friendly. As these are larger, it’s easier for you to handle. These cufflinks are characterized by their straight post, which has a flat ‘whale tail’ attached. This whale closure lays flat against the post, flipping over to lock in place.
For extra security, fixed-back cufflinks have no moving parts. While these may be a little trickier to get in place, they’ll stay fixed until removed at the end of the day.
The most traditional style is the chain-link, which can be worn on both sides of the cuffs. The chain gives you a looser fit from the cuff, making it ideal for everyday use. This style is easy to wear as you thread the chain through the buttonhole.
If you want a fixed style of cufflinks, check out the ball-return style. This style is an alternative to bullet cufflinks and is easy to slip on while giving you a looser fit.
If you want an understated option, look for stud cufflinks. These smaller styles have a fixed backing that matches the material of the front. The thing to consider with these cufflinks is their practicality as they are one of the hardest to fasten one-handed.
For fans of the stud cufflink, the ball-end style is another understated staple. The ball head makes these cufflinks easy to slip into your cuffs. This style is one of the most versatile for everyday wear.
As the name suggests, these cufflinks have a color fill at the cufflink face. You can use these cufflinks to add a pop of vibrant color to your outfit or choose a neutral for ultimate versatility.
This minimalistic style uses a bar cufflink face with a matching swivel bullet. Its sleek silhouette gives the cufflink a contemporary but timeless feel.
One of the most affordable styles of cufflinks is the knotted silhouette. These are often made using yarn instead of a traditional metal.
Another important consideration is the cufflink material. Cufflinks can be made out of almost anything, from basic metal to precious stones. Not every material will match your style, and some may not be appropriate for a specific occasion.
Here are 8 of the most popular materials for cufflinks for men.
If you want color in your cufflinks, enamel is your go-to choice of metal. It’s suitable for all occasions and gives you a smooth texture that will stand the test of time.
2. Stainless Steel
One of the most popular choices of materials for cufflinks is stainless steel. Stainless steel is an ideal choice for entry-level cufflinks or if you want a style that won’t break the bank.
For lightweight and monochrome cufflinks, look no further than titanium. Cufflinks made using titanium alloy are durable and resistant to corrosion, improving their lifespan and making them suitable for everyday wear.
4. Precious Metal
Precious metals like gold and platinum are best reserved for formal occasions. These metals are highly valuable, making them some of the most desirable for cufflinks.
Gold will give you a bright look, while platinum has a natural shine. You can usually choose between precious metals by picking one that complements your skin’s undertones.
An unexpected choice of material for your cufflinks is silk. You’ll often find cufflinks made using fine silk ropes, making them ideal for casual events and everyday wear. The benefit of silk is that you can often find cufflinks in unusual and trending colors.
6. Precious Stone
For a more versatile look, you can consider precious stones. This material means you can choose from a rainbow of colors, whether it’s abalone or opal.
A material that is becoming a popular choice for contemporary cufflinks is leather. The beauty of this material is that it gets better with age. If you want cufflinks with a unique personality, look out for a leather style.
8. Carbon Fiber
Carbon fiber will give your cufflinks a sleek look. They’re durable and will last a lifetime while still being lightweight. You can choose this metal for your everyday cufflinks as it’s suitable for all occasions.
When to Wear Cufflinks
While cufflinks are traditionally associated with formal and semi formal attire, that’s not their only role. Here are a few occasions when it would be appropriate to wear cufflinks:
1. Business Meetings
While there’s no need to wear cufflinks to work everyday, they can set you apart when it really matters. Consider wearing cufflinks to important business meetings. Choose an understated style to give you a professional look.
2. Dinner Parties and Semi-Formal Events
Let your cufflinks peek out under your blazer for any semi-formal occasion or dinner party.
3. Black tie and Formal Events
Most black-tie dress codes require a three-piece suit that should be finished off with a set of gold or platinum cufflinks.
4. Whenever you want!
Cufflinks for men are a signature accessory that you can wear whenever you want.
How to Attach Cufflinks
How to attach cufflinks depends on the way you want to style your French cuffs. You can choose between the barrel and kissing style.
Kissing Style Cuffs
This is the most common way to wear French cuffs and the style you should always choose for formal wear. The ends of the cuffs should “kiss” each other with the cuff holes lined up for your cufflinks to pass through.
To attach your cufflinks, push the cufflink post and clasp through both holes and then lock the clasp on the other side.
Barrel Style Cuffs
The barrel style is when the cuffs overlap each other in a tubular way. This cuff style is more appropriate for business since the cuff doesn’t get in the way when you’re working at a computer.
You can achieve this look by inserting the bottom of the cufflink through first before locking it in place. You should have the cufflink post and clasp against the skin of your wrist.
The Dos and Don’ts of Cufflinks
Wearing cufflinks the wrong way can be a fashion faux pas. There are thousands of styles of cufflinks available for you to choose from, but not all of them are appropriate for every occasion. You want to make sure your outfit and cufflinks coordinate with each other to create an elevated and polished look.
Here are a few dos and don’ts that you want to know when learning how to use cufflinks.
DO – Choose a clean and simple design
When you’re starting your cufflinks collection, stick to clean and simple designs that you can wear every day. You want to choose a versatile metal and cufflink style that is understated and polished.
DON’T – Wear novelty cufflinks
Novelty cufflinks are something you will inevitably receive as a birthday or Father’s Day gift. While these might be fun for a quirky occasion, you want to avoid wearing them every day.
DO – Always wear cufflinks with a French cuff shirt
When you’re wearing a French cuff shirt, you have to wear cufflinks to finish your look. Wearing this style of shirt without cufflinks is considered a major faux pas.
DON’T – Mismatch your cufflinks
Once you learn how to use cufflinks and build up your collection, you might be tempted to mix and match your cufflinks. You want to avoid doing this as it can distract from your overall outfit. You don’t want to show up in a three-piece suit and cheapen your look with mismatching cuffs.
DO – Own more than one pair
Once you know how to wear cufflinks, you’ll quickly accumulate a collection of your own. It’s a good idea to have at least a few pairs for everyday wear and a couple of special occasion cufflinks in a precious metal.
DON’T – Mismatch metals
Your cufflinks should be in the same metal as the rest of your accessories. Your belt, cufflink, and watch should all match with each other. Wearing cufflinks should elevate your look and give it a polished finish. You want to avoid wearing gold cufflinks with a silver watch or belt. Your accessories should complement each other as much as possible.
DO – Be creative and show your personality
Cufflinks are another way for you to show off your personality and be creative with your outfit. Menswear accessories are more limited than womenswear, making cufflinks one of the few opportunities to personalize your outfit. We’ve covered some of the different styles and materials you can choose from to add your personality to any outfit.
It’s the details that matter
Cufflinks are a timeless staple that will never go out of style. The right cufflinks will complete your look with a polished finish.
The secret to cufflinks – and your appearance in general – is in the details.
At JESSE JIMZ, our goal is to make you feel as good as you look. We want to give you the tools you need to feel confident, stylish, and well-groomed.