How to Buy and Wear Cufflinks
As you may know, cufflinks are made to be worn with French cuff shirts. As opposed to most typical shirts, which are made with button cuffs, French cuffs are a long stretch of fabric that folds back on itself, making a cuff. Because French cuffs, a more formal option, don’t have cuff fasteners, they are held together instead by cufflinks.
Most men find button cuff shirts more convenient, but the urbane, high-class element a French cuff shirt adds to the look is undeniable.
The cuffs can be folded in two ways – as barrel cuffs, with the cuffs overlapping as in the standard button cuff shirts, and as kissing cuffs, which form the shape of a teardrop.
While kissing cuffs are more common, they are not necessarily advantageous compared to barrel cuffs. It’s really all about preference.
Types of Cufflinks
The two types of cuff fasteners you will find today are cufflinks and silk knots.
Cufflinks, the more formal option, are made of a precious metal such as gold and silver adding an elegant touch to an outfit. They come in four basic types:
Torpedo cufflinks, the most common type, can be found in nearly every men’s retail shop. They come with a decorative face, supported by an plain clip that holds them in place. Just push them through and snap the clip in position.
> Chain Link
Chain link cufflinks, which have two decorative faces joined together by a chain, are more traditional and formal than the torpedo types. This type is no longer seen very often these days. Usually worn with a black tie, they now have limited availability. If you need to buy a pair, be ready to purchase an entire stud set.
A bar cufflink is actually the simplest type, with a bar connecting two decorative balls. The halves are generally quite plain, but from time to time, you will see some striped or pallet-shaped designs. Also, unlike the two other types, these cufflinks have no moving parts, so you can just push them through and that’s it.
A low-maintenance option, silk knots are also known as moneky’s fists. These are essentially elastic strands tied together to form two equal knots. Silk knots are no longer made of silk because of cost and durability issues, but when you buy new French cuff shirts, you will probably find a pair in the cuffs serving as placeholders. They can be good for daily wear, but not for special occasions.
French cuffed shirts are usually only worn under a suit. The cuffs feel weird under cardigans, and their formality doesn’t match the casual nature of a sportcoat.