Buying and Wearing 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. A more formal option, French cuffs have no cuff fasteners, and that is why cufflinks are needed to hold them in place.
Although button cuff shirts are more convenient to wear, there’s that classy, highly urbane appeal that French cuff shirts bring to the look.
The cuffs can be folded barrel type, with cuffs overlapping (as in the usual button cuffs), or kissing type, where a teardrop shape is formed.
Kissing cuffs may be the popular choice, but not necessarily the better one. It’s really all about preference.
Cufflinks and silk knots are the two types of cuff fasteners you will find in stores today.
Cufflinks are the more formal and traditional option: made of a precious metal such as gold or silver that adds an understated elegance to an outfit. They come in four basic types:
Torpedo cufflinks, being the most popular can be found at almost any men’s retailer. They have a decorative face supported by a plain clip that puts them in place. You simply have to push them through and snap the clip in position.
> Chain Link
Compared to torpedo cufflinks, the chain link type is more formal. You won’t see this type very frequently nowadays. Often worn with a black tie, availability can actually be an issue. If you’re going to need a pair, be prepared to buy them as part of an entire stud set.
A bar cufflink is actually the simplest type, with a bar connecting two decorative balls. The halves are often plain, but they can also come striped or pallet-shaped. Additionally, these cufflinks don’t have any movable parts, which means you just push them through and it’s done.
Sometimes called monkey’s fists, silk knots are a low-maintenance option. These are basically strands of elastic that are tied to form two equal knots attached together. While no longer made of silk due to cost and durability issues, you can still find a pair working as placeholders on a new French cuff shirt. They can be good for daily wear, but not for special occasions.
A French cuffed shirt is classically only worn underneath a suit. The cuffs don’t feel comfy under cardigans, and their formality obviously doesn’ fit the sportcoat’s easygoing nature.