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Buying and Wearing Cufflinks

As you probably know, cufflinks are designed 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.

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 barrel type, with cuffs overlapping (as in the usual button cuffs), or kissing type, where a teardrop shape is formed.

While kissing cuffs are more common, they are not necessarily advantageous compared to barrel cuffs. It’s really all about preference.

Types of Cufflinks

Cufflinks and silk knots are the two types of cuff fasteners you will find in stores today.

Cufflinks

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

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 just push them through then snap the clip to position.

> Chain Link

More formal than torpedo cufflinks are chain link cufflinks, which have two decorative faced held together by a chain. This type is no longer seen very often these days. 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.

> Bar

The simplest type of cufflink is the bar cufflink, which has two decorative balls joined by a bar. The halves are typically very plain, although they may come in a pallet-shape or striped. Additionally, these cufflinks don’t have any movable parts, which means you just push them through and it’s done.

Silk Knots

A low-maintenance alternative, silk knots are also referred to as monkey’s fists. These are basically strands of elastic that are tied to form two equal knots attached together. Though silk knots are no longer made of silk because of its high price and questionable durability, you can still find them as placeholders in the cuffs of French shirts sold today. You can use them for daily wear, but not for special and dressier events.

Additional Tip

Traditionally, French cuffed shirts are only worn beneath a suit. The cuffs don’t feel comfy under cardigans, and their formality obviously doesn’ fit the sportcoat’s easygoing nature.

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