It’s no big secret that cufflinks are one of the classiest accessories a man can have (just ask Don Draper). They add understated panache to a dress shirt and have the transformative powers to make any average Joe feel like Mr. 007 himself. The problem that many men experience is that, being that cufflinks is not a piece we incorporate into our everyday attire, we don’t know the first thing about this accessory. If this describes you (you know who you are) this guide will take you by the hand and show you all of the various types of cufflinks that will help you to dress like a man of distinction.
The Big Wide World of Cufflinks
Regardless of the type of cufflink you choose, know that the shirt you are accessorizing must have a French cuff. What is that exactly? It means that the sleeve is purposefully long and is designed to be folded and pinned. Since we are assuming most of the guys reading this are not exactly fashionistas, we will start slowly with the least expensive type, the Silk Knot cufflink. This particular kind will set you back by about $7.00 – $15.00 and comes in a variety of colors. Often referred to as a “monkey fist” because of its knot-shape, it is a youthful look that, while appropriate in many offices, would not be appropriate for formal events.
For a more polished look, you can’t go wrong with metal. A step above fabric cufflinks, carbon fiber cufflinks have a modern, trendy look about them. They are simple in design and most have a carbon fiber inlay and have a coating of rhodium giving them a classy look. Slightly snazzier are onyx cufflinks, made from the name’s gemstone that features blended stripes of white, black and brown. For a timeless and versatile piece, look no further than sturdy, lightweight titanium. Of course, crystal, mother of pearl and precious gemstones are always viable options if you want to add a bit of sparkle. What is not an option are plastic and funny designs; cufflinks are meant to emanate class and prestige and, by wearing Bugs Bunny cufflinks, you’ll be cutting yourself off at the knees.
The Right Cufflinks for the Right Occasion and Wardrobe 101
First, before you start on a cufflink shopping spree, you need to take stock of just what’s in your wardrobe. Your cufflinks should contrast your clothing to create balance so, if most of your clothes are boldly colored or patterned, you’ll want cufflinks that are simple and understated as to not appear too busy; reversely, if you tend to favor solid blacks, browns and whites, don’t be afraid to incorporate a little bit of bright pigment and texture. A good rule to follow is to “always match the metal”, which means that your buckle, watch, tie piece and cufflinks should all feature the same metal. Additionally, as a general suggestion, curved and rounded cufflinks are for casual events. For more formal events, stick with cufflinks with straight lines and geometric patterns.
One of the most common occasions for this accessory is weddings. If you’re the groom, make sure to coordinate this item to match your bride-to-be’s jewelry and, if you opt for a colored stone, have it align with the event’s overall palette. If you’re purchasing them as a gift for your new father-in-law or groomsmen, don’t try to guess other’s people’s preferences and err on the side of caution with a simple design. Furthermore, many retailers like Groomstand give you the option of having the cufflinks engraved to add special meaning.
While there are many staunch guidelines to wearing cufflinks, some of the suggestions can be slightly bent to define your own personal style. After all, this accessory was once considered only appropriate to wear with a jacket or blazer, but this is a suggestion that younger generations are deviating away from. Get the basics down and have them become second-nature, and then the confident creativity will flow naturally. So make your professional or formal look subtly dapper with cufflinks, letting those around you know that this gentleman is to be taken seriously.See some words or phrases that you don't understand? Check out The Dragon's Lexicon.