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How to Buy and Wear Cufflinks

As you probably know, cufflinks are designed to be worn with French cuff shirts. Unlike most everyday shirts that come with button cuffs, French cuffs are a long piece of fabric that is folded back on itself to make a cuff. French cuffs are a more formal option, but since they don’t have cuff fasteners, cufflinks do the job instead.

While men usually find button cuff shirts more convenient, it’s undeniable that a French cuff shirt adds a unique, urbane-classy element to the entire look.

There are two ways to fold the cuffs: as kissing cuffs, which creates a teardrop shape, and as barrel cuffs, where cuffs overlap as they do on the usual button cuff shirts.

Kissing cuffs may be the popular choice, but not necessarily the better one. It’s really all about preference.

Types of Cufflinks

These days, you will find two types of cuff fasteners – cufflinks and silk knots.

Clufflinks

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 are made in four essential types:

> Torpedo

Torpedo cufflinks are the most common and are available at almost every men’s retailer. They come with a decorative face, supported by an plain clip that holds them in place. You just push them through then snap the clip to position.

> Chain Link

Compared to torpedo cufflinks, the chain link type is more formal. This type is no longer seen very often these days. Often worn with a black tie, availability can actually be an issue. If you need to buy a pair, be ready to purchase an entire stud set.

> Bar

The simplest type is the bar cufflink, which has two decorative balls held together by a bar. The halves are typically very plain, although they may come in a pallet-shape or striped. Also, unlike the two other types, these cufflinks have no moving parts, so you can just push them through and that’s it.

Silk Knots

Sometimes called monkey’s fists, silk knots are a low-maintenance option. These are basically elastic strands that are tied together, forming two equal knots. 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. 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 are uncomfy under cardigans, and their formality is clearly a mismatch to a sportcoat’s casual nature.

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