Modern cufflinks make shirts look fancier and dressier. If you want to know how to secure a French cuff best and learn about the points to note when mix-and-matching it to your suit, read our primer on modern cufflinks.
Who Invented Cufflinks?
Cufflinks have been around for centuries. The first primordial cufflinks were simple buttons that melted from silver and other precious metals. The story goes that men back in the 1700s wanted to hold their sleeves with something more fashion-forward than regular strings, ties, or ribbons. The solution was metal. The concept worked so well that the idea was normalized immediately, and cufflinks became a regular part of formal wear.
It was George Krementz, who formally created the precursor to the modern cufflinks in 1876. George Krementz was of German ancestry, and he had a lot of experience with crafting/creating bullets. His experience with creating bullets allowed him to create low-cost versions of the cufflinks for mass production.
By the 1900s, his cufflinks were being worn by people from all over the world. The Industrial Revolution heralded the arrival of even lower-cost cufflinks that were manufactured with rods and lightweight fasteners. These cufflinks became the standard look and feel of the modern cufflinks that we wear today.
There was a time when the demand for cufflinks began to wane because tailors and clothing manufacturers began adding buttons to the ends of sleeves. However, Kremmentz continued crafting them, and so did other big names like Cartier. Cufflinks have fortunately experienced a revival in recent years, and people are now looking to buy the sleeves accessories that will be perfect matches for their suits.
How to Wear Cufflinks?
First of all. How to put on cufflinks?
Today, cufflinks are often used for shirts that have French cuffs. French cuffs are meant to be folded to align the holes of the cuff. Buttons do not secure these cuffs in place. The cufflinks of your choice will be securing three holes and four layers of fabric folded at least twice.
Does this mean that you must not wear a cufflink if you don’t have a French cuff? Not at all. You can still wear a French cuff on regular shirts if you want, provided that there are holes to accommodate it.
The big difference between regular cuffs and French cuffs is the formality. French cuffs look dressier, while regular shirts look more casual. If you want to make a regular shirt look more modern and fancier, a well-placed cufflink will do it.
To wear your cufflinks, follow these steps:
- Wear your shirt, of course, and then extend your arm to stretch the sleeve. The edge of the cuff should be drawn back just a little, revealing your fingertips.
- Fold back the fabric of the cuff, making sure that the holes align with one another. After aligning the holes, pinch the folded cuffs to create a classic “kiss cuffing.” “Kiss cuffing” is the contemporary look for French cuffing, and provides the best look for any occasion. If you have a regular shirt, “kiss cuffing” is not necessary. Fold back the cuff once and align the holes. The cuff will be flat against itself.
- Aligning the cufflink holes might need some skills if you have not done it before. We suggest loosening and tightening the edge of the cuff until the holes finally align. What we are after is a flat fold for the cuffs so you can insert the cufflink properly. Take note that the level of securing your cuffs will depend largely on the type of cufflinks that you use.
5 Different Styles of Cufflinks
Bullet Back Cufflinks
Bullet back cufflinks have a locking mechanism comprised of a rotating capsule. The rotating capsule is secured to the main post by two other smaller posts. Wear bullet back cufflinks, pinch the folded cufflinks and insert the bullet back cufflink with the capsule straight. Press down, so the capsule slips out the other end.
Push the cufflink downward and rotate capsule with your pinkie finger, so it locks the fabric in place. The capsule should be horizontal (against the direction of the cuff holes), so the cufflink won’t slip out. Bullet back cufflinks are the most common of all the cufflinks, which are also the easiest to wear.
Whale Back Cufflinks
Whaleback cufflinks may look physically different from bullet back cufflinks, but they operate with the same principle. Push down the post through the first layer of the cuff, so the holes align. Continue pushing until the whaleback emerges on the other side. Rotate the whaleback locking mechanism so that it is perpendicular to the hole and the fabric. You’ve successfully attached your whale back cufflinks.
Fixed Back Cufflinks
A fixed back cufflink does not have any moving parts, unlike the two previous types of cufflinks. The terminal end of this type of cufflink is larger than the holes of the cuff. Since the holes expand when you push at them, this fixed endpoint can be used effectively in holding folded cuffs in place. Like the other cufflinks, push the end of the cufflink through the layers until the fixed end emerges. Do a quick check if the cuff looks good, and you will be on your way.
Chain Link Cufflinks
Chain link cufflinks are a relic from the Industrial Revolution. These used to be how the majority of cufflinks are made. What differentiates this type from the modern designs are the two to three links of chain between two identical heads. To wear this, push down the bottom head of the chain link cufflink until it emerges on the other end. Both heads of this cufflink look and feel like rounded buttons, so they’re perfect for securing French cuffs and regular shirt cuffs.
Reversible cufflinks look like barbells, and they’re designed to work either way you flip the cufflinks. Use this cufflinks as you would a fixed back cufflinks. The only difference is that the upper head is the same size as the lower head.
Modern cufflinks are easy to wear, and they look best when paired with French cufflinks. Reversible cufflinks and fixed back cufflinks are the easiest to wear because all you need to do is push down, and you are set to go.