How to Wear Cufflinks

Cufflinks, the quintessential accessory of men’s formal wear, have stood the test of time as symbols of elegance, sophistication, and personal style. These small but impactful accessories are used to secure the cuffs of dress shirts in lieu of buttons, offering a polished finish to any formal or semi-formal outfit. While the concept of wearing cufflinks is straightforward, mastering their application and pairing can elevate your fashion game significantly. This article guides you through the essentials of wearing cufflinks, from selecting the right pair to attaching them correctly and integrating them seamlessly into your wardrobe.

Understanding the Basics of Cufflinks

Cufflinks come in various designs, materials, and mechanisms, including silk knots, whale back, bullet back, and chain link, among others. The choice depends on personal preference, the occasion, and the outfit. However, it’s crucial to note that cufflinks can only be worn with shirts that have French cuffs or double cuffs—cuffs that are longer and meant to be folded back on themselves, creating a double layer that cufflinks can fasten through. This type of shirt adds a layer of formality and distinction to your attire, making it suitable for weddings, galas, formal dinners, and any occasion where a suit or tuxedo is appropriate.

Selecting the Right Pair of Cufflinks

The selection of cufflinks should complement the tone of the event and the colors or patterns in your outfit. For formal occasions, opt for classic materials like silver, gold, or mother-of-pearl. These timeless choices add a touch of class without drawing undue attention. For less formal or more personal occasions, feel free to express yourself with bolder colors, unique materials, or designs that reflect your interests or personality. Regardless of the style, ensure the cufflinks are not in direct contrast to your watch or other jewelry in terms of color and material.

The Correct Way to Attach Cufflinks

To attach cufflinks, start by folding back the cuffs of your shirt, aligning the cuff holes. Hold the two sides of the cuff together, making sure the holes for the cufflinks align perfectly. Insert the cufflink through all four layers of shirt fabric, starting on the outside of the cuff (the side that will be visible when your arms are at your sides). Depending on the type of cufflink, secure it in place by snapping the backing closed, twisting a screw-tight backing, or looping a chain or fabric through the holes. The decorative face of the cufflink should be outward-facing when your arm is at your side, showcasing the design.

Styling Tips for Wearing Cufflinks

Cufflinks should not be an afterthought but a considered part of your outfit that can tie your look together. For business settings, stick to subtle designs that reflect professionalism. Coordinate the metal of your cufflinks with your watch and belt buckle for a cohesive look. In more creative or personal settings, cufflinks can be a conversation starter—don’t shy away from fun designs that express your hobbies, affiliations, or sense of humor. Remember, the key to cufflink style is balance; they should complement, not dominate, your overall appearance.

Maintenance and Care for Cufflinks

To ensure your cufflinks remain in pristine condition, store them in a dry place away from direct sunlight when not in use. Use a soft cloth to wipe them down after wear to remove any oils or residue. For silver or gold cufflinks, occasional polishing with the appropriate cleaner will keep them shining. Proper care extends the life of your cufflinks and ensures they remain a staple in your wardrobe for years to come.

Mastering the Art of Cufflinks

Wearing cufflinks is an art that adds a refined touch to your attire, distinguishing you as a man of taste and attention to detail. By understanding the basics, selecting the right pair, attaching them correctly, and styling them with consideration, you can elevate your formal and semi-formal looks significantly. Cufflinks are more than mere functional accessories; they are a reflection of your personal style and an homage to the enduring elegance of men’s fashion.

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