Over recent years, men’s jewelry has had a bad rap. Signet rings the size of saucers, dodgy cheap earrings and unpretty piercings – this has been how most of the more glittering male adornments have been portrayed. So, thank heavens for cufflinks. These iconic pieces of uniquely male jewelry can be elegant accessories, family heirlooms, romantic gifts, status symbols, statement pieces and markers of pure class.
For those already sold on the idea of buying cufflinks, the choice may not be as straightforward as they might like. After all, for every priceless white gold pair, there are a hundred jokey, ‘novelty’ items. The ideal cufflinks should be discreet and whisper quality, not shout. One easy way to judge whether the items you have your eyes on are up to scratch is to do the “James Bond Test”…
The James Bond Test for Cufflinks
This unique ‘test’ consist of three very simple steps which could ensure that you don’t make a mistake in your choice of the perfect cufflinks. It is very straightforward:
1. Would James Bond wear the cufflinks with his dinner suit? A man who has made the tux synonymous with timeless style would of course be very picky about what he wears at his wrist.
2. Would Bond be happy to wear the cufflinks when driving his Aston Martin at 120 mph?
3. Would 007 himself knowingly flash the cufflinks, and a smile, just before he got the girl?
If you can answer a resounding “yes” to the above questions, then you should undoubtedly by them straight away!
How to Wear Cufflinks
1. Understand the French-Cuff Shirt
To the uninitiated it may seem like a tricky thing to wear cufflinks for the first time. But all you need is a dress shirt that has “French” or double cuffs. Such shirts have extra long cuffs with no buttons and holes at the side. Such shirts are truly timeless classics and shirts, perfect attire for business or more formal leisure. These are shirts that in themselves definitely pass the James Bond test!
2. Putting Cufflinks In
Put your shirt on and fold the large cuffs back neatly at the end of the shirt’s sleeve. Next, hold the open edges of the shirt cuff together. Now make sure that you line up the holes of the cufflinks. Pull the cufflinks through the hole and secure it. There are a variety of different ways of doing this, depending on the style of cufflink; if in doubt ask when purchasing. Ensure that the decorated side of the cufflinks face outwards when your arms are down.
2. Matching Cufflinks
There is an art to pairing the right French-cuff shirt with the right pair of cufflinks. Neutral colors such as black, blue, grey and silver go with just about all colors of shirts. Cufflinks with red glass or gems go well with beige shirts or suits. To make the selection process simple, just hold your cufflinks up to the shirts you own to see what will look the best before you get changed for your evening out.
3. Formal Occasion Cufflinks
Cufflink collections that really dazzle need to contain stunning, formal jewellery as well as everyday wear. Diamond or jeweled cufflinks can look fabulous for really important occasions such as weddings and balls. You might even like to choose a pair to match your date’s dress. If you are buying a pair of cufflinks as a special present but don’t know which type to plump for, buy solid gold cufflinks which will go well with practically any suit and give a finishing touch of class to every outfit.
Different Styles of Cufflinks
1. Bullet-Back Closure
Bullet-back closures are the most common type of cufflink backings. They are easy to put on because this design features a torpedo capsule suspended between two posts. The bullet is flipped on its axis to bring it through the buttonhole and then be flipped horizontally to secure the cufflink on the cuff.
2. Fixed Backing
A cufflink with a fixed backing extends the cufflink, meaning that the post and backing are the same piece, on the reverse side of the cufflink face. The backing does not move and some are rounded or pointed so it can be tricky to insert them into the holes. But because they have no moving parts, they tend to last much longer over the years.
3. Chain Link
These are an elegant and traditional type of cufflinks, with two pieces linked by a chain. They can be exceptionally fiddly to put on, but at the same time they offer a timeless, classic touch. Also, with this type of cufflink you will be able to see the design on either side of your sleeve. With just a little practice you can find that you love these old-style gentlemen’s cufflinks and you can always ask someone to give you a friendly hand.
4. Whale Back Closure
This style of cufflink has a flat post called a ‘whale tail’ which is attached at the end of the link. To fasten them, flip the whale end so that it lays flat against the post, then insert it into the button holes. After fixing it into the button hole, flip the whale tail end back and secure the cufflink in place.
The great thing about reversible cufflinks is that one pair can give you two different styles of jewellery, which can make them an extremely handy addition to your wardrobe. There are more than one type of reversible cufflink that you can but the most popular are ones with different, yet complimentary colors. These add a dash of color to any shirt and suit, and they are a very effective type of cufflink.
6. Ball Return
Ball Return cufflinks consist of a gold or silver ball. They are simple to put on and provide you with the looseness of a chain backing pair of cufflinks. The balls on these cufflinks have greater aesthetic appeal than plainer types of cufflinks, to provide a shot of true style through and through.