mother-of-pearl-cufflinks

Etiquette

When and How to Wear Cufflinks

22 Feb , 2009  

Women love jewelry, they have many items for differing occasions that need to match their outfit. A man’s jewelry usually consists of a wedding ring, a few exclusive time pieces, perhaps a quality pen and a few pairs of cufflinks. Those with an eye for detail will carefully coordinate a pair of cufflinks with their watch, wedding ring, tie, shirt, suspenders, socks and suit.

mother-of-pearl-cufflinks

Cufflinks should only be worn with shirts with double cuffs, also known as French cuffs, which the French themselves call Musketeers cuffs. A shirt should either be double cuff with button holes but no buttons, or single cuff with buttons. Certain shirts have both which looks silly, and are against the shirt etiquette and should therefore be avoided at all times. There are many different types of cufflinks, from very formal and subtle ones that go well with the black tie dress code, to those with a photo of your pet in them which you can wear to Disneyworld. A man tunes his cufflinks to the occasion or mood he is in. There are different metals and plating, stones or other materials from which cufflinks are made. Cufflinks that will always look and feel great on pretty much any shirt are sterling silver with mother of pearl. If you look for something more creative or exclusive check out these brands; Paul Smith, Longmire, Turnbull & Asser, Montblanc, Tiffany & Co , Kenneth Cole, Cartier, and Bulgari. Most of these brands’ cufflinks have been imitated and are sold for a nickel and a dime at certain holiday destinations in especially Asia. Avoid wearing those, they look bad and having your cufflinks break in the middle of a board meeting will not impress any of the stakeholders.

The shirt and cufflink etiquette means to believe that a double cuff shirt with cufflinks is only to be worn in combination with a suit. Not on jeans, even not combined with a Corneliani jacket. However, many students, playboys in the nightclubs and young professionals wear double cuff shirts on jeans. Fashion is not about following etiquette, but rather about creating one’s own rules. There are men who believe you shouldn’t wear cufflinks if you are younger the 30 years of age. It doesn’t matter, as long as you enjoy wearing them.

Why would someone wear cufflinks? It is mostly a matter of culture and interest. More than three centuries ago, the elite in supposedly the United Kingdom started wearing them as a form of luxurious decoration. Up until today some cufflinks are handcrafted from materials such as gold and gems such as turquoise that cost you a fortune. In general, the wealthier man or those with senior positions in companies wear cufflinks. Someone with a job in construction would find double cuffed shirts to be very unhandy during work times since the tip of the cuff moves away from the wrist and the cufflink might get stuck in some automotive part. A double cuff shirt is perceived as more elegant, it’s not a worker’s shirt. Shirts to wear with a smoking are double cuff, bankers in London and Hong Kong’s financial district prefer to wear double cuff shirts. Double cuff shirts with fancy, yet subtle cufflinks somewhat claim authority and are perceived as sexy by many women.

Italy and the United Kingdom are still regarded as the most influential countries in the men’s formal wear fashion industry. Strangely however, only the English have kept their cufflinks through the centuries. Italians are rarely spotted with cufflinks. London is definitely the Mecca for all cufflinks aficionados. Although in certain social circuits in Milan, Rome, Florence and Naples, many men do buy cufflinks from their boutique store around the corner. In the United States of America you will find an occasional American CEO wearing cufflinks and some well-dressed playboys in nightclubs.

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Comments

  1. John says:

    Does all shirts support cufflinks?

    1. Lance Miller says:

      Hi John, not all shirts support cufflinks. Only those shirts that have French Cuffs, which you may ask for in the store. In a copple of weeks from now, I will post some video’s that clearly show the difference between French cuffs on a shirt and regular cuffs that do not support cufflinks.

  2. Thirty Pounds says:

    Hi, interesting post. I have been thinking about this issue,so thanks for sharing. I’ll definitely be coming back to your posts.

  3. Jilly says:

    Hi, I recently received a very nice ladies Van Laack shirt. It appears to have a double cuff but no holes for cufflinks? However there is a single button fastening at the top of the cuff, the cuff measures 5.5 ” or 14 cm. Do I wear the cuff loosely folded back or starched and pressed? Please advise, thanks J

  4. GarykPatton says:

    Hello. I think the article is really interesting. I am even interested in reading more. How soon will you update your blog?

  5. Rufor says:

    Hi, Super post, Need to mark it on Digg

  6. Many people say cuff links are old news, but from experience, they are totally incorrect. Cuff Links are here to stay, whether they are worn at weddings, special events or just for fun. Cuff links really do add some personality and every single time I gift a pair to someone, they think it’s the best thing to happen to them since the invention of the wheel.

  7. Smiley Ben says:

    can cufflinks be worn without a jacket?does it even look good? so far i’ve seen them worn when only wearing a blazer or suit coat

    1. Lance Miller says:

      According to the etiquette, double cuffed shirts with cufflinks should be worn with suits only. Not on jeans.. Personally I like wearing some double cuffed shirts with cufflinks on jeans in combination with a (shorter than typical suit lenght) jacket. I don’t think it looks bad if worn without the jacket. However, if the shirt is not made-to-measure and the cuffs are too big for the wearer then it does look rather stupid. Make sure the cuffs fit the wrist properly and it will look much better. This answer your question Ben?

  8. Karl says:

    I think double cuffed shirts also look great without a jacket, I also like them on jeans. Especially combined with bachelor knots!

  9. Karl says:

    Lance, thank you! :-)

  10. minnal says:

    hi great read on cufflinks, may i ask is it proper to wear cufflink shirts to office in Singapore?
    Thanks

  11. Sure, why not…? Just make sure you have subtle cufflinks, preferably in a dark color… If you have shiny, metal cufflinks they might reflect sunlight and distract others… On size, I would look for cufflinks slightly larger than your ordinary shirt buttons…secondly, sitting at your desk and leaning on your wrists is not comfortable with enormous cufflinks… size does matter!

  12. rajeev says:

    hi , do you have to wear a tie to wear cufflings , i was planning to wear a suite with out the tie is that ok

    1. Lance Miller says:

      Yes that’s fine! According to the etiquette one should only wear cufflinks with a suit, not on jeans, but I do wear my cufflinks with jeans (and jacket).. CUfflinks without a tie is no problem. Best, Lance

  13. Shawshank says:

    Is it ok the wear a double-cuff shirt to work or a meeting without a suit jacket? The shirt is gray with subtle rectangle gray cuffs and black slacks and dress shoes.

  14. Hi Shawshank!… Sure, you could do that, as long as the cuffs are indeed subtle… and make sure your black slacks fit your lower body perfectly :)

  15. Lance says:

    Hi S; Bobby’ right but according to the etiquette one should only wear double cuffed shirts with suits. Hence, if you are wearing your shirt on a woolen pants that might be part of a suit then you’re ok. I(even without the suit’s jacket) f you wear the shirt on jeans then it might become too preppy for formal occasions ;)

  16. James says:

    I think the leading sentence is a little off, cuff links are worn with single cuffs for white tie (most formal), I think its just so rarely seen, it is seen as wrong!

  17. Steph says:

    nice post! I just started wearing cufflinks recently and I just want to share a link to a store that sell cheap cuffilnks. It’s huffncuff.com and they sell cufflinks under $10. I don’t know why cufflinks are so expensive. I don’t think it costs that much to manufacture them but often clothing stores will sell them for over $30 a pair. I can’t afford them at those prices, I need to make more money lol

  18. MT says:

    hi, just for formal wear to office, wearing silk knot cufflinks to office without a tie , does it look good ? my shirts are not double cuffed… but i love the look it generates with the silk knot cufflinks….
    plz advise me…

  19. classvogue says:

    Cufflinks looks good and attractive. People always need valuable cufflinks for their valuable shirts. Its made by different types of metals. Its gives a good information about Cufflinks Singapore which is very important to all. I also know a very good site for Cufflinks Singapore at classvogue(dot)com !!!!

  20. The Truth says:

    Hi, I have a few pairs of gold cufflinks, a pair of 14k square justice sclaes(very exspensive), onxy and 14k gold and 10k gold with the initial of my lastname ingraved on them(both oval). I also have a 14k gold tie tac with a diamond in the middle. I’am 21 and I totally agree with the fact that you do not have to be over 30 or any age limit to wear the finner things in life. It makes a statment, especilly at a young age. It sends the message that you are ready to move your way up and people dont have to know you to be able to tell, they can see it in your attire. I also wear the oyster perpertual date Rolex. For certain occasions all of it is to much but when I do wear them together it really blows people away especialy older co-workers. I also have to agree that cufflinks only look like they belong when wearing french cuffs.

    Don”t be scared to look better then the rest.

    Success is the only option – ZW

  21. Kaps says:

    Some double-cuffed shirts now have double slits for links. Does one wear two sets of links,and if yes, how should the two be matched?

  22. mike says:

    Useful article, but there’s some pretty blatant contradiction here:
    First you write: “Certain shirts have both which looks silly, and are against the shirt etiquette and should therefore be avoided at all times.”

    Then, just a few lines later: “However, many students, playboys in the nightclubs and young professionals wear double cuff shirts on jeans. Fashion is not about following etiquette, but rather about creating one’s own rules.”

    So which is it? Is it silly not to follow etiquette, or does etiquette not matter? Can’t have it both ways!

  23. annette says:

    What is the most acceptable size of link as I am getting a pair made for a friend .
    Thanking You .
    Annette

  24. nicole says:

    Hi.. I was going to buy cufflinks for all my groomsman for my wedding. But will they use them again. They all wear dress shirts and sometimes suits. Can they wear them with regular dress shirts and/or suits?

  25. Bryan says:

    Kaps – double slits are for selecting the wrist placement of the cufflinks. I normally use the closest slit to my wrist, but I believe it depends on your size/build.

    -Bryan

  26. Lance Miller says:

    Every Wedensday and Saturday. if you subscrbe to our e-mail feeder you will be notified automatically :)