Cufflinks have been around for a very long time, and in fact date back almost as far as the Middle Ages. Before that time, shirt cuffs were kept from flapping about by being tied together with short pieces of string, but when the French King Louis XIV came to the throne in 1643, that was on the way out, and in came decorative and pretty glass buttons that were joined together by a small chain. These were called cufflinks, rather obviously, because they linked the two sides of the cuff together.
Today, you can still buy cufflinks that have two decorative faces joined together by a chain, but there are also several other designs.
In the early days, cufflinks were only for the wealthy because they often incorporated high fashion gemstones such as diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, and so on. That is still true today: of course, you can buy very expensive cufflinks with gemstones in them. However, cufflinks are not just for the wealthy who can afford a few thousand pounds. You can buy cufflinks online for less than a tenner.
Cufflinks became attainable for the man in the street when the Industrial Revolution arrived, because it was possible to manufacture them quickly and cheaply so that anyone could afford them. Since those days their popularity has come and gone several times, and indeed they lost a lot of fans when buttoned single cuffs arrived on the scene.
However, they are still worn much more than you might think. If you Google “buy cufflinks” you get over 36 million results, and if you click on any of the suppliers, you will find that they have dozens of different designs from which to choose. Some have hundreds of different patterns.
Designs can range from classic and stylish to outrageous. There are lots and lots of comedy designs such as a pair of police handcuffs, three monkeys, pool balls, rugby balls, aeroplanes, accordions – the list goes on and on. However, you don’t want to wear anything like that, unless perhaps you are going to your friend’s stag party. You could get away with them then. But for everyday wear, going to the office, or out for a meal, you need something that is stylish but not overdone.
Indeed, most men who wear cufflinks will have several different pairs so that they can make the right choice for any specific occasion.