Dressy isn’t usually a connotation often explored in the context of men’s fashion but despite the commonplace notion of style being exclusive or at least more in conformity with the feminine mode of life, it also is the ambit of the fashion preferences of the man that has dwelled to quite some extent in the alleys of stylized substance. And while style itself is something that is incredibly personal and is characteristic of an individuality and an identity that does not require a set series of expressions, it also is equally true that lending a universality to this pursuit of the style is a very natural evolutionary pursuit of an innate human kind. Concerning ourselves today with the domain of the fashionable that caters to the male assertion of identity has us exploring a style element not quintessential but still quite essential in this particular leaning guiding the doctrines of the appearance. In focus therefore is a particular item of accessory that is one of the most reliable when it comes to endowing men with that required charisma of style stemmings and that which today has come to rest in a dual premises of its own by evolving also to be as unisex a statement in itself.
Despite the predominance of its appearance along the fashion trails of the male, cufflinks today are sported by women alike with equal élan as the style scene of the modern world have come to mar the distinctive lines of separation. What made cufflinks an essentially male piece of style staple was the mode of wearing of them- upon the cuffs of shirts for purposes of functional as well as visual grandeur. With shirts however emerging to be embraced as a staple in the women’s line of clothing as well, the versatility of cufflinks acquired a newer range of dominion through which it continues to stamp its supreme residence in the aesthetic allure of fashion. Whatever that might be, these pretty pieces of elegance, so steeped in sheen that they pass off quite well as jewelry even, present a vision of fashion consciousness that captures indeed the attention of the world in their variably glistening charm. In adding to the overall look a simple but substantial detail, cufflinks can instantly change the visage of what the wearer would have presented an image of, transforming him from one among the many to someone who understands truly well the subtle and not so subtle plays of the sartorial.
Cufflinks might not be a very commonly donned accessory in today’s time, enjoying instead a status that deems them fit for wearing on dressier occasions to add that extra oomph to outfits and looks. As a sharp way of dressing that lends indeed somewhat of an understated luxury to the wearer, cufflinks indeed are special shows of fashion. Existing since the 1600s, cufflinks however did not come to gain more prominence till at least the next couple of centuries though it was still sometime in the late 17th century itself that they began to tread more fashionable grounds during the reign of King Louis XIV of France. Closely linked to the evolution of the shirt in the fashion world are cufflinks that in essence serves the purpose of holding together the cuffs of it, albeit in quite decorative a mannerism. Before this striking piece of fastener made its appearance, it had been ribbons and strings instead that did the job of securing shirt cuffs around the wrist.
Cufflinks originated among the fashionable folks of Europe who began to use buttons to secure their shirt cuffs, with small chains fastened to the ends of these gold or silver rounds designed to go through the cuff holes. Often painted with miniature portraits of loved ones or of notable personalities, these cufflinks were indeed very different in their functional assertion of style alluding therefore to the fancied preferences of the high society of the times. In fact so distinctive was this style of fastening cuffs that these sleeve buttons were even singularly named by French tailors as boutons de manchettes, even as the then monarch of England, King Charles II regularly sported such ornaments of functionality in public, helping therefore to make cufflinks quite the fashionable phenomenon that it continues to be today.
Emerging to be more commonplace in the centuries that followed was this visibly distinguished appeal of cufflink that came to don the shirt cuffs of the working class people as well. With stiffer shirtsleeves calling indeed for a definite form of fastening, the era of the industrial revolution, particular the year of the 1840s saw cufflinks already taking on its present interpretation of almost two centuries later as appearances of gold, silver or pearl buttons held together by a brass chain began to dominate the premises of shirts around their cuffs. More developments followed as the chains were gradually replaced by rods and fasteners with easy to close clips, as cufflinks became increasingly affordable but remained still also as aesthetic as they had been in origin. Colored cufflinks as well as those made from gemstones also began to do the rounds in the fashion circle, making this item of the vestiary more and more pronounced an expression in style preference.
Also emerging in prominence around the same time was the cufflink among the fashion preferences of the female folk who by then had taken to wearing shirts that came mostly without the convenience of buttons attached to them. However contemporary inventions and modern developments that led to the manufacture of sportier styles of shirts and t shirts that did away completely with the necessity of cufflinks meant that this accessory of jewelled beckoning would gradually begin to lose its essence.
The appeal of cufflinks persisted though, more as a means of stylish expression than of fashionable convenience, as the bedecked, bejewelled, shiny expanse of them began to be scouted out by reputed fashion houses and designers, with the likes of Coco Chanel, Tiffany’s and Cartier beginning to give them their own distinctive spin in the aesthetics of design. Through most of the years of the 20th century, this charm of the cufflink continued to find expression among the masses though by the 1970s, it began to be less manifested in middle class fashion. The decline in popularity however was short lived as the very next decade witnessed a revival of the trend of sporting cufflinks by men as more a return to classic style sensibilities. Today however cufflinks are as modern a piece of accessory as well as a component of power dressing as they can be, that might come across as quite dressy in all the style they encompass but does not essentially pass off as exclusively formal or informal by nature. No longer high societysque in its exclusive exploration, cufflinks today are a rather versatile mode of bringing to fore one’s consciousness of the fashion parlance, as an element of everyday style that helps assert the exclusive personality of the wearer, making it therefore more individual an assertion of one’s uniquely bespoke awareness of style.
As an element of style that inherently fits on shirt cuffs that come with buttonhole but no buttons, cufflinks are generally worn with French cuffs in various interpretations of design. There for instance is the bullet back style that uses a small cylinder designed like a bullet that’s set between two short bars attached to the cufflink’s face and that which is fastened by simply placing it through the shirt cuff and then fastening it. Quite similar is the whale back style that features instead a flat face with a whale tail shape that flips back to close the link. Chain links cufflinks add perhaps a bit more drama with the dangling delight of the chain affording a flair that is more captivating of attention even as the chained mannerism works about in two distinct ways. Either with each end of the chain inserted through each part of the cuff in which case it works as an automatic fastener or the even dressy style that has the chain actually wrapping around the outside of the cuff, the chain link calls for a little more attention to detail. Equally steeped in the essence of dressing your cuffs in a lot more detail are the fixed back or double sided cufflinks that do not come with any moving parts. With a large and a small end both of which are visible, on the outer and inner part of the cuff respectively, these double sided beauties adorn your wrist in a dual extent. Intriguing as well is the cufflink style that is identified as the locking type that besets in a dual locking mechanism driven by a very contemporary design as well. Ball return cufflink is another style you can sport, easily differentiated by its ball design that stands out on the cuff and that which essentially is a variation of the fixed back style. Then there are also stud and button cufflink styles that make for a more dressy and casual approach to fashion respectively through assertion of its look either in the form of precious looking studs or in the guise of the more humble button, but more secure nonetheless than the other cufflink designs.
But while all these styles rest in the common assertion of some metal to drive forth their identity as functional still but also decorative pieces of the outfit, there is a particular style of cufflink that instead is made from some sort of fabric. A knotted cufflink, more popularly known as the silk knot, this is a style that is more affordable and less durable than other styles. But what makes the silk knot stand out still among the many different cufflinks you can choose from is its funky approach to style. Introduced in 1904, this is a very fun way to play along with colors on your choice of cufflink as well, lending therefore this piece of accessory more dimension in styling. Rested in a more relaxed, informal premise is this variant of the cufflink so noted in its style that has often led it to be interpreted in metallic assertions as well, with metal cufflinks shaped like silk knots also coveted by the cool dudes of the fashion world.
With so much variety offered in terms of shape and style and type and design, it is quite evident that cufflinks need not all be exclusively dressy nor do they need to conform to set expectations of being explorative of a particular aspect of fashion. You can as easily carry a pair of cufflinks to the office meeting as you would do to a black tie event and you can definitely pair them as confidently over a pair of jeans as you would with a tuxedo. A fashion mainstay therefore, the versatility of cufflinks extends as easily to realms beyond the consideration of style, with ingrained social significance as well. Once a symbol of status, cufflinks still do manage to endow the wearer a certain image of sophistication, in its very visible assertion though the tiny bearings of this item of the sartorial can arouse such interpretations that always limit it to the confines of the subtle. Cufflinks, like any other fashion element, allows you to explore the differing range of your fashion sensibilities, wherein you can emerge to be as confident or as muted as you wish to be. A very popular gifting choice for men, cufflinks make their mark at every life event, from graduations to jobs to weddings, presenting therefore not just an impeccable expression of a fashion identity but also asserting as a personal style of life that is universal and timeless and very eminent in its symbolism of all things that stand out as a class apart from the rest.