Buying Guide: How to Select, Wear, and Buy Cufflinks
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Cufflinks have been a staple in men’s formalwear for decades. Men do not always have as many options to choose from when it comes to jewelry or accessories so cufflinks are a great way to show one’s individuality. There are so many options to choose from, one can have some fun picking out cufflinks for different occasions.
How To Wear Cufflinks
For those who do not know, cufflinks are worn as the “fastener” of a man’s sleeve where buttons would typically be for a more formal look; often called the “French cuff”. All you have to do is slip the link through the slit in the sleeve and fasten the back for a secure, stylish look. Twenty or thirty years ago, cufflinks were very prevalent in men’s everyday workwear. It was typical for a man to wear a suit and tie into the office, and with that often came accessories like tie bars and cufflinks. As the years have gone by, office attire has become more and more casual and it isn’t very often that you see a man at work in a full suit. That does not mean that there is no longer a place for cufflinks. Nowadays, cufflinks are typically worn when dressing up to go out or for special occasions. Men will wear them for weddings or any other time where “dressing your best” is necessary.
What Different Styles of Cufflinks are Available?
The types of cufflinks available are typically characterized by the type of back they have. The three most popular styles are fixed back, bullet back, and whaleback cufflinks.
Fixed back cufflinks: Fixed back cufflinks are essentially just like their name sounds; they feature an attached, immovable fastener on the back of the link that you just have to slip through the slit in the sleeve.
Bullet back cufflinks: Bullet backed cufflinks are the most well-known or recognized style of cufflinks. The stem of the link has a bullet-like fastener on the back that lies in line with the stem to put through the shirt and then is moved into place to secure the sleeve.
Whaleback cufflinks: Whaleback cufflinks are very similar to their bullet back counterparts, the only main difference is the shape of the fastener on the back. On whalebacks, the back has more of a rectangular bar that rotates in line with the stem, then back into place to close the cuff.
Apart from the cufflink types, there are typically three main metal categories to choose from: sterling silver, stainless steel, and gold.
Sterling Silver Cufflinks
Sterling silver is going to be the most common type of cufflink first and foremost for its price. Silver has always been less expensive and a great option for someone who does not want to spend a fortune on cufflinks. For example, these sterling silver cufflinks below offer an oval plate that can be engraved and a heavy bullet back for a subtle but elegant look for only $150.
Stainless Steel Cufflinks
The next most popular style of cufflinks is going to be stainless steel. Stainless steel has continued to rise in popularity in men’s jewelry for both its durability and resistance to tarnishing as silver does. Stainless steel also typically has “brushed” looks on them, giving more of a matte look rather than polished. These stainless steel cufflinks below have the brushed plate with optional customization and a whaleback closure for $65.
Last but not least is gold cufflinks. While gold is more expensive, they are the ultimate luxury cufflink that will stand the test of time. You do not have to worry about tarnishing and gold can be clean and buffed easily to ensure your cufflinks always look their best. These cufflinks below by Brian Gavin Diamonds are 14K gold and feature a small near colorless diamond for an extra luxurious look.
In addition to the different metals to pick from, it is also popular to pick a cufflink with an onyx inlay when wearing a tuxedo. The black of the onyx ties in nicely with the tuxedo color and creates a more formal look. In addition, onyx cufflinks are often found with a sterling silver base for a polished and clean look without the expensive price tag like these cufflinks below. They feature a rotating sterling silver whaleback and black onyx center for under $300 from Blue Nile.
Where to Buy Cufflinks
Blue Nile offers a variety of different cufflink styles in both sterling silver and stainless steel. Most of the options they offer have a plate-style design that you can engrave to make the cufflinks more personal. These plates have different shapes ranging from an oval to a rectangle and most designs are offered in either a high polish or matte plate design. Blue Nile primarily focuses on the traditional plate-style cufflinks but they do offer a “Love Knot” style link in sterling silver that is particularly nice as a wedding gift and at a reasonable price of $200.
Brian Gavin Diamonds
If you are looking for a more premium cufflink design, consider taking a look at all of the options that Brian Gavin Diamonds has to offer. They offer a few traditional, yet stylish, silver options at reasonable prices, but their “Custom Cufflink Builder” is the most unique feature.
Using the “Custom Cufflink Builder” you first begin with the shape of the front of the cufflink; there are rounds, ovals, squares, and an emerald-cut shape that resembles the angular rectangle of the emerald-cut diamond. Then you pick the metal “design” that you want on the front of the link. After that, you choose the type of metal for the front and the back of the cufflink, ranging from silver to all gold colors, to platinum. Lastly, you choose from a diamond, sapphire, or ruby to place in the cufflink to complete the look. Though more expensive, it is rare to find a gold or platinum cufflink option and provide a wide variety of customizations to create a design that is uniquely yours.
Best Cufflinks Under $100
Though entirely custom cufflinks are always fun, there are plenty of options for a very reasonable price and offer the ability to engrave to add a personal touch. Here are our favorite cufflinks under $100.
These cufflinks are probably the most original cufflinks you can find. They have the bullet back with a round stainless steel center. They are also engravable for a nice, customized gift.
These classic cufflinks feature a rich black onyx center perfect for a tuxedo or classic black suit.
They have a sterling silver and rhodium plated back for a stark contrast with the black and will be the perfect suit accessory for years to come.
If you are looking for a slightly more modern look in your cufflinks, consider these framed options from Blue Nile. They feature a brushed stainless steel center with a polished bar on each side. The stainless steel is engravable but not necessary with the extra detailing added to the cufflinks.
Last but not least are these sterling silver pebble cufflinks from Brian Gavin Diamonds. The matte finish is appropriate for everyday use and the simple but refined design can be used with a variety of different suits.
Many individuals in the workforce no longer have to wear a full suit so it may seem like cufflinks do not make sense anymore, but that could not be further from the truth. Cufflinks are a fantastic addition to any suit and allow the wearer to add a bit of personalization and elevate their look.
There are so many options to choose from and it is not necessary to break the bank when picking a pair out. Cufflinks make the perfect graduation gift for someone who is getting ready to enter the workforce and wants to make a good impression. They can also be given to commemorate any special occasion, as they are both useful and provide a sentimental keepsake to be treasured. Nevertheless, a cufflink style and price can be found for everyone to achieve that polished, put-together suit look.