As you may know, cufflinks are made to be worn with French cuff shirts. French cuffs are a long piece of fabric that folds back on itself, hence creating a cuff, as opposed to the usual shirts that have button cuffs. A more formal option, French cuffs have no cuff fasteners, and that is why cufflinks are needed to hold them in place.
Most men find button cuff shirts more convenient, but the urbane, high-class element a French cuff shirt adds to the look is undeniable.
The cuffs can be folded in two ways – as barrel cuffs, with the cuffs overlapping as in the standard button cuff shirts, and as kissing cuffs, which form the shape of a teardrop.
Kissing cuffs may be the popular choice, but not necessarily the better one. It’s really all about preference.
Cufflinks and silk knots are the two types of cuff fasteners you will find in stores today.
Cufflinks, the more formal option, are made of a precious metal such as gold and silver adding an elegant touch to an outfit. They are made in four essential types:
Torpedo cufflinks, the most common type, can be found in nearly every men’s retail shop. They have a decorative face, backed by an ordinary clip to keep them in place. You just push them through then snap the clip to position.
> Chain Link
Compared to torpedo cufflinks, the chain link type is more formal. This type is no longer seen very often these days. Usually worn with a black tie, they now have limited availability. If you need to buy a pair, be ready to purchase an entire stud set.
A bar cufflink is actually the simplest type, with a bar connecting two decorative balls. The halves are generally quite plain, but from time to time, you will see some striped or pallet-shaped designs. Additionally, these cufflinks don’t have any movable parts, which means you just push them through and it’s done.
Sometimes called monkey’s fists, silk knots are a low-maintenance option. These are basically strands of elastic that are tied to form two equal knots attached together. Though silk knots are no longer made of silk because of its high price and questionable durability, you can still find them as placeholders in the cuffs of French shirts sold today. They can be good for daily wear, but not for special occasions.
Traditionally, French cuffed shirts are only worn beneath a suit. The cuffs don’t feel comfy under cardigans, and their formality obviously doesn’ fit the sportcoat’s easygoing nature.