Back in the day Cufflinks where more than Fashion

The path of a man starts with a nice shirt then he upgrades to a nice suit. Down the path of growing up, as too becoming a real gent, he may consider to marry? Or maybe he has a business and he needs a tailor-made or bespoke suit! As do you, will discover the bits and pieces of men’s fashion.

Having a great suit, requires also a French cuffed shirt. The cufflinks will play an essential part of keeping the two ends of the shirt together, but also adding an elegant touch to the overall look. Let us dive into the culture of cufflinks! These men’s accessory had and still have various meanings, but here are the primarily reasons why they’re used for:

  1. Cufflinks where a communication tool
  2. Wearing cufflinks was a type of rank
  3. No fashion without owning a pair

Brief History

Let us keep this cufflinks history short and sweet, but with all the necessary details you should actually know about. The first type of cufflinks where robust, not as easy and technical fit as we know it now. Those old cufflinks where worn on top of the cuffs, please note that the cuffs of the shirt itself where ordered separately!

Credits to Guy-David Lambrechts for these amazing pictures.

Men's-Antique-Cufflinks-1860

As time went by shirts where redesigned to accommodate the cuff on the shirt. The cufflinks weren’t that visible anymore, but the sizes grew. A century back every cufflink had its own meaning, whether symbolic or professional approach. For some people, it was to express whom they loved very much, things they owned (like a car) or even their hobby.

Every country had its own type of style, for instance Italy had mosaic type of cufflinks. Other countries had more painted like. As the time went by so did the people discover new materials, which they also applied to the accessory. As stated before antique cuffs didn’t have the perfect design right away so they experienced with chain- and button type of closured before coming to the toggle closure.

Different type of toggle

When the first cufflinks came out they weren’t the most practical ones. It was rather hard to put them on all by yourself. The fist ones are totally different from the current ones we have now. Back then they had to put a separate cuff on top of their shirt and connect a longer cufflinks type to close the hard cuff. Now we have a selection which you can choose from. If you want a more technical visual of it, click on this link.

There are different type of closures here are the most common ones: • Ball return • Bullet back / toggle • Chain link • Stud/button • Silk knot • Whale back closure • Locking

If you wear cufflinks, which one do you prefer to wear? Or you do you like to switch your collection up and try different types from time to time? Comment below, let me know your experience!

Type of materials – year / period

Each time a new material was discovered or even produced by mankind, they made cufflinks of it. As a good example is ‘Bakelite’, bakelite is a material that was used back in the days to make radios and ashtrays, because it could resist the heat!

This comes to our next question, what type of material should I buy my cufflinks form? Note that most cufflinks are made from stainless steel. On top of the cufflinks, they can add a colour layer to make it look more silver- or gold-ish. Otherwise there are cuffs made of one specific material, ex. gold, silver, wood and the list goes on and on.

cufflinks-materials

Having a specific material in mind, you can look for that cuff but you’ll notice this occurrence on every cufflink. The structure of the those pieces are rather simple. You have the base of the cuff (toggle, post and cup member) and on top of the cufflink you’ll see the placement of the unique material, such as diamonds, ruby or whatever you wish it to be.

Variety – animals to hobby

Cufflinks are a part of you and your outfit. As mentioned before, back in the old days they used this accessory as a communication and ranking tool. But with the closer to our area it’s more a fashion accessory.

People who are in love with their job, hobby or their beloved pet will ultimately look first for such cufflinks before deciding on others. Sometimes it can be abstract figures, zodiac signs, initials, favourite brands, animals, professions and all what you can think about!

Nowadays if you look at some famous brands like Jacob & Co NYC or Tom Ford, they try to make the most expensive art work by using the most precious stones. By hard effort and craftsmanship, they design some unique pieces which can cost up to 100k to 1M.

Jacob&Co-jewelry-cufflinks-art

Jacob&Co-jewelry-cufflinks

Cufflinks in the 21st century

Nowadays cufflinks aren’t worn that much anymore. The simplicity of a button to attach both ends of a shirt cuff together is much easier than using some cuffs. When we think about wearing cufflinks, we have that image in our head of fashion gurus, tailors or politicians (“the upper-class people” so to speak). This makes them not feel in their skin anymore, because they’re not used to it.

Remember that back in the old days, various people wore such a pair, independent of what class or profession they were in! Our technological area has allowed us to make it more personalised and for a reasonable price. What makes vintage or antique cufflinks stand out from the recent ones is the story or even the 1 of 1 production of it.

Antique Titanic cufflinks

Best example of antique cufflinks are those from the Titanic! Let us go back in history when the rich booked a trip on the recent build Titanic. Most unique parts on the ship where the bar and the barber shop. According to me as a man, who agrees ? 😆

The barber shop was a place where men could come and have a fresh cut and buy a unique set of Titanic cufflinks for their collection. It was the only place where you could buy those things. It was also a proof that you sailed on the ship. As the ship sank and people couldn’t take their stuff with them, only a few authentic Titanic cufflinks remain in the whole world! Guy-David Lambrechts is one of those few whom possess a pair.

Titanic-antique-cufflinks-men
At the current evaluation they can go up to 100.000 EUR, crazy right!

Own the history of cufflinks

If you truly want to discover all the secrets of history about cufflinks, look no further than here! There’s a well-crafted book about cufflinks. It contains 100 years of history and all the ins and outs you may have not know about his small piece of elegance. Contact me by email or leave a comment if you’re interested in such a classy history book (Antique Cufflinks 1860 – 1960) or even as decoration for your living room.

Antique-cufflinks-book
Antique-cufflinks-book-side-look

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1 Comment
  • AlbertaBig
    September 7, 2019

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