Cufflink

Last updated
Double cuff with cufflink Double cuff with Montblanc cufflink.jpg
Double cuff with cufflink
Swivel bar type Cufflinks-old hg.jpg
Swivel bar type
Double-panel type Double panel cuff links.jpg
Double-panel type
Pairs of silk knot links; they can conveniently be held together as a pair by the elastic when not in use Gemelos-Camisa-Nudos.jpg
Pairs of silk knot links; they can conveniently be held together as a pair by the elastic when not in use
This French cuff is fastened with silk knots. Charvet cuff.jpg
This French cuff is fastened with silk knots.

Cufflinks are items of jewelry that are used to secure the cuffs of dress shirts. Cufflinks can be manufactured from a variety of different materials, such as glass, stone, leather, metal, precious metal or combinations of these. Securing of the cufflinks is usually achieved via toggles or reverses based on the design of the front section, which can be folded into position. There are also variants with chains or a rigid, bent rear section. The front sections of the cufflinks can be decorated with gemstones, inlays, inset material or enamel and designed in two or three-dimensional forms.

Contents

Cufflinks are designed only for use with shirts that have cuffs with buttonholes on both sides but no buttons. These may be either single or double-length ("French") cuffs, and may be worn either "kissing", with both edges pointing outward, or "barrel-style", with one edge pointing outward and the other one inward so that its hem is overlapped. In the US, the "barrel-style" was popularized by a famous 19th-century entertainer and clown, Dan Rice; however, "kissing" cuffs are usually preferred.

Design

Closing mechanism

Cufflink designs vary widely, with the most traditional the "double-panel", consisting of a short post or (more often) chain connecting two disc-shaped parts, both decorated. Whale-back and toggle-back cufflinks have a flat decorated face for one side, while the other side shows only the swivel-bar and its post. The swivel bar is placed vertically (aligned with the post) to put the links on and off, then horizontally to hold them in place when worn. The decorated face on the most visible side is usually larger; a variety of designs can connect the smaller piece: It may be small enough to fit through the buttonhole as a button would; it may be separated and attached from the other side; or it may have a portion that swivels on the central post, aligning with the post while the link is threaded through the button-hole and swiveling into a position at right angles to the post when worn.

Links of knotted brightly colored silk enjoyed renewed popularity in the 1990s, joined by an elasticated section.

Motif

The visible part of a cufflink is often monogrammed or decorated in some way, such as with a birthstone or something which reflects a hobby or association. There are numerous styles including novelty, traditional, or contemporary. Cufflinks can and have been worn with casual wear, informal attire or business suits, all the way to very dressy styles such as semi-formal (black tie or Stroller), and formal wear (morning dress or white tie), where they become essentially required and are matched with shirt studs. Colorful and whimsical cufflink designs are usually only suitable for casual and relatively informal events and signals someone who is fun-loving, approachable, and friendly. However, formal wear has stricter expectations, with pearl cufflinks being preferred for white tie events [1] Traditionally it was considered important to coordinate the metal of one's cufflinks with other jewelry such as watch case, belt buckle, tie bar or rings. Sartorial experts prescribe gold to be worn during the daytime and silver for evening wear, but neither expectation is considered as critical as it once was. [2]

An alternative type of cufflink is the cheaper silk knot which is usually two conjoined monkey's fist or Turk's head knots. The Paris shirtmaker Charvet is credited with their introduction in 1904. [3] They became quickly popular: "Charvet [link] buttons of twisted braid are quite the style" noted The New York Times in 1908. [4] French cuff shirts are often accompanied with a set of colour-coordinated silk knots instead of double-button cufflinks. They are now often not from silk and consist of fabric over an elasticated core. Owing to the popularity of this fashion, metal cufflinks shaped to look like a silk knot are also worn.

Interchangeable cufflinks have started to come back into the marketplace in recent years. Cartier introduced their type in the 1960s [5] consisting of a bar with a loop at either end that would allow a motif to be inserted at either end perpendicular to the bar. Cartier referred to the interchangeable motifs as batons. A set including the bars would come with batons made from coral, carnelian, lapis lazuli, rock crystal, onyx, tiger's eye and malachite. Bars would have been made from stainless steel, sterling silver or 18k gold.

Cartier recently re-introduced these interchangeable cufflinks [6] with batons made from striped chalcedony, silver obsidian, malachite, sodalite, and red tiger's eye. The accompanying bars are made from 18k gold or palladium plated sterling silver. The securing mechanism is the same for either series using a small screw inset into the looped end of the bar. The pressure exerted a by the screw on the baton holds them in place.

Another type of interchangeable system was created by pranga & co. The patent-pending cufflink system comes apart allowing the motif, referred to as an Anker, to slide on. Putting the cufflink back together secures the anker into the cufflink allowing it to be worn. pranga & co's cufflink is simple and similar in concept to charm bracelet bead systems popularized by companies like Pandora Jewelry. The ankers used in the cufflinks are interchangeable with various charm bracelets systems and visa-versa.

History

Although the first cufflinks appeared in the 1600s, they did not become common until the end of the 18th century. Their development is closely related to that of the men's shirt. Men have been wearing shirt-like items of clothing since the invention of woven fabric 5,000 years BC. Although styles and methods of manufacturing changed, the underlying form remained the same: a tunic opened to the front with sleeves and collar. The shirt was worn directly next to the skin, it was washable and thereby protected the outer garments from contact with the body. Conversely, it also protected the skin against the rougher and heavier fabrics of jackets and coats by covering the neck and wrists.

After the Middle Ages, the visible areas of the shirt (neck, chest, and wrists) became sites of decorative elements such as frills, ruffs, and embroidery. The cuffs were held together with ribbons, as collared, an early precursor of neckties. Frills that hung down over the wrist were worn at court and other formal settings until the end of the 18th century, whilst in the everyday shirts of the time, the sleeves ended with a simple ribbon or were secured with a button or a connected pair of buttons.

In the 19th century, the former splendor of the aristocracy was superseded by the bourgeois efficiency of the newly employed classes. From then onward men wore a highly conventional wardrobe: a dark suit by day, a dinner jacket, or tailcoat in the evening. By the middle of the 19th century, modern cufflink became popular. The shirt front as well as collar and cuffs covering areas of the most wear were made sturdier. This was practical but when clean and starched, collars and cuffs underscored the formal character of the clothing. However, they could be too stiff to secure the cuffs with a simple button. As a consequence, from the mid 19th century onward men in the middle and upper classes wore cufflinks. The industrial revolution meant that these could be mass-produced, making them available in every price category.

Colored cufflinks made from gemstones were initially only worn by men with a great deal of self-confidence, however. This situation changed when the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, popularised colorful Fabergé cufflinks in the 19th century. During this time cufflinks became fashion accessories and one of the few acceptable items of jewelry for men in Britain and the U.S.

This development continued into the early 1900s, with more cufflinks worn than ever before. These were available in every type of form, color, and material, incorporating both gemstones and less precious stones and glass in cheaper copies. Intricate colored enameled cufflinks in every conceivable geometric pattern were especially popular. All of these were of equal value, as Coco Chanel had made fashion jewelry acceptable to wear. In a parallel development, however, a sportier style of shirt emerged with unstarched cuffs that could be secured with simple buttons.

Cufflink made in Idar-Oberstein in the 1960s Manschettenknopf Idar-Oberstein.jpg
Cufflink made in Idar-Oberstein in the 1960s
Cufflinks made by Victor Mayer, Pforzheim, in the 1930s VM Antik 010 klein.jpg
Cufflinks made by Victor Mayer, Pforzheim, in the 1930s

This spread to Europe as well over the same period. In Germany, Idar-Oberstein and Pforzheim were key centers of cufflink production. Whilst in Idar-Oberstein cufflinks were produced using simple materials for the more modest budget, the Pforzheim jewelry manufacturers produced for the medium and upper segments using genuine gold and silver. In Pforzheim, premium cufflinks are still produced today, some of them to historic patterns, some modern, all of them using traditional craftsmanship.

Following the end of shortages related to the Second World War, into the 1950s a gentleman liked to adorn himself with a whole range of accessories, comprising items such as cigarette case, lighter, tie pin or tie bar, watch (now worn mostly on the wrist instead of the pocket), ring, key chain, money clip, etc., an ensemble that also included a wide range of cufflinks.

In the 1970s cufflinks were less emphasized in much of middle-class fashion. Fashion was dominated by the Woodstock generation, with shirts primarily manufactured complete with buttons and buttonholes. Many fine heirlooms were reworked into earrings.

The 1980s saw a return to traditional cufflinks, as part of a general revival in traditional male dress. This trend has more or less continued to this day.

Notes

  1. "White Tie: Other". BlackTieGuide.com. Retrieved 2015-03-28.
  2. "A Guide to Mastering Clothing Coordination". AskAndyAboutClothes.com. 2011-12-29. Retrieved 2015-03-28.
  3. Corbett, Patrick (2002). Verdura: the life and work of a master jeweler. Harry N. Abrams. p. 120. ISBN   978-0-8109-3529-7.
  4. "What new Autumn Blouses are like" (PDF). New York Times. September 20, 1908. Retrieved 2008-10-21.
  5. "Cartier's Cufflinks And Watches: Sophistication With A Nicely Personal Touch". Quill & Pad. November 6, 2018.
  6. "Santos de Cartier cufflinks". Cartier.com .

Related Research Articles

Black tie Semi-formal western dress code; dinner suit, tuxedo

Black tie is a semi-formal Western dress code for evening events, originating in British and American conventions for attire in the 19th century. In British English, the dress code is often referred to synecdochically by its principal element for men, the dinner suit or dinner jacket. In American English the equivalent term tuxedo is common. The dinner suit is a black, midnight blue or white two- or three-piece suit, distinguished by satin or grosgrain jacket lapels and similar stripes along the outseam of the trousers. It is worn with a white dress shirt with standing or turndown collar and link cuffs, a black bow tie, typically an evening waistcoat or a cummerbund, and black patent leather dress shoes or court pumps. Accessories may include a semi-formal homburg, bowler, or boater hat. For women, an evening gown or other fashionable evening attire may be worn.

Shirt Garment for the upper body

A shirt is a cloth garment for the upper body.

Court dress Style of clothes prescribed for courts of law

Court dress comprises the style of clothes and other attire prescribed for members of courts of law. Depending on the country and jurisdiction's traditions, members of the court may wear formal robes, gowns, collars, or wigs. Even within a certain country and court setting, there may be times when the full formal dress is not used, such as in trials involving children.

Suit Western business attire of matching jacket and trousers

A suit is a set of clothes comprising a suit jacket, or coat, and trousers. When of identical textile, and worn with a collared dress shirt, necktie, and dress shoes, it was traditionally considered informal wear in Western dress codes. The lounge suit originated in 19th-century Britain as more casual wear alternative for sportswear and British country clothing. After replacing the black frock coat in the early 20th century as regular daywear, a sober one-coloured suit became known as a lounge suit. A darker, understated lounge suit for professional occasions became known as a business suit.

A tailcoat is a knee-length coat characterised by a rear section of the skirt, known as the tails, with the front of the skirt cut away.

Blouse Womens garment for the upper body

A blouse is a loose-fitting upper garment that was worn by workmen, peasants, artists, women, and children. It is typically gathered at the waist or hips so that it hangs loosely ("blouses") over the wearer's body. Today, the word most commonly refers to a girl's or woman's dress shirt. It can also refer to a man's shirt if it is a loose-fitting style, though it rarely is. Traditionally, the term has been used to refer to a shirt which blouses out or has an unmistakably feminine appearance.

Jacket Clothing for the upper body

A jacket is a garment for the upper body, usually extending below the hips. A jacket typically has sleeves, and fastens in the front or slightly on the side. A jacket is generally lighter, tighter-fitting, and less insulating than a coat, which is outerwear. Some jackets are fashionable, while others serve as protective clothing. Jackets without sleeves are vests.

Mess dress uniform Formal evening dress worn by military officers in the mess or at other formal occasions

Mess dress uniform is the most-formal or semi-formal type of uniforms used by military personnel, police personnel, firefighters and other public uniformed services members for certain ceremonies, receptions, and celebrations, in messes or on private occasions. It frequently consists of a mess jacket, trousers, white dress shirt, often with standing collar and bow tie, along with orders and medals insignia. Design may depend on regiment or service branch, e.g. army, navy, air force, marines, etc. In Western dress codes, mess dress uniform is a permitted supplementary alternative equivalent to the civilian black tie for evening wear or black lounge suit for day wear - sometimes collectively called half dress - although military uniforms are the same for day and evening wear. As such, mess dress uniform is considered less formal than full dress uniform, but more formal than service dress uniform.

1870s in Western fashion Costume and fashion of the 1870s

1870s fashion in European and European-influenced clothing is characterized by a gradual return to a narrow silhouette after the full-skirted fashions of the 1850s and 1860s.

Frock coat Mens formal knee-length coat

A frock coat is a formal men's coat characterised by a knee-length skirt cut all around the base just above the knee, popular during the Victorian and Edwardian periods (1820s–1920s). It is a fitted, long-sleeved coat with a centre vent at the back and some features unusual in post-Victorian dress. These include the reverse collar and lapels, where the outer edge of the lapel is often cut from a separate piece of cloth from the main body and also a high degree of waist suppression around the waistcoat, where the coat's diameter round the waist is less than round the chest. This is achieved by a high horizontal waist seam with side bodies, which are extra panels of fabric above the waist used to pull in the naturally cylindrical drape. As was usual with all coats in the 19th century, shoulder padding was rare or minimal.

Morning dress Jacket worn with mens morning dress

Morning dress, also known as formal day dress, is the formal Western dress code for day attire, consisting chiefly of, for men, a morning coat, waistcoat, and formal trousers, and an appropriate gown for women. Men may also wear a popular variant where all parts are the same colour and material, often grey and usually called "morning suit" or "morning grey" to distinguish it; considered properly appropriate only to festive functions such as summer weddings and horse races, which consequently makes it slightly less formal. The correct hat would be a formal top hat, or if on less spacious audience settings optionally a collapsible equivalent opera hat.

Highland dress Traditional dress of Scotlands highlands and isles

Highland dress is the traditional, regional dress of the Highlands and Isles of Scotland. It is often characterised by tartan. Specific designs of shirt, jacket, bodice and headwear may also be worn along with clan badges and other devices indicating family and heritage.

Dress shirt

A dress shirt, button shirt, button-front, button-front shirt, or button-up shirt is a garment with a collar and a full-length opening at the front, which is fastened using buttons or shirt studs. A button-down or button-down shirt is a dress shirt which has a button-down collar – a collar having the ends fastened to the shirt with buttons.

Cuff Layer of fabric at the lower edge of the sleeve of a garment

A cuff is a layer of fabric at the lower edge of the sleeve of a garment at the wrist, or at the ankle end of a trouser leg. The function of turned-back cuffs is to protect the cloth of the garment from fraying, and, when frayed, to allow the cuffs to be readily repaired or replaced, without changing the garment. Cuffs are made by turning back (folding) the material, or a separate band of material can be sewn on, or worn separately, attached either by buttons or studs. A cuff may display an ornamental border or have lace or some other trimming. In US usage, the word trouser cuffs refers to the folded, finished bottoms of the legs of a pair of trousers. In the UK, while this usage is now sometimes followed, the traditional term for the turned up trouser hem is 'turnup'.

1850s in Western fashion Costume and fashion of the 1850s

1850s fashion in Western and Western-influenced clothing is characterized by an increase in the width of women's skirts supported by crinolines or hoops, the mass production of sewing machines, and the beginnings of dress reform. Masculine styles began to originate more in London, while female fashions originated almost exclusively in Paris.

1750–1775 in Western fashion Clothing in Europe and areas under its influence from 1750-1775

Fashion in the years 1750–1775 in European countries and the colonial Americas was characterised by greater abundance, elaboration and intricacy in clothing designs, loved by the Rococo artistic trends of the period. The French and English styles of fashion were very different from one another. French style was defined by elaborate court dress, colourful and rich in decoration, worn by such iconic fashion figures as Marie Antoinette.

1600–1650 in Western European fashion Costume in the first half of the 17th century

Fashion in the period 1600–1650 in Western European clothing is characterized by the disappearance of the ruff in favour of broad lace or linen collars. Waistlines rose through the period for both men and women. Other notable fashions included full, slashed sleeves and tall or broad hats with brims. For men, hose disappeared in favour of breeches.

Court uniform and dress in the United Kingdom

Court uniform and dress were required to be worn by those in attendance at the royal court in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Khmer traditional clothing

Khmer traditional clothing refers to the traditional styles of dress worn by the Khmer people from ancient times to the present.

Doublet (Highland dress)

Doublet is the term describing any of several types of jacket worn with Scottish highland dress; referring to both uniform and evening jackets.

References