This is a question that I had on my mind years ago, and is a question we get asked here at The Loaded Vault whenever we include them in our monthly subscription boxes, or whenever we post about them on our Instagram.
First off, to know how cufflinks work, you need to know what the difference is between a regular cuff and a French cuff.
The bottom left box labeled “one button” is your average, typical cuff at the end of a regular dress shirt. One end has a button, the other has a buttonhole, and they connect around your wrist like any buttoned item would.
The middle section are French cuffs, and you will typically see the left most box when you have a French cuff shirt.
Think of a French cuff as a regular cuff that is twice as long, and then you fold it back on itself. This gives you essentially two layers around the wrist.
The French cuff does not have buttons though. It is like both sides have just the buttonholes but not buttons. And, since there are two layers, you have two buttonholes on each end that have to be aligned.
Cufflinks do just what they say: they link the cuffs.
Instead of a button attached to the shirt, there are just the holes, and the cufflink is meant to connect the two ends.
Most cufflinks rotate on a swivel, between an opened and closed position.
You can see on the part that is not meant to be shown, that it looks movable. That is because it is.
Start off with the cufflink pointing straight out, so that it easily goes through the buttonholes. Then, when it’s is through both sides, flip it out so that it cannot fall out.
French cuffs do not overlap like a regular one button cuff, either.
French cuffs pop out a little bit and do not have the layers run one under the other.
Some shirts will have what are called convertible cuffs. These cuffs have a button, and the cuffs are not double length that fold back on each other. They are called convertible cuffs because you can either use the button, or use cufflinks.
Next to the button they have a hole for cufflinks. This is meant to give you more options.
Convertible cuffs are good if you are just starting to build your cufflink collection and do not have many to wear.
Some cufflinks do not toggle though. Some have knots at the end, or an immovable metal piece.
There are these types of cufflinks and more. People come up with new and creative cufflinks all the time. But, they all work essentially the same way.
Knot cufflinks and bar cufflinks you essentially just push through. There is not a movable part, you just have to guide it through the buttonholes.
Chain cufflinks are easy, as the chain offers mobility just like a standard cufflink.
Torpedo cufflinks are more about the face looking different than the back looking different. You will come across all sorts of different faces.
Cufflinks are an easy way to stand out in a professional or classy environment. If you don’t already have a shirt with French cuffs, consider getting one with a convertible cuff first, while you build up your cufflink collection, though. Or, do like I did at first: buy 3 French cuff shirts at once, and buy a collection of cufflinks to go with them.
Did we miss anything? Do you still have questions about cufflinks? Let us know here, or on Facebook.