How to Put on Cufflinks

Men's white cufflinks with black suit

Written by Sonia Su

Adding cufflinks to your attire is a subtle yet impactful way to elevate your style, whether it's for a formal event, a business meeting, or a special occasion.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you through the different cufflink types and styles, as well as the art of putting on cufflinks with ease, ensuring that you master this sophisticated men's accessory and make a lasting impression with your impeccable attention to detail.


What are Cufflinks?

Cufflinks are small decorative accessories typically used to fasten the cuffs of dress shirts, particularly those with French cuffs or convertible cuffs. They serve both a functional and decorative purpose, replacing traditional buttons and adding a touch of style and sophistication to formal and semi-formal attire.

Cufflinks come in various designs, materials, and styles, allowing individuals to personalize their look while maintaining a polished appearance.

"Cuff shirts" or "cuffing shirts" typically refer to dress shirts or formal shirts with French cuffs or convertible cuffs. These cuffs are designed to be folded back on themselves, creating a double layer of fabric, and are secured with cufflinks for a polished and sophisticated look.

Cuffing shirts are commonly worn with suits, tuxedos, and other formal attire for events like weddings, business meetings, or black-tie affairs. If cufflinks are not your style, browse our bestselling men's dress shirts that don't require cufflinks, such as this white dress shirt and blue and white striped dress shirt.

french cuff white shirt with cufflinks

French Cuffs

The French cuff, also known as double cuff or convertible cuff, is a type of shirt cuff that is folded back on itself, creating a double layer of fabric. These cuffs are distinctive for their extra length and are typically found on dress shirts and formal attire. They are designed to be fastened with cufflinks, adding an elegant and sophisticated touch to the shirt's overall appearance.

French cuffs extend beyond the wrist and are usually squared off or have rounded corners. They are a hallmark of formal and semi-formal shirts, commonly worn with suits or tuxedos, and other upscale ensembles for special occasions like weddings, black-tie events, or business meetings.

To fasten French cuffs, cufflinks are threaded through the buttonholes on each side of the cuff, securing the two layers of fabric together. This not only ensures a secure closure but also allows individuals to showcase their personal style by choosing cufflinks that match the occasion or reflect their personality.

Overall, the French cuff is a symbol of refined elegance in men's and women's formalwear, providing an opportunity to accessorize and add a touch of sophistication to dress shirts. Here are the best French cuff shirts to make you look sharp.

Men's cufflinks infographic

Convertible Cuffs

Convertible cuffs, also known as two-in-one cuffs or dual cuffs, are a versatile style of shirt cuffs that offer the option to be worn with cufflinks for a formal look or with buttons for a more casual appearance. These cuffs are designed to provide flexibility, allowing the wearer to adapt their shirt to different occasions and levels of formality.

Convertible cuffs typically have two buttonholes on each cuff, one positioned for cufflinks and the other for buttons. This design allows the wearer to choose whether to fasten the cuffs with cufflinks for a dressier appearance or with buttons for a simpler, everyday look.

The advantage of convertible cuffs is their adaptability. They are commonly found on dress shirts, making them suitable for a wide range of events, from formal business meetings and weddings where cufflinks are desired, to more casual settings where buttons suffice. This flexibility makes convertible cuffs a practical choice for individuals who appreciate the convenience of a single shirt that can serve multiple purposes.

Whether you prefer the timeless elegance of cufflinks or the simplicity of buttons, convertible cuffs offer the best of both worlds, ensuring that your shirt is suitable for any occasion.


Cufflink Styles

Cufflinks come in a wide array of styles, catering to various tastes and occasions.

Here are some popular cufflink styles and features that make them unique:

Whale Back Cufflinks

Whale back cufflinks

Whale back cufflinks, also known as whale tail cufflinks, are a popular style of cufflink characterized by their distinctive closure mechanism. These cufflinks are commonly used to fasten French cuffs or convertible cuffs on dress shirts and are known for their ease of use and secure fit. Whale back cufflinks consist of two main components: a decorative or functional front face and a closure mechanism shaped like the tail of a whale.


Bullet Back Cufflinks

Bullet back cufflinks

Bullet back cufflinks, also known as bullet closure cufflinks or flip-back cufflinks, are a common and user-friendly cufflink style. They are known for their straightforward design and ease of use, making them a popular choice for individuals who may be new to wearing cufflinks. Bullet back cufflinks consist of two main components: a decorative or functional front face and a straight post with a pivoting toggle or "bullet" at the end.

Fixed Back Cufflinks

Fixed back cufflinks

Fixed-back cufflinks, also known as non-movable or non-rotating cufflinks, are a type of cufflink where the decorative or functional part of the cufflink is attached to a fixed backing. Unlike some other styles, this cufflink style does not have a moving or swiveling mechanism, making them easier to use. Instead, the decorative design or component is permanently attached to the backing.

Chain Link Cufflinks

Chainlink cufflinks

Chain link cufflinks are a classic and timeless style of cufflinks characterized by their distinctive design. They consist of two decorative components or motifs connected by a short chain. One component is inserted through the buttonhole on the shirt cuff, while the other is visible on the outside and serves as the decorative element. The chain that links the two components allows for more movement and flexibility compared to other cufflink styles, such as fixed-back or locking closure cufflinks.

Hinged Cufflinks

Hinged cufflinks

These cufflinks are a type of cufflink that features a hinge mechanism connecting the two components of the cufflink. These cufflinks are designed to be stylish and functional, providing both ease of use and a secure fastening method for dress shirts with French cuffs or convertible cuffs. The primary feature is the hinge that allows the front face of the cufflink to pivot or swivel.


How to Wear Cufflinks

Wearing cufflinks is a stylish way to fasten the cuffs of a dress shirt, particularly those with French cuffs or convertible cuffs.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to wear cufflinks:

  1. Start with a Dress Shirt: Begin with a dress shirt that has French cuffs or convertible cuffs. These cuffs have buttonholes on both sides, allowing cufflinks to be inserted.
  2. Select Your Cufflinks: Choose a pair of cufflinks that complements your attire and the occasion. Cufflinks come in various styles, materials, and designs, so pick ones that suit your personal taste and the formality of the event.
  3. Prepare the Cuffs: Lay the shirt flat on a surface, with the cuffs fully extended and the inside of the cuff facing up.
  4. Fold the Cuff: Fold the cuff back so that the two sides of the cuff meet, aligning the buttonholes on each side.
  5. Insert the Cufflink: Take one cufflink and insert it through one of the buttonholes on the inside of the cuff. The decorative side of the cufflink should face outward, while the closure or fastening mechanism should face inward.
  6. Secure the Cufflink: On the outside of the cuff, slide the toggle or swivel bar of the cufflink through the buttonhole on the other side of the cuff. Ensure that the cufflink is secured in place, holding the two sides of the cuff together.
  7. Repeat for the Other Cuff: Follow the same steps for the other cuff, inserting the second cufflink through the buttonholes and securing it in place.
  8. Adjust and Align: Once both cufflinks are in place, adjust and align the cuffs so that they sit comfortably and symmetrically.
  9. Double-Check: Double-check that the cufflinks are securely fastened, ensuring that they won't come undone during the day or evening.

By following these steps, you can confidently wear cufflinks and add a touch of sophistication to your formal or semi-formal attire, making a stylish statement for various occasions.


Wearing Cufflinks Bottom Line

Knowing how to wear cufflinks is a valuable skill that can elevate your formal and semi-formal attire, leaving a lasting impression of sophistication and attention to detail.

Whether you opt for classic, novelty, or personalized cufflinks, the key lies in selecting designs that resonate with your personal style and the occasion's formality. With this guide, you can be well-equipped to confidently wear cufflinks and make a sartorial statement that reflects your unique personality and flair.


Frequently Asked Questions about How to Wear Cufflinks

Can you put cufflinks on any shirt?

Cufflinks can generally be worn with shirts that have French cuffs or convertible cuffs. These cuffs have buttonholes on both sides, allowing cufflinks to replace standard buttons. While cufflinks are a stylish addition to formal and semi-formal attire, shirts with barrel cuffs, which use regular buttons, are not designed to accommodate cufflinks. Therefore, it's essential to choose shirts with the appropriate cuff style to wear cufflinks.

What is the etiquette for cufflinks?

Cufflinks are considered a formal accessory and are typically worn for more dressy or special occasions, such as weddings, black-tie events, or business formal attire. It's essential to coordinate cufflinks with the overall outfit and ensure they match other accessories like ties and pocket squares while adhering to the formality of the event.

How do you button cuffs on a shirt?

To button cuffs on a shirt, first, align the buttonholes on one side of the cuff with the buttons on the other side. Then, push the button through the hole until it's secure. Repeat the process for both cuffs, ensuring they are fastened snugly but not too tightly to maintain comfort and mobility.

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