Quality cufflinks are the absolute embodiment of subtle sophistication. A strategically selected pair of cufflinks can make the kind of statement that goes beyond almost any other accessory. Even where fine jewellery and luxury watches are concerned, there’s something about a stunning set of cufflinks that carries a powerful and memorable message.
But where did the world’s collective interest in these simple decorative details come from? At what point did cufflinks make the transition from functional to fabulous?
A Brief History of Cufflinks
There is evidence of cufflinks being worn right back in the 15th century, though it wasn’t until around 300 years later that they became commonplace. It was during the 18th century that men began taking more of an interest in formal dressing, at which point the middle classes in particular took a shine to cufflinks.
Later in the 19th century, the industrial revolution saw cufflinks enter mass production and become comprehensively affordable for the first time. With that being said, it was only the upper classes and royalty who could afford coloured cufflinks and those adorned with gemstones. In fact, Prince Edward VII of Wales is credited with popularising elaborate and exclusive cufflinks, having regularly worn a bright and beautiful pair from Fabergé.
Creativity and experimentation hit their stride throughout the 20th century, though the decline in formal dressing among modern men saw cufflinks take something of a backseat. In doing so, cufflinks (once again) became increasingly associated with elegance, sophistication and dressing to impress. Rather than being an everyday accessory, they were saved for special occasions or perhaps more importantly, worn only by those who take great pride in their appearance.
Why Cufflinks Are Making a Comeback
As recently as the early nineties, you’d have been unlikely to come across a large selection of quality cufflinks in the average clothing store. You’d have certainly found it difficult to find a dedicated cufflink department or a manufacturer of bespoke cufflinks custom made to an exact specification.
This, however, is changing before our very eyes.
In super-stylish circles worldwide, cufflinks are making a comeback for a couple of reasons. For one thing, style-conscious men have stopped wearing ties, opting for a slightly less formal overall look. How do you achieve a polished, professional and personal look without a tie? You finish your suit with a pair of captivating cufflinks.
Throughout history, cufflinks have existed as a small detail that nonetheless carries a powerful message about the wearer’s flair and sophistication. They are by no means considered mandatory or even the norm, which is precisely why they carry such appeal for the connoisseur. You don’t need them and nor are they expected, and that’s why they make such an impact when you wear them and wear them well.
We no longer live in a time where it’s necessary to spend a small fortune to take home a luxury pair of cufflinks. Even if you push the boat out for a bespoke pair made exclusively for you, you’re still looking at a relatively affordable investment.
Not to mention, a priceless investment in your style, sophistication and perceived personality.