How Do Men Use Cufflinks? A Man’s Guide

Although cufflinks have traditionally been linked with men’s semiformal evening dress (the tuxedo ensemble), these small fasteners are surprisingly versatile and can be used in a wide variety of ways throughout an individual’s wardrobe.

So long as you’ve got a long-sleeved shirt with the required holes in the cuff, you can work cufflinks into just about every ensemble. Ready to dive in? Let’s first understand What Are Cufflinks? with Teeanime.

What Are Cufflinks?

The use of cufflinks is to close the shirt cuffs.

They can be used in place of the buttons that are traditionally stitched onto the cuffs of shirts. It is a button if it is sewn into the shirt, but it is a cufflink if it can be removed completely from the shirt. The distinguishing characteristic of cufflinks is that they are independent items.

Cufflinks, much like buttons, can be found in a wide variety of forms, dimensions, styles, and materials. It’s common for them to offer a little more contrast than a button does, and they’re generally thought of as an ornamental alternative; despite this, they are not intrinsically more or less formal.

The Basic Cufflink: How It Works

Cufflinks fasten shirts by slipping through holes on either side of the cuff opening and locking into place.

The most popular cufflink has a large head or “insert member” with an ornate front face, a post that extends from the back of the head, and a hinged toggle that swings out to attach the link.

The toggle is closed to create a straight post from the head’s underside.

To prevent the post from sliding out, the toggle is swung outward.

The insert member’s front face decorates the buttonholes and secures the cufflink.

Different Types of Cufflinks

The hinged cufflink has dozens of versions, including mechanical ones. Some popular cufflinks are:

  • Whale-Back Cufflinks have a flat head, straight post, and “whale tail” that folds flat against the post. Their broad post and closing mechanism make them straightforward to operate. This is likely the most popular cufflink.
  • Comeback Cufflinks are similar to whale tail cufflinks, but the post is hollow and the closing mechanism is a narrow metal cylinder inside the frame. Flipping the cylinder outward locks the links, leaving the frame as the post.
  • Button or Stud? Cufflinks are hingeless. Instead, they have a huge head, straight post, and smaller internal head or backing. The smaller head is slanted, worked through the button hole, then straightened to lock it. They don’t move, therefore they’re secure and durable.
  • Chain Link Cufflinks have two heads connected by a short chain. This type has visible design on both sides of closed buttonholes and a slightly looser closure.
  • Rebound Cufflinks have a hefty ball on a bent post. They are tighter than chain but looser than hinged cufflinks. The size and weight of the ball increase the material cost of precious metal balls, making them pricey.
  • dual-action Cufflinks have a hinge like metal watchbands. The entire post is the hinge: the cufflink opens, the smaller end is inserted through the opening, and then the cufflink closes, clipping the cuff sides together underneath the head. After a short learning curve, this modern style is one of the easiest and safest.
  • Knot cufflinks look like chain link but are composed of soft rope (typically silk) and have ornate knots instead of metal heads. When using different colors, the knotwork’s irregular surface makes it more informal.
  • Fabric cufflinks are fasteners with a fabric “button” on top. They’re purposely casual.

How to Wear Cufflinks

Cufflinks can be worn with either single cuffs, which look exactly like the cuffs of a conventional buttoning dress shirt but have holes on both sides of the opening, or doubled-back “French” cuffs. When you fold the cuff back, the two holes on either side of the opening should line up one atop the other.

To fasten the cuff, line up the holes on both sides of the cuff opening, insert the cufflink so that the post runs all the way through all the holes, and set the link into its closed position.

The inside faces of the cuff are most typically “kissing” when the sides are matched up. This stacks the hemmed edges of the cuff openings outward from the wrist.

However, it is not “bad” to fasten the cuff sides overlapping rather than kissing. In that configuration, the bottom of one cuff edge is layered on top of the outer face of the other, resulting in only one hemmed edge pointing outward.

The overlapping or “barrel” form appears slimmer and more businesslike than the more ornate “kissing” type. Neither is incorrect, but the kissing method has long been thought to be better suited to the aesthetic aspect of cufflinks.

Cufflink Materials

Cufflinks can be constructed of anything and decorated with anything from costly stones to repurposed novelty rubbish. Gold, silver, and platinum are obvious choices for cufflinks that use only metal for aesthetics.

Other popular materials:

  • Carbon fiber—a strong, modern material with a smooth, silvery surface that can be dyed during manufacturing. Modern all-metal cufflinks are popular.
  • Crystal cufflinks come in practically any color, shape, and size.
  • Enamel—fused, powdered glass used to provide color or black sheen to metal surfaces. Its smooth, shiny surface is durable, although it can chip if hit hard.
  • Glass—flexible, inexpensive, and colorful. The design of colored glass affects its casualness.
  • Gunmetal—a black, shiny alloy of copper, zinc, and tin. Modern masculine.
  • Mother-of-pearl—a pale, glossy seashell substance. Cufflinks produced from this material resemble high-quality shirt buttons. For formal and semiformal cufflinks.
  • Onyx – crystalline quartz in white, purple, blue, and black. Black formalwear cufflink material.
  • Diamonds, rubies, emeralds, citrine, and opal. Clearly upscale, with designs ranging from plain to garish.
  • Rose gold—a reddish alloy of gold and copper.
  • Silk cord and knot cufflinks are extremely popular. Unlike metal and stone.
  • Stainless steel: basic, functional, and durable for business and casual wear.
  • Sterling silver shines brighter than stainless steel or carbon fiber.
  • Titanium—strong, sturdy, and gray. Reserving than stainless steel or sterling silver. Its toughness makes it useful for cufflinks with intricate engraved and etched decoration that would wear down quickly in a softer metal.

When to Wear Cufflinks

Cufflinks are most commonly used in place of buttons for formal and semiformal occasions. This is their most well-known function. It is appropriate to wear a suit with either a white tie or a black tie attire, and the cuffs of the suit should have links in them (and often studs instead of buttons on the shirtfront as well).

However, that is not even close to being the limit of the functionality of their wardrobe. French cuffs, also known as single cuffs with holes on either side, are an alternative to the traditional button and buttonhole found on many shirts. These cuffs may be found on a wide variety of shirts, from simple white office attire to colorful and informal options. In addition, if a shirt has a standard button-and-buttonhole configuration, a tailor can quickly and easily turn it into a shirt that can be worn with cufflinks by removing the button from the shirt and replacing it with a buttonhole of the appropriate size.

That means you can wear cufflinks with everything from your best business shirt to a filthy flannel work shirt if you like. And, certainly, some people do the latter – never underestimate the modern hipster’s passion of blending high and low fashion.

In practice, most men will wear cufflinks as an accent to a suit and tie in business and relatively formal social occasions. However, more relaxed links are entirely fine with a sports jacket and can provide a whimsical element that conventional buttons do not.


There are no unbreakable rules. When you want to wear cufflinks, wear cufflinks. The only constraints are your collection of appropriate shirts and, of course, your wallet.