The Ultimate Guide on How to Wear Cufflinks

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It can be hard to know how to wear cufflinks, especially when they’re seen as accessories for more formal occasions, but with this simple guide, you’ll see that they’re easier to wear than you’d think. 

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How To Wear Cufflinks

Cufflinks are simple to wear I hear you say, however, they can be a little bit tricky to get right when the time calls for them. There are a few rules and exceptions when it comes to wearing cufflinks, especially when it comes for more formal occasions where presentation is key.

How To Wear Cufflinks For A Formal Occasion

When it comes to formal occasions cufflinks are almost a given to be a part of your overall outfit. There are two types of formal occasions that normally crop up from time to time, black tie and white tie (there’s more to it than a simple tie change, believe me). The differences in the suit may change you mind when it comes to your cufflinks, as white tie is a lot more formal than black tie.

Black Tie or Tuxedo Cufflinks

When it comes to occasions such as these, you want to opt for a more formal type of cufflink. Go for a classic silver colour with a slight hint of detail as you don’t want to take away from your outfit. By adding that slight hint of detail, you’re still keeping that classic cufflink style, without going too out there and brash. Avoid comical cufflinks style as these never look good. However, you could go for something a bit different with a pair of rose gold cufflinks.

silver cufflinks for men
A pair of silver cufflinks
PHOTO CREDIT: UX Minder

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White Tie Cufflinks

If you’re off to a white tie event then things get a little more tricky as the formality of your outfit heightens even more. If you are attending a white tie event, then you’ll usually be given a certain dress code that you’ll have to comply with, but every event varies, so make sure you read the invitation.

Because of the formality of white tie events your cufflink game needs to be heightened. This may sound a little excessive, but try wearing a pair of Mother of Pearl cufflinks as these will certainly impress when you’re at a white tie function. I know not all of us can afford to buy a pair of Mother of Pearl cufflinks, so there are plenty of cheap cufflinks for you to choose from that look similar.

mother of pearl cufflinks for men
A pair of mother of pearl cufflinks
PHOTO CREDIT: Beaver Brookes

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How To Wear Cufflinks For Work

Many of us don’t work in environments where we have to wear cufflinks on a daily basis, myself included, but I know that some of you out there do. So, if you do have to adhere to strict dress codes when you’re in the office, then I’m going to show you how to liven up a simple, probably boring office look with a pair of cufflinks. If you’re wondering how to put cufflinks on a shirt, this is how to go about it.

Cufflinks To Wear With A White Work Shirt

I should think that we all own a classic white button down shirt, but I should think many of you haven’t teamed it up with a pair of cufflinks. Wearing cufflinks isn’t as tricky as you would first think, especially when you’re wearing a great base colour such as white.

Because the colour of your shirt is neutral you can really experiment with colour and pattern when it comes to your cufflinks. You’re not in a strict formal environment, so playing around with colour and pattern will work in your favour to keep your own personal style, and, to differentiate your look from the rest.

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Cufflinks To Wear With A Blue Work Shirt

When you venture into colour with your work shirt, you’ll want to keep the colour pallet of your cufflinks the same as your shirt. If you’re wearing a blue shirt then I’d suggest going to the opposite end of the spectrum within the same colour. What I mean by this is, if you have a light blue shirt on, then go for a cufflink that has a main colour of a darker blue to counteract the shirt, and vice versa.

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Cufflinks To Wear With A Pink Work Shirt

Again, when it comes to a coloured shirt you’ll want to have a pair of cufflinks that works within the same colour pallet as your shirt. However, when it comes to colours such as pink, it can be difficult to get a pair of cufflinks that a) look nice and b) aren’t too gaudy that you couldn’t possibly wear them to work.

So, where does this leave you? Well, go for a multi-coloured pair of cufflinks or a classic silver pair with a twist as this will allow you to keep it subtle, yet have that small pop of colour or detail in there if you want it.

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How To Wear Cufflinks For A Casual Occasion

You may be thinking that you can’t wear a pair of cufflinks with a casual look, but you’d be wrong. A pair of cufflinks can easily be paired with a casual look, so try wearing a casual striped shirt and a navy tweed blazer over the top. Team the blazer and shirt with a pair of raw denim jeans and brown loafers for good measure and top it off with a pair of silver cufflinks.

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When To Wear Cufflinks

Choosing when o wear a pair of cufflinks is entirely up to you, whether you want to wear them for work or for pleasure, you can easily style a pair of cufflinks no bother. For more formal occasions, however, you may be required to wear a pair of link up cufflinks to coincide with your formal outfit.

cufflinks to wear with a formal outfit mens
A pair of Tatoessian cufflinks
PHOTO CREDIT: Tatoessian

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If you have a shirt that you want to wear a pair of cufflinks with, but can’t, then you can always go to a tailor and they can sort that out for you by replace the buttons. Of course, wearing cufflinks depends entirely on your shirt, as shirts with a French cuff, or double cuff, are the more likely options to wear with cufflinks, yet you can always wear cufflinks with a button cuff or barrel cuff.

How To Put On Cufflinks

Cufflinks are simple and easy to put on, depending on your shirt you can go wild with colour and design. All cufflinks are simple to put onto your shirt, sometimes a little fiddly, but it’ll get easier every time you put them into your shirt.

Your Quick Guide to Putting On Cufflinks And How Cufflinks Work

  • Take your cufflink and place the small bar at the bottom straight.
  • Fold up your shirt cuff so that the two holes meet at the bottom.
  • Place the cufflinks through the two adjoining holes.
  • The simple twist the bar at the bottom horizontal so it stays secure.

Shirts To Wear With Cufflinks

Picking the right shirt to wear with cufflinks can be a little tricky, as certain shirts have buttons, or button cuffs that have no need for a pair of cufflinks. However, if you’re hell-bent on wearing a pair of cufflinks, then I’m going to show you which cuffs and shirts work with a pair of cufflinks.

Double Cuff Or French Cuff Shirt With Cufflinks

The double cuff, or French cuff, is the most classic cufflink shirt you can wear. The sleeves of the shirt are longer, with the cuff (unfolded) coming well past your wrist. This type of shirt and shirt cuff is most commonly used for more formal occasions such as black tie, but you can wear them for work.  What you’ll need to do is simple fold the cuff back so that the two holes for the cuff meet and simple place the cufflink through.

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A double cuff French shirt to be worn with cufflinks
PHOTO CREDIT: N. M. Williams

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The Button Cuff Or Barrel Cuff With Cufflinks

The button cuff or barrel cuff is less formal than the double cuff as most shop bought shirts come with button cuffs. However, a lot of shirts can with a double button cuff which can be converted into a shirt cuff that can be worn with cufflinks. All you have to do is cut off the buttons and away you go.

barrel cuff button cuff shirt to wear with cufflinks mens
Brad Pitts loves his white shirts
PHOTO CREDIT: Nouveau Vintage

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Personalised Cufflinks

You can always add your own little twist to the handy cufflink by investing in a personalised pair. These can be anything from your initials or pictures that you want on them; they add a little bit of personalised detail that will make your outfit your own. Initials are a great way to add a little bit of detail in your outfit as engraved cufflinks are bang on trend. You might also want to go all out and get men’s designer cufflinks for the occasion.

personalised cufflinks for men
Personalised silver cufflinks
PHOTO CREDIT: John Lewis

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What Are Cufflinks And How Do Cufflinks Work

For those of you who don’t know what cufflinks actually are then, I’m going to break it down for you. Cufflinks are designed to keep the cuffs of your shirt together when you wear them for more formal occasions. They’ll usually be two pieces of metal that have a surface piece (the bit you’ll see, and then another piece of metal that locks when twisted underneath.

Over the years the cufflink has had many variations, some good, and some not so good. I don’t think I need to remind you of the comical versions you can find in some high street shops, which never look good so don’t even bother with those.

What Are Silk Knots

There are other variations of cufflinks that aren’t metal at all, they’re a simple piece of elasticated fabric or silk that has been tied at either end that you simply place through the cuffs of your shirt called silk knots. These are a simple and effective way of wearing cufflinks as you don’t have to deal with the colour or the metal clashing with the rest of your outfit.

fabric cufflinks for men
Fabric cufflinks for men
PHOTO CREDIT: We Love Ties

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What Are Studs

Studs are a little different to cufflinks, yet they still serve the same purpose. Studs are a little bit like earrings, so you’ll have a back part and a detachable top to it. Take the top off and place it through the holes of your shirt, just like you would with a normal cufflink and press the top back on to keep it secure. Studs are found in many cufflink sets along with regular cufflinks, so the choice is yours which one you go for.

How To Wear Cufflinks

  • First, you need to get the shirt right, so pick a formal shirt with either a double cuff, or French cuff or a buttoned cuff.
  • Next step is to choose your cufflinks, depending on the event and the colour of your shirt, it’s always best to stick to classic colours and styles for your cufflinks.
  • Make sure that they aren’t comical or too out there, as some bosses or formal events may not like this.
  • Then simply place them through your shirt to keep it nice and secure.
how to wear cufflinks for men
A man wears a black suit, white shirt and cufflinks
PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest

On That Note

Cufflinks are no longer just for formal wear. In the 19th century cufflinks became a fashion accessory, offering a bit of customised style to a man’s wrist with any suit. Nowadays it’s acceptable to wear them for many different occasions, work or social.

Over here at The Idle Man we don’t wear cufflinks on a day-to-day basis, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t want to. We all like getting dressed to the nines every now and then, but many men don’t know that a simple pair of cufflinks can take your outfit to the next level.

Cufflinks are a great way to introduce a bit of colour and detail into your everyday wardrobe. A simple piece of metal or silk can really liven up a boring, bog standard work look, but you have to remember what shirt you want to wear them with as not all accommodate for cufflinks. You’ll want to invest in a French cuff, or double cuff, shirt if you want to wear a pair of cufflinks. These types of shirts are reserved for the more formal occasions, or, if you work in a more formal work environment.

No matter what type of cufflink you decide to go for, you can always keep it personal with a pair of monogrammed or personalised cufflinks to see you through. Either way, if you’re struggling, then always keep it simple and to keep it stylish.

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