A guide to cufflinks
Cufflinks also known as cuff links is a decorative fastener worn by men or women to fasten the two sides of the cuff on a dress shirt or blouse instead of a button fastening.
History of cufflinks
Although the first cufflinks appeared in the 1600s, they did not become popular until the end of the 18th century. Their development was closely related to that of the men’s shirt. Men have been wearing shirt-like items of clothing since the invention of woven fabric 5,000 years BC. Although styles and methods of manufacturing changed, the underlying design has remained the same.
After the Middle Ages the visible areas of the shirt, neck, chest and wrists became sites of decorative elements such as frills, ruffs and embroidery. The cuffs were held together with ribbons, as were collars, an early precursor of neckties.
Frills that hung down over the wrist were fashionable at court and other formal settings until the end of the 18th century. Whilst the everyday shirt sleeves ended a simple ribbon, or secured using a button, or decorative connected button sets.
By the 19th century the fabulous wardrobe splendour aristocracy favoured became outdated, unfashionable and replaced. A professional tailored look became increasingly fashionable amongst the working classes. From then onward men wore a highly conventional wardrobe. Often a dark tailored suit by day and a dinner jacket or tailcoat in the evening. By the middle of the 19th century the modern cufflink became popular.
The shirt front and collar and cuffs covering areas of the most wear became sturdier. This was practical, clean and starched collars and cuffs were hard wearing. However, they could be too stiff to secure the cuffs with a simple button. So from the mid 19th century onward men in the middle and upper classes wore cufflinks, shirt studs and collar studs and bars.