Are Cufflinks Too Formal?

There is a commonly held belief that cufflinks are too formal and that it belongs to a bygone era, a bit like Homburg hats. This belief is not true since there are cufflink designs for most occasions, even for less formal ones. Yet another commonly held belief is that cufflinks add a refined and elegant finishing touch to a suit. This belief is true.

Cufflinks are not too formal. Even though they have been worn for centuries, designs have evolved with the times, and a wide variety of styles are available. You must adapt the material, design, and color to complement your outfit, which will fit the occasion and its dress code.

Traditionally, men wore cufflinks with a full suit or a blazer and a shirt with a double cuff, also called a French cuff. However, the trend is for menswear to be more casual, especially in the office. However, this trend does not exclude cufflinks. It is still possible to add a flair to casualwear, even knitwear. All you need is self-confidence and well-chosen cufflinks.   

Are Cufflinks Too Formal?

The perception that cufflinks are too formal, or even vain and showy, probably stems from the 17th century when mainly aristocracy, royalty, or rich people wore them. The well-liked King Charles II of England, also known as the ˈMerry Monarchˈ, popularized the wearing of cufflinks.

In the 19th century, things started changing with the mass production of cufflinks when the middle classes embraced wearing them.  

Cufflinks are back in vogue and paired correctly with your outfit, make a captivating statement about their wearer. 

Why Wear Cufflinks?

Cufflinks are functional in that they fasten shirts with French cuffs or cuffs without buttons. But they are also ornamental and a subtle way of achieving a polished look.   

What Do Cufflinks Say About You?

Modern men donˈt need cufflinks as most shirtsˈ cuffs have buttons. Cufflinks are mainly worn as an adornment and to make a statement, whether about the wearerˈs fashion sense or his sense of occasion. American designer Tom Ford said,  ̎Dressing well is a form of good manners. ̎ Judging by his extensive portfolio of exquisite designs, he regards cufflinks as one of the ways of dressing well.

When Are Cufflinks Essential?

Cufflinks are an indispensable part of your outfit for formal events and weddings. These events are perfect vehicles for showcasing your sense of style and personality.

If you choose a suit or a blazer, cufflinks should follow. Also, if your shirt has double-backed cuffs or your cuffs do not have buttons, you need cufflinks.

Pairing Cufflinks To Your Outfit

It is imperative to consider how you pair your cufflinks to your outfit carefully. Use the following guidelines to help you make the best decisions – and lasting impressions. 

Selecting Cufflinks To Go With Formal Wear

Well-fitted suits and tuxedos are always elegant. Take formal wear to the next level by selecting the perfect cufflink design to wear with it.

These guidelines will help you achieve a refined, sophisticated look.

  • Experiment with cufflinks of simple designs and rich tones for formal, black-tie occasions.
  • Precious or semi-precious stones will add class to your cufflinks when you choose to add a bit of color.
  • Choose cufflinks made from a single metal, like gold, copper, or platinum.
  • If you have a family crest or want to wear your company’s logo, keep the single metal rule firmly in mind.
  • Novelty cufflinks are risky and will probably work best if made with precious metals.
  • Mismatched cufflinks are a definite no-no.

Selecting Cufflinks For Smart Or Business Casualwear

A business meeting is a perfect opportunity to use cufflinks to convey a sense of authority and highlight character traits like seriousness, integrity, and ambition. It also underlines your ability to pay attention to detail.

  • Simple designs are often the safest choice, but you could experiment with more decorative designs. It is recommended to play it safe with colors in these cases. As always, less is more if your aim is sophistication.
  • Consider cool-toned material, like silver, titanium, or stainless steel.  
  • Watch out for mismatched cufflinks; they are rarely a good idea.  

Selecting Cufflinks For Casual Wear

If your business meeting is informal or among colleagues like designers, musicians, and other arty types, consider being more lighthearted in your choice of cufflinks.

  • You could now risk more whimsical cufflinks.
  • Add a creative touch by being bold with color and choosing cufflinks made from colored glass.
  • Wear cufflinks with collarless shirts and add a lightweight jacket to your outfit. When going casual, consider opting for smaller cufflinks.
  • Mismatched cufflinks, as with mismatched socks, is old news. It is probably best not to go down that road again. 

Cufflinks And Informal Wear

A careful selection of cufflinks to go with informal wear allows colleagues to catch glimpses of your personality. Your choice of cufflinks is also a great way of making a statement.

  • Feel like celebrating certain festive days? Reindeer for Christmas, clovers for St Patrick’s Day, and skulls for Halloween may be to your liking.
  • Donˈt shy away from color.
  • Incorporate personal passions or interests into your designs: racecars, airplanes, and the Bitcoin logo.
  • If novelty or colorful cufflinks are not your idea of fun, experiment with more ornate designs or consider smaller cufflinks.

Cufflinks And Knitwear

Who would have thought that cufflinks and knitwear could go together? If selected with care, they do.

  • Patterned Designs: Cufflinks with a patterned design have the potential to work particularly well with the texture of the wool and patterns incorporated in the jersey or pullover. Consider mirroring the patterns in your jersey to that of your cufflinks. Take care with designs like Fair Isle, though; instead, experiment with simpler cufflink designs in this case.
  • Match The Colors: Pay attention to the color tone of the cufflinks. A cool tone cufflink will generally work well with blue or green knitwear. Warm-colored cufflinks, made with copper, brass, or gold, will go well with red, orange, or mustard-colored knitwear.

Materials Used For Producing Cufflinks  

Modern cufflinks are mostly made of base metals like copper, brass, stainless steel, and alloys like gunmetal or rose gold.

Cufflinks constructed of precious metals are the most coveted: gold, platinum, and silver. Other materials include glass, precious and semi-precious stones, mother-of-pearl, enamel, crystal, and onyx.

Cufflink Designer Houses

Design houses like Tiffany & Co, Fabergé, Gucci, and Bulgari are known for producing top-of-the-range cufflinks. Deakin and Francis are well-known for their more eccentric designs, like sharks, spiders, and skulls.

Cufflink Designers

Celebrated designers of cufflinks include Vivienne Westwood and Tom Ford. Belgian designer Guy-David Lambrechts’ great-great-grandfather attended the launch of cufflinks in London during the 1862 World Exhibition and ordered the first pair of Belgian cufflinks ever made. 


Wear cufflinks with formal attire, smart casual wear, business wear, and even informal wear. While there are guidelines for color and design, experiment with what works best and suits your personality.

Cufflinks are experiencing a revival, and rightly so because they add class, individuality, and charisma to almost any outfit.


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