Accessories for men are relatively few. Some men wear tie pins (I never do) and others wear hats (I am tentatively edging into that category). Still others might wear some form of jewellery, beyond a wedding ring.
However there are two accessories every stylish man should own and wear. The first is a sensible watch. The second is at least one pair of cufflinks. Style aficionados will probably wish to own quite a few more pairs than that.
Cufflinks come from a time when cuffs didn’t have working buttons and needed something to keep them in place. Ribbons and lace had been used previously but cufflinks became popular because it was thought that they were a more elegant solution.
From the late 1700s up to the 1950s and 1960s cufflinks were the norm among elegant men for formal shirts. However, after this stage with the increasing informality of dress and the availability of cheap plastic cuff link usage declined.
At one stage it looked as though cufflinks might be consigned to the history books as the cheaper to produce, and more convenient, button cuff quickly became the norm, even for formal occasions. Nonetheless, traditional shirt makers continued to use cuff links, particularly for their more expensive formal shirts and they have made a real come back in the last few decades.
Cuff links are one of the few pieces of male jewellery which enable us to add a flash of colour to our ensemble and adds a certain elegance to a formal shirt.
Moreover, the use of cufflinks, whether with a single or double cuff, means that there will be a discernible edge to the cuff which, to my eyes, looks especially sharp when extending ½ inch beyond the end of one’s jacket sleeves.
Some men, I am among them, will on occasion wear cufflinks more informally than this with an open necked shirt and jeans or chinos. Even here the discernible edge to the cuff still carries a certain elegance.
Button cuffs in contrast form a cylindrical shape around the wrist and therefore lack that sharp edge which is achieved when cuff links are worn.
Cuff links might carry a College or University crest, or even the crest of a manufacturer and are available in a wide range of colours, designs and shapes. The best cufflinks, and the more expensive, are double sided so that each side of the cuff has a splash of colour.
Try Hawes & Curtis for cufflinks from £15. Charles Tyrwhitt, T M Lewin and Thomas Pink also have a good collection. For your first pair you probably want to go for something in stainless steel or silver which can be worn with virtually any colour shirt. Very inexpensive silk knots in a wide array of colours can also be used. Best of all they are available from £3 at Charles Tyrwhitt.
So if you don’t already have some cufflinks in your collection you really ought to look into it. It’s a killer look. You’ll also need some shirts with which to wear them. They also make wonderful and inexpensive gifts.