The symbolism behind cufflinks and how they reflect personal style and identity

Originally popularised in the French court of King Louis the XIV in the 17th century, the humble cufflink continues to be a mainstay in wardrobes today. But what do they symbolise and why do we wear them?

This week, we delve into the rich history of this shirting staple while also mapping out how you can select the perfect cufflinks for made-to-measure suiting.

The symbolism of the cufflink

When cufflinks first entered the sartorial lexicon, they were very much intended as a status symbol.

Starting as two buttons fixed together by a thin chain of brass, they quickly evolved to become something far more valuable. In the French court, cufflinks were often inlaid with precious stones or painted with miniature portraits of loved ones, offering something of a personal touch to the courtier’s ensemble.

Since then - and right through depressions and wars - cufflinks have continued to be a statement.

Particularly for gentlemen in the 20th and 21st century who generally eschewed traditional styles of jewelry, the cufflink offered an opportunity to showcase both wealth and personality in a way that wasn’t overly splashy, only occasionally peeking from the bottom of a jacket sleeve.

Cufflinks today

Unlike the more flimsy style of cufflink that initially rose to popularity, today’s style generally uses the Boyer faster system which makes affixing cufflinks to your sleeve significantly easier. Outside of this functional element though, it’s an accessory that’s defined by its diversity.

And it’s for this very reason that - rather than offering a comprehensive review of trending cufflink styles - we’re instead going to reference our very own preferred aesthetic.

In our eyes, while bright enamels had their time in the sun, particularly during the 2000s, cufflinks today tend to pack the most punch when they err towards the classic. In practice, this looks like circular or square cufflinks in sterling silver or block colours that add a hint of luxury without being obnoxious.

How to choose the right cufflink for you?

If you’re umming and ahhing over the right cufflink style for you, there’s no passing a classic sterling silver set of cufflinks in a geometric shape. Versatile and timeless, this is an accessory that you can as easily pair with a French cuff business shirt as you can with a tuxedo.

Alternatively, if you’re searching for something a little more unique, our team of expert fitters are only too happy to offer their two cents on the right style for you.