Cufflinks: A Brief History

Cufflinks are decorative accessories that attach to the cuff of a dress shirt. The purpose of a cufflink is to hold the cuff together when there is no button. While modern dress shirts generally have a button cuff, that wasn't always the case. While the end of a shirt sleeve had to be wide enough to accommodate the hand, that wide opening fit too loosely. As a result, dress shirts had two button holes, one on each side of the cuff, and ribbon was used to tighten the cuff.

Cufflinks Origins

The Anglo-Saxons actually developed the predecessor to the cufflink during the 5th and 6th century. They used decorative bronze “wrist clasps” to secure their sleeves, specifically on the sleeves of flowing garments like a priest's robe. They became more popular with women, however. It wasn't until the 17th century that cufflinks would become a fashionable trend. Louis the 14th started using glass buttons combined to a chain to hold his cuffs together.

When the French cuff was developed during the 17th century, there was no longer a need to secure the cuffs. These cuffs folded over creating tightness around the wrist. Men took to wearing cufflinks at that point to show off their sense of style and wealth. It would take another century before tradesmen and men in the middle class would start wearing cufflinks on a regular basis.

Industrial Revolution

Original cufflinks were crafted from solid metal, usually gold or silver, or natural materials like pearl. During the Industrial Revolution, a new form of cufflink became readily available. Men figured out how to coat cheaper metals with gold or silver plating. Now people who could not afford solid gold or silver cufflinks could easily buy cufflinks that suited their tastes without having to pay the price for solid gold or silver.

Twentieth Century

In the early to mid-1900s, companies realized that cufflinks were the perfect marketing tool and gift for employees. This is when the trend of giving personalized cufflinks began. Today, Ties 'n' Cuffs continues to produce affordable, quality cufflinks with your personal design. Add a company logo or create an image that you want to put on cufflinks to give as gifts to friends, family members, or associates.

Related Articles