French cuffs, and their attendant cufflinks, conjure up two images; formal, black tie dressing, and the ultimate men’s power suit. In case it’s been awhile since you last wore a tuxedo, French cuffs on a shirt are extra long cuffs, also called double cuffs, that are folded back and secured with cufflinks instead of buttons. Usually considered to be very formal, they are de rigueur with a tuxedo. In business, no CEO would be fully dressed without a bespoke shirt with French cuffs under his pinstriped power suit. Even if you haven’t quite made it to CEO just yet, you can still wear French cuff shirts with suits to work. The old adage is, dress for the job you want, not the one you have. Bear in mind, it’s a lot of look, and needs to be done right, lest you look like you’re in a too-big, rented shirt. Once folded, the cuff should hit just at your wrist bone. Most importantly, stick with understated classics for your cufflinks. Leave the over sized onyx and diamond studded behemoths for your golden years. Quirky cufflinks shouldn’t be tacky, although, stylishly quirky is okay. If you have the cojones to wear French cuff shirts to work, you need to know the difference between tacky and quirky. Here are a few of our favorite simple, understated, and sometimes quirky cufflinks.
The most classic, and least pretentious, of all cufflinks is the simple hand tied Knot cufflink. Fashioned after the sailor’s knot the monkey’s fist, the Knot comes in a million different colors and is so affordable you can buy multiples and always be able to match them to your tie no matter what color you’re wearing. Brooks Brothers’ has them for $9 a pair, or 4 for $20.
For a little extra panache, or for formal wear, try the Knot in sterling silver from Tiffany & co..
Paul Smith also has a thing for stripes and these blue striped, gemstone shaped beauties will liven up any cuff.
For a slightly quirkier look, these sterling and enamel bull’s eyes from Brooks Brother’s, or these orange tone “veni vidi vici” options from Paul Smith will add a little whimsy without going over the top.
Unless, of course, you are looking to go a little over the top, or you’re planning a goth holiday fete, in which case you’ll need this formal set of silver and enamel skull cufflinks with four matching shirt studs from Barney’s.