With the exception of Prince, no one gallivants about town in lace collars and silk-heeled boots anymore. Powdered wigs, hose and brocade coats, all hallmarks of a well-dressed man in the 17th century, never made their way back into fashion after the French Revolution. But there’s one holdover from that fussy era that has survived relatively unchanged since its introduction by the court of France’s Sun King, Louis XIV. That throwback is the not-so-humble cufflink.
From its origins as a decorative and more expensive alternative to plain silk sleeve ties, cufflinks have always denoted a certain level of wealth and sophistication. From the late 1800s until relatively recently, they were one of the few forms of socially acceptable jewelry for men, along with timepieces (first the pocket watch and then the wristwatch).
The informality of the late 1960s and the ’70s made cufflinks a sartorial dinosaur. In fact, they all but disappeared until revived in the early 1980s by the New Romantic movement. You know, bands like Spandau Ballet and, well, Prince. So, at least he comes by it honestly…
With the holiday party season fast approaching, now might be a good time to inject a little Old World class into your wardrobe rotation. Here are a few of our favourites.
Money: Cento Shiny O Diamond Cufflinks
These 18-karat white gold cufflinks by Italian jeweler Roberto Coin boast two diamonds with a total weight of just over half a carat. $5,500
Flashy: Tateossian Diamond Dust
Rose-gold plated with a hinged swivel bar, the glass-domed bowl contains finely ground diamond dust that shifts like sand and glitters as the wearer moves. $295
Classy: Tiffany & Co. Basket Weave
A modern take on a traditional design, this hinged cufflink features a sterling silver mount and a face of overlaid azure blue enamel. $470
Thrifty: Brooks Brothers Knot
Also known as a monkey’s fist, these simple closures were once made from braided silk strands. Today, polyester is the common choice. 4 for $20 or $9 each
Online-Only: Indochino Steel Tear
Canadian custom suit website Indochino launched a line of cufflinks over the summer and these one-piece shank-style links have become a popular seller. $39
Image courtesy of .craig.