The Rise And Fall, And Rise Again, Of Cufflinks

ShoppingFashion / Style

  • Author Christer Ostlund
  • Published September 9, 2019
  • Word count 739

It is probably fair to say that the use of cufflinks fell quite considerably during the 1970’s, but today is making something of a comeback. Cufflinks were first used in the 1600’s but didn’t become fashionable and in everyday use until the end of the following century.

Since the invention of woven fabric, some 5,000 years BC, men have been wearing items that are like shirts ever since. Basically, a garment open at the front that sported sleeves and a collar.

Before we had vests, it was worn next to the skin, and today still is by many men who do not bother with a vest. It helped to protect the skin against the rougher materials of which jackets and coats were made, as it covered the wrists and neck as well.

After the Middle Ages, the cuffs began to include decorative items such as frills, ruffs, and embroidery. The cuffs themselves were simply tied with a piece of pretty ribbon, and so was the collar. However, things changed with the coming of the industrial revolution and it became the fashion for men to wear a dark suit during the day, a dinner jacket in the evening, and by the 1850’s the cufflink became popular. This was simply two identical buttons (although they didn’t always have to be identical) connected with a chain that held the them together and was used to secure the cuffs.

The cuffs themselves, along with the collar, had become stiff and starched, and were actually too stiff to be held with a simple button, so men in the middle and upper classes used cufflinks.

What’s more, the industrial revolution meant that it was cheap to mass-produce these items.

The cufflinks themselves began to become miniature pieces of artwork, and many of those worn by the upper classes contained gemstones. However, these became more common when Edward VII, then Prince of Wales, began wearing cufflinks made by Faberge in the late 19th century. It was at this stage that cufflinks began to become a fashion accessory as well as an essential, and this continued right up until the 1960’s when life changed, some may say for the worse, with the coming of the era of the cultural revolution with people who revolted against the norms about clothing, sex, drugs, schooling, music, and more. "Let it all hang out" was a popular phrase which simply meant ‘do whatever you want to do without regard for anyone else’.

Now we had the hippies who couldn’t even be bothered to work. After all, why work if you can let other people do that, pay taxes, and then the state looks after you and gives you money?

"Just do what you wanna do, man, and don’t do what you don’t wanna do".

These people even rebelled against dressing smartly. After all, pressing a suit is work – and we don’t want to work. Rather obviously, this led to the decline of the cufflink. In the 1970’s shirt cuffs were reduced to the single cuff, and the cufflink replaced with a simple button. It saves the need for buying cufflinks, and it’s easier, and EASY was what the 60’s and early 70’s was all about.

However, as we moved into the 1980’s, fashion changed again, and it once more became acceptable to dress smartly and actually get a job. In fact, it got to the point where you had to dress smartly - even if you were applying for a job as a manual worker – or you wouldn’t be likely to get the job. Dressing smartly shows respect, and which employer wants to employ someone who is not respectful?

So the cufflink came back into fashion, and it is still fashionable today among men of a certain calling.

Cufflinks are even better today because you can have personalised cufflinks with your own design on them. They are not made of cheap metals, since you can have personalised gold cufflinks or personalised silver cufflinks if that is your preference. If you are a business owner, you might choose to have cufflinks made with your company logo, or if you are a football fan, the logo of your club. You could have them with your child’s name on them, an image of your favourite flower, or anything else that you wish, since there are companies who will design and make bespoke cufflinks for you.

Wimbledon Cufflink Company, as you might guess from the name, is a leading manufacturer of cufflinks and has a huge standard range from which to choose. The company will also make personalised cufflinks in any design of your choice.

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