Fashion Tips

How to put on Cufflinks

Men’s long-sleeved shirts come in different types of cuffs; one or two buttons, angle cut, Neapolitan, rounded or French (rounded and square). These cuffs mostly come with buttons for securing the cuff around the wrists. The French cuff however, is designed without buttons. It has long cuffs that is folded over and the expectation is that the wearer goes to the added expense of purchasing a pair of decorative pair of “buttons” called cufflinks. Securing the cuff this way means that the cufflink will be securing four layers of cuff fabric.

Cufflinks on the French Cuff of a White Shirt
Cufflinks on the French Cuff of a White Shirt

Cufflinks go way back to the early 1900’s, and have been in and out of fashion over the years. Today, cufflinks find a place on the tuxedo shirts and formal suit shirts worn for special events like weddings, anniversaries, proms or executive meetings.

Types of Cufflinks Backs & How to Put them on

Cufflinks are made in different colors, designs and shapes, and most men can easily find a cufflink to suit their taste and the occasion. The feature on the cufflinks that most men find confusing how to lock the cufflink to the shirt, so it doesn’t slip off. Answering this question requires that we understand the different locking mechanisms that show up on most cufflinks.

The Whale Back Cufflink

This cufflink has a flat face with a “whale tail” that is connected by a link to the post supporting the decorative cufflink button. Secure this cufflink by flipping the whale tail straight, aligning it to the post. Hold the cufflink with your thumb and Index finger, and use the rest of your fingers to hold the button of the cufflink. Push it through the button holes of the folded cuff of your French shirt. Make sure the decorative button face is outwards on the same plane as the back of the hand.  Turn the Whale tail 90 degrees to lock the cufflink after it is through both button holes.

Whale Backed Black & Rose Gold Cufflinks

Whale Backed Black & Rose Gold Cufflinks

The Bullet Back Cufflinks

This is the most popular means of securing cufflinks, due to the ease of using the closure. The cufflink has a bullet shaped cylinder that is held in place between two posts. Align the cylinder on its axis to the post of the cufflink. This makes it easy to maneuver the cufflink through button holes in the layers of folded French cuff. Holding the cufflink with your thumb and index finger, insert the cufflink post through the holes, making sure the decorative button face is outwards on the same plane as the back of the hand. After the top cuff and bottom cuff edges pass through the bullet, flip the cylinder 90 degrees to secure the cufflink.

Bullet Backed Silver with Black Stripes Cufflinks
Bullet Backed Silver with Black Stripes Cufflinks

The Fixed Back cufflinks

The post and backing of the Fixed Back Cufflink are one continuous piece of metal, and there are no moving parts. The two ends of this cufflink design are often reversible. Putting on the fixed back cufflink may be slightly more difficult to maneuver, but they are often durable due to the lack of moving links.  To put on this type of cufflinks, holding the cufflink with your thumb and index finger, maneuver the fixed back of the cufflink to fit through the cuff’s holes.

Chain Link Cufflinks

Chain link cufflinks have a connecting chain linking the two buttons of the cufflink together. The flexibility of the chain between the front and back button of the cufflink allows for a more relaxed cuff fit, although inserting the chain through the cuff requires more dexterity than one hand usually allows. Often, help is needed to put this cufflink in place.

To put on the chain link cufflink, hold the two ends of the shirt cuff apart. Use the thumb and index finger to forward facing button of the cufflink through the holes of the top cuff. Nudge the bottom cuff up to meet the top cuff, and use the thumb and index finger to push the back facing button of the cufflink through the holes of the bottom portion of the shirt cuff.

Knotted Cufflink

The Knotted cufflink is made from knotted silk ropes and looks great when worn for informal events. Put this cufflink on similar to the Chain link Cufflink discussed above, often the elasticity of the knotted cufflinks makes this easier to put on.

Ball Return Cufflink

Differentiated by having a ball on the back end of the Cufflink. The Ball Return cufflink can be found in both the Chain Link and Fixed Back variations.  Put on this cufflink using the methods described in the Chain link or Fixed Back section above.

Ball Return Rounded Square Blue Cufflinks
Ball Return Rounded Square Blue Cufflinks

Whatever cufflink you chose to buy, get it for the lovely color and pattern on the button face, and don’t be limited by the closure at the back.

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