How to wear cufflinks in 2021

Cufflinks are accessories that have more power than you may first think. As is well known by masters of gentlemanly wares..the devil is in the detail. Small details really do make a BIG difference, so, for all you suit wearers out there, it's time to turn your attention to simple and engineered men's accessories. After all, there are few examples of men's jewellery that are smaller, and yet more impactful, than cufflinks.

With this in mind we encourage you to link your cuffs, showcase your character and add a refined dash of personality to any formal occasion. Rather than an afterthought, think of your cufflinks as an essential and valuable styling opportunity. Cufflinks are both functional and decorative, allowing you to be pragmatic and expressive with one simple detail. At Alice Made This, we chose cufflinks as our founding product typology for that exact reason. Alice, the founder of Alice Made This, is a product designer and cufflinks mirror her ethos that form follows function. The cufflink, to us, is a mini artwork that has to perform an imperative task…to link your cuffs.

Here are some styling tips and facts to help you in the run up to the festive season, to help you face a diary full of formal occasions and maybe spark some gifting ideas for the men in your life. These small details really do make all the difference.

copper cufflinks by Alice Made This

The History of Cufflinks

The cufflink has been a persistent element of men’s style for nearly 800 years. Prior to its existence, tailors used buttons solely as decoration, and men kept their clothes together with pins, laces and straps. During the 13th century, tailors began using buttons as fasteners. But it wasn’t until the post-Renaissance period in the 1600s that two ornamented buttons, attached in the middle with a link of chain, became de rigeur among the upper classes of Europe, especially Great Britain. Jewellers began turning out what they called “sleeve buttons” in silver and gold, with etched or stamped designs, and often encrusted with precious gems. Royals commemorated weddings and other special events with them, and the wearing of cufflinks became the mark of a gentleman.

In 1788, the first known record of the word “cufflink” appeared. In 1845, the French claim to the double shirt cuff was laid with Alexandre Dumas’s novel, The Count of Monte-Cristo, which describes Baron Danglars’s elegantly adorned cuffs. It has been said that the turned-back sleeves of Dumas’s characters inspired French tailors to begin making doubled-over, or “French” cuffs. The French cuff has remained popular for 150 years as a vehicle for cufflinks.

The practice of wearing cufflinks spread and became ubiquitous during the 19th century. By the late Victorian period, cufflinks and shirt studs were essential to every gentleman’s wardrobe. Most cufflinks at the time were still made much as they were in the 17th century, with two ornamented faces connected by a link. Although soon men would have an easier time getting dressed in the morning.

In the Twenties, jewellery designers invented the T-post and flip hinges. Snap-together cufflinks followed in the Thirties. The button-down shirt’s popularity in the 1960s and 1970s dampened the demand for cufflinks. Since the 1980s French cuff shirts again returned to men’s wardrobes, and are now popular with all ages from older gentleman to young professionals, as a tool to stand out and add character to an outfit.

how to wear cufflinks | the history of cufflinks

When do you wear cufflinks?

Cufflinks are most commonly worn for formal events, weddings and with business attire. They should be worn when a full suit or a blazer is part of the overall attire.

What shirts require cufflinks?

Whether or not you require cufflinks comes down to the shirt you are wearing. As a fairly rudimentary way of assessing whether you should be wearing a set or not, take a look at your shirt cuffs. If they don’t have buttons or have double cuffs, it’s probably a good idea to pop some cufflinks on.

How to style your cufflinks.

Black tie: For the most formal of occasions, such as those that require a dinner suit, a rich tone and plain cufflink adds refinement to your outfit. Pair with some shirt studs and possibly a lapel pin. Stick to a single choice of metal, for example, copper or gold. Paired back shapes and material authenticity will add a level of sophistication to your outfit.

how to wear cufflinks | black tie

Weddings: An occasion like a wedding is a good opportunity to show your character. This can be done through the details such as your choice of cufflinks. Feel free to be experimental and to play with colour and design. There are many ways to stand our and add a touch of decadence or design flare in a tasteful way.

how to wear cufflinks | weddings

Business: Simple understated designs in the office can ooze confidence and authority. Match your metals. Pair your cufflinks with your tie bar or your watch. Consider the style and materials and think of details such as material authenticity or the form of the cufflinks as opportunities to highlight the qualities of your character such as honesty, quality, strength and creativity.

how to wear cufflinks | business

Which type of cufflinks to choose.

Stud cufflinks: We refer to these as our solid stem cufflinks and see them as our core design. They feature no moving parts and they are quick and easy to feed through a cuff. Durable, paired back and fuss-free, these are a great cufflinks for all occasions - from business meeting to formal affairs.

Chain cufflinks: The basis of a chain cufflink is two ends linked by a chain. This style is a more traditional style of cufflink and gives a slightly looser fit - a good choice if you find traditional options too restrictive.

Ball end cufflinks: Much like the standard solid stem or stud cufflinks, a ball return cufflink features no moving parts. Instead, the style uses a spherical head attached to a bar at the back. With its rigid body, the ball return simply pops through the cuff and into place. We have used this design to facilitate a reversible design that can be worn two ways.

Bullet back cufflinks: is the most common type of cufflink. This style generally features some form of decorative detailing on one side and a small, bullet-shaped clip on the other. The narrow cylinder on the reverse rotates to thread through the shirt’s cuff holes, where it can be twisted back into position to secure. Ideal for guys who like a snug fit, our William cufflinks use this Bullet back design.

stud cufflinks | chain cufflinks | ball end cufflinks | bullet back cufflinks

Cufflink do’s and don’t’s.

Do: Go for clean, simple designs with good quality materials.

Don’t: Wear novelty cufflinks…they are so last century and there are so many beautiful options out there.

Do: Gift cufflinks to your loved ones. A well-designed, good quality pair of cufflinks makes a unique and precious gift to someone close to you.

Do: Always wear cufflinks with French cuffs.

Don’t: Wear odd cufflinks. It is like wearing odd socks!

Do: Consider wider accessories to work with cufflinks. Perhaps a lapel pin or a cuff bracelet. Matching materials or designs across different accessories can complete an outfit.

Do: Own more than one pair if you wear a suit more than occasionally. Accessories can make one outfit become many.

Do: Match your cufflinks to your shirt studs at black tie events or other formal occasions.

Do: Consider your cufflinks when dressing for a wedding. It really will make you stand out.

How to care for your cufflinks

In order to keep your cufflinks looking their best it is important to look after them carefully, and with the right methods for the different materials. Here at Alice Made This we are on hand to give you advice about how to take care of your cufflinks.

Brass, copper and steel cufflinks

To polish your brass and copper jewellery, use a household metal cleaner, for example Brasso. Use sparingly and this will make them look as good as new.

Cufflinks with a precious metal finish. (Vermeil)

Vermeil is not a fan of sweat and water. Before exercising or showering, remove your jewellery. Clean your pieces by buffing gently with a dry cloth and store it in your pouch.

Solid gold

Everything deserves some care and attention, even something as strong as Gold. To maintain its beauty, scrub lightly with a toothbrush and warm water.


Platinum will not fade or tarnish but, after time, the bright shine of platinum jewellery takes on a soft, aged patina. We love this material quality, but if you wish to keep it looking as good as new you can scrub lightly with a toothbrush and warm water.

Sterling silver cufflinks

Silver is sensitive to H2O. Avoid water when wearing your piece because, over time, the sterling silver will oxidise. Did you know that the oils in your skin help keep silver from oxidising faster? So, wear often. When you do not wear your silver pieces, store them in your AMT pouch and box.

Patina cufflinks

Our Patina pieces are formed by creating a chemical reaction on the surface of the brass. We seal this with the wax, so avoid rubbing this area unnecessarily. You may wish to re-apply some wax after a few years. Rub a sparing amount of carnauba wax on to the patina, leave to dry and polish off with a soft cloth. (In case you were wondering… Carnauba wax is an extremely useful natural renewable. It is harvested from the leaves of the Carnauba palm, which is only grown in certain regions of Brazil. It should not be confused with palm oil palms).

How to wear casual cufflinks

With the modern workplace becoming increasingly casual thanks to the technopreneurs of today, it’s time to talk about what it means to dress business casual or ‘Smart Casual’. In an attempt to help with the confusion over what smart casual actually means, this week we offer you some ways to wear your cufflinks more casually and embrace a more dressed down approach when it comes to your accessories.

But, first things first. The golden rule when it comes to any style of clothing, whether smart or casual, is to purchase pieces that fit you properly. Nothing destroys an outfit like an ill-fitting jacket, shirt or trouser. The first secret to looking smart is correct sizing. Think shoulders, waist and arm length. The second secret is to accessorise and that’s where we can help!

It’s easy to assume that the words ‘casual’ and ‘cufflinks’ shouldn’t go together, but with changing attitudes towards office attire and a more contemporary approach to ‘smart casual’, you could be wrong.  Whether you are putting together an outfit for a laid-back summer wedding, a more dressed down look for the office or want to look your best for a dinner date, cufflinks are the perfect accessory for elevating your casual wardrobe. Just because you are dressing more informally, doesn’t mean that cufflinks should be ignored. A simple and engineered pair of cufflinks can show that you have great attention to detail, whatever the occasion. To give you a bit of inspiration, here are our favourite cufflinks for going casual.

Casual copper cufflinks

When accessorising a casual outfit, we recommend choosing a minimalist and timeless design so as not to draw too much attention. You want the raw material of your cufflinks to speak for itself, creating a subtle statement and a refined aesthetic that doesn’t leave you looking too overdressed. The clean faces of our Edward copper and Alexander copper cufflinks are ideal for this. Pair them with a classic white, pale blue or chambray cuffed shirt and a pair of cotton twill chinos. With the Alice Made This cufflinks, try Drakes for a great selection of shirts and a brand like The Workers Club or Margaret Howell for a contemporary, high quality pair of chinos to give you a clean and considered look.

casual copper cufflinks | Alice Made This

Cufflinks and knitwear

Layering your cuffed shirt with some well-made knitwear looks smart, considered and still casual. A geometric pair of cufflinks will punch the cuffs and give an elevated look.  Opt for this look if you need an outfit to see you from day through to night, work in a less corporate office or just want to experiment with your accessories and switch up your wardrobe staples. Our Kitson cufflinks or one of our hand-engraved James brass cufflink designs work particularly well with knitwear as the patterns, graphic silhouettes and added detail sits nicely against the texture of a weave.  

cufflinks with knitwear | Alice Made This

The collarless shirt

Looking for a contemporary take on the classic white shirt? Go collarless! As we move into spring, a collarless shirt is ideal for creating a cool, collected look. We suggest wearing it under a light or striped seersucker jacket and with a silver or steel pair of cufflinks to give a fresh, crisp look.

cufflinks with collarless shirt | Alice Made This

Embrace separates

We have spoken to many people asking ‘can I wear a suit jacket with different trousers?’ and ‘how should I wear different combinations of separates?’. Our answer is always, ‘Don’t be afraid to mix different jackets and trousers’. The bread and butter of separates, navy and beige are always failsafe options because beige is neutral and is discernibly complementary to navy. Although failsafe, it can sometimes be a little too predictable, so it is all in the detail and the accessories you choose. Alternatively, you can explore plaids, tweeds, bolder colours and patterns with your jacket choice and pair with beige, grey, navy or even denim bottoms to find a smart casual vibe that suits your personal style. A pair of silver cufflinks, like our Kitson, Erno and Bancroft designs, can add the perfect detail to your well considered separates.

 cufflinks with separates | Alice Made This

The classic blazer

When we think of a ‘smart casual’ look, many of us will traditionally turn to a blazer. Questions like ‘what to wear with a blazer?’, ‘what trousers do you wear with a blazer?’ or ‘can you wear jeans with a blazer?’ always spring to mind. Worn over a shirt, a jumper or with a pair of jeans, a blazer is a great way to add structure to an outfit and look your best while still feeling comfortable regardless of the climate. A pair of cufflinks, like those in our aerospace collection, offer precise and industrial details that look fantastic combined with a blazer. They’re sure to catch the eye of the person you’re talking to, whether you’re raising a glass at a party or are just an animated talker. We love our Lucas steel and Oliver steel cufflinks for creating a crisp, casual aesthetic.

cufflinks with a blazer | Alice Made This

Be bold with colour

Colour combinations in men’s fashion can be considered limited, but really there are no rules. If you like bold colour, then go for it. Colour makes people smile and dressing casually is a great opportunity to have a bit of fun with colour. You can be bold with tones that you may not necessarily feel comfortable with in a more corporate or formal situation. Embracing colour in your accessories is also a little more subtle if you are too nervous to go for those bright trousers or that neon top. Our patina cufflinks were made for colour and have a beautiful, complex kind of vibrancy. Hand-finished by London-based patina artist Derek Bayley, no two pairs of our patina cufflinks are ever the same with the rich, deep finishes being achieved by expertly layering and oxidising different chemical combinations. The Bayley Prussian blue cufflinks, Bayley Luna silver cufflinks and Bayley Salmon pink cufflinks are some of our current studio favourites.

colourful cufflinks | Alice Made This

Go short

Yes, you can pull off shorts with a blazer or a cuffed shirt! You can make your cufflinks work across different seasons and climates. A simple and tailored pair of shorts in a bold colour means that you don’t have to pack your cufflinks away when the sun is shining. We love this look and, if you're contemplating this combination, you're probably the kind of dresser who's up for trying something new. This would be a nice outfit to wear on a holiday or for a smart occasion that doesn't require a full suit. It's a summer take on smart casual. Our tips here would be to go for fairly smart shorts and opt for chinos rather than denim or cargo. Choose a more casual blazer, perhaps something unstructured, or you could even choose a summery fabric like linen or seersucker cotton. Alternatively, you can skip the jacket, remove the tie and unfasten the top few buttons of your shirt, going for loafers or desert shoes rather than smarter lace-ups. When it comes to accessories, go for a brass cufflink from our aerospace collection. These would complement the climate and gleam beautifully on your sleeve.

cufflinks in summer with shorts | Alice Made This

The casual commute

Why not use your commute to dress down, while still dressing to impress beneath the layers. Commuting to and from work can quickly become monotonous. There is the balance to ensuring that your office attire is suitable for taking on both the boardroom and your morning commute with confidence. Whether you’re hopping on a train or taking the healthier route and going by foot or bike, keep things fresh and ensure you look your best while doing so. We suggest a bit of layering to accommodate the to-ing and fro-ing each day. A bomber jacket and a workwear over-shirt are great ways to layer up and treat your cufflinks a little more casually. Remove the layers for a meeting and reveal immaculate attention to detail with your cuffs. Finish your look with some wool-based jogging fit trousers and a pair of Common Projects white trainers. Another good option for a casual commute is to invest in a staple piece of clothing like a down-filled gilet. Thanks to practicality-loving designers, this mid-layer has become an essential for all. The beauty of a down-filled gilet is its weight – or lack of it – and its ease of wear. Brands, from Brunello Cucinelli to Uniqlo, have embraced this outerwear garment so you can choose to wear it under or over your suit jacket, enjoying this trans-seasonal essential. Whatever route you take, remember that layering is a great technique for bridging the seasons and maintaining a contemporary vibe, whatever the weather.

cufflinks for casual commute | Alice Made This

Opt for smaller cufflinks

The cufflink is a small yet integral accessory for any man’s wardrobe. A smaller cufflink design is also well-suited to a more casual look, offering a precise injection of personality and pared-back metallic tones.

Our Austin cufflinks work well here. They are a reversible and compact pair of cufflinks that are smaller in size than our traditional designs and come in silver or gold colours. They are a good everyday option, as are all of our stud cufflinks. With their straight and solid style of stem, our cufflinks have no chance of any fiddly, swivelling parts. They offer a pragmatic solution when compared to a more traditional cufflink that tends to require a higher level of finger dexterity and can be seen as too impractical for daily use. 

Other smaller designs include our Edgar and Alfred pieces. With their graphic detail and polished finishes, they all shout loud for their size.  

smaller cufflinks | Alice Made This

Lose the jacket

Should you wear a French cuffed shirt without a jacket? There are no formal rules on the matter, so personal preference should be your guide. A bit of confidence goes a long way too. As the weather warms up, you can get away with just a coat and a shirt, leaving your jacket or blazer at home. Opt for a textured shirt and pair of cufflinks with a contrasting texture. Our hand-finished Bayley Luna silver cufflinks are a current studio favourite, with each pair possessing a unique character and quality of its own.

cufflinks with a shirt | Alice Made This

Considered Outerwear

While there is still a little chill in the air at this time of year, with well chosen outwear, you can move seamlessly from the week into the weekend, ready to dress down when you get there. Choose versatile and functional pieces that look as great paired with your favourite cufflinks as they do dressed down for a Sunday lunch or a weekend stroll. A neatly cut overcoat can take the place of a blazer for informal smart casual events (where you’ll take it off anyway). Alternatively, the bomber jacket has been one of the most sought-after outerwear designs for the last couple of years, precisely because they’re so in tune with a more casual or laid-back approach. Use one to dress down a shirt.

A field jacket can also be a great choice. We would suggest going for a Private White VC jacket with their contrasting copper hardware to sit harmoniously with Alice Made This jewellery. Going for a vintage field jacket is a great option too. Finally try a classic mac or trench coat to offer protection from the elements, without adding unnecessary bulk or heat to your spring/summer look. Go single-breasted and beltless for a more casual look. You can go timeless and versatile with traditional hues of stone or navy, or choose it for a pop of colour, like orange, yellow, green or red, separating you from the crowd. Either way, these tones and colours will all work beautifully with our authentic colour palette, driven by our raw materials.

cufflinks with outwerwear | Alice Made This

Pair your cufflinks with a bracelet

Not only are cufflinks brilliant for accessorising a casual outfit, cuff bracelets are too. Whether you prefer copper, silver, gold or a combination of all three, teaming your cufflinks with your bracelet can add interest to your casual wardrobe. We love stacking different widths of our Bancroft silver bracelets and wearing them with a pair of Bancroft silver cufflinks or our Erno silver cufflinks.  Dressing casually doesn’t have to mean dressing without accessories or without refinement. You can go further and add rings, pins and more bling to your look. Pair with your watch or go for layering. Wear your jewellery or accessories with confidence and enjoy being a minimalist, with a piece or two streamlined in a single metal, or a maximalist, stacking and mixing your metals.

cufflinks with a bracelet | Alice Made This

As many of us can be confused by what smart casual means, it’s reassuring to know that, as smart casual means nothing, it can mean anything. Part of the reason that smart casual is so hard to define is that it can mean radically different things in different contexts. It’s a state of mind as much as dress.

Ten occasions to wear cufflinks

Whether you are getting married, attending an important work meeting or dressing up for a date night, cufflinks are the perfect accessory for injecting some personality into an outfit and expressing your unique style. Available in a variety of materials, forms and finishes, we have a pair to suit every occasion. Ranging from architectural profiles and polished faces, to timeless designs and textured edges, our full collection of cufflinks includes ideal gifts as much as wardrobe staples that can be worn for years to come. This week, the team here at Alice Made This looks at 10 occasions to wear cufflinks and recommends a pair for each.

Cufflinks for a Wedding

Whether you are attending as a guest, searching for the perfect groomsmen gifts or getting married yourself, cufflinks are the ideal wedding accessory. By choosing a refined design, you can stand out from the crowd and pick pieces that complement your suit without your accessories being too overbearing. We recommend the architectural profile and textured finish of our Erno blasted silver cufflinks.

silver cufflinks | wedding cufflinks | Alice Made This

Cufflinks for a Graduation

Graduations mark a proud moment and the end of a lot of hard work for both the graduate and their families. Such a special occasion deserves a special pair of cufflinks - plus the photo will probably be displayed for years to come so you want to look your best! We recommend a pair of our simple and engineered Oliver steel cufflinks for a contemporary look that will see you through from the ceremony to your first job.

steel cufflinks | graduation cufflinks | Alice Made This

Cufflinks for Work

It can be hard to express your individuality at work, particularly if your job is quite corporate, but cufflinks are a great way to bring a bit of your own style into the office. We recommend a timeless design in a timeless material like our Jasper brass cufflinks. You can wear them day-to-day and the stepped details will work just as well for after work drinks.

brass cufflinks | work cufflinks | Alice Made This

Cufflinks for an Important Work Meeting

For some occasions, you really want to be looking and feeling sharp – drawing on a bit of extra inner confidence. Important work meetings can be nerve racking, but with a precise pair of cufflinks you can walk in feeling your best. We recommend our Thomas rhodium cufflinks with their smooth, reflective surface.

rhodium cufflinks | office cufflinks | Alice Made This

Cufflinks for a Job Interview

Job interviews are one of the few occasions where we are centre of attention and need to be expressing our strongest selves. First impressions count, and an honest pair of cufflinks can show that you mean business. We recommend a pair of our Alexander copper cufflinks for their classic design and warm, metallic tones.

copper cufflinks | job interview cufflinks | Alice Made This

Cufflinks for a Funeral

Sombre occasions like funerals call for respect and decorum. This isn’t the time to break the rules or go too loud with your accessories. We recommend keeping things paired back with our Edward steel cufflinks.

steel cufflinks | funeral cufflinks | Alice Made This

Cufflinks for a Party

You can’t have a black-tie party without wearing a fab pair of cufflinks. Gold tones and reflective details look perfect with a tuxedo and can help you really stand out against the monochrome. We recommend our Alvar gold cufflinks to help you dance the night away.

gold cufflinks | party cufflinks | Alice Made This

Cufflinks for a Date Night

Whether it’s your first date or your fiftieth, date nights are a chance to show that you care - both about yourself and the person sat opposite you. With a simple pair of cufflinks you can show that you have style, good attention to detail and that you take time over your appearance. We recommend a pair of James gold cufflinks for a rich and eye-catching detail.

gold cufflinks | date night cufflinks | Alice Made This

Cufflinks for a Holiday

Holidays are a wonderful chance to let your hair down, relax and have some fun with your style. Whether you are heading out for dinner or enjoying sunset drinks, we recommend experimenting with colour with the deep shades of our Bayley Prussian blue cufflinks.

blue cufflinks | holiday cufflinks | Alice Made This

Cufflinks for Women

Cufflinks are definitely not just for men. Paired with a great suit or a cuffed shirt, cufflinks can create a modern and refined look for her. We recommend a pair of our Austin rose gold cufflinks, with their reversible ends and geometric profiles

women's cufflinks | rose gold cufflinks | Alice Made This

Want more inspiration? You can view our full collection of cufflinks here and follow us on Instagram @alicemadethis to see how we have been styling ours.