Cufflinks vs. Shirt Cuffs with Buttons

    Securing the cuff has changed considerably throughout history. From the 13th century, depending on your position in society, cuffs would be tied with strong, or bits of ribbon. By the 1600s, wealthier classes were designing and creating pieces of jewellery using precious stones and metals, establishing their more superior role.

    By the 17th century buttons were beginning to make their appearance. This coincided with the Industrial Revolution, when the advances in manufacturing technology enabled the mass production of buttons and shirts.

    As a result, the use of cufflinks became synonymous with wealth and class, incorporating the individual skills of tailors with an array of different cufflink options which positioned their wearer as someone with a more superior standing in society.

    At the other end of the scale, cheaper, more mass produced shirts could be fitted quickly with buttons, making them more accessible to working men with less budgets who could not afford the luxury of a pair of cufflinks.

    The modern perception of cufflinks bs buttons

    Today that stark differentiation between the two options is no longer steeped in social judgement. Rather, the choice as to whether to wear one or the other usually comes down to personal preference, practicality, or the nature of the event that you are attending.

    A greater disposable income

    These days, despite the cost of living crisis, men have a larger disposable income and access to a much flatter social world in which your sartorial choices are no longer dictated by class. Many cufflinks for men are made using a much wider range of materials – it is perfectly acceptable for precious stones and metals to be replaced by stainless steel, semi precious stones and other more interesting artefacts which showcase a more eccentric and creative approach to men’s accessories.

    Some of the more adventurous designs can take inspiration from industry or technology, evoking an individual’s unique personality.

    Convenience for the everyday

    For the majority of men, however, choosing to wear cufflinks rather than a shirt with buttons will come down to the nature of the event they are attending. While a special occasion, such as a wedding or a black tie event, is an obvious call out to wear special a bit special, a normal day at the office might need the ease and convenience of a shirt with buttons.

    Depending on the nature of your role, the ability to take off your work jacket and roll up your sleeves is a great ‘leveller’ when it comes to motivating your team – as many a politician can testify. It sends the message that you are one of the team, that you can get stuck in with the best of them to solve a problem and get the job done. Faffing around with taking off cufflinks and then finding somewhere to store that would significantly take away from the ‘one of the team’ vibes that you have cultivated.

    Setting boundaries

    Wearing a button cuffed shirt, rather than donning a pair of cufflinks, also sets clear boundaries between every day attire and a special occasion. Were you to wear cufflinks every single day, it might actually detract from the specialness of a special occasion, rather than that occasion being something extraordinary.

    Fundamentally, the decision as to whether to wear one over and above the other is purely down to an individual taste and preference. While the ease and convenience of a buttoned cuff is great for every day wear, a smart pair of cufflinks might actually elevate an individual’s confidence as they go about their day.

    And these days the use of everyday materials can create a range of different cufflinks which don’t have to cost the earth, meaning you can save the really precious ones for those special occasions.

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