When It Comes to Fashion: Your Missing Links
By Jeff Csatari

Other than a classic timepiece, there’s no manlier wrist accessory than a pair of Mad-Men-cool cufflinks. They work whether you're wearing a tuxedo or a dress shirt without a jacket. There are cufflinks are designed to fit every style, taste and budget, from $6K to under $35.

When It Comes to Fashion: Your Missing Links


It's what separates the Average-Joe dress shirt from executive elegance: the cuff link.

It's the one trick every well-dressed man keeps up his sleeve.

Missing link,” reports Wikipedia, is a non-scientific term for a transitional fossil. It is often used in popular science and in the media for any new transitional form. Think RuPaul. The term was influenced by a pre-Darwinian evolutionary theory known as the Great Chain of Being and the now-outdated notion (orthogenesis) that simple organisms are more primitive than complex organisms.

Add cufflinks to the evolutionary state of how you dress.

Here at PM, we’re doing everything we can to help you evolve from a simple organism to a more complex one.

That’s why we highly recommend that you add cufflinks to the evolutionary state of how you dress.

You see, outside of a classic timepiece, there’s no manlier dress accessory than cufflinks (in this case, below, a pair of cufflinks from Tom Ford that are simple, understated, and at $5,950 just a bit expensive):

Or, if paying under $35 instead of $6K for a great-looking pair of cufflinks sounds better to you, we picked out a few gems for you at Cufflinks Depot:

“Cufflinks,” writes sartorial master Alan Flusser, who designed the wardrobes of Al Pacino’s Army Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade in Scent of a Woman and Michael Douglas’s Gordon Gekko in Wall Street, “affords man one of the few opportunities to actually sport an ornament of beauty . . . without eliciting the disapproving look of his cohorts.”

In other words, cufflinks work because — well, they work. They’re a functional tool, like locking pliers or a rich girlfriend, while at the same time they are a piece of jewelry. Without them your French cuffs would flail around helplessly, showing off your puny wrists. 

According to men’s fashion site, Hugh & Crye, “The French cuff actually originated in England and wasn’t deemed ‘French’ until it came to America. In the 1930s cufflinks became very popular not only as a fashion accessory, but also as a status symbol when made from luxury materials.”

You do have a half dozen of these French cuff (a.k.a. double cuff) shirts in your closet, right? We’re talking about those fine classic shirts with no buttons on the sleeves; they require cufflinks to hold the show together.

Not there yet on the evolutionary scale of fashion? If not, go shopping. Quick. Every guy should have at least one. 

French cuff shirts with a pair of cufflinks will class up any occasion. But they’re not just for wearing under a tuxedo or a suit. These days, double cuffs with sporty links are perfectly acceptable to wear without a jacket, as well. Some barrel-cuff shirts even come with built in buttons as well as two holes on each wrist so if you choose to you can remove the buttons to convert the shirt to one that’ll work with cufflinks. 

According to Flusser, It has been said that watching a gent undo his cufflinks is every bit as sensual for a woman as for a man to hear the zipper slide down the back of a dress.” Or so he says.

There you go: functional and sexual jewelry for men. 

There are a four main types of cufflinks, determined by their backside construction: 

  • Bullet Back, the most common, have a metal bar that rotates on a bridge from T-shape to I-shape, making it easy to slip through your cuff holes. 
  • Whale Back are similar to bullet back but with a thicker, shorter rotating bar.
  • Fixed Back cufflinks don’t have moving parts, just a smaller knob that signifies the back side. Some fixed backs are called Ball Return cufflinks because they feature ball-shaped fixtures on both sides. 
  • Chain cufflinks have a short flexible chain bridge connecting the front to back ends. Awkward.

Cufflinks come in metal, glass, leather, wood, stone, silk knots, precious metals, and gemstones. The latter three are reserved for more formal occasions. For a while, they were making them out of typewriter keys. What’s a typewriter? Ask a grown-up. Below are a few we think would make you look pretty sharp. Or you can borrow pop’s.

 Better yet, why not ask granddad if you can borrow his typewriter, and make your own?