Love cufflinks? Silk is a stylish alternative

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yellow silk cufflink
Silk cufflinks in primary colors project confidence and are perfect for the office
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Wear the right silk cufflinks to any occassion for an understated look

Cufflinks are one fashion accessory that completely makes sense. Perhaps that's why they haven't gone out of style in centuries. First introduced in the form of "cuff strings" in the 16th century to tie together the small openings of men's ruffled wrist bands, designers have since created a number of fashionable variations. If you want to try something a little different, cufflinks - silk cufflinks - are a stylish alternative.

Styles of Cufflinks

Cufflinks fasten the two sides of a cuff on a woman's or man's sleeve. It wasn't until the 18th Century that the simple glass buttons used instead of cuff strings were replaced with ornate jeweled or painted studs, and later engraved metal.

Today, professional men often wear gold or silver cufflinks with suits and tuxedos while women sport an array of styles from diamond studded, to pearl, floral prints and sleek modern steel cufflinks. And let's not forget the novelty cufflinks for both sexes: holiday themed, Alma mater, sports teams and symbols.

Depending on the style of shirt they are paired with, cufflinks are single or double length. French cuff shirts, designed with extended sleeves so the ends of the material are folded back, require double length as there is more material to fasten. Cufflinks are worn pinched together or 'kissing', where one end overlaps the other. Pinched cufflinks work best with a double-faced design. 'Dumbbell' style cufflinks have a slim backing for comfort when only one end of the cufflink shows.

About Silk Cufflinks

Though silk cufflinks were created over a century ago, they have only recently begun to grow in popularity in the United States. Popular throughout Europe, silk cufflinks are credited to Charvet, a Parisian shirt maker. A New York Times article from 1908 noted that "Charvet buttons of twisted braid are quite the style".

Silk cufflinks are two braided knots, also referred to as 'monkey's fists'. French cuff shirts are usually fastened with a pair of silk knots instead of traditional cufflinks. Silk cufflinks (or silk knots), when purchased, typically come in a set of three so different colors can be coordinated.

Often more affordable than traditional cufflinks, silk knots give you that polished look without scratching surfaces or getting scuffed. Popular color combinations are lemon yellow, blue, white, red, green, purple and black. You can wear silk knots for any occasion, but consider your color choice for more formal events. Bright red or sapphire blue cufflinks are better suited for the office or casual meeting than a black tie event. Black and white silk knots look great with tuxedos.

Silk knots are understated, yet eye catching and keep us literally put together. If your shirt or blouse calls for cufflinks, skip them only if you're going for that pirate look.

New York Times: Archived 1908 article
Cufflink Afficionado: How to wear them

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