Long before fancy dressing and modern haberdashery came into men’s fashion, the way esteemed nobles and fashionistas put their outfits together was nothing short of barbaric.
From leaving symmetry dead in the ditch to using ties, ribbons, and strings to hold cuffs and points together, dressing up in the past was tedious, until cufflinks came into the picture.
The history of cufflinks
With its roots dating back to the 17th century, the humble cufflink's first iterations were introduced as a sleeker, more appealing, and effective solution to keeping cuffs in order.
These ornamental pieces were created and further refined by French tailors alongside the development of the stitched buttonhole to seamlessly combine style and functionality. Over time, the boutons de manchettes started to gain traction amongst aristocrats, socialites, and style-conscious men because of how they provided a solution that equally looked great.
A few years after its introduction, sleeve buttons—as they were called at the time—became even more popular with upper-echelon dressers in a short amount of time. During this time, the buttons themselves became even more luxurious and appealing as jewellers began to show their takes on the accessories. These refined takes were best defined by gold and silver castings that were adorned with semi-precious gemstones and stamped designs, eventually leading to the modern cufflink of today.
At the turn of the 18th century, the usage of cufflinks and their popularity both exploded as they became even more commonplace in the fashion during that period. Aside from being donned by monarchs and aristocrats (which essentially acted as the catalyst for popularity), they were also used to commemorate special events and royal occasions – not too far from the purposes that they’re being used for today.
Despite the already-apparent growth of cufflinks and their rise to prominence, an even higher amount of success came about by the time the industrial revolution and the Victorian era came to be.
Thanks to the advent of machinery and its widespread availability, manufacturers, tailor shops, and stores were able to boost their production volumes and make cufflinks even readily available. Beyond production capacities, however, this period also saw the rise in fancy designs that slowly incorporated gold and silver bases, which were adorned with intricate designs that were extravagant and captivating.
This era saw the birth of the “Victorian Serpents” design, which is also a design staple among modern cufflink options today!
Post-world war resurgence
After the first and second world wars, the cufflink rebounded and made its resurgence in production, prominence, and overall importance in the turn of a modern fashion revolution. With the Boyer fastener system's introduction and a production drive undertaken by the factories, consumers had a sleeker, better, and more convenient way to keep its double cuffs together. This would later go on to be the cufflinks that are widely known today.
Cufflinks bear a storied past that carries its own history which adds even more to their overall importance and value. The next time you put on a suit and look at your cufflinks, feel proud that you’re wearing a time-honed accessory that was also worn by royalty and other prominent members of society in the past!
We’re Australia’s leading supplier of cufflinks of all shapes, sizes, and styles. Whether you are looking for diamond cufflinks or custom engraved pieces, we’ve got your dressing needs covered!