- Cufflinks add a bit of class and elegance to your shirt cuffs.
- The quality construction and classic aesthetics make the sterling silver and onyx cufflinks from J.Crew the top choice for French cuff shirts. They’re easily the most versatile pair of cufflinks you’ll own.
You’re probably aware of what cufflinks are, but it’s highly likely that you’ve never considered buying a set until now. That’s understandable: Cufflinks are, admittedly, one of the last things a man needs on his journey through the world of traditional menswear. But once you’ve already got to work sorting out your suits, neckties, dress shoes, and shirts, then it’s time to start shopping for those odds and ends you may have initially overlooked.
Along with wristwatches and tie bars, cufflinks are among the few pieces of jewelry that men can wear in a professional setting. Plus, they’re a requirement for those French cuff dress shirts you’ll eventually end up with, so the modern style-conscious gentleman should know when and how to don a pair. Cufflinks don’t just look great, they serve a very important purpose: Keeping your cuffs secured.
Unlike standard buttoned barrel cuffs found on the vast majority of collared shirts, French (or “double”) cuffs are cut longer and designed to fold back over themselves. Then, instead of buttoning the sleeves closed, you thread your links through the holes where the buttons would normally be in order to fasten the cuffs.
The general rule of menswear is to keep things simple, although it’s okay to be a little adventurous with your outfit, and accessories. Cufflinks, in particular, are the perfect way to do that. Links are available in a million different styles to suit just about any taste, but to help you get started, we’ve narrowed the field down to our five favorites that run the gamut from classic and conservative to casual and fun.
Here are the best cufflinks:
- Best classic silver cufflinks: J.Crew silver and onyx cufflinks
- Best knot cufflinks: Brooks Brothers knot cufflinks
- Best gold-plated cufflinks: Charles Tyrwhitt gold textured oblong bar cufflinks
- Best stud cufflinks: Hackett Bachelor stud cufflinks
- Best novelty cufflinks: David Donahue Mercury dime cufflinks
Updated on 10/29/2019 by Amir Ismael: Updated pricing, links, and formatting.
The best classic silver cufflinks
Genuine sterling silver and deep black onyx inserts lend these J.Crew cufflinks a timeless aesthetic that’s perfect for any suit and occasion.
Like the white pocket square, a high-quality pair of classically-styled silver cufflinks is an indispensable suiting accessory. The timeless and versatile appeal of sterling silver also makes it the metal of choice for almost any outfit and occasion from casual evening get-togethers to formal events.
It’s a good idea to start with a solid set of silver cufflinks for your first pair, owing to the fact that they look fantastic and go well with almost everything. Silver is the most common material for most cufflinks, with many designs featuring some sort of colored stone or enamel insert to add a bit of contrast.
Our pick is this pair from J.Crew, which is crafted from genuine sterling silver with a deep black onyx face that puts it well above cheaper cufflinks constructed of stainless steel and colored enamel. Aside from the quality materials, the classic and simple design of these cufflinks means you can don them with just about any French cuff dress shirt, suit, tie, and pocket square combo you can pull from your closet.
After you’ve built a nice rotation, the J.Crew silver and onyx cufflinks will likely remain the most versatile pair you’ll have in your collection. Even if you only end up with one or two French cuff shirts and don’t plan on buying more than a single set of links to wear with them, this is the pair to get.
Pros: Made of genuine sterling silver with a striking black onyx face, and the classic style places these cufflinks among the most versatile ones you can have in your rotation
Cons: The classic design is decidedly plain
The best knot cufflinks
The casual appeal of these Brooks Brothers knot cufflinks makes them a fun complement to any spring or summer ensemble.
Along with knit ties, contrast-tipped pocket squares, and monk strap shoes, knot cufflinks have become one of the biggest stars of the 21st-century menswear renaissance. It’s easy to see why: Knotted cufflinks are inexpensive, colorful, and casual compared to their metal counterparts, perfectly capturing the conservative-yet-lively ethos of American prep.
It’s only proper, therefore, that our pick comes from Brooks Brothers, America’s oldest clothing retailer and the undisputed champion of preppy menswear. This style is considerably more casual than our other picks, but the Brooks Brothers knot cufflinks are the perfect way to introduce a little pop of color to any spring or summer suit when worn with an appropriate pocket square and necktie.
These would pair extremely well with knit tie or a contrast-tipped pocket square featuring the same color as the knotted fabric of the cufflinks. You could also just ditch the necktie altogether for a super-casual warm-weather look. This is perhaps the only time you can do this with a French cuff shirt, so go for it.
Nonetheless, you’ve got a ton of colors to choose from here – 35, in fact – and darker knots would also match your more conservative suits and ties very well. At only $10 per pair, these knotted cufflinks are cheap enough that you may as well grab a few to keep all your style bases covered.
Pros: The knotted style is perfect for casual suiting, they’re a great value at only $10 per pair, and you’ve got a myriad of colors to choose from
Cons: The design is decidedly more casual than most metal cufflinks
The best gold-plated cufflinks
With warm gold plating in a textured bar shape, these cufflinks from Charles Tyrwhitt offer a striking and unique look.
Once you’ve got a pair or two of silver cufflinks, it’s not a bad idea to add some gold to your stable. When opting for this metal, it’s important to pare things down and pick links that aren’t too gaudy, as gold is generally considered a bit flashier than silver and can quickly veer into ostentation when you’re matching metals.
The Charles Tyrwhitt textured oblong bar cufflinks are perfect for adding a unique flair to your shirts in comparison to more standard circular cufflinks.
The metal is truly gold-plated as well – not merely gold-colored brass – so you can enjoy all of the genuine glow and tarnish-free character of this beautiful precious metal.
Gold has a warmer tinge than silver, so it pairs very well with colors like green, orange, and red, whereas “cooler” metals like silver better complement grays and blues. Wear the Charles Tyrwhitt English cufflinks with any ensemble built around warm tones. For example, they’d make a perfect accent to a brown or olive green wool autumn suit.
Pros: Eye-catching color, unique shape, they’re a great value for genuine gold-plated cufflinks
Cons: Gold isn’t as versatile as silver
The best stud cufflinks
Simplicity is the ultimate expression of sophistication, and this design ethos is beautifully reflected in the distinctive black-and-white Hackett Bachelor stud cufflinks.
Stud cufflinks are probably the last style you’ll need to buy, but if you want to complete your rotation, then you’ll want at least one pair of these. Stud links are purpose-made for formal wear, particularly black tie, but this simple yet sophisticated design is also a good fit for just about any semi-formal suit you’d don to the office.
Hackett is an English brand that should need little introduction to those familiar with the world of menswear, and this maker’s striking black and white cufflinks are our top pick for your first pair of studs. The Hackett Bachelor links boast a stand-out look owing to their eye-catching rhodium-plated metal offset by pearl-like faces.
The combo of the black rhodium and white inserts lends the Hackett Bachelor cufflinks an aesthetic that stands far apart from more common silver and gold accessories. Although a general rule of thumb for menswear is to match your metals, cufflinks as unique as these are a clear exception.
I do still recommend pairing silver-colored metals with these, as they may look odd with gold. The black metal with contrasting ivory-colored inserts make the Hackett stud cufflinks ideal for gray and dark navy suits, however, and they’re also the ideal choice if you ever find yourself in a tux.
Pros: A simple and elegant design, the black metal and white faces create a striking contrast, and the stud design is secure and easy to wear
Cons: The distinctive black metal won’t lend itself well to all suit and shirt combos, and they’re expensive
The best novelty cufflinks
Crafted from original sterling silver Mercury dimes, these conversation-starting cufflinks from David Donahue are genuine pieces of American history.
As cufflinks are one of the safest ways to have some fun while wearing a suit, it should come as no surprise that there is an ocean of novelty designs floating around. Many of these can be a bit silly, but this set of genuine silver Mercury dime cufflinks from David Donahue are playful and unique while remaining style-appropriate, and they’re bona fide pieces of US history.
“Mercury dime” is actually a bit of a misnomer: First minted in 1916, the Winged Liberty Head dime actually depicts Lady Liberty wearing a Phrygian cap. This led people to confuse her with the Roman god Mercury, colloquially referring to the coin by his name instead, and the moniker stuck.
The Mercury dime was struck from .900 silver and .100 copper between 1916 and 1945, and the David Donahue cufflinks are made right here in the US using genuine examples of this coin. Not only are the Mercury dime links authentic artifacts of Americana, they’re also novel conversation-starters as well, and perfect for any well-dressed history buff.
It goes without saying that the burnished sterling silver and classically-inspired design of the David Donahue Mercury dime cufflinks simply look fantastic, too, even if the historic angle doesn’t do anything for you. Considering silver is easily the most versatile metal for menswear, you can also rock these with pretty much any suit and shirt combo in your wardrobe.
Pros: Made from authentic sterling silver Mercury dimes, crafted in the U.S., and they’re a great way to have some fun with your outfit without looking garish
Cons: They’re fairly expensive
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