On Trend – Cufflinks

Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

Cufflinks have always had a place throughout history and now they are bigger than ever. 

These stylish accessories come in a huge array of styles to give your outfit a refined finish. One of their great appeals is that you can change them for any occasion – to match your shirt, your mood or commemorate something special to you.

Cufflinks take their inspiration from the jewelled button worn by the upper classes in the 1600s. Over time they developed to become accessible to the upper-middle classes, keeping the previously frivolous sleeves that had modified for practicality together in an attractive way.

In the 1970s, simple shirt buttons that could be cheaply produced came into fashion, but those with famous names or in haute couture continued with cufflinks, ensuring the tradition continued. Chainlink for more formal occasions, bar cufflinks and silk knots, often made of elastic thread were developed – now cufflinks are trending in modern fashion, with their popularity resurfacing in 2012 and steadily growing up to the present day.

Plain Gold/Silver

This cufflink style is modest, but sophisticated. Gold and silver are the most famous precious metals and will never fall out of fashion. They can be worn day to day, or equally on special occasions. You may choose to leave them plain, though engraving them is now an option. For a wedding or christening, you may want the special date engraved, or perhaps your initials on one and your partner’s on the other. The most common shapes are round or square, but rectangular is quite popular at the moment. These cufflinks retain simplicity whilst remaining pretty stylish.


These cufflinks are a lighter alternative to the heavier metals of gold or silver. They are often made in the Silk Knot design and can come it different shades sets. They tend to be a cheaper alternative, but can be striking as they can come in bright colours and can be used to highlight the colour of your shirt. They are best suited for every day use or relaxed occasions.

Commemorative Cufflinks

These generally observe something special and are produced for big celebrations or memorials. The unique pair pictured are the perfect example; commemorating the 100-year anniversary of the First World War and commissioned by The British Legion. They are beautifully hand-crafted using the traditional method of “lost wax” casting, meaning they are created from an original sculpture. This intricate process involves the molten metal being poured into clay moulds, which are split open when the metal is set to reveal the cast.

The poppy design is based on a flower picked by Private Len Smith in ‘No Man’s Land’ in 1915 and preserved in his illustrated diary. The brass of original artillery shell fuses found on the battle fields of The Great War was used in the process whilst they have been polished and engraved with the dates ‘1914 – 1918’ and the words ‘Flanders Fields’. They are a very poignant yet beautiful piece that honours the memories of those who fought and died. Wearing cufflinks such as these naturally means far more than just a fashion statement and has its own special appeal. 


These cufflinks are versatile, whilst still giving you that polished look. Enamel can be hand-painted and can have almost any design imaginable. There are Union Jacks, plain royal blue, clusters of daisies, paisley and more. These are very popular both for special occasions and to go with an everyday smart shirt because there is such a variety of choice. You can search for specific designs or colours online or browse the high street to see what’s on offer. Often shops with a specific taste will sell taste specific enamel cufflinks, but if you’re dad or have a partner who loves football, then there are plenty of pairs that have FC badges on.


Personalised cufflinks can have photos of your choosing on them so if you’ve got a special photo that means a lot to you then these can be a great choice. If your son or daughter has just graduated, their graduation photo would make a lovely design, equally a picture of your newborn that you can keep with you wherever you go. Wedding photos are quite popular too and can be brought out for all future anniversaries.

The wonderful thing about cufflinks is that you can build a collection of cufflinks that are special to you. Perhaps start with a commemorative piece, move on to personalised and then add some enamel to add real variety. Although cufflinks are often seen as only for formal occasions, there are many that go perfectly with an every day shirt and really add that elegant look to a simple outfit. As far what type you choose, that’s completely up to you. 

The Flanders Fields Cufflinks were lovingly crafted by TMB Art Metal of London from an original sculpture created by Stephen Allen.