Cufflinks have been around for centuries, but they only became part of popular fashion in the middle of the 19th century. This was because more men moved from the working class to the middle class and it became the fashion to wear formal clothing for work in the form of a suit, and in the evening a dinner jacket or tailcoat. At the same time, the industrial revolution meant that things such as cufflinks were easy to mass produce. This meant that instead of cufflinks being the preserve of the wealthy and the upper class they were affordable for the middle class as well.
As we advanced into the 20th century, designers began to experiment more and more with different materials, colours, designs, and began adding things such as gemstones to cufflinks as well. Enamel also became popular because it could be produced in any colour and was a relatively inexpensive material as well.
However, fashions come, and fashions go, and in the 1960ís we had the era of the hippies whose attitude was to just do what you want to do. "Let it all hang out" was a phrase at the time and it meant "do your own thing". If that included not bothering to get a job and let the state look after you, so be it. Basically, that was not getting a job and letting your next-door neighbour, who did go to work and paid his taxes, look after you. At the same time widespread drug use arrived, and as for clothing you could wear anything you fancied. Since you didnít have to go to work, there was no incentive to dress smartly. The wearing of suits diminished, and along with it went ties, and shirts with double cuffs, and the cufflinks that held them together.
However, in the 1980ís and 90ís things swung back the other way as far as dress codes were concerned, and it became the norm to wear a suit once more to go to work. Back came shirts with double cuffs (which had largely been replaced with single cuffs with a button) and of course back came the cufflinks necessary to hold them together.
Today, if you Google the word "cufflinks", you get around 226 million results! The list of designs, materials, and colours is virtually endless. You can pay anything from a few pounds for a pair of these to several thousand if you want a pair with gemstones in them. One designer alone has over 4,000 pairs on itsí website, and if you donít happen to like any of those, there are other companies who manufacture these and will make personalised of these for you to your own design.
You can buy cufflinks that represent almost anything you wish, so you can, for example, buy cufflinks which display your country of birth, such as the English Oak, the Three Lions, the Scottish Thistle, the Shamrock for Ireland, and the Welsh Dragon. You can also have cufflinks that represent the USA, Canada, Spain, Germany, and so on.
You can buy cufflinks which represent your job, so if you are an airline pilot you can buy aeronautical cufflinks such as one which depicts a jet engine. If you are in the Navy, you can buy Navy cufflinks. If you are a bird-lover, you can no doubt get these depicting your favourite bird, cufflinks which show your dog or cat breed as well as depicting a pint of beer or a champagne glass, fishing reel ones, gold cufflinks with your initials engraved on them, ones in the shape of a guitar, with your car number plate on them, coloured socks, ancient maps, a watch movement, and holly - and most of those are from just ONE page of the website of ONE designer and manufacturer!
As already mentioned, there are some companies who will make bespoke cufflinks for you to your own design, so if you are a company director you can have them with your company logo on them. These would be a great giveaway to customers, or you could give them to shareholders at the annual general meeting, although you would have to think of something suitable for the ladies as well!