Do Cufflinks Go on Shirt or Jacket? A Guide to Proper Cufflink Placement

Do Cufflinks Go on Shirt or Jacket? A Guide to Proper Cufflink Placement

Wondering whether cufflinks go on your shirt or jacket? You’re not alone. This classic accessory has puzzled many, especially those new to formal wear. Cufflinks add a touch of elegance and sophistication to your outfit, but knowing where to place them is crucial for that polished look.

In this quick guide, you’ll discover the proper way to wear cufflinks and avoid common mistakes. Mastering this small detail can elevate your style game, making you look more refined and put-together. Let’s clear up the confusion and ensure you’re always dressed to impress.

Key Takeaways

  • Cufflinks Are for Shirts, Not Jackets: Cufflinks are specifically designed for dress shirts with French cuffs and should not be used on jackets or shirts with button cuffs.
  • How to Properly Fasten Cufflinks: To fasten cufflinks, align the holes of the cuff fabric, insert the cufflink, and secure it with the toggle, post, or chain on the opposite side, ensuring the decorative side faces outward.
  • Diverse Types for Different Occasions: There are various types of cufflinks, including bullet back, stud/button, and chain link, each suited for different occasions and styles.
  • Common Misconceptions: Avoid using cufflinks on jacket sleeves or casual shirts, as they are meant to enhance formal attire and not disrupt the design and function of these garments.
  • Choosing the Right Material and Design: Cufflinks come in various materials like gold, silver, and enamel. Select a design that complements your attire and reflects the occasion’s formality.
  • Occasion-Based Selection: Pick cufflinks that match the formality of the event—simple and elegant for black tie affairs, classic silver for business settings, and playful designs for more casual or festive occasions.

Understanding the Purpose of Cufflinks

Cufflinks serve both functional and decorative roles in men’s fashion. They secure the cuffs of dress shirts and add a touch of sophistication.

Usage in Men’s Fashion

Men’s fashion often incorporates cufflinks to elevate style. Cufflinks are used on dress shirts with French cuffs (double cuffs). These shirts lack buttons on the cuff, necessitating cufflinks. Styles, designs, and materials vary, making cufflinks versatile accessories. Examples include metallic, gemstone, and enameled cufflinks.

Importance for Formal Attire

Formal attire often includes cufflinks to denote elegance. Cufflinks are necessary for black tie or white tie events. They complement tuxedos and formal suits, harmonizing with other accessories like tie clips and pocket squares. Avoiding mismatched accessories is crucial to maintain a polished look.

Traditional Placement of Cufflinks

Traditional Placement of Cufflinks

Cufflinks traditionally go on shirts, specifically on dress shirts with French cuffs. Explore the method of fastening cufflinks and understand the various types available for shirts.

How to Fasten Cufflinks on a Shirt

To fasten cufflinks on a shirt, insert the cufflink through both layers of the cuff fabric, aligning the holes. Ensure the decorative side faces outward. Secure it by fastening the toggle, post, or chain on the opposite side, depending on the cufflink type.

Different Types of Cufflinks for Shirts

Different types of cufflinks suit various occasions and styles. Common options include bullet back cufflinks, which are easy to secure with a swivel bar; stud or button cufflinks, offering a fixed post without moving parts; and chain link cufflinks, providing a flexible connection with two decorative sides. Choose designs that match your style and the event’s formality.

Common Misconceptions About Cufflinks

Common Misconceptions About Cufflinks

Many people misunderstand the proper use of cufflinks, leading to incorrect styling choices. These misconceptions stem from a lack of knowledge about their traditional placement and function.

Use on Jackets

Jackets don’t use cufflinks. Cufflinks are designed for dress shirts with French cuffs. Unlike shirt cuffs, jacket sleeves have buttons or are tailored to fit the wrists without decorative fasteners. Using cufflinks on jackets disrupts the intended design and function of both garments.

Other Incorrect Usages

Some try to use cufflinks on button cuffs. Button cuffs, found on standard dress shirts, feature sewn buttons and lack the double cuff folds needed for cufflinks. Another mistake is pairing cufflinks with casual attire. Cufflinks best complement formal wear and look out of place with casual shirts or relaxed settings.

Correct placement and usage of cufflinks enhance sophistication in formal attire and avoid fashion faux pas.

Choosing the Right Cufflinks

Selecting the right cufflinks can enhance your formal attire. Consider both the materials and design as well as the occasion when making your choice.

Materials and Design

The materials and design of cufflinks significantly affect their style. Common choices include metals like gold, silver, and stainless steel, as well as non-metal options like enamel and glass. Gold cufflinks, for example, offer a luxurious appearance suitable for high-end events. Silver cufflinks present a classic and versatile look that fits well with most suits and dress shirts. Stainless steel cufflinks, known for their durability, offer modern designs ideal for both formal and business casual settings. Non-metal options, such as enamel, provide vibrant colors and unique patterns, perfect for adding a personal touch. Choose designs that reflect your personality and complement your other accessories, such as tie clips or watches.

Occasion-Based Selection

The occasion dictates which cufflinks to wear. For black tie events, opt for sophisticated and understated designs. Black onyx or mother-of-pearl cufflinks paired with a tuxedo exude elegance. In business settings, classic styles in silver or simple geometric designs are appropriate, ensuring a professional look. For weddings or parties, playful and themed cufflinks, like those with novelty shapes or monograms, can add character and match the festive mood. Always ensure your choice aligns with the event’s formality to avoid fashion mishaps.


Understanding the correct use of cufflinks can significantly elevate your style, especially in formal settings. By pairing them with French cuff shirts and avoiding their use on jackets, you’ll ensure a polished and sophisticated look. Selecting the right materials and designs that align with the event’s formality can make a lasting impression. Remember, the right cufflinks not only serve a functional purpose but also add a touch of elegance to your attire, making you stand out in any formal gathering.

Cufflinks are traditionally worn on the cuffs of dress shirts, not on jackets, and add a refined touch to formal attire. Proper placement and styling tips are available on GQ and detailed guidelines are provided by The Art of Manliness.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are cufflinks and why are they important in men’s fashion?

Cufflinks are decorative fasteners worn to secure the cuffs of dress shirts, particularly those with French cuffs. They add elegance and sophistication to formal attire, making them an essential accessory for black tie events and other formal occasions.

Can cufflinks be worn with any type of shirt?

No, cufflinks are specifically designed for dress shirts with French cuffs. They are not suitable for regular dress shirts, jackets, or casual attire.

How do cufflinks enhance formal attire?

Cufflinks add a touch of sophistication and personal style. When paired correctly with accessories like tie clips and pocket squares, they elevate the overall look of formal attire.

What are some common misconceptions about cufflinks?

A common misconception is that cufflinks can be worn with any shirt or even jackets. However, cufflinks should only be used with dress shirts that have French cuffs for a polished and refined appearance.

How should I choose the right cufflinks for an event?

Consider the formality of the event and your personal style. Select cufflinks made of materials and designs that match the occasion, such as gold or silver for black tie events and more colorful or unique designs for parties.

What materials are cufflinks made of?

Cufflinks come in various materials including gold, silver, stainless steel, enamel, and glass. Each material offers a distinct style suitable for different events.

Are there specific designs of cufflinks for different occasions?

Yes, simpler and more refined designs are ideal for formal events like black tie affairs, while unique and colorful designs can add flair to parties and less formal occasions.

How do I properly place and use cufflinks?

Insert the cufflink through the buttonholes of the French cuffs, ensuring that the decorative part is visible on the outside. Secure the cufflink by closing the toggle or back mechanism. Proper placement is key to achieving a sophisticated look.