Sunday, April 20, 2008

Making stylish statements off the cuff

To be sure, a gold watch, a diamond ring or other such forms of "bling" can certainly catch eyes and turn heads. Few accessories, however, have the potential to represent a man's sense of flair as cuff links.

I don't know about you, but it seems that cuff links have gone underappreciated over the years. They are indispensable for wearing shirts that have French cuffs, but they can be obscured underneath a jacket sleeve. When the jacket is removed, the cuff links may be visible, but the design that may have drawn the wearer to purchasing them might be less easily admired by others from a distance.

The sartorial role of cuff links cannot be underestimated, especially during one-on-one situations. From shaking hands at an introduction to a job interview to a dinner date, cuff links can generate significant Style Points.

The options are many, but here are some fundamentals:

  • Decide how much you want to spend. Precious metals, of course, will be more expensive than non-precious ones. Also, some designers cost more than others.
  • A wardrobe staple: Have a set of polished black cuff links that's part of a set of studs for a tuxedo. These cuff links will go with anything.
  • Take a look at the shirts (and ties) that are in your closet. This will help provide a range of ideas of what you're looking for when you coordinate your ensemble.
  • Don't be afraid to have fun with your selections. Cuff links do not have to be functionally monochromatic fasteners. Like ties, cuff links come in myriad designs.

  • Some of the most fun designs I've seen have come from London-based boutiques. Two examples are pictured above. Davies & Son of London's Savile Row makes colorized versions of American quarters from all 50 states. At right, from Paul Smith, is a striking design that dares to be different.

    Other British retailers, such as Duchamp and Dunhill, offer very appealing, high-end options.

    Of course, a reputable jewelry store will have cuff links that command top dollar. But those who have finicky tastes, consider a visit to an antique store. There's a better chance you'll find one-of-a-kind items that may not necessarily cost an arm and a leg.

    So, if cuff links are your thing, choose wisely. The right set can be the missing link that makes for a smart presentation.

    No comments: