Learn How to Put on Cufflinks in 6 Easy Steps

Cufflinks: Why? Because sleeve buttons are boring, that’s why. Cufflinks are old-school shirt cuff fasteners. They’re inexpensive, underrated fashion items that enable you to express your unique style and personality – and they’re not just for weddings.

If you’re intimidated by the thought of wearing cufflinks, don’t be. They’re easy to put on and take off once you get the hang of them. Today I’ll go over how to put on cufflinks, answer some of your FAQs, and show you some cufflink styles that may send you straight to Amazon. Let’s get started.

1. First, Get the Right Shirt

Cufflinks are most often worn with French cuff (or double cuff) shirts because they have extra-long cuffs that you fold back. They have buttonholes in the cuff but no buttons – that’s where the cufflinks come in.  

Cufflinks are meant to be visible. That’s why shirts that accommodate cufflinks hang a little lower in the sleeve than regular dress shirts do. Plus, folded cuffs are bulkier than single cuffs, so they don’t necessarily fit nicely under jackets.

2. Fold the Cuff Back

Once you put your shirt on, fold the cuff of each sleeve back onto itself with your opposite hand. Make sure the shirt is pressed and has a crisp edge once it’s folded.

3. Pinch the Cuffs Together

Grab the folded cuffs and pinch them together so that the inside edges meet beside your wrist. This is known as a “kiss cuff,” as the pinched edges look like they’re kissing each other. Awwwww.

4. Make Sure the Cufflink Holes Align

You’ll struggle with putting your cufflinks in if the holes on both sides of the cuff aren’t aligned. Once you pinch the cuffs together, make sure the edges of the cuffs meet on each side, and you should be good to go.

5. Insert the Cufflink Posts

Almost there! Slide the cufflink post through the cuff and get ready to secure it, keeping a firm hold of the pinched cuff and cufflink. 

6. Secure the Cufflink Back

Securing the cufflink will vary per cufflink style (see below for different types). That’s it! Mission accomplished.

Check yourself out! After your cufflinks are on, make sure your cufflinks’ decorative side (if the cufflinks are one-sided) is facing outward when your arms are down. Go ahead. Strut.

Finish the look – read about the Best Undershirt To Wear Under A White Dress Shirt.

Types of Cufflinks

There are many types of cufflinks. While they all perform the same function, the differences are mainly in their attachment styles.

Fixed Back Cufflinks

Fixed back cufflinks connect to the front face of the cufflink in one stationery piece. Fixed backs and the following styles listed below are inserted into the cuff the same way. 

Simply push the bottom of the cufflink through the top holes of your cuff until it emerges from the other side. 

These can be trickier to put in at first, but you don’t have to be fidget with moving parts.

Chain Link Cufflinks

Chain link cufflinks are like fixed back cufflinks, only with a chain instead of a post connecting the front and back parts. The chain allows some extra movement in your cuff, giving you a slightly more relaxed fit. The chain link cufflink shown here wraps around the cuff, and offers a unique look.

Reversible or Double-Panel Cufflinks

Reversible (or double-panel) cufflinks can be worn two ways, offering two looks for the price of one. Silk knots are a type of reversible cufflink but are the least durable, as they are made of twisted silk instead of metal.

Studs and Button Cufflinks

Button cufflinks often match shirt studs (removable shirt buttons), giving a uniform look. This style is one of the most popular for formal occasions.

Ball Return Cufflinks

Ball return cufflinks feature a signature ball-shaped back and are available in fixed back and chain link styles. 

Bullet Back or Toggle-Closure Cufflinks

Bullet back, or toggle-closure cufflinks feature a bullet-shaped stem that flips down once the cufflink is inserted through the cuff. The stem flips horizontally and twists perpendicular to the cuff holes, keeping the cufflink in place.

Whale Back Cufflinks

Like bullet back cufflinks, whale back cufflinks feature a straight post and a solid whale-like backing that secures the cufflink once it’s been inserted through the shirt’s cuff holes.

Locking Closure Cufflinks

One of the most secure cufflink styles, locking closures have a hinge-like mechanism that resembles a watch band.

Cufflink FAQs

Aren’t Cufflinks Stuffy and Boring?

Is this all you see when you think about cufflinks?

Traditional Cufflinks

If so, think again. There are hundreds of designs to choose from today, including these amazing and unique styles that can show off your personality:

When Should You Wear Cufflinks?

While cufflinks are traditionally associated with tuxes, weddings and charity galas, they are too often overlooked as a seriously cool, everyday accessory. So the next time you’re going out on the town and want to level up your fashion game, why not try some cufflinks with your shirt and jacket? 

Life is short, my friends. Go big or stay home.

Do I Have To Wear a Jacket If My Shirt Has Cufflinks?

In a word, yes. If comfort means you must remove your jacket for a time, so be it. But don’t spoil your James Bond moment showing up jacket-less – you’ll look like you forgot something.

Can You Put Cufflinks On Any Shirt?

Have you ever screwed up and bought a dress shirt that makes you look like you have monkey arms? All is not lost if the sleeves are long enough to fold the cuff over! Adding cufflinks is a great way to repurpose a shirt you were ready to toss in the donation pile. 

You could also wear cufflinks with a regular, single cuff dress shirt. However, you may have to take the shirt to a tailor to remove the buttons and add finished buttonholes to the cuffs for best results.

Pro-tip: Save yourself a trip to the tailor and try cufflink adapters instead. (Whoa.)

What are your thoughts on cufflinks? Leave a comment below and let me know.

  • Not for me
  • Eh, maybe. Those Superman ones are awesome.
  • Heck yeah, I’ve already clicked all the links!

Now that you know how to put on cufflinks, learn more in my men’s style and fashion tips blogs.

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