Types of men’s cufflinks


What are cufflinks? If you ask us, these are the one piece of jewellery you can actually wear and look the wiser for it. It will elevate your personal style to a whole ‘nother level.


Cufflinks are used to secure and shut your shirt cuffs. Usually, shirt cuffs have buttons to keep them shut. The alternative is to wear cufflinks to keep them shut. The clue is in the word “cuff – links” i.e an accessory that links your cuff πŸ˜‰

Shirt secured by buttons
Shirt secured by cufflinks


Given that cufflinks are so special, there are so many different types of cufflinks out there – any style you could possibly imagine. They vary in terms of design, materials, precious stones etc. We’ll leave that detail for another day.


As if that is not complicated enough (choice can be a pain point), cufflinks have different types of backs. Cufflink backs are what secures the cuff in place on the shirt sleeve. You may be over-whelmed by the various types of cufflink backs and may not be sure how they work, so here’s a brief summary to help you make your choice.


  1. Bullet back cufflinks


At the moment, these cufflinks seem to be the most popular. They have a toggle at the back (similar to a bullet hence the name) that swivels back and forth.

Inserting cufflinks through the cuts in the sleeve cuffs can be quite challenging if you are doing it on your own. This is where the swivel mechanism helps. You can move the swivel back into a position which makes the cufflink entirely vertical and it simply slides through the cuff cut like a bullet (actually this is where the name may have come from on second thought).

Once you have inserted the back of the cuff through both cuff cuts and they are connected, you would simply swivel the back by 90 degrees to make it horizontal and secure it in place.

Bullet Back Cufflinks



2. Whale back cufflinks


Whale back cufflinks are similar to the bullet back cufflinks but have a “whale-like tail” instead of a bullet swivel. They work in a similar way as the bullet back cufflinks, but rather than having a “bullet” that swivels, they have a “whale-like tail” that flips in a vertical and horizontal manner. Rather than swivel, it snaps into place.

The way to wear it would be like the bullet back cufflink. Flip the “whale-tail” into a vertical position, insert the back through both cuff cuts and then flip the “whale-tail” back into a horizontal position so that it secures the cufflink and closes the shirt cuff.


Whale Back Cufflinks


3. Fixed Stud cufflinks


As mentioned above, the reason for movable back cufflinks is to make it easier to wear them. Fixed stud cufflinks, as you might have guessed, have fixed backs. It would be more difficult to wear these on your own, however, they are more secure.

As they are fixed, they are more likely to stay in place the whole day/night, without you having to worry about them. Usually, if a cufflink is of good quality, you shouldn’t have to worry about this with the bullet back or whale back cufflinks either. However, sometimes, say you are moving your hands and wrists quite a bit, they may be lost if the cufflink backs swivel/snap into the vertical position and slip out of the cuff.

A lot of novelty cufflinks are made out of fixed stud backs. It is good to have a mix of various types of backs to see which works for you.


Fixed Back Cufflinks



4. Ball Return cufflinks


These are similar to the fixed stud cufflinks, however, the back is fashioned in a different way with a ball like structure. It is a beautiful variation to normal fixed stud cufflinks and could add a bit of variety to your cufflink collection.

Similar to the fixed stud cufflinks, these are not movable, but due to the curves of the cufflink ball back, they are easier to slip on. These may be preferred to the standard fixed stud cufflinks, but it is a matter of personal choice.


Ball return cufflinks


5. Chain link cufflinks


Could these be the original cufflinks? In our view, they are the best definition of cufflinks. A link that connects a cuff, and when you think of a link, you could think of a chain like structure. Chain link cufflinks may not be that common, but we feel you should atleast own one for the novelty of it.

The great thing about chain link cufflinks is that both sides of the cufflink can be seen, hence both sides could be made to look really good. You could show off either end of the cufflink.

Due to the chain, the cuffs may be connected in a slightly looser fashion which could be more comfortable. These are worn by inserting one end of the cufflink through both cuff cuts and then adjusting into place. It would be a good idea to get someone to help you. πŸ™‚


Chain Link Cufflinks


6. Silk Knot cufflinks


These silk knot cufflinks are made of silk yarn and are slightly stretchy. We like them because they are different from the other types of cufflinks. They may not be as durable but would be great to show off your personal style. As these silk knot cufflinks come in various colours, you could actually co-ordinate them with your tie/pocket square and add a really intelligent look to it πŸ˜‰ It’s all about getting creative.

These silk knot cufflinks are much more affordable than the other cufflinks, but hey, we think they are worth the investment. It’s good to change up your game now and then.

To wear, simply insert one end of the knot through both cuff cuts. As they are slightly stretchy, this will make it easier to wear.


Silk Knot Cufflinks


These are the most popular styles of cufflink backs that you may come across. Ofcourse, there may be other newer designs as we are sure new technology and innovation is constantly at play in developing better products.


When you first start out wearing cufflinks, you may not be sure which one to wear. We would really advise you to buy one of each as you go along. This will enable you to see which works for you.


For example;


  • some people prefer ease of wearing cufflinks in which case they may go for bullet back/whale back cufflinks.
  • Others may prefer to wear cufflinks that will stay in place all day long and keep the cuff tight and secure – they may prefer the fixed back/ball return cufflinks.
  • Yet others may like the novelty of owning Chain link cufflinks which people believe could be the oldest style of cufflinks.
  • For those who like something different and want to add a creative twist to their outfit, the silk knot cufflinks may be a good option.


Also, sometimes if you want to buy a certain type of cufflink, for example, you visit an aerospace museum, and you may like the fighter plane cufflinks on sale, these may have fixed back cufflinks, and if you usually wear bullet back cufflinks, these may be inconvenient for you but you wouldn’t have an option. Hence, it is always good to be open-minded and wear different styles. You can always own more of the types of cufflinks backs that you like πŸ™‚


We hope you enjoyed reading about our types of cufflinks and we have provided you with more information on what types of cufflinks to wear. Please do feel to leave your comments below!