Following the last two posts in the Mad Men series, this week’s post is yet again about an understated accessory that was a quintessential element of 60s styling, despite its minute size. Though cufflinks and french cuffs have now practically been completely replaced by the practicality of shirts with sleeves that only needed to be buttoned, back in the days, they truly were all the rage. As a sign of status, cufflinks evoked success, and all its unattainability. Thankfully, with the recent rise in the popularity of everything menswear, cufflinks have returned to the limelight, and are now much more accessible to all who seek their lustre of triumph and prosperity.
As mentioned in this previous Suit Upp post, “cufflinks have the unique ability of adding a subtle touch of suave elegance to any ensemble, be it a formal tuxedo or a functional business suit.” Evidently, cufflinks truly yield far more power in terms of style points when one steps out of their comfort zone and actually goes that extra mile to look that much better.
Thus, as stated in AskMen, “worn properly, they allude to an impeccable persona that’s buttoned-up and polished; worn improperly, they make you look immature and, well, almost ignorant.” With that said, cufflinks provide men with the unique opportunity of making a veritable impact style-wise with something as small as a pair of cuffs for your sleeves. Though, as their rather trivial function indicates, cufflinks play a purely cosmetic role that places form far above function, that certainly does not mean they are not functional in refining one’s style.
In the 60s, cufflinks were accessories that were admired and respected by all businessmen, from the Mad Men on Madison Avenue to the Money Makers on Wall Street. Accordingly, to ensure their style statement was clearly understood by all, those businessmen would rely on the instant charm and sophistication of cufflinks seeing as they never fail to catch of both types of potential partners. Cufflinks back then were bold, large and were often adorned by silver or gold trims, for that lasting effect.
Because cufflinks now play a more ornamental role in menswear, as stated in GQ, they are to be used in a fashion that enables “men to show off a bit of attitude without becoming tacky.” Hence, the best way to wear cufflinks is with the confidence of donning something as iconic and status-defining as them. The best example of such a demeanor is Mr. Draper himself who, according to Gentleman’s Gazette, “wears flat, rectangular, matte silver cuff links or rounded triangulars in gold. Also, he wears stones in black or even blue with his sportscoat in Rome.”
After all, “aspiration is as good as perspiration.”