The most common cufflink consists of a large head or “insert member” with a decorative front face, a post that extends from the back of the head, and a hinged toggle that swings out from the post to fasten the link.
These are fastened by setting the toggle in its closed position, so that there is a straight post descending from the underside of the head.
The Basic Cufflink: How It Works
A cufflink fastens a shirt by sliding through holes on either side of the cuff opening, then swinging into a locked or fixed position to hold the sides together.
The post slides through the holes on both sides of the cuffs, and then the toggle is swung outward to prevent the post from sliding back out.
That holds the cufflink in place, with the front face of the insert member placed decoratively atop the buttonholes.
Cufflinks are tools for fastening shirt cuffs closed.
They’re an analogue to the buttons that are commonly sewn onto shirt cuffs. The defining feature is that cufflinks are separate objects: sew it onto the shirt and it’s a button, but if it’s fully removable it’s a cufflink.
” …you have to know how to wear them and understand the various cufflink types/materials/styles so you don’t buy junk but instead invest in future heirlooms you can pass onto your kids. ”
Just like buttons, cufflinks come in many shapes, sizes, styles, and materials. They usually offer a little more contrast than a button, and are considered a more ornamental option, but they’re not inherently more or less formal.