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Cuff with cufflink.

A cufflink (also cuff link or cuff-link) is a decorative fastener worn by men or women to fasten the two sides of the cuff on a dress shirt or blouse.

The forerunner of today’s shirt first appeared in the early-1500s, its ruffled wristband finished with small openings on either side that tied together with "cuff strings." Although cuff strings would remain popular well into the nineteenth century, it was during the reign of Louis XIV that shirt sleeves started to be fastened with boutons de manchette, or "sleeve buttons," typically identical pairs of colored glass buttons joined together by a short, linked chain.

By 1715, simple, paste-glass buttons had given way to pairs of two, decoratively painted or jeweled studs, typically diamonds, connected by ornate gold links.

Hence was born the cuff "link", whether simple glass buttons or gilded and bejeweled studs.

Cufflinks are designed only for use with shirts which have buttonholes on both sides but no buttons. These may be either single or double-length ("French") cuffs, and may be worn either "kissing," with the ends pinched together, or "barrel-style," with one end overlapping the other. Kissing cuffs are usually preferred.

Cufflink designs vary widely. The simplest design consists of a short post or chain connecting two disc-shaped parts. The part positioned on the most visible side is usually larger; a variety of designs can connect the smaller piece: It may be small enough to fit through the button hole like a button would; it may be separated and attached from the other side; or it may have a portion that swivels on the central post, aligning with the post while the link is threaded through the button-hole and swiveling into a position at right angles to the post when worn.

"Dumbbell" or shank-style cufflinks were popular during the early-1900s, particularly in America.

The visible part of a cufflink is often monogrammed or decorated in some way. There are numerous styles including novelty cufflinks, traditional cufflinks, contemporary cufflinks, utility cufflinks, and humorous cufflinks.

Silk knot

This French cuff is fastened with gold-coloured silk knots.

An alternative fastener to a cufflink is the cheaper silk knot, which are also known as monkey's fists. The Paris shirtmaker Charvet is credited with their introduction in the beginning of the 20th century: "Charvet [link] buttons of twisted braid are quite the style" noted the New York Times in 1908.[1] French cuff shirts are often accompanied with a set of color-coordinated silk knots instead of double-button cufflinks. They are now rarely made from silk; often they are made from elastic.

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