Cufflinks are one of the top pick-me-ups in contemporary formal menswear. Besides the usual classics, quirky shapes are doing the rounds and designers say these new-age cufflinks (priced between Rs2,500-5,500) are redefining a dapper Indian man’s style identity. But there are a few rules to follow while sporting them.
Do a personality check
Cufflinks become conversation starters, so they ought to be matched to your personal style and work, says Jaipur-based Divya Shekhawat of Kesya. The brand, co-owned by Shekhawat and Shivangini Singh, designs hand-painted enamel cufflinks and buttons for men. Gurugram-based Ikroop Dhillon, who makes handcrafted glass cufflinks under her brand name Ikroop, also believes in experimenting with these accessories.
Think quality, not quantity
Dhillon says that if you are going for quirky, the rule is to “follow no rule, but avoid going over the top with the funk element. Instead, think quality”. Ikroop uses a brass base for its 18.5-carat yellow gold or white gold-plated, Italian Murano glass cufflinks. New Delhi-based Enda Noone, who launched fashion e-commerce store Ikka Dukka with Nilsha Kohli, says: “Cufflinks are meant to be shown off. They are wearable pieces of art. But they should be subtle and handmade.” Ikka Dukka retails cufflinks in 18-carat gold-plated sterling silver with hand-painted designs of dogs, flamingos and other birds.
Invest in bespoke designs
Noone says bespoke cufflinks can tell a story: “Get away from catalogue pictures. Get a bit of yourself into them.” Shekhawat adds: “Try hand-painted, personalized—monogrammed—cufflinks with gold writing. Or have something you love made on your cufflinks, like dogs or (other) pets, or golf (kit).” Kesya does old-school, silver and enamel cufflinks with hand-painted hunting birds in lighter colours like pastel greens and blues or geometrical Mughal-patterned ones inspired by the frescoes and palaces of Rajasthan.
Experiment with size and shape
Dhillon suggests you invest in a mix of both solid and multicoloured cufflinks in a standard size (the diameter of a one-rupee coin). Shekhawat says: “Our cufflinks are .75 inches, whereas the standard cufflinks size is about .60 inches. You could try square, rectangular or circular shapes, which are the easiest to use.” Noone says, “Pick a design that goes with a couple of shirts.”
Adopt a minimalistic look
New Delhi-based Pooja Roy Yadav, owner of the multi-designer jewellery store Nimai, says, “If your cufflinks are bold, tone down other accessories like the tie or pocket square.” Yadav also suggests opting for simple and classic-coloured clothes when wearing statement cufflinks with skulls or kettles. Noone recommends wearing white with unusual cufflinks.
Shekhawat advises clubbing complementary colours for both day- and night-wear: “Evenings or nights can have a touch of gold on colours like emerald green or royal blue. Day-wear can be silver-toned and worn with subtle colours like ivory, crème, beige, or light blue. Wear a white shirt and black pants with orange, green or turquoise cufflinks, or a white shirt and grey pants with pink cufflinks.”
Dhillon says the rules for wearing cufflinks are pretty much the same as those for ties. Choose a cufflink design that complements your trousers and avoid matching shirts or patterns with them. “Solids will help them shine,” she says.