It’s graduation season and I’m listing gift ideas each day for those on your list. Stay tuned and click here to see other items in the graduation gift guide.
Cufflinks — Given the dominance of button-cuff shirts in ready-to-wear clothing these days, it’s becoming more rare to see men sporting French-cuff shirts and building a collection of cufflinks. Still, those moments do seem to happen when a guy suddenly finds he needs to perhaps don a tuxedo or receives a shirt as a gift and cufflinks suddenly become the accessory he never thought to buy, but now finds he needs to own.
For this reason, cufflinks make a great gift. They’re simple, functional and elegant. They’re one of the few pieces of men’s jewelry that doesn’t look terribly dandified or overly flashy — provided you go with a more classic style instead of a gaudy one.
In terms of construction, I would avoid cufflinks that feature a “swivel” mount (example) on their back for two reasons. First, it’s a point of failure that can swivel from the “secure” position to the “insecure” one quite easily, causing you to lose a cufflink. Second, I believe a quality cufflink has its design on both ends, linked by either a solid metal bar (example) or a set of linked pieces of metal (example). A cufflink with a “swivel” end is a cufflink that cheats you out of an elegant design on both sides of your cuff.
What type of metal? Well, sterling silver is always a good bet, as is gold-plated sterling silver. Purists would tell you that you should always match your metals, but I don’t feel it’s a hard and fast rule. It seems nowadays that silver tones are more popular than gold tones, so perhaps go for that — given that your graduate is likely younger and looking for more modern accessories. For what it’s worth, I feel that silver accessories look best with more formal occasions, especially black tie, as the silver seems to have a higher contrast against black.