Cufflinks stage an elegant comeback

White gold cufflinks with geometric satin finish designed by C. Krishniah Chetty & Sons.

White gold cufflinks with geometric satin finish designed by C. Krishniah Chetty & Sons.  

THEY ARE back, elegant cufflinks. Were they ever really out of fashion? Truth is, the best shirts made in recent years have all had two buttonholes on each cuff.

As if they were just waiting to be fastened with cufflinks.

The better variety of men's dress shirts, be they bespoke or readymade, have invariably been tailored with French cuffs or double cuffs. They fold back for extra drape and, fastened with links, tell the world you are elegant and care about the way you are dressed. And, once dressed, just forget about it as a gentleman should.

There has always been a debate about how much of the shirt cuff should show beyond the sleeve of the jacket. About one-and-a-quarter inch should be ideal, the better men's clothiers say. The cufflinks need to show only when you raise your arms, or when you "shoot-the-cuff" to look at your watch. Cufflinks are the only item of jewellery which is exclusive to the man's domain, and C. Krishniah Chetty is holding an exhibition of them at their store on Commercial Street from October 7 to 12. The cufflinks they will display are pieces of fine jewellery that can be worn in the boardroom or to a cocktail party.

You can see contemporary designs in gold, diamonds, and platinum, to those with the Royal Emblem of Mysore and the Double-Headed Eagle, now part of the State insignia. These are set with diamonds, rubies, and emeralds, and were once crafted by Krishniah Chetty for His Highness, the Maharaja of Mysore, to present to eminent citizens in recognition of their services to the State.

Although some Indian men wore chains, rings, and even earrings, cufflinks are the decorative armament for occasions when the men want to be distinguished from the boys. Along with tie-pins and clips, cufflinks have retained a character that is solely masculine.

Marlene Dietrich, one of Hollywood's greatest actresses, was the only woman who loved to wear and collect cufflinks. A symbol of femininity, Dietrich loved one thing above all — to dress as a man at times.

By Satyamurty K.

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