Cufflinks: A Half-Inch of Personality

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The stock market swings up and down, but fashion never fluctuates in corporate America. Every weekday in most big city offices, you'll find a workforce dressed all alike, in business suits in a variety of colors ranging from gray to navy, white shirts, and ties. Oh yeah, there's an occasional skirt, in most cases worn by women. The guys all have close-cropped hair or none at all. On "casual Friday", the suits are traded in for identical polo shirts and dress khakis, which may be cooler, but no more individual than the suits. This regimented fashion leaves little room for individuality. Two tiny spots that allows a man to show a bit of his personality are his cufflinks.
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Once upon a time, cufflinks were plain metal, embossed with initials, or jeweled. Today they fill a need for something, anything to make a man look different from the ten other men he works with, without offending the powers-that-be. Here are just a few ways jewelers and artists are filling that need.

Steampunk

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The latest retro revival goes by the name steampunk, celebrating the Victorian Age when the Industrial Revolution was gearing up and inventions were developed or dreamed up. Etsy seller Rivkasmom makes these steampunk cufflinks (shown) out of watch gears and miniature Italian paintings. Here's another style of cufflinks made from vintage watch parts. Another company specializes in jewelry made from watch parts. In fact, the inspiration for this post came from someone who wrote and said that they had the only cufflinks made from watch parts. I knew better. Cufflinks made from genuine typewriter keys are another classic vintage expression.

Pop Culture

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Is this whimsical or intimidating? Darth Vader cufflinks send a message of some sort...  either the wearer is out to conquer the galaxy, or he's a nerd inside. You may prefer stormtrooper cufflinks. If you identify more with the Jedi, check out the starfighter cufflinks.

215monopoly.jpgWhat could symbolize the world of high finance better than Monopoly game pieces? Here are cufflinks that feature the scottie and the top hat, or the thimble and the iron. Or try cufflinks featuring Monopoly hotels. Monopoly is not the only game in town. Cufflinks are available made of Scrabble tiles, Dungeons and Dragons 20-sided dice, and Lego bricks.

Loyal Fans

215subwaytokens.jpgCufflinks that feature your favorite sports team have been popular for years. Most teams' logos are available on cufflinks. A more subtle yet personal way to revere your team is by wearing an actual, physical part of the sport, like cufflinks made from Yankee Stadium seats. OK, you can get cufflinks made from half the ballparks in America, since even if they use the same stadium for decades, they will buy new seats occasionally. If you'd rather show your loyalty to more than one team, or just your hometown, how about tokens? Get cufflinks made from NYC subway tokens (yes, subways once used coins and metal tokens). Or you may prefer tokens from Chicago or Los Angeles.

Special Occasion

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Well, this is clever. These wedding cufflinks are made from a dollar. What's so clever about that? One link shows Washington's eye. The other uses the first two letters of the word "dollar". Together, they spell "I do."

Geek

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Reveal your immersion in the world of tech with cufflinks made from pieces of parts of things you understand and impress people who don't. Shown are cufflinks made from recycled circuit boards. You can get cufflinks made from real 25 MHz oscillators. Even non-geeks will relate to and respect your cufflinks made of computer keys, or metal resembling computer keys. Here are some more geeky cufflinks.

Political

215ike.jpgOh, you'd better believe that political campaigns have cufflinks available! Choose John McCain cufflinks or Barack Obama cufflinks to show who you favor in the current presidential race. Or go out in "left" field with Chairman Mao cufflinks. Or go retro, with cufflinks made from old campaign buttons.

I know there are plenty of other cool ideas for cufflinks. Tell me about them in the comments!

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October 2, 2008 - 3:08am
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