Hey, we all know guys like our dads and grandads had a sense of style. It was omnipresent and encouraged then, like it is here at ModXMan now. We wanted to learn more about the allure of the indispensable jewelry item that guys who have style to spare always seem to turn to when further defining their style. So, we gave it over to our style guy on the go Lance Avery Morgan who knows a thing or two about collecting cufflinks.
Cufflinks came into popularity for men during the 19th century when stiff cuffs made buttons almost impossible to use as a closure. So, voilà, a modern style staple was born. And for some, died.
True story. When my father passed away there was a treasure trove of many things: like never-before-seen family photos and cufflinks. For me it was like discovering an ancient burial ground. You can tell a lot about a man with the photos he chooses to keep that represents his life…and his personal effects he leaves behind. With the photos, there were negatives of an undeveloped roll of film. So, I had it developed and the last Christmas my parents were married is now back in living color. The cufflinks? It seemed like a cavalcade of sparkling items beckoned to be re-born. In his younger years, my dad had managed a men’s clothing store in Austin, called Slax Menswear, considered one of the finest stores in the city at the time. He had tremendous style and chose what he wore carefully, including his cufflinks.
Both inexpensive (not many) and those of quality (most) the metal duos intermingled in the same drawer. There were the meticulously kept boxes that housed the most important ones while ones that were either long-forgotten gifts or not quite to his taste roamed the expanse of a larger jewelry box. There were cufflink and stud sets for tuxedos that aren’t as applicable anymore (back in the day men’s tuxedo shirts had three buttonholes instead of the four today). If I really want to wear a vintage set, I have a similar fourth stud that will do if it doesn’t peek out too much from a cummerbund. Champagne problems, right?
Many of those in the cache were of every stone and metal known to mankind. The gold, both tarnished goldtone and 18K+, as well as the sterling silver and silver-tone are where the main setting and design live. Many have jade, lapis, Mother of Pearl and the like…and they are sound, square, oblong, with chains instead of bendable clasps that are all a part of the mélange.
My favorites? When I am wearing each one, that’s my favorite pair. Each one is a statement and has a story. I wish I knew each story, but I can imagine it involved a unique experience of the era. Like too many cocktails on a TransWestern flight with fellow Austinite Zach Scott the movie star (and for whom the theatre is named), or knocking someone right though a plate glass window at the Bank of Austin due to a business deal gone awry… or a myriad of other episodes of how he lived his life, there were a million stories to be sure, many still untold. For now, I’ll create my own stories, albeit a tad tamer, with his cufflinks and the ones I purchase in the future, all as unique as the fellow who wears them.