The forerunner of today’s shirt first appeared in the early-16th century, its ruffled wristband finished with small openings on either side that tied together with "cuff strings." Although cuff strings would remain popular well into the nineteenth century, it was during the reign of Louis XIV that shirt sleeves started to be fastened with boutons de manchette, or "sleeve buttons," typically identical pairs of coloured glass buttons joined together by a short, linked chain.
Cufflinks are designed only for use with shirts which have buttonholes on both sides but no buttons. These may be either single or double-length ("French") cuffs, and may be worn either "kissing," with the ends pinched together, or "barrel-style," with one end overlapping the other. The "barrel-style" was popularized by a famous 19th century entertainer and clown, Dan Rice; however, "kissing" cuffs are usually preferred.
Cufflink designs vary widely. The simplest design consists of a short post or chain connecting two disc-shaped parts. The part positioned on the most visible side is usually larger; a variety of designs can connect the smaller piece: It may be small enough to fit through the button hole like a button would; it may be separated and attached from the other side; or it may have a portion that swivels on the central post, aligning with the post while the link is threaded through the button-hole and swiveling into a position at right angles to the post when worn.
"Dumbbell" or shank-style cufflinks were popular during the early-20th century, particularly in America.
The visible part of a cufflink is often monogrammed or decorated in some way. There are numerous styles including novelty cufflinks, traditional cufflinks, contemporary cufflinks, utility cufflinks, and humorous cufflinks.
Silk knot 
An alternative fastener to a cufflink is the cheaper silk knot, which are also known as monkey's fists or Turk's head. The Paris shirtmaker Charvet is credited with their introduction in 1904. They became quickly popular: "Charvet [link] buttons of twisted braid are quite the style" noted the New York Times in 1908. French cuff shirts are often accompanied with a set of colour-coordinated silk knots instead of double-button cufflinks. They are now rarely made from silk; often they are made from elastic. Owing to the popularity of this fashion, metal cufflinks shaped to look like a silk knot are also worn.
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