A shirt cuff with a cufflink in it.

A decade ago I happened upon the four pairs of cufflinks I owned at the time, and wondered if I ought to just throw them away. I hadn’t any double-cuffed shirts to use them in. Indeed, at no time in the preceding decade had I been in possession of more than two such shirts: why so many cufflinks? I’d bought one pair with the first of the shirts in Manchester the day before a wedding. The second pair I’d ‘won’ in an expensive Christmas cracker. The third were a gift from my sister; the fourth handed down from my father-in-law.

After a few years of being short of money I’d worn out most of my good clothes and had to resort to shopping for the cheaply cheerless at supermarkets and bargain outlets, which was dispiriting. Before then I’d looked askance at buying clothes second-hand from charity shops, but my circumstances encouraged me to take a closer look at what they had. At the Heart Foundation shop in Chepstow one day I found a few good-quality shirts in my size for a few pounds apiece: that two of them were double-cuffed presented no obstacle what with all the cufflinks at home.

Thus began my collection of charity-shop shirts. With the broad social tendency towards more casual attire, cufflinks aren’t exactly de rigueur, and hence cufflink-compatible shirts are less in demand and often priced appealingly. I must have at least a dozen of the things now, not to mention the several others I’ve worn to destruction. In the picture above is the left cuff on a Pierre Cardin shirt (or a rip-off of the same) bought for a couple of pounds pre-pandemic in North Bristol. The cufflink shown is one from two similar pairs I bought last year from my local charity shop. They’re ‘silver tone’ metal set with some kind of resin or plastic insert.

I don’t need any kind of spcial occasion to wear them, and will happily work from home wearing them, or head out to the supermarket all cufflinked up.