Monday, March 31, 2008

For Men, Accessories

So I walked into a bar...I was inspired this morning, when fellow blogger and librarian, Director LaFlamme, e-mailed me to say he was "wearing cuff links today." To say the least, I was delighted.

I too, am wearing cuff links, as I do everyday. It all started when I was a freshman in college, and a great uncle passed away. Dear Great Uncle Joe left me all his cuff links, and tie bars. Follow with another sad passing, Great Uncle Luke - and my inheritance grew. When Grandbob (Grandpa Robert) passed away, I was given his jewelry box.

My collection has since grown, with my own acquisitions.

Vintage Eiffel Tower cufflinks

There is something about these little pieces that delight me. Each one can start a conversation. Some hold special memories.

Today, I am sporting a vintage tie bar, that has a bowling ball and bowling pins on it and cuff links that were purchased in Paris from an antique shop. I smile each time I see them.

The cuff link has an interesting history, in the late 1700's, they were reserved for the upper class. They were made of expensive materials and often sported by royalty. When the French Cuff shirt popped on to the radar in the 1840's, middle class men started wearing cuff links made out of cheaper materials. Often, a hair of a lost loved one was placed under glass in a cuff link to commemorate them. In the Victorian era, men began wearing cuff links with more casual clothing, they weren't just for fancy dress dinners and the Opera anymore.

The industrial revolution brought along mass production, and by the 1920's, cuff links were all the rage. A revival in the 60's, by accessories giant Swank, filled the market once again. Cuff links remain popular to this day, and are becoming more popular each day, as retailers like Target, and JC Penney's increasingly provide affordable French cuff shirts.

Tie bars, or tie clips became popular in the 1920's. These replaced the tie tack, which is frowned upon because it has to pierce the tie each time it is worn. The tie bar is a practical piece of men's jewelry - as it hold the tie in place, and prevents it from blowing around in the wind and falling into your luncheon soup.

These are the easiest accessories for male librarians. A tie bar to keep your tie safe from prying little hands, a pair of cuff links to add a little flare to a white button down shirt. You can choose to be adventurous, or tame.

I wore my Grandbob's silver deco cuff links and matching tie bar to my first job interview when I relocated back to the city. I wanted to "bring him along" for luck. Thank you Grandbob!

EBay, tag sales, and large department stores are mecca for these objects. Let your personality show through when picking yours out!

Moral of this blog: Eat that, Bellevue, WA.

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