Graduate From Buttons to Cufflinks

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Looking for a gift for the grad in your life? Considering the advantages of the Mr. Coffee with built-in alarm clock versus the nondescript yet utterly ordinary prepaid credit card which you hope will be used for “something special,” but in reality will likely be used for gas and beer?

Why not get something that will start your grad off right – as a stylish, well-groomed young man heading off into the world to begin his life as a grown-up, an actual adult?

It is customary to shower girls with all manner of coming-of-age jewelry: strands of pearls, charm bracelets, birthstone rings, and the like. However, once the boy in your life morphs into manhood, people’s gift-giving meters just seem to slow down. Watch? Wallet? Belt?

Cufflinks are an excellent gift for the graduate. Whether you know someone graduating from high school, college, grad school, med school, or law school – it really doesn’t matter. Unless your graduating friend is soon to be bounced from clown college, this is a gift that will open doors, cement relationships, and be cherished forever.

My father still has the pair of simple, onyx cufflinks that his godmother gave him for his high school graduation, as well as the gold pair he got when he graduated from college. Besides his watch, that little bit of jewelry – worn with an excellent suit and shirt with French cuffs – was the only bling he ever sported. It was classic, tasteful, and elegant through a lifetime of tie styles, lapel widths, and collar sizes.

Back in dear old dad’s day, business attire for men was pretty limited. If you had a professional job and missed the horror of the so-named leisure suit (which should never be worn with cufflinks, or at all for that matter), a man was pretty well limited to a suit of some variety of wool, in a dark color, with a white or light blue shirt, and dark shoes. Even in the realm of jewelry – unless you lived in Texas and wore a hat, bolo tie, and nugget ring – you probably weren’t going to wear much more than your wedding ring.

However, the Wall Street guys, lawyers and management types with the suits that cost $2,000 even back then knew that true style meant leaving no detail overlooked. And today, since there are so many different varieties from which to choose, selecting a gift of men’s cufflinks means you can personalize your offering to suit the tastes and needs of every grad.

For the high school graduate moving on to college, you might consider buying a formal set of links. It’s likely that during his college career, he’ll have the opportunity to attend formal parties, dinners, and other occasions. Rather than wearing the standard brass and onyx set that you can rent with any characterless tuxedo, let your grad stand out with a pair of plain gold or white gold links, or onyx ones trimmed with gold or silver.

A more cost-effective gift could be a pair of silk knots, also known as monkey fists. Beautifully crafted French knots in a number of colors, these are generally used for all but the most formal occasions and would look great with either a suit or dinner jacket.

Later in life, this gift could be used to fasten the sleeves of your grad when he gets married! Imagine that; marriage!

For the college graduate, you might consider a less formal, but still classic pair of cufflinks. These would be suitable for such major life milestones as job interviews and business meetings. For the GQ-guy in your life, you might consider purchasing a pair of links enameled with stripes – similar to a “school” or “club” tie, these are considered very upper-crust classics. If your grad is more conservative, a true “event” gift of simple but well-designed discs or squares engraved with your grad’s initials – either a triple or single monogram – will be cherished and enjoyed for a lifetime.

Graduation is the culmination of years of hard work and perseverance. Such an event deserves a gift that will stand the test of time, be highly valued, and even become an heirloom. The coffeemaker is nice, but it won’t be remembered in five or 10 years time…and quite possibly forgotten in just a few months.

write by Jerrick Layland

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