A fashion accessory is an item which is used to contribute, in a secondary manner, to the wearer's outfit. The term came into use in the 19th century. Accessories are often used to complete an outfit and are chosen to specifically complement the wearer's look.
Fashion accessories are categorized into two areas: those that are carried and those that are worn. Carried accessories include canes, hand fans, swords, handbags, parasols and umbrellas. Accessories that are worn may include, jackets, boots and shoes, cravats, ties, hats, sunglasses, belts, gloves, muffs, jewellery, watches, shawls, scarves, socks, bonnets and stockings. Detachable accessories can also be included, aigrettes and lapel pins.
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.
Hence was born the cuff "link", whether simple glass buttons or gilded and bejeweled studs.
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.