Welcome to the 21st century! Here, we celebrate personal freedoms and wear jewelry without as we please, so get used to it. Women have been exploring jewelry accessories for centuries. It’s time that men started embracing rings and wristlets too. I’m not suggesting all men go out and bedazzle themselves with bangles and diamond earrings. (I wouldn’t even advise all women to do that!) Just get familiar with your options and don’t shy away from the possibilities. To squash the myths and show you the ropes, here is Richard Magazine’s guide to wearing men’s jewelry. Fingers out and necks at the ready! Here we go.
I’m going to guess this is one item you feel confident wearing. If you’re married, a simple metal band is a given. No stress, no sweat.
It’s hard to go wrong with a watch. It’s functional, you can wear for any occasion, and it’s just as safe as a wedding band. Some argue watches shouldn’t be worn at black tie events, but how else are you going to know when it’s acceptable to leave? The one rule of thumb to remember with watches is the simpler the watch, the dressier it is. A plain black leather strap with Roman numerals is sexy in any situation. Reserve metal watches for sports jackets and plastic watches for casual wear. If your watch is neon green, say your goodbyes now.
You probably won’t be wearing these unless you’re attending a black tie event, a wolf of Wall Street, or walking the red carpet. Most offices aren’t expecting their employees to flaunt French cuffs every day. If you do find yourself in a cufflink situation, apply the watch rule from above. The simpler the stud, the dressier it is. Keep your treble clef cufflinks tucked away in the dresser until opera night. A simple iron or silver square stud will make a far better corporate impression. A casual alternative to metal cufflinks is the silk knot. This trendy piece is made with intertwined multi-color yarn. It will place you firmly in the informal category, but if you’re looking for something casual it’s all you need.
THE TIE ACCENT
If you’re wearing a tie, there are three jewelry options available to keep it in place. Ties bars are the most popular. A simple metal strip that clips on the tie horizontally will hold it in place using your shirt as an anchor. If you prefer a less conspicuous option, a tie chain will keep your tie in place but remain unseen. The last option is a tie pin, but unless you want to risk stabbing yourself every time your tie flaps stick with the first two.
Wedding bands may be safe, but beyond that, you need to be careful. A hand covered in studded rings can come across thuggish or overzealous. You can get away wearing a class ring on a regular basis, but any more bejeweled rings and you may be mistaken for a sleazy car salesman. How many rings can a man pull off? I’d say one or two. In Europe, it’s not uncommon to see a man with three or four, but proceed with caution. Not every man can wear rings like Liberace.
A simple choice you can be confident in. Some pins are surprisingly thick, so be aware if you pin your lapel you run the risk of puncturing a visible hole. Settle for something small and add a bit of personal sparkle to your monotone suit.
Are you headed to a rodeo? Unless you or an ancestor won it, your extravagant belt buckle belongs in an antique shop or on display in a showcase.
Male wrist fashion can be a sensitive subject. Men of royalty have worn ornamental wristlets for centuries. A few years ago it was cool to crowd your wrist with cause-related rubber bracelets in bright rainbow colors. When it comes to wristwear, the most important rule of thumb is not to let it overpower your arm. In casual situations, pile on the rubber rainbow. In more formal settings, a metallic bracelet or two will be decorative without asserting itself.
Limit yourself to one necklace. Please. This isn’t Woodstock or the 1970s. Unless you aim to be incredibly hipster or very vintage, the necklace question should be one of quality instead of quantity. As long as you use restraint, your options are endless. You can wear dog tags, a gold chain, a cross, a personal pendant. Wear your necklace outside your shirt for casual occasions, and tuck it inside for formal gatherings. If your choice of neckwear is subtle enough to make these adjustments, it works. This does mean it can’t be too gaudy, too thick, or too long. Chains that drape beneath your navel are definitely out.
It’s taken society a long time to come around, but earrings are finally on the threshold of being widely acceptable for men. I wouldn’t recommend hoops or figurines that dangle, but a nice solid or sparkly stud is a nice addition that won’t have people staring. If you want to go alternative, explore other piercings or more extreme earrings like gauges. It’ll rake in the looks, but you’ve got to be yourself too. Just keep in mind too edgy is hardly ever a good thing.
Before you go accessorize remember the don’ts. Don’t run around in armlets, toe rings, or anklets if you can help it. Don’t bedazzle unless you can pull it off. (You’ll know if you can.) You know the rules. Now get to wearing that men’s jewelry!
— Timothy Vest