It used to be that the only jewelry a man would wear was a watch. Anything else was considered taboo. While a watch is still a staple, today more and more guys are feeling comfortable branching out and wearing other jewelry to complement their timepiece. This is no longer a realm reserved for peacocks. Guys are realizing that there are jewelry brands out there that cater to their personal style and how they want to present themselves to the world. But since this is still a new area for a lot of men, figuring out the right way to wear jewelry in a way that is organic and comfortable is a challenge.
Coco Chanel was famous for saying “Before you leave the house, take a look in the mirror and take one thing off.” That rule may work well for women, but guys usually don’t have the same problem. The opposite may be true—and putting one thing on may be what’s called for. To help guys dip their toes into this new world, we put together the new rules of man jewelry.
The one piece of man jewelry that never goes out of style is the watch. It’s where every guy should start accessorizing and then build from there. Some people might say the watch has become obsolete in the era of smartphones that can tell you the time and find you a soulmate with a simple swipe. Those people are wrong. On a practical level, it’s much easier to learn the time by looking at a watch than fishing out a phone from your pocket and pushing a button. As someone who has tried all manner of smartwatches, I still find that traditional watches work best. All it takes is one instance of lifting your smartwatch up to check the time and having the screen not illuminate to make you eternally frustrated. You feel like an idiot lowering your arm back down and doing the whole movement over again. Meanwhile a standard watch would have showed you the time and you’d be back to business.
Of course, watches come in all shapes, sizes, colors and price ranges. But if you’re looking for something that is going to check off a lot of boxes, then a dive watch is your best bet. It manages to be dressy and casual, rugged and refined. You can wear it with a tuxedo or a T-shirt and it will still turn heads. The Rolex Submariner is the standard bearer in this category. But if you want something a little more unique that you won’t see on so many wrists, go for the Tudor Heritage Black Bay. It has features that watch nerds geek out over like an in-house movement and snowflake-shaped hands. It also just looks really handsome. Swap out the steel bracelet for the included fabric strap and you’ll be good to go.
Protect Your Neck
With all due respect to 2 Chainz, one chain is all a man needs. When it comes to necklaces, length is key—that puka shell choker you wore in the 90s needs to go. Instead, opt for a necklace that comes down to just above your sternum. That way it will lay nicely over your shirt, which should be a solid color so it doesn’t clash with your necklace. If you aren’t quite up for letting your necklace hang out, there is nothing wrong with tucking it inside your shirt. Sometimes just seeing a little sliver of the necklace is all you need. But if you are going to wear the necklace on the outside, pair it with a crewneck top. Necklaces over collared shirts look strange. Width is also important. Unless your name is Slick Rick, you don’t need a huge dookie rope chain. The thinner the better. If you want a metal, go for the gold. Just try to find one that is more tasteful than flashy. Another sharp option is a beaded necklace from a brand like This Is Not New. Turquoise or coral ones are a great way to add a pop of color.
For guys that want to rock cool jewelry but prefer something a little more discreet than a necklace, a simple bracelet is an excellent solution. Wear the bracelet on the same hand as your watch. Otherwise it can look like you have wristbands on, which is not a good look when you aren’t playing sports. Also having a bracelet and a watch on the same wrist allows the two accessories to play off of each other. Many of the same rules for necklaces also apply to bracelets. You don’t want too many (two is probably too many) and they shouldn’t be too chunky. While you want a necklace to fit loosely, a bracelet should sit fairly close to the skin so it doesn’t get in the way when you are going about your everyday activities. It’s also a good idea to have your bracelet be a different material than your watch strap. So if you’ve got a metal strap on your watch, try a fabric bracelet and vice verse. Miansai makes some interesting bracelets in both materials, including their elegant metal screw cuff, which comes in an awesome matte black finish.
Keep Your Ears Open
There was a time when guys wearing earrings was a thing. That time has passed and it should not be brought back anytime soon. These days the list of guys who still adorn their lobes with jewelry is dwindling, featuring past-their-prime legends like Harrison Ford and Michael Jordan. The big reason to avoid earrings is their prominence. Because they sit at eye level, earrings are going to attract a lot of attention no matter how small. A necklace or a bracelet won’t be the first thing someone notices when they see you, earrings will. Then there’s the fact that if you have your ears pierced, you have to wear earrings to preserve the hole. It’s easy to say, “I’m not going to wear this bracelet today” when you’re picking out your outfit in the morning. Not so much with earrings. If you’ve made it this far in life without sticking holes in your ears, keep it that way.