Jewelry and accessories have long been associated more with women than men. However, in recent years, attitudes have been changing and more men are embracing jewelry and accessories as a form of self-expression. Here is an in-depth look at the debate around men wearing jewelry.
Who Should Wear Jewelry
Men of All Ages
From young boys to seniors, men of all ages can potentially pull off jewelry if they style it right. Teenage boys often start with subtle pieces like leather bracelets or chain necklaces. As men get older, some graduate to more sophisticated silver or gold pieces. For older gentlemen, accessories like watches, cufflinks or pocket squares can allow them to incorporate jewelry into a refined, mature wardrobe. The key is choosing age-appropriate pieces.
Confidence is an important prerequisite for men who want to wear jewelry. Given the traditionalgender norms, men wearing necklaces, bracelets or earrings can draw attention. Confident men who are comfortable in their own skin can pull off jewelry without being self-conscious. For shyer men, starting small with simple pieces can be a low-pressure way to ease into accessorizing.
Men with Their Own Sense of Style
Jewelry works best for men who have developed their own personal style. Following trends doesn’t necessarily mean a man can successfully incorporate jewelry. However, men with a strong sense of their own fashion sensibilities can use jewelry to put together complete looks that express their individuality. Jewelry can act as the final flourish that shows off a man’s unique style.
How Should Men Wear Jewelry
When beginning to wear jewelry, it’s best for men to start slowly with subtle, versatile pieces. Wearing multiple shiny necklaces, rings and bracelets all at once can seem costumey or overwhelming. Simple starter pieces include leather cord bracelets, thin silver necklaces or a single beaded bracelet. One eye-catching ring or necklace can make a statement without going over the top. Build up over time rather than piling it all on at once.
Complement Existing Style
New jewelry should complement a man’s existing wardrobe and style. For example, silver jewelry can accent business casual or formal attire, while beaded bracelets pair well with casual or bohemian looks. The jewelry should enhance an outfit rather than looking like an odd afterthought. Sticking with jewelry in a color palette and tone that matches most of the clothes you already own is a foolproof strategy.
Focus on Fit and Comfort
For men especially, jewelry has to be comfortable since they are not as accustomed to wearing accessories. Make sure bracelets and watches fit well without being too tight or restrictive. Chains should be long enough to fit comfortably around the neck but not so long that they dangle awkwardly. Pick earrings that are sized right for your lobes. Jewelry looks best when you forget you’re wearing it.
Pros of Men Wearing Jewelry
Wearing jewelry and accessories is an easy way for men to express themselves through their appearance. Even subtle pieces let men showcase their personality. Bold, eye-catching jewelry makes more of a statement. Jewelry shows off a man’s personal flair.
Modern Way of Signaling Masculinity
In the past, masculinity was demonstrated through plainness andutility rather than adornment. But norms have changed, and jewelry can now signal confidence and modern masculinity. Earrings and necklaces have a cool, edgy vibe on men today. Jewelry illustrates that a man is secure in his identity.
Jewelry serves as a natural conversation starter, especially with bold, unusual pieces. Women may comment on a stand-out necklace or others may ask about a meaningful piece’s backstory. Jewelry can demonstrate a man’s interests or hobbies, such as silver pieces with nautical motifs. It gives men an easy way to break the ice.
Cons of Men Wearing Jewelry
Traditional Stigma Remains
Even as attitudes shift, some stigma persists around men wearing jewelry. It may be seen as feminine, overly flashy, or indicative of vanity by more traditional observers. Assumptions may be made about a man’s sexuality as well based on wearing certain jewelry. The stigma is fading, but many still find men wearing jewelry abnormal.
Risk of Seeming Like Costume Jewelry
Cheap, chunky costume jewelry does not look great on most men. Similarly, wearing lots of bling can make a man seem somewhat ridiculous. To avoid this, men should stick with quality pieces, limit quantity and aim for a classic style. Gaudy jewelry with skulls, large gems or extensive chains should be avoided.
Can Undermine a Professional Image
In conservative or formal work environments, jewelry is often frowned upon for men. Wearing rings, bracelets or necklaces may make a man seem unprofessional, distracted or not serious. It’s wise to observe male colleagues to see if jewelry is part of office culture. If unsure, limit jewelry at work.
Alternatives to Traditional Jewelry
A watch is a classic accessory for men that doesn’t carry the same cultural baggage as bracelets or necklaces. It conveys put-togetherness rather than vanity. For men not ready to experiment with jewelry, a watch can deliver sophistication without pushing boundaries too much. Stick to sleek, simple, quality watches.
Tie Clips and Pins
Discreet but stylish, tie clips and lapel pins let men add subtle ornamentation to formal business or evening wear. These accessories show attention to detail and give off an air of confidence and maturity. Opt for simple designs like silver tone geometric shapes or small spade shapes rather than flashy motifs.
French cuffs on dress shirts create the perfect opportunity to select stylish cufflinks for a finishing touch. Men can opt for engraved, beaded, knotted or gemstone cufflinks in colors that coordinate with shirts and ties. Cufflinks lend a sense of occasion to formal looks.
Step-by-Step Guide to Wearing Jewelry
Choose Complimentary Pieces
Select jewelry that complements your style, other accessories and outfit colors. For example, silver bracelets pair well with stainless steel watches and gray clothing. Don’t mix metals haphazardly.
Focus on Fit and Comfort
Make sure rings, bracelets and necklaces are sized to fit comfortably. It should not feel constricting, too loose or pinching. The piece should sit naturally against the skin.
Start with One Statement Piece
Rather than piling on lots of jewelry, choose one eye-catching necklace, bracelet, watch or pair of earrings to serve as a focal point. Make this your signature piece when accessorizing an outfit.
Select jewelry that is proportional to your body size and shape. For instance, larger men should opt for medium or wide bracelets rather than dainty ones. Keep necklace length proportionate to your height and chest.
Avoid Anything Costume-y
Stick to fine metals like sterling silver and high-quality materials like leather rather than cheap metals and plastic beads. Stay away from flashy hip hop style pieces with massive stones or chains.
Tips for Men Wearing Jewelry
- When in doubt, start with basic neutral metals like silver that pair with nearly anything.
- Skip the black leather necklaces or bracelets – they are dated and rather cheesy.
- Wear bracelets in moderation. One or two high-quality bracelets sends a stylish message. Six cheap novelty bracelets looks overdone.
- Take jewelry off before exercising, sports or strenuous activity to prevent damage or loss.
- Clean jewelry periodically with a jewelry cleaning solution to prevent tarnishing and build up.
- For formal occasions, focus on wrist and cuff jewelry rather than necklaces which can be hidden under collars.
- If ears are not pierced, rings are the simplest first piece to ease into wearing jewelry.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it weird for guys to wear jewelry?
It is becoming more common and accepted for men to wear jewelry, although some very traditional or conservative observers may still frown upon it. But attitudes are generally shifting, so most will not find a man wearing a bracelet, watch or necklace strange or off-putting. Just avoid over-the-top pieces.
What jewelry do ladies find attractive on men?
Women often find men wearing a simple chain necklace, leather bracelet or interesting ring attractive. Skip huge blingy jewelry and go for pieces with subtle sophistication. Women also respond well to jewelry that hints at a man’s interests or displays personality, such as a unique symbol necklace.
Can older men wear jewelry?
Yes, older men have opportunities to accessorize with jewelry in a distinguished way. For retirees, jewelry like watches, cufflinks or simple chains sends a message of experience and confidence. Lapel pins add polish to a suit. Limit amount and avoid flashy jewelry. Focus on conveying taste and maturity.
Should men take off jewelry for job interviews?
It’s generally wise to limit jewelry for a job interview since you do not want anything to be distracting. Remove earrings and bracelets. A wedding ring and simple watch are okay. Avoid necklaces dangling at the collar since it can look sloppy. You want your experience and qualifications, not your jewelry, to make an impression.
Can men wear jewelry to the gym?
It’s best to remove jewelry before strenuous exercise. Necklaces could swing and hit you, and sweat can cause irritation around rings or bracelets. A fitness tracking watch is fine but take off anything loose or expensive that could catch on machines or weights and be damaged. Leave valuable jewelry at home rather than a gym locker.
While historically men have shied away from donning jewelry and accessories, shifting gender norms and attitudes have made it more common and accepted for men to explore jewelry. Necklaces, watches, rings, bracelets and other adornments allow men to express themselves in a stylish, modern way. Simple, high-quality pieces enable men to dip their toes into accessorizing without going overboard. With the right jewelry and attitude, men can show off creativity and confidence. Ultimately jewelry lets men present their personal brand and individuality to the world.