Buying jewellery (or jewelry) is one of the most difficult subjects when it comes to men’s styling. The problem with accessorizing stems from the idea that rings, chains, and bracelets are designed and worn by women, and women alone.

This is an opinion that’s slowly changing with the times, and we’re beginning to discover, more and more, that men are capable of wearing more than just a wedding band whilst still retaining a stylish edge.

The Key to Accessorising

The big secret when it comes to success in the jewellery department is our old favourite – keeping things as simple as possible. Where men often fail in this regard is going overboard too quickly; experimentation is all well and good, but don’t stray too far from the well-worn path, before you know what suits you.

Rings

Resist the urge for sparking diamonds and alluring sapphires. While women have the ‘semi precious stone’ market covered, men should stay well clear. Naturally, this doesn’t mean you must resort to dull, lifeless bands. From the lustrous sheen of Cobalt to the eternal glimmer of titanium, men are able to experiment far more easily with metals than their feminine counterparts. Whereas women look glamorous in lighter metals like silver and gold, the genetic advantage of larger handed males means we can experiment with harsher toned alloys more easily.

Remember to avoid wearing a band on your ring finger; that particular digit is reserved for a wedding ring, so unless you want to be mistaken for a married man choose a different finger for your fashion jewelry.

Bracelets

Unsurprisingly, restraint is what’s called for in this department. Metal rope chains have a tendency to lose all glamour when scaled up – sure, clunky bangles can be worn as a statement piece; just be careful to use restraint and not go overboard with the wrist candy.

Remember, thinner wrists can actually benefit from the widening illusion that larger bracelets give; those with a svelte joints should look for something fairly robust without being too chunky. Naturally, this doesn’t mean you should go ‘all out’, simply that something a little more substantial will thicken out your frame.

Still, always be weary of heavy-duty centurion arm shields; these are become a definite no-no when you start losing more of your wrist to fabric than you can afford. Also resist the urge to go crazy with the hard-rockin’ satanic vibe; once again, keep thinking ‘simple and subtle’ when it comes to your wrist bands and ‘skull’ jewelry.

Chains/Necklaces

When it comes to chains & necklaces, always think simple, clean and traditional. Male chains tend to be constructed slightly thicker than their feminine counterparts, so don’t assume you’ve got to buy the heaviest looking piece you can find to inflate your man ego!

Try to scale the chain with your own frame; if you’ve got a thick neck, larger links and thicker bands will appear more proportional than delicate alternatives. Crosses and other religious iconography are fine, but wacky symbols and novelty designs should be shunned the vast majority of the time – as always, nobody needs to see your affinity for sports teams or animated shows.

Always think about skin tone when purchasing necklaces. Guys with darker skin won’t have the same level of contrast with a black leather, and medium olive complexions will find the same difficulty with anything tan. Try to find a suitable balance that neither stands out, nor blends too finely.

Piercings

Always a controversial area; pierced ears, nipples and belly-buttons aren’t exactly corporate friendly, although they’re slowly making inroads. When it comes to wearing piercings at work, always follow the adage “where in doubt, take it out”.

More resources on Men’s Jewelry

About The Author

Johnathan Bell is the founder, owner and main author of Guy Style Guide, a website dedicated to everyday male fashion, style and grooming. The primary mission? To guide clueless men through the tricky mindfield that is the growing world of male couture. Find him on , Twitter and Tumblr.

15 Responses

  1. dailyhaberdashery

    I love that someone is talking about how men can wear jewelry effectively, and not look like you’re trying to show your bling. A few pieces done tastefully can really polish off an outfit.

    However, I have to say that your photo selection for necklaces is a little off for my tastes. Necklaces are hard for guys to pull off, but I think avoiding the chunky metalic sort is a start. Something pendant-like is a great option, especially when worn with a v-neck or a tank top–very beachy, but also very awesome. Something like this:

    http://www.gq.com/style/blogs/the-gq-eye/2009/07/whistle-blower.html

    I love following your blog–keeps me inspired while doing my own.

    • Johnathan

      Thanks for the kind words 🙂

      Necklaces are difficult to pull off for most men. From my perspective, I think most guys think ‘necklace’ and the mind wanders to thoughts of thickset silver and gold rather than proportional pieces that suit the wearer. Pendants are great (in moderation, of course); they can really accent and accentuate a man’s personality if done correctly.

      The photos are really just for illustrative purposes and not necessarily recommendations – of course, we each have our own tastes, but as per regular readers’ requests, I’ve increased the visual aspect of the blog over time.

      Keep up the good work on your tumblelog too – loving all the looks ( especially this! All the blue/grey hues and then a ‘BAMM’ of red with the belt – perfection! )

      Johnathan

  2. The Baltimore Chop

    I have to agree that those necklaces are pretty tacky. I’m also against bracelets, as I feel a man should wear a watch, and a watch and a bracelet is always redundant.

    I made an acquaintance recently who is smart, cosmopolitan, and very well dressed, but he wears a crummy necklace everywhere he goes and it ruins entire outfits. I say steer clear.

    • Johnathan

      Ah, good point!

      I think that wedding rings and ‘fashion jewelry’ are two different animals really. Wedding/engagement rings are somewhat of an exception to the rule above; they are a shared piece worn over two physical bodies, and therefore couldn’t be considered an ‘accessory choice’.

      Similarly, they are meant to be worn as more of a statement piece rather than a subtle accessory. A wedding ring is meant to stand out more than other jewellery ~ that’s what makes it special 😉 I’ve added a quick note on the matter to the main body of the post.

      Thanks for pointing this out; great comment James.

  3. Proper Cloth

    Nice post and a good topic to cover (especially in the summer). While jewelry has never been my style, I’ve seen many guys pull it off. I think the key is to keep the whole outfit consistent. There are cool bohemian bracelets or necklaces for guys – but wear them with shorts and a t-shirt – not under your suit!

    • Johnathan

      My sentiments exactly!

      Thanks for the comment!

  4. JB Robinsons Jewelry

    I Agree what Johnathan said that wedding rings and ‘fashion jewelry’ are two different animals really.Keep up the good work on your tumblelog too but this is Nice post and a good topic to cover.

  5. David the mens leather belts guy

    Hi Johnathan
    Have to agree with you on the wrist straps. In our experience, the most popular tend to be the thin woven leather straps, rather than the chunkier versions.
    Having said that, guys do occasionally ask for the wide straps and even the centurian arm shields! Although, usually they are either archers or re-enactors.