The term 'jewelry' is almost always associated with women and their glitzy collections of earrings, bracelets, necklaces... the list goes on. But what about the vast selection of men's watches, cufflinks, and bracelets to choose from? Men's jewelry can seriously amp up your personal sense of style—so long as you wear it right.
While women can pull off a pair of diamond stud earrings with an oversized chunky necklace and a sleeve of dangling bracelets, there are some different guidelines men should follow. For most general settings you presumably encounter each day—like your office, the gym, or being out with your friends—the less you have going on, the better. Too much jewelry—espcecially in the bedazzled form—can be ostentatious, distracting, and can look unprofessional.
Here we break down the eight types of jewelry for men, and explain the proper way to wear each of them, the appropriate time and place to put them on, and the top styles to go after in order to look your best. An overall rule for men's jewelry, which applies to all of the following categories: remember to match your metals. That means, a gold watch should match the color of your ring, the embellishments on your shoes, and the shade of your belt buckle. This is key to mastering a put-together look.
Most guys will want to Invest in a couple of great timepieces: One for everyday use and one that's more dressy—and maybe a smartwatch in place of or in addition to those. A watch is probably the most-used piece of jewelry in a man's ensemble, and when worn right, has the power to instantly elevate his outfit. From everyday wristwear to formal dressing, there are tons of watch models and styles. Just some general rules to follow: It’s typical etiquette to wear a watch on the opposite arm you write with so it doesn’t interfere with movements. Also, make sure it fits; you don’t want to have it hanging down your arm or appearing as if it's cutting off your circulation (so hold onto the links!).
A classic metal, stainless steel, or a leather-band watch has enough versatility to be worn daily. When it comes to everyday watches, you have more leverage with the style. So that means a hefty, round face with some detailing like a subdial or date window, as well as textured bezel with a semi-busy band can add a masculine kick. As for color, this style works great in silver, black, gunmetal, or gold (like the stylish ones in the link below). Just steer clear of crystalized options.
Considering it’s the 21st century, this wouldn’t be a watch guide if we didn’t add a smartwatch. So long as your notifications don't start firing off during meetings, then a smartwatch, like the Apple Watch or styles in the link below, can pass for an everyday watch, too. But nothing more than that. A watch shouldn’t clash with everything else you’re wearing, it should accentuate it, so if you have a knack for styling outfits, then go for the bolder colorful bands, in addition to the classic leather and metal options which are always safe.
When it comes time for a special occasion like a first date or a wedding, you will want to make sure your timepiece stands out. Typically, the simpler the watch the dressier the look. But you don't have to rock a Rolex to master the ensemble. Instead, go for a watch that best mimics its sophisticated style. That means a medium-sized face with minimal detailing (like a dial and designer name), masculine numbers (like roman numerals), and an overall elegant aesthetic in a classic gold or silver tone (like the styles in the link below).
Here’s where men’s jewelry gets significantly different from women’s. When it comes to bracelets, avoid anything that has charms or pendants, especially in an oversized, chunky style. This piece of jewelry is an extra accessory that should complement your outfit, not overpower it. Whether you're in a tank or a suit, you can't go wrong with a metal bangle or a tough leather option in a single band or, at most, a double wrap (like the Miansai option pictured above). These will add a simple touch and just the right amount of edge to an otherwise simple outfit. Check out 58 more (yes, really!) great options in the link below.
Earrings are easily visible, and if you’re working a corporate job, then you may want to check your dress code before hopping on this trend. If you do opt to try it, start with a small-sized gauge in solid, dark, neutral colors like this pair from ASOS—and make sure to wear it in both ears with the colors matching when you do. If you get a size 00, which is even smaller than the ones pictured above, the skin won’t permantly stretch and can go back to its original shape should you want to remove them down the road.
Keep it classic and basic with this one. A gold or silver chain that's thin and short isn't too loud and will look effortlessly cool when paired with a simple t-shirt. And though you can tuck them under your shirt, we suggest keeping necklaces to a minimum or wearing them in more low-key settings. Try this stainless steel cable chain from Azzi Jewelers—the style is identical to our former cover guy, Liam Hemsoworth's, personal favorite.
With the exception of a wedding band, which should always be worn to represent your commitment, there are certain ways to wear rings—and styles to stick to—if you want to seriously pull it off with some swagger. If you're in a corporate environment, limit yourself to one single-band ring in a sterling silver, a gold, or two-tone colorway with a simple design and minimal glitz (like the one pictured above by David Yurman), and definitely don't wear it on your left hand's ring finger if you're not engaged or married. If you're tempted to do more, then consider a stacked style (meaning—three or more rings on one finger or spread throughout multiple fingers) to wear in a casual setting and make sure to own the look with so much confidence that people want to copy you (think: Lenny Kravitz or Johnny Depp).
Cufflinks are designed to hold the cuffs in place and are most commonly worn on French cuff dress shirts. That said, the only time you should be wearing this piece of jewelry is during more upscale occasions. While it may be an extravagant event which requires formal attire, the links are small and come in a bevy of styles that can express your style—even your personality. For example, if you're a weightlifter, these Paul Smith Strongman cufflinks can be a fun addition to your look. Or, if you're a teacher, these Paul Smith Pencil cufflinks give you something to talk about. These styles will work great for any family- or friend-related function, and if you're in doubt about wearing them to a work-related affair, then don't. Instead, stick to classic, sophisticated styles like silver, gold, matte, or metallic links in square or circular shapes with a minor design/detail like this timeless option from Alice Made This—and avoid any diamond, studded embellishments in unusual shapes like a skull. Also, as a general rule of thumb, knots tend to be less dressy, and metal cufflinks in precious metals are more posh while still being masculine.
Lapel pins may be commonly associated with politicians, but most of them have a number of different affiliations (from personal to work-related to style-related) and come in tons of sizes, colors, and designs that should be worn on the lapel of a jacket. Keep the size small and make sure it doesn't clash with other accessories you may be wearing like a pocket square. If you're wearing it for style purposes, go for a subtle feather or flower design in a brass, gold, or silver (or any color that matches your outfit) like this one from Topman. If you're going to an event that advocates something you firmly believe in like Animal Rights, then go with something that represents the cause such as this dog pin from Neiman Marcus. Other than that, avoid them in the office or on a date.
A tie bar is a horizontal clip that slides over the top of the tie and anchors underneath the shirt to keep your tie from flying all over the place. Given how small this piece of jewelry is, you can play around with your options when styling it. It's always safe to have a classic, sophisticated option like this one from Hugo Boss, but try opting for a fun clip with a quirky personal meaning like an animal or sport like this Golf Club from The Tie Bar; it's fun but can still be pulled off in work environment, too. Just make sure the color matches with the rest of your outfit.