There are many reasons a man may want to wear a little jewellery on his wrists.
The first reason that may come to mind is to look good — or, more accurately, to display status and wealth. This definitely plays a role in the choice, but there’s far more going on underneath the surface than mere vanity.
Look a bit deeper and you see that jewellery and wristwear has a long history in protecting wearers from evil or illness; like in Ancient Greece when they wore a piece of string to protect them from the summer sun, or in China where they placed — and still place — jade on the wrists of children to help keep them from harm.
Go even deeper still and you see it was also used to represent an association or devotion to a particular culture or belief. In Ancient Egypt, for instance, many people wore scarab bracelets — a symbol of the heavenly cycle and of the idea of rebirth or regeneration.
It’s hard to know the true drivers behind the booming industry of wristwear for men, but it’s clear they are much more innate, primal, and masculine than we first thought.
So, rather than feel intimidated or a little feminine about wearing one, men should be proud of their wristwear fetish and learn how to wear bracelets and watches with pride and elegance.
Put on and pull off the bracelet
If you want to pull off a bracelet without looking like a teenager, the key is to stick to styles that are simple, traditional, and not too ostentatious.
One way men achieve this is with the all-natural leather bracelet. Natural leather bracelets come in varying shades of tan or brown, all of which are easily matched with jeans, khakis, and even more formal wear like shirts and suits.
If you’re also wearing a leather belt or shoes, though, aim to match the shades and textures with the bracelet. If your go to jacket is a leather bomber, it can work, but a metal or beaded bracelet may be a better and more versatile way to go.
In recent years, beaded bracelets have become one of the most popular types of wristwear for men — adorned by some of the biggest male sport and movie stars around. They tend not to pair well with a formal attire (unless you can rock the hippy or pirate look) and can be all around tricky to pull off as you’re not only trying to match colour but also size, shape, and texture too. If you like your beads, the best bet is to keep the rest of your outfit plain and simple.
Lastly, we have the stainless steel bracelet. Stainless steel is a popular bracelet material for its versatility and ability to style with any colour or look. The only thing to remember is that it easily clashes with other metals. That means belt buckles, sunglasses, shoe hardware, and, most importantly, watches.
The timeless style of watches
A watch is a very personal item, with your choice depending on everything from your character and taste to your profession and needs.
Whatever you choose, as watches are the most difficult wristwear for men to get right, you want to make sure you know how to wear it. This is one of the reasons many men simply go for a neutral band style, such as a metal band and case or a metal case with black or brown leather strap. This also comes with many other advantages if you’re only buying, for example, one luxury vintage watch, including that they pair with a bunch of looks including causal, sporty, and formal.
The part of the watch you want to spend more time on choosing, then, is the dial. Overall, the busier and higher contrast the dial, the more attention it’s going to garner and the less formal it will be. A popular look for men is a plain silver or steel case with a black or white dial. This style of dial can work well for business dress use and can be just as appropriate for after work drinks down the pub.
If you find a dial you like, you could even purchase multiple bands to make it even more versatile and comfortable.
As a final tip, one question that always seems to be floating around the topic of wristwear for men is whether bracelets and watches should be worn on the left or right side. It really doesn’t matter either way, and the solution for many is to wear a watch on their dominant hand and a bracelet on the other. You can wear them both together, but that’s a whole other blog post.