A lot of guys get turned off the idea of wearing jewellery because they associate it with extreme styles: rappers, punks, Mafioso crime lords – or worse, their dad in the ‘70s. But you don’t have to be a rocker to wear a stud, a gang member to wear a ring and you certainly don’t have to have the inordinate amount of chest hair that your Pops had to pull off a bit of bling.
Don’t let your brain be dazzled by the gems or your preconceptions: there are plenty of ways to wear jewellery to express who you are, rather than give the impression you’re aspiring to some sort of lifestyle. Just steer clear of anything too big, too loud, too over-the-top. Stick to a few simple guidelines until you feel you understand what mens jewellery works for you. Then, go for gold.
Do: Dress to type. Maybe you’re a laidback and fashionable kind of guy, or you prefer sharp dressing and want something classic that’ll last forever. Take your personal style into consideration – it might be the smallest thing you’re wearing but it’ll stand out a mile if it jars with your outfit. Small gold rings and sharp cuff links can look professional; stud earrings and braided rope necklaces, not so much.
Do: Experiment in moderation. Whatever your style, you don’t want to Mr. T it: you’ll just end up hurting your neck and looking like a foo’. Take it slowly: start with a ring or a cuff, a subtle chain or leather wrist strap. You could even begin by looking for a new wrist piece amongst modern or vintage mens watches: it doesn’t have to be expensive, or one you’d wear everyday, but it does have to be a cut above your bog-standard digital number.
Do: Accentuate the positive. If you’ve got a thick neck, thin chains might look dainty: try getting something a little thicker to highlight the strength in your shoulders. Dark skin looks fantastic with gold and silver but paler skins with yellow undertones can look a little washed out against platinum-coloured jewellery.
Don’t: Get too matchy matchy – it can look old-fashioned and fussy if you have necklaces, bracelets and rings that are all the same metal/material. It used to be taboo to mix gold and silver but there’s no need to be too conservative: as long as it’s all the same style, it’ll look good.
Why not throw in some subtle colour or black detailing? There’s loads of variety out there: women might have precious stones and frilly bits, but men have a much greater range of metals to choose from when it comes to jewellery – look into buying something in steel, copper or tin.
Don’t: Buy something it’s impractical to wear. How narrow do you like to wear your sleeve cuffs? Will a thick bracelet fray them or get stuck? Do any of your clothes have metal detailing or buttons that’ll clash? Do you do extreme sports where your piece could catch or wear?
Don’t: Be self-conscious. No matter how masculine the piece is, you’re making it look fiddly and ladylike when you’re toying with it nervously. The key to successful jewellery is its naturalness: something you’re completely comfortable in, that enhances your look in a subtle, almost indefinable, way.