The Art of the Male Arm Party
Somewhere and somehow, somebody convinced the world that jewelry and personal effects don’t matter to men. True, it doesn’t carry the same weight as, say, a luxury watch, but when chosen carefully and collected discerningly, jewelry can speak volumes about the guy who wears his confidence on his neck…or his wrist…or his finger. All it takes is some imagination and an eye for detail, both of which come in handy when collecting things of your own.
To some men, the term “man jewelry” can seem like an oxymoron. That is until they see editors and savvy style experts sporting wrist’s worth of metal, beads and strings. But can us normal guys pull off this array of colors and materials? Of course. Turns out, this look isn’t just for industry insiders and celebrities anymore, and despite your possible hesitation, these tricks are designed to help you get this trend wrapped up right.
Men’s jewelry walks a fine line: too flimsy and you might as well have rummaged through your girlfriend’s jewelry box, too chunky and you start walking into cheesy territory.
So, just how exactly do you break out a bunch of bracelets without sacrificing your manhood?
If you’re a white metal kind of guy, I suggest you go with sterling silver, a blend of pure silver with a dash of copper. It doesn’t just keep the price low; it also ensures some tarnish over time, and that’s a good thing. When it comes to jewelry, older always looks better, even when it’s new. So if this is your metal of choice, look for pieces with woven patterns or grooved inlays. With time your jewelry will adopt a pre-aged, antique patina, something that can’t be said of other white metals like platinum or white gold.
Yellow gold has gone from being the stuff for retirement watches and wedding bands, to being something of a statement. In the brave new world of men’s style, bolder guys are embracing this metal as a way to distinguish themselves. A little bit of yellow gold goes a long way, so limit it to just a couple of items. For jewelry that is a little more substantial, like a bracelet or a watch, try a cast brass with a muted finish.
Use leather and wood accessories to warm things up against the cold flash of sometimes severe, all-metal jewelry. The leather should be soft and durable and the wood lustrous and dense, like granadilla or African blackwood.
Finally, don’t be afraid to stack on a few. The key to a perfect male “arm party” is to make sure the materials and colors are balanced. Neutrals in brown and black leather pair perfectly with colored nylon cords. Also, don’t restrict the stacking to your watch-less wrist, nestle a couple of bracelets next to your timepiece of choice.
Although they certainly work with sun-faded tees and cutoff shorts in the summer, mixing and matching bracelets are also a subtle and unexpected way to relax a rigid corporate dress code of Oxford shirts and suits. Let’s just say, distinctions between formal and informal are little more than a distant memory these days.
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Find this and more style advice in my new book, Style Protocol: A Style Guide Engineered for Modern Men, out now!