What a fun, enlightening article about men and jewelry I discovered in the Art of Manliness. He makes an essential point at the top of the article that a small piece of jewelry worn a certain way can make a huge statement. (He wears his wedding ring on a different finger because of the traditions of the country he was married in.) Read on men (and women):
4 Rules for Men When Wearing Jewelry
1. Keep It Simple
When in doubt, keep it simple. Start with a classic leather-strapped silver watch; if you regularly wear a watch and can afford it, consider a sportier diving watch with a stainless steel band as well. Next branch out to tie accessories and cufflinks.
Once you’re comfortable wearing these generally accepted pieces, then you can start to introduce other jewelry pieces like necklaces if you choose. For a quick visual guide, visit Joe’s awesome chart over at Dappered.
2. Match Metals
Most men’s jewelry is metallic. Gold and silver tones are the most common. Your outfits should only feature one metal tone at a time.
3. Understand Jewelry’s Symbolism
Jewelry has meaning.
You can’t get away from this. Despite it taking up only a tiny percent of your visual presentation, people zero in on jewelry thanks to its flash and uncommon usage by men.
To further complicate the matter, people can interpret the meaning of the same piece of jewelry very differently. To some, ornamental rings symbolize success and wealth; to others they signal organized crime affiliation. Here’s a great discussion about this in the Art of Manliness’ community forum.
That means a man has to be careful when wearing jewelry pieces outside the norm. It’s easy to appear flashy when you start including nondescript jewelry in your daily getup. However, jewelry can add a helpful bit of color and uniqueness to an outfit. So how does a well-dressed man balance it?
4. Jewelry and Dress Codes
In the business world, company dress codes can severely restrict male jewelry. Often phrased in a politically correct tone such as, “Men should only wear tasteful pieces of jewelry,” you’ll find in practice that this means not rocking the boat and conforming to the status quo. So if you’re hired at AT&T corporate, be careful about trying to wear as many necklaces as Mr. T.
Seriously–the burden of appropriateness is always on the man who chooses to wear jewelry. Know this and be restrained when you’re in any kind of professional setting. You can express yourself after work. Jewelry is, by its nature, small enough to slip into a jacket pocket after all.
Businesses that request “modest” or “tasteful” or “appropriate” jewelry, or other words along those lines, prefer things be limited to the traditional “masculine” styles of jewelry. This includes tie accents, watches, cuff-links, wedding bands, and lapel pins. Over the last decade most companies have expanded this to include bracelets, earrings, and ethnic jewelry as well.
If you’re going to be buying jewelry soon–make sure to first read my primer here on buying male jewelry where I explain metal and stone details in further depth.
To read more in-depth tips for men purchasing jewelry, continue here.