Navigating the world of male jewellery can feel like walking through a minefield of potential cringe. Make one wrong move and you’re B.A. Baracus, Henry VIII or the mayor of a large English town, but get it right and it’s the simplest way to take your style to the next level.
It used to be that male jewellery had something of a stigma attached to it. It was seen as a little feminine, and men who partook were often those operating on the fringes of mainstream fashion. But today, in a brave new world where rappers front campaigns for Cartier and A-list pop heartthrobs wear pearl necklaces and diamond earrings, the picture couldn’t be any more different.
That said, if this is your first foray into the world of bling, you probably aren’t ready to go full Harry Styles just yet. Instead, you might want to test the waters with some pieces that are a little less ostentatious. Think simple silver chains as opposed to chunky gold medallions or an understated bracelet watch instead of a diamond-encrusted Rolex. If that sounds more like you, keep scrolling for the pieces of jewellery any modern man can pull off with ease.
Plain Wedding Band
Getting hitched is the perfect excuse to delve into the world of men’s rings for the first time. Rocking jewellery on the fingers as an unmarried man requires a certain degree of confidence, but no one will bat an eye at a wedding ring.
If you haven’t yet tied the knot, you might be thinking about what type of ring to go for. Our advice, as always, would be to keep it simple with a plain gold or silver (colour, not necessarily material) band.
Steer clear of anything overly polished and shiny to avoid chintziness, and stick to durable metals that won’t tarnish over time. Think platinum, palladium and titanium.
For those who aren’t yet lucky enough to have found ‘the one’, a signet ring is another subtle option when it comes to decorating a finger, and one that’s widely accepted for men to wear.
For the uninitiated, it’s a smallish ring that is usually worn on the pinky finger, featuring a flat top surface that often (but not always) bears some sort of sign or symbol.
In centuries gone by, they were used to stamp wax seals on letters with an initial or a family crest, but these days they’re purely decorative.
Steel Bracelet Watch
You probably don’t even think of a watch as jewellery, but that’s what it is. In an age where we carry the entirety of all human knowledge past and present in our pockets, including the time, the wristwatch’s functional purpose is all but redundant. But they look nice, and they’re one of the most traditional means by which a man can add a bit of sparkle to an outfit.
A steel bracelet watch allows you to wear a bit of something shiny without straying into androgynous territory. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but if you’re a manly man who wants to keep things classic, this is the only piece of jewellery you need.
Cufflinks shouldn’t be an afterthought. They represent a valuable opportunity to inject some flair into what might otherwise be an uptight outfit, so think of them as little pieces of jewellery rather than boring old tools for a job.
There are some lovely plain metal options for the minimalists out there, or why not take advantage of this being a piece of jewellery and go for something with a precious or semi-precious stone inset? Pearl is always a solid choice, and it goes with just about anything.
There are so many great men’s jewellery brands out there now making simple, subtle pieces that are understated and easy to wear. One piece many of them specialise in is beaded bracelets, which are perfect for adding a pop of colour to an outfit and look great next to a nice timepiece.
Stay away from anything too jazzy or colourful, and stick to understated tones instead. Amber brown, emerald green and sapphire blue all work well. If you’re looking for something even more low-key, try a rope bracelet instead.
Another understated option for the wrist is a metal cuff. It’s plain, simple, classic and won’t raise any eyebrows. All of this makes it an excellent choice for those dabbling in jewellery for the first time.
It’s also the sort of thing you can wear with everything from casual weekend garb to tailoring. So, in terms of getting your money’s worth, it’s not a bad investment to make.
A small pendant necklace is sometimes all that’s needed to bring boring clothes to life. Even something as simple as a T-shirt and jeans starts to look like an outfit when you layer one of these on top, and you can always tuck it in if you find yourself in a situation that calls for a bit less bling.
The key here is not to overdo it on the size. Remember, we’re going for ‘pendant’, not ‘medallion’. So, steer clear of anything larger than a small coin and make sure the chain is nice and slim too.
If you want to keep things even more subtle, you could forgo the pendant entirely and just wear a chain instead.
The important thing is to make sure it’s neither too slim nor too heavy. If you go too thin and delicate you run the risk of it looking quite feminine, and if you veer too far in the other direction, you run the risk of looking like P Diddy. For best results, aim somewhere in the middle.
Silver Tie Clip
Work a glimmer of jewellery into your tailored looks by using a nice shiny tie clip. This should be gold or silver depending on the colour of your cufflinks, and it should sit just above the point at which your lapels cross over.
Avoid anything too heavily decorated and keep it simple for maximum versatility.
Gold is the confident man’s choice, and one that oozes opulence, but done incorrectly it can look tacky. It can also come across brash and/or ostentatious, so it’s best to keep it to a minimum if you decide to go for it.
It’s ideal for smaller, inconspicuous pieces such as wedding rings and cufflinks, but also works well on watches, particularly when combined with steel or silver to help take the edge off. Leave the chunky, solid gold necklaces to the likes of Conor McGregor.
Sterling silver is a classic, affordable and versatile metal that is loved by many men. Its wearability and understated nature make it a go-to option for those who want to subtly accent their outfit, rather than make a bold statement.
That said, it doesn’t mean you should pile the stuff on – it can still look too much if done incorrectly. A good rule of thumb is no more than two pieces on any wrist (including your watch), no more than three pieces on any arm (including your fingers), and no more than five pieces overall.
Something many men would have only heard of if they were considering buying an engagement ring, platinum is a precious metal that combines the luxurious, eye-catching nature of gold with the durability and sophistication of silver. Therefore, it comes with a hefty price tag and is often saved for high-end jewellery such as wedding bands, or luxury watches.
The only real down side is that is can be a bit too shiny for some people’s tastes.