Men tend to shrink from the idea of jewellery. A watch? It might be made from gold that catches the light just so, but it stops me being late for things. Cufflinks? They ensure my shirt stays closed, even if they do have a diamond embedded in the fastening. Platinum tie clip? It keeps all this hand-rolled silk out of my soup.
But there’s no need to steer clear of self-decoration. Especially since designers embracing men’s bling, from Givenchy’s dark mouth jewellery to the safety pins deployed as brooches at Louis Vuitton, or punched through model’s cheeks at Alexander McQueen.
If your office dress code (or sense of self-preservation) precludes such drastic body modding, subtler jewellery can pay dividends for even the most accessory averse man. Since sovereign rings and medallions are one 1970s trend not worth revising, you need to update your approach.
Do: Start With Essentials
If you’re more Helmut Lang than 50 Cent, begin with the basics. “Men really only need one item of jewellery – the wristwatch,” says stylist Barron Cuadro. “Everything else is non-essential.”
When it’s functional, you can afford to steer slightly more statement – a gold chronograph, like Triwa’s Nevil, downplays the ostentation by doing a job. The less useful the piece, the more subdued it should be. Blazer buttons can carry a motif and gold plate because they do a job. Your lapel pin, less so.
Don’t: Cheap Out
Green stains from substandard metals puncture your stunting worse than the Fake Watch Busta.
If precious metals are too precious, look to stainless steel ID tag bracelets (always on your strong hand), copper or leather cuffs and even beaded bracelets to contrast with your watch. Just go monochrome to avoid looking like a gap year student. Even if you are.
Do: Deploy The Goldilocks Rule
When you’re not popping bottles with shawty, jewellery is about balance. Leave finger-thick chains and oversized piercings on Gucci’s runway and opt instead for necklaces with enough weight not to bounce when you move and which finish between your pecs. Take cues from Ryan Gosling, not Rick Ross.
Also take note of proportions. “If you have a smaller wrist, a larger watch face will only make it look smaller,” says Cuadro.
Don’t: Clash Your Metals
As with your leathers, metals need to match. Which means that gold Rolex needs pairing with equally blingy rings and cufflinks.
If you’d rather swerve any Don Corleone gags, silver is less ostentatious and easier to pair, since it also sits pretty alongside stainless steel. Good news for your look and your bank balance.
Do: Consider The Occasion
Your lip piercing’s fine for a night out, but consider ditching it in job interviews.
No matter how flattering to your style, for formal occasions restrict your jewellery to modest choices: watches, cufflinks, wedding bands and lapel pins. Just save the lip stud in your wallet for the pub later.
Don’t: Forget The Maths
Your wrist is full at two pieces of jewellery, including a watch. Your arm, including fingers, at three. Any more than five pieces total and people will assume that you ain’t getting on plane, fool.
The New Commandments Of Men’s Jewellery
The rules you need to navigate the line between unadorned and Mr T
Image: Massimo Dutti SS15