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If you’re like me, you probably grew up either thinking or being told that jewelry was for girls. That point probably was driven home after years of seeing just how poorly some men go about displaying their own gaudy pieces. What you may not have yet stumbled across however are the certain guys wearing jewelry in ways that shape, accentuate and frame their natural features and absolutely max out their aesthetic appeal.

Jewelry falls into two categories. The first of these is “sentimental” or “personal”. These pieces include things like wedding rings, heirlooms, religious objects, and so forth. Frankly, if something has meaning to you, and you want to wear it, then do so. Far be it from anyone to tell you not to wear your grandfather’s watch because the band is starting to wear out. The key to all fashion is confidence, so be proud in wearing something that has significance to you.

The second category revolves completely around style, meaning what looks best on you. Obviously we all have differing tastes, but there is something to be said about a baseline that can be built off of. The baseline is as follows. Firstly, your jewelry should really only be gold, silver, or plain metallic in color. I find that niches like rose gold are incredibly difficult to match with other facets of your style, and tend to get lost in most people’s skin tone. The next key is to keep in mind that jewelry exists to show off what you already have, meaning if your ring is so flashy that it draws all the attention, it shouldn’t be on your hand in the first place. Lastly, jewelry should go with what you’re already wearing. Don’t base an outfit off of a bracelet, select jewelry that enhances the aesthetic you’ve already built.

Let’s start from the top, and work our way down. Firstly, ears. Some guys love them; some guys hate them, and just like every other part of fashion, its subjective. What I will say is that that they can be done very well, or extremely poorly. To correctly wear earring(s), the first decision is to decide what part of the ear you want to pierce (and yes, there is more than one). If you decide on the lobe, then pierce both. The middle school stigma about which ear has certain connotations is over, and piercing one just looks juvenile. In my opinion, the best way to pull off this look is to forget studs, and go as soon as possible to thin hoops that hug the bottom of your lobe. Often, these aren’t noticed outright from a distance and really draw attention to your face up close. In addition to this, they suit absolutely everyone. The only other place I can truly say a man should pierce is the cartilage slightly below the point of the ear. If this is your choice, then only pierce one ear, and again use a small hoop in one of our three cardinal colors.

What you wear around your neck says a lot about you, and people pick up on it very quickly. Some basic rules include no dog-tags unless you are in the military or they have very significant meaning to you. No chains that have links large enough to have a pattern. Leather or cord should not be worn with anything remotely formal. No chokers. If you can feel the weight of a pendant or amulet, and it’s significant, don’t wear it. Lastly, if you have a necklace made of twine/hemp with some kind of glass ornament, people will assume you are a stoner. Other than that, do whatever your heart desires, and keep in mind that sometimes it’s best to tuck it under your shirt.

Wrist jewelry is complex because it is broken up into two separate categories, watches and bracelets. As far as watches go, everyone has their own taste (even more so than any other specific piece of jewelry). One remark that I would have is to avoid digital unless you are in the great outdoors. If you want to disregard that for a smart-watch, that’s your prerogative; but for the most part go analog. If you decide to wear a bracelet or bracelets, avoid leather cuffs at all costs. They’re not edgy, just ugly. Leather, if worn, should be thin, or braided. Easily the most versatile look that I’ve seen is the use of plain wooden beads, which can even be stacked and look good. They can be dressed up (to a point), and dressed down with ease; but make sure to keep them on one wrist, and opposite from your watch. If you decide to stack them, keep in mind that one more loop can be the difference between stylish and tacky. Please, unless you are in the wilderness, leave paracord at home with your digital watch.

Last but not least, rings. If you’re not married, these exist solely to show off your hands, and or prove you won a Super Bowl. If you haven’t the latter, stick to bands that are either plain, or have a subtle design etched into the band itself. For the most part, stay away large stones, noticeable mountings, and general gaudiness. That means leave the class rings at home, unless you need to prove you went to high school. Furthermore, if a ring is uncomfortable on your hand, it’s usually a good indicator that it’s too big, or looks out of place.

When buying jewelry, keep these rules in mind, but more importantly, do what feels right. As we know, fashion is subjective. If you don’t feel comfortable in something, don’t wear it, and if you have a piece that isn’t on the list but you love, by all means, wear it. This is a baseline, meaning you should build off it. The goal isn’t to dictate what you should wear, but to help you develop the look that works best for you.

About the Author

I'm a college student with interests in language, culture, fitness, and the expansive world of men's fashion. When I'm not writing or in class you could most likely find me adventuring in the wilderness, trying to master the basic syntax of Arabic, or watching Mad Men for style inspiration. If you enjoy looking and performing your best, we'll get along just fine.

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