Once we establish the idea that any man can wear a bracelet if they so choose, the next question is ‘why should you wear a men’s bracelet?’.
The purpose of a good looking and carefully selected bracelet isn’t substantially different from any other piece of jewellery, for example, a ring or necklace. The bracelet’s purpose is to compliment your look, a noticed accessory, it’s not intended to be the central focus of your outfit, but rather a part which adds to the overall feel of the ensemble.
What kind of bracelet you wear will largely depend on the types of outfits you wear. If you’re often suited and booted, then you’ll probably want to select an upmarket metallic bracelet. If you’re more often found wearing shorts and a worn t-shirt, you’ll likely be going to want a bracelet which compliments that look, a leather, rope or beaded bracelet which looks rustic might be the perfect option.
It’s important to realise that in both of the examples provided, the role of the bracelet was identical, it’s emphasising your overall sense of style. Just like any other type of well-chosen accent, it’s function is to demonstrate that your look is intentional and that effort has been made to look the way that you do. You’re not just wearing a suit because you have to, you’re wearing the suit because you want to look good, and a carefully selected bracelet makes that intention clear.
It’s my opinion that bracelets, like necklaces, look their absolute best when they look like they’ve been broken in a little bit. When a piece of jewellery has too much shiny unblemished metal on show it can look a bit too blingy and gaudy. You’ll want to have your jewellery look like it’s been around the block a few times, that it’s travelled the world and been on an adventure. It’s part of your life’s story.
A word of warning that’s worth bearing in mind – get something that fits. A chunk of metal that slides around on your wrist becomes frustrating, distracting and occasionally painful after a very short amount of time. A bracelet with a little bit of weight to it needs to be fitted fairly snuggly, while pieces made from leather, rope or are beaded can have a little bit more give in them.
One of the major problems with men’s bracelets is that much of the classic menswear won’t easily accommodate a bracelet without detracting from the look.
To put it another way, unless you’re getting your sleeves tailored to specifically accommodate a bracelet, your suit and shirt cuffs are going to be competing for the same wrist space as a bracelet, not to mention competing with your watch as well.
This fact can mean that men’s bracelets are mostly a summer accessory when short sleeves are abound and there’s nothing restricting your ability to show off your bracelet. But, this does not necessarily mean you can’t wear a bracelet with a long sleeves outfit, you just need to be smart about it.
Here’s our foolproof guide on how to wear a men’s bracelet without it looking out of place or awkward:
- Treat your bracelet like a wristwatch – that is to say, fitted snuggly against the skin and under any sleeves that are long enough to cover them.
- Feel free to stack multiple thin cord bracelets, it’s part of the look, just don’t do the same for thick metal bracelets.
- You can wear a wristwatch on the same wrist as a thin cord bracelet, you can't-do the same thing with a metal bracelet.
- Don’t mix smart looking metal bracelets with rustic leather bracelets.
- One wrist without any bracelets looks better than having both wrists containing bracelets. Having matching bracelets on each wrist is a no go unless you’re trying to pull off a bondage handcuffs look.
- Lastly, don’t pay attention to the rules above if you know what you’re doing. There will always be individuals that can make any look work for them but might look daft on anyone else. For the most part, stick to what we’ve laid out above and it’s unlikely you’ll go wrong.
It’s relatively easy to look out of place and uncomfortable if you have mismatches or excessive amounts of bracelets. It can look like you’re trying too hard, but haven’t quite got the hang of it or don’t know what look you’re going for. Keep things straightforward, simple and modest until you’ve got to grips with the style you want.
Types and Styles of Men’s Bracelets
Even an untrained eye can probably readily identify a bracelet that’s not meant for male wrists. A slender and delicate metal bracelet which has been set with any number of precious stones are traditionally marketed for women only. That’s not to say that men can’t wear such jewellery, but that’s out of scope for this article as we want to focus on bracelets specifically tailored for men.
This still leaves a very large number of varied styles of men’s bracelets to choose from, some of which may come as a surprise to you, and might include styles you might not have considered previously. Here are some of the popular styles that are in use today:
Men’s Metal Bracelets
The simple metal band is probably one of most elegant styles of bracelet that are available for men, it’s also the type you’re most likely to see worn in conjunction with a suit and tie.
The variety and types available here are fairly substantial, but the overall goal is going to be the same. A single solid, masculine and bold piece of metal on your wrist. It’s uncomplicated, manly, and can make quite the statement.
A simple uncomplicated metal bracelet is ideal when you want something that’s a little bit flashy and showy. Paired with classy and smart clothes it will speak for itself, providing flashes of brilliance when it appears from underneath your cuff.
In order to accommodate the metal bracelet, you might want to keep your shirt sleeves a little shorter than you would normally, however this largely depends on the thickness of the bracelet and where it lies on your wrist. Whatever you do, don’t wear it over your dress shirt, or you’ll end up with a strange looking fringe of shirt cuff poking out underneath the bracelet – not a good look.
Keep clear of anything too flashy. One or at the most two colours of metal is more than enough and you’ll probably want to keep well away from gemstones. Most men’s metal bracelets are too chunky to pair with a wristwatch, in which case it’s a tossup between wearing a watch or wearing a bracelet.
Anchor Bracelets for Men
The nautical-themed bracelet has become a mainstay of men’s fashion, so it’s not at all surprising that anchor bracelets have come to dominate this niche. The anchor bracelet is a perennial trend, which sees a surge in popularity every spring and summer. Investing in a nautical themed or anchor bracelet will, therefore, offer longevity and is the perfect piece to finish off an outfit which is inspired by boating or cruising along the Riviera. The anchor bracelet concept comes in a range of finishes, materials and clasp types. Many bracelets will utilise the same materials you might find on a boat such as cord, rope, wood and canvas.
These bracelets are perfect for casual settings and will surely put you in the mood for enjoying the summer.
Beaded Bracelets for Men
When gathering photos and researching the bracelets available for this article, it quickly became apparent that one bracelet style is currently dominating photo shoots in terms of popularity: the beaded bracelet. The range of bracelets available is quite extensive, from ethnic-inspired wooden beads to high-value ebony or crystal variants, there are even very colourful plastic statement versions. The range of styles available is truly vast and can accommodate almost any style preference or personal taste.
A significant part of the appeal stems from the fact that you can stack several types of beaded bracelets together in order to create a look that is truly unique and personalised. You can easily alter the size of beads, materials used and colours in order to create your own individual style, so whether you prefer something timeless and sophisticated or something bold and bright, you can complement your look effortlessly.
For example, black and greyscale tones will supplement a smart and tailored look very well. While a wooden beaded bracelet will offer a more natural and earthy look that works well with a heritage sense of style.
Beaded bracelets can also be used to inject a splash of colour into your ensemble, tying together an outfit by highlighting and picking out a subtle colour choice within the look. This can be accomplished by matching the beaded bracelet colour to a shirt, or simply add another complimentary element to an outfit which has been carefully layered and put together.
Men’s Rope Cord Bracelet
At the opposite end of the spectrum from metal bracelets, you’ll come across rope cords, which come in a variety of styles and thicknesses. Some of these are will be decorated while others aren’t. Macrame hemp bands which have various beads woven into them are the ultimate surfer accessory, while popular celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher have been spotted wearing Kabbalah strings, which is a sort of new age bracelet made from knotted red cord.
The advantage of these sorts of bracelets is that they are relatively inexpensive and can be personalised with very little effort. If you want, you can create your own with a little bit of practice. The style is very much relaxed, laid back and counter-culture, but not so much so that they won’t be accepted in most settings.
You might not be able to wear a rope bracelet to a board meeting in a traditionally conservative business, but in most other settings it’ll be perfectly acceptable. You’ll find the bracelets are quite common in businesses that are less traditional or want to create a creative culture, for example, design studios or software development companies.
LiveStrong Charity Bracelets
As far as fashion accessories go, the ‘cause’ bands tend to be brightly coloured, gaudy and slightly cheap looking, which means they are generally worn to support a cause or for fun, rather than to compliment a particular style. Feel free to wear them when a splash of colour won’t look out of place, or when you’re going to a social event where the bands might be a good conversation starter.
Wearing a cause band every single day, regardless of the other clothes you're wearing, is probably not a great idea. Someone will undoubtedly do this, but try to be smarter and find a better way to support your cause. The bands don’t actually do much in terms of aesthetics or support, and wearing one every single day might do more harm than good, coming across as a little preachy or obsessive, especially to those who aren’t concerned with your chosen cause.
It’s, of course, your prerogative as to whether or not you think wearing a cause band is the best form of activism available, but there are undoubtedly better ways to support something. Give it a bit of thought and mix your style up a bit.
Men’s Rock & Roll Bracelet
This is a very nonspecific category, but think of skulls, scorpions and various other ‘badass’ symbols and you’ve summarised rock and roll jewellery quite nicely. As a general guide, it falls into and out of fashion fairly consistently. So the best thing to do is wear it if you like it, and don’t wear it if you don’t, ignore the trends. You’ll probably want to avoid wearing some of the larger stuff with a suit and tie, but otherwise, it’s fair game for most types of outfits. Some guys are even capable of wearing a chain of skulls with a suit, as long as it’s only glimpsed and fits in with their other accessory choices.
Men’s Leather Bracelets
Braided or solid, the men’s leather bracelet is a piece of classic style. It goes great with a range of looks, from doc martins and a combat gear to jeans and a t-shirt, it’s difficult to find a casual combination that couldn’t benefit from a simple leather bracelet.
A coloured leather bracelet is another option and has a different feel and style, it can be worn by any guy that wants the width of a metal band, but without the bling, flash and weight. Braided ‘Turks head’ style of bracelets finished in brown leather are a classic take and can be slightly preppy, sometimes worn with the blazers and boat shoes in crowd. Most men have already experienced wearing leather on their wrists in the form of a leather watch strap, so making the leap to a leather bracelet is not such a big step and can be one of the more appealing first steps into the world of men’s bracelets.
Leather bracelets innately retain a sense of masculinity and it can also be versatile and refined. This means that depending on the size and style of the leather bracelet, it can still be used with formal dress, while still retaining a slightly rebellious edge.
For example, a darkly coloured leather bracelet can very easily be worn with a smart suit and tie without looking out of place. Similarly, a slightly wider leather cuff can complement a t-shirt and jeans look, giving it an edgier rock & roll appeal.
Additionally, leather can work well with wristwatches, giving you the flexibility to wear a bracelet and watch.
Woven Bracelets for Men
The woven bracelet, like the beaded bracelet, is another style that is experiencing a resurgence and is becoming increasingly popular.
One of the immediately obvious benefits of a woven bracelet is that the fabric versions are very affordable and are available in a diverse range of colours, which is great should you wish your bracelet to really stand out and act as a point of reference for the rest of your ensemble.
Additionally, woven bracelets can be stacked and combined with any number of leather or beaded bracelets in order to create a stacked visually interesting effect, without necessarily becoming scruffy or unkempt.
These were originally issued to soldiers during WWII and they quickly became a style icon during the 1950s. Due to the classic heritage, they will on occasions resurface as a fashion must-have, often with the same very basic styling. The basic design of the ID bracelet consists of a thin metal chain with a rectangular plate centred on the top of the wrist, much like the face of a wristwatch.
If you’re looking to rock the retro look, then one of these is an obvious choice. There’s no harm in having an ID bracelet if you like the style, coupled with a plain white t-shirt and fitted jeans, you’ll look like you stepped out of 1950s America.
If it’s good enough for classic film stars such as James Dean, then it’s probably good enough for the rest of us… occasionally. Don’t overdo it though as it might be a bit of a gimmicky cliché.
Men’s Magnetic Bracelets
Bracelets which claim to offer health benefits resurface every few years and prove to be continuously popular with many that like to dabble in alternative therapies. They’re usually made from a single band of metal, quite thin, made from a range of metals and are often capped with a round ball at the end.
The claimed health benefits of such bracelets are not the purpose of this article, but aesthetically speaking they are generally difficult to recommend. Unless you’re a big believer in these types of bracelets then don’t bother.
If you happen to find that magnetic bracelets do really help with your travel sickness, arthritis or whatever other ailments, then that’s great, just wear them when you need to and not as a perpetual part of your look. There’s not a whole lot we can say about these bracelets other than the style exists and that’s it’s functional rather than fashion related.
At the end of the day, a quality bracelet does what any other quality accessory should do, complements and adds to the effect of the outfit you’re already wearing.
Since you’ll probably change style and outfit often, even day today, you’ll want to shop for and buy bracelets that can fit in with a range of choices. If you want to limit what you need to buy, look for something that compliments the clothes you wear most often, a natural fit is preferred over a forced match.
That might mean that one guy buys lots of big, bold and chunky solid metal bracelets, while another guy buys a range of coloured leather bracelets. Or maybe you’ll want both in your collection so you can pick and choose what to wear each day based on the setting.
Start small and get a few simple pieces, over time you can grow your collection if you find that you like wearing bracelets. There’s no rush and it’s better to get one piece that you really like rather than lot’s that you think are OK.