For a man wearing a suit the right jewelry can upgrade your look from smart to brilliant. At the same time, ostentatious ‘bling-bling’ is distracting and unattractive; men’s jewelry should always be subtle. The watch passes the test by virtue of its functionality; cufflinks and tie clips earn provisional legitimacy on the same grounds. The wedding band is respected for what it represents, and other rings may be subtle enough to work to a man’s advantage in the right setting. Piercings have featured prominently in so many counter-culture movements, from pirates to camp to punk rock, that they immediately arouse negative reactions from many. If you are going to wear an eyebrow stud with a suit, the suit had better fit you like your own skin if you don’t want to be remembered as ‘the guy with the eyebrow ring.’
A general rule of dressing says to match metal to metal. That means that if your belt buckle is silver, for instance, so should be your cuff links, tie clip, and anything else shiny you wear. As with all things, this is a general guideline, not a hard and fast rule: a man with a gold wedding ring can wear silver cuff links if he likes, and one who wears an heirloom silver watch is free to wear brass buckles. Another rule says not to wear gold after dark (nor button-down collars, nor brown shoes, for that matter). This is good to keep in mind when dressing for the night-life, and again, it is a good suggestion rather than a cardinal law.
Men’s Watches – A Guide to Wearing a Timepiece
The watch is one of those elements of dress by which some people will choose to define you. The gaudy, bejeweled timepieces that bulge from the French cuffs of investment bankers certainly have their place, as do the thin, un-numbered dress watches seen on gallery curators’ wrists. Some men have a treasured timepiece that they wear exclusively for decades; others own several watches, for different occasions or simply for day-to-day variety. The latter requires more effort for the American man, though, who must reset all his clocks twice a year, and for men who’s work or fancy require them to know the time to the exact second.
As with most things, the simpler a watch, the more formal. When one dons a tuxedo or tailcoat, tradition decrees that one not wear a watch at all, as keeping track of time isn’t something we associate with partying. Those few whose professions still demand rigid formality in dress, such as politicians and trial lawyers, ought to wear classy timepieces free of jewels, moving bezels, excess dials, and the like. Gold and silver are equally suitable, as are metal and leather bands. For those whose positions grant more flexibility, any decent watch will do; take advantage of this opportunity for personal expression and find something that’s really you.
When you choose to wear French cuffs on a dress shirt, you have the opportunity to wear cufflinks. Cufflinks come in many styles, of gold, silver, gunmetal, and brass, with all variety of precious stones and other embellishments. When you select them for purchase or wear, know that people will examine them closely and make a decision about the wearer based on them – are they bold, classic, gaudy, or novel – and more importantly, do you want to be perceived as this. Really think about what they say about you, and make sure it aligns with how you seek to present yourself. Our advice is to stay with simple classic designs or with cufflinks that have some type of sentimental value; avoid the diamond studded pink Playboy rabbit links unless you are Hugh Hefner.
A tie clip will keep your tie from flying over your shoulder on a windy street while evoking an on-the-go lifestyle that requires such assistance. A simple stripe of gold, silver, or some other metal is acceptably classy; anything more appears gaudy. Tie clips look best worn at an angle to counteract the rigidity they connote for some. A tie chain works much the same as a tie clip, but instead of a fixed bar holding your tie in place you have a drooping chain of silver or gold. Lastly there is the tie tack; it looks something like a stud earring with an inch of fine chain extending from the back. One sticks it through the center of the tie and then attaches the chain to a button hole. Since it requires poking a hole in the tie and thus damaging it, we do not recommend it’s usage.
Unlike other pieces of jewelry, a man does not have a rotation of wedding rings to be coordinated with the day’s other jewelry. A man should be advised that a plain band, of gold, silver, or platinum, is the most stylish choice available. If you are already married and have something more ostentatious on your finger, do not fret, few people notice it and no one will think less of you for it. Besides a wedding ring, other rings of symbolic value may have a place on the well dressed hand. A class or fraternal ring is seen on many stylish men’s hands. Rings worn entirely for their own sake are somewhat dubious however, since most contemporary societies frown upon such blatant displays of wealth. If you are in a position where looking rich works to your advantage, though, a ring embedded with precious stones can accomplish this within the boundaries of professional attire.