While the modern man may be able to suit himself for a summer wedding or preen himself for a first date without a problem, there is one aspect of style that all too often leaves him scratching his neatly groomed head and furrowing his freshly plucked brow: jewellery.
And to be honest, we get it. It’s too feminine, too difficult, too much. Better to step out bauble-free than get it wrong and look like a walking Christmas tree. But don’t dismiss it completely. Somewhere between Frodo Baggins and the Kray twins, there’s a sweet spot for men’s jewellery that allows you to make a statement without looking too adorned.
Now, before we go any further, let’s admit that the only reason to wear jewellery in the first place is to turn heads. There is no functional purpose. The trick is to catch someone’s eye for the right reasons. So we enlisted the help of experts in all things bling to find out what the key styles are this season. Follow their rules and the right accessories will pull together and enhance even the most basic of outfits.
As far as men’s jewellery goes, necklaces are about as tricky as it gets and because of that a lot of men choose to ignore them as a potential wardrobe option. Yet a carefully selected chain or pendant has the power to bring even the most nondescript getup to life, with minimal effort.
“At the moment, we’re seeing a rise in popularity for men’s necklaces,” says Emma Begnet-Cove, jewellery buyer at WatchShop.com. “In particular, styles with pendants, such as dog tags, are becoming increasingly popular over plain chains.”
The question is, how do you wear one without looking like Poundland’s answer to P Diddy?
Subtlety is the word of the day when it comes to picking out necklaces. Think low-profile styles in slim to medium widths. Chains of this thickness can even be layered up and tucked under the collar of a shirt if you’re feeling daring, or will work equally well draped over a crisp white T-shirt on their own.
Yes, a watch is an (aha) timeless accessory, but there’s room on your wrist for more. “This summer it’s definitely all about the bracelet,” explains Simon Spiteri, an accessories buyer at online menswear destination Mr Porter. “In particular, beaded bracelets are having a moment.”
To nail the bohemian trend without looking like an unwashed gap year traveller, work the beads into a grown-up outfit, tucking them next to a steel watch or rolling up the sleeves of an Oxford shirt to make room. If that’s not really your thing, don’t worry, because there are metal styles you should be looking out for, too.
“Cuban link heavy silver bracelets are also key this summer,” says Spiteri. “Check out offerings from high-fashion and contemporary brands such as Gucci and A.P.C.”
Contrary to popular belief, rings aren’t just for married men and guys who spend their Saturday mornings wearing sheepskin coats and flogging knock-off DVDs down the market. In fact, the rest of us can, and should, grab a slice of the action too.
“Rings are classics and continue to drive the market,” says Michael Saiger, founder of jewellery company Miansai, which is best known for its signature fishhook bracelets. “[This season we’re seeing] big pushes in sterling silver, black rhodium and mixed metals.”
As Saiger mentions, black rhodium is coming through as a trend in men’s jewellery for 2017, and it looks particularly badass on a ring. If you like to take a more minimalist approach to style, try a plain black rhodium band, or if you want to make more of a statement, try mixing and matching a few different signets.
Just limit the number you wear at any one time. We pity the fool who thinks he can do a Mr T in 2017.
Even if you think wearing a ring outside of wedlock is an affront to your masculinity, there should be room on your person for a quality timepiece. But even watches change with the times and, as has been the case for the last couple of years, we’re seeing a shift towards more affordable designs and minimalist aesthetics. One thing that is different for 2017 is colour, according to WatchShop.com’s head of buying, Terry Markham.
“[The industry is pushing] mixed colour palettes, combining warm gold with deep blues and browns,” Markham explains. “Using these colours on a stripped-back, minimalist case and dial works well and results in a watch that is easy to dress up or down with a number of outfits.”
Andrew Jennings, founder of watch brand Larsson & Jennings, agrees, adding: “Subtle texture enhancements and pops of vibrant colour are key trends which will be reflected in 2017 releases.”
However, speaking on the large case sizes that have been popular over the last couple of years, Jennings explains that there is now a move towards smaller dials and low-profile styles.
It’s funny that what is probably the most heavily customised thing in a man’s wardrobe is also the trickiest to add a noticeable dash of personality to. This is why suit accessories are so important and why no formal outfit could be considered complete without a pair of eye-catching cufflinks or a slick tie clip.
These accessories give any formal uniform a little sartorial shimmer and come in all shapes, sizes, colours and styles. But this year there are a few specifics to keep in mind, too, starting with the tie clips.
“Coloured enamels are working well […] at the moment – pinks, in particular, are very strong, followed by blue,” explains the design team at suiting outfitters Moss Bros. “Rose gold also is a key finish.”
For special occasions, such as weddings, personalised accessories are becoming more and more popular, with many grooms-to-be opting to have tie bars and cufflinks engraved or even specially designed.
“In terms of cufflinks, novelty works well for us – our T-Rex link continues to be a bestseller after a few seasons. We also have a stag and a lion, which both sell very well.”
Costume jewellery like this is meant to be frivolous, of course, but you don’t want to look like the CEO trying to prove how much fun he is with a set of Homer Simpson cufflinks. If going with something novel, stick to subtle colours and metallic finishes.