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How to Wear Bracelets – Without Overdoing It

Learn the principles behind wearing bracelets for men without looking like you’re trying too hard.

Men's bracelets and bangles have taken many forms over the years. From puka shells worn after a beach holiday to slap bracelets banned by schools everywhere in the 90s. And don’t forget that neon plastic bracelet trend from 2004… and the copies that popped up on wrists worldwide.

Take away the trends and you’ll notice that one constant remains – bracelets.

But why should men wear bracelets? A bracelet is one of the easiest accessories to wear. A little band of leather or beads can give an outfit that extra ounce of oomph, and it helps share a bit of our personality without ever having to say a word. It can be your way of hinting to a life outside of the office or the way we share a vibe with those around us.

The key to wearing a bracelet is effortlessness.

Understand this and you won’t fall prey to every single bracelet trend on earth – WWJD, anyone? – or look like you stepped off the plane from a month-long yoga retreat in Bali.

How to Choose the Right Bracelet for You

Effortlessness can be found by mastering a few bracelet basics:

  • Proportions and fit
  • Overall style
  • Knowing where you’re going

Proportions & Fit

Your bracelet must be proportional to your size and fit correctly.

This boils down to wearing larger bracelets for thicker wrists and smaller for thin wrists.

Additionally, the bracelet should be tight enough to comfortably fit your wrist. Some bracelets for men, such as beaded bracelets on elastic, are one-size-fits-all and restricted to how small/big they can go.

A big clunky metal bracelet sliding back and forth on your arm gets old fast. Anything with significant weight should be fitted, while lighter bracelets can have a little more freedom.

How to Find the Right Fit

A good fitting bracelet has a bit of extra space between itself and your wrist... but not so much that it slides up and down your forearm/hand.

You should be able to slide 1 or 2 fingers under the bracelet and your wrist.

A good tip is to treat bracelets like you would your watch – keep it under your sleeve. Remember this if you wear a chunky bracelet, as you may end up with a bulge under your cuff or a bracelet that can’t fit under the sleeve.

Overall Style & Look

What is the look you’re going for? This is the key question. Bracelets for men – and men's accessories in general – are used to personalise your overall look. Think about the messages you’re trying to pass on with your style.

Remember effortlessness? That’s what we’re after.

A good tip is to go natural.

Natural materials like leather, wood, and stone wear well over time and get better with age. The colour of these materials is also easier to wear and matches almost any outfit.

Wearing all shiny metals can go a bit hip hop video… in the wrong way. Avoid this by mixing metals with a natural element. Leather, for example, keeps the metal looking masculine and subdues the whole vibe… in the right way.

Your bracelet will send a message and some people will ask if there’s a special meaning behind it. Choose a bracelet that works with you and tells your story. Or make up a story about a trip to Bali and being an extra in a 50 Cent video.

Know Where You're Going

Remember: You can take bracelets off.

You’ll have one or two favourites, but you don’t have to wear them all the time. Not every bracelet will be suitable for all occasions.

For many formal contexts, we’d recommend going with a thin, discreet single bracelet in a dark colour. You could also wear a silver or gold chain that matches the colour of your cufflinks.

But what if you want to stand out?

Certain situations – nightclubs, concerts and sporting events – are ideal for dressing a little louder and with more flair. Distinguish yourself from the rest of the pack through your style. Don’t hesitate to be bold.

How to Wear a Bracelet

Instagram makes everything seem easy. The trouble with imitating what we see on social media is that we can quickly become ‘that guy’. The bracelet guy. A kind of caricature of a stylish man where, despite your look being put together, all anyone can focus on is the number of bracelets on your one arm.

The simpler the better.

Style and dressing well comes down to balance (or a slight off-balance, rather). Imagine your two wrists as the two sides of a classic scale. One should be slightly heavier than the other. This concept is called visual weight.

You don’t want to wear several bracelets all on one wrist and have the other completely bare. You also don’t want to have them exactly the same... unless you go for the whole shackle-and-chain look.

Stand in front of a mirror and check yourself out. Remove a bracelet when in doubt. You can always wear it tomorrow.

SOLO: How to wear one bracelet

This is the easiest and simplest way to wear bracelets. Start with 1 or 2 bracelets and put them on one wrist. You’re done.

Wear your bracelet on the opposite hand if you wear a watch, or forget the watch and go with the bracelet. Make sure your watch and bracelets aren’t too similar in width (visual weight) – a thicker watch requires a thinner bracelet.

Use a bracelet to tie your look together by picking a subtle colour from your outfit. Use the base tone of your shirt or a button, and match your bracelet to that colour or tone. Or stick with natural colours – wood or leather – for a bracelet that matches everything.

THE STACK: How to wear multiple bracelets for men

This is the sought-after influencer vibe that many of us secretly wish to copy. Several bracelets are worn together on one wrist for a well-travelled, care-free and individual look.

Fifteen bracelets sliding up and down your arm looks great in pictures, but it is cumbersome for everyday wear. Sit at a computer all day? The stacked approach can be uncomfortable when placing your wrists on the keyboard or mouse… not to mention you may end up looking like a backup dancer from a Bollywood film.

Start by stacking 3 to 4 men’s bracelets that share a common theme but don’t necessarily match perfectly. Don't wear all bracelets in the exact same colour or metal.

The best stack is one made from a mix of colour and materials. Try 2 beaded bracelets (with lava stone or tiger’s eye) with 1 natural-coloured leather band. If it looks good and you feel confident, add another leather bracelet of a different width to the mix.

Your wristwatch will count as a part of the stack equation, so you may not need more than 2 bracelets to get the full effect.

A few styles to experiment with:

  • A mix of different style/size beads
  • Wearing tan leather and steel bracelets for men
  • Combining leather and beaded bracelets for a bohemian twist
  • Mixing different chain and ID bracelet styles together for a tough masculine vibe

Bracelet Stacking Tips

Avoid colour-overload by wearing 1 neutral bracelet for every 2 colourful ones.

Avoid stacking thick, metal bracelets.

Remember that you only need one stack. Stacking both wrists looks heavy and can’t possibly be comfortable… unless you’re a pirate.

THE BRACELET & WATCH COMBO: How to wear a bracelet with a watch

This is the idea of stacking 1-2 bracelets with your watch on the same wrist. Thin bracelets work well and should sit below your watch – closer to your wrist (near your hand) – instead of on top of your watch (near your elbow).

This look works well when your watch and bracelets go together without too much contrast. Keep an eye on your watch , belt , tie clip and bracelets. Match metals and metal tones accordingly.

You don't want the supporting cast messing things up if your watch is the star of the show. A beefier watch can stand up to bigger bracelets, while something more refined might pair well with a thinner bracelet. Either way, your accessories should be sending the same message.

A good bracelet does what all good accessories do – completes your look.

Remember the importance of visual weight when styling with bracelets and don’t be afraid to experiment.

You can always take a bracelet off if you decide that it’s not doing it for you. That’s true for all accessories – you are allowed to change your mind and take them off. Play around and decide.

Ready to give your watch a best friend? You’ve got the know-how and two wrists. What are you waiting for?

You Asked – We Answered

Which wrist should I wear a men’s bracelet on?

If you want to wear your bracelet with your watch… wear it on the same wrist as your watch. Otherwise, wear it on the opposite arm.

There are no rules – only preferences. Be wary of your bracelet getting in your way while you work. This may mean that you wear it on your non-dominant hand.

The wrist you wear your bracelets on has nothing to do with your sexuality. There is no gay or straight wrist.

What bracelet can I wear to the gym?

We suggest a beaded bracelet that fits firmly against the skin. Why? The elastic bands don’t absorb sweat and you won’t risk it falling off during your final burpee.

Go for a masculine black chain if you want something that looks good with your fitness tracker . And stainless steel can go in the shower with you.

Can I wear a watch and a bracelet at the same time?

Yes, you can! It’s totally OK to pair a bracelet or two with your watch. Be aware of the type of bracelet and whether or not it might scratch your watch.

Can I wear bracelets on both arms?

Why else would you have two wrists?

Wearing bracelets on both arms is all about visual weight. Make sure that one side is visually heavier than the other and you’re set!

Is Tiger’s Eye dangerous?

You bought a bracelet with Tiger Eye and you’re worried about asbestos? Or maybe you didn’t know that you should be worried about asbestos?

No need to worry. Tiger Eye is safe . And for the record… asbestos is bad.

Can I wear my bracelet in the shower? Is it waterproof?

It all depends on the material from which your bracelet is made. Bracelets made from waxed cotton (and some stainless steel models) are safe and water-resistant. Find more info here.

Most men’s bangles and bracelets are pretty easy to remove. Spend the extra 15 seconds taking them off before jumping in the ocean. You’ll be happier for it.

Do copper bracelets work?

Ask someone from the 1920s and they’ll tell you yes! Copper bracelets are supposed to relieve arthritis, but this has turned out to be untrue. Oh well.

How do I find the right size?

Use a measuring tape or piece of string to measure the size of your wrist. Measure just above the wrist bone and add 0.8 inches (2 cm) to your wrist size to get the correct bracelet size.

How do I clean my bracelet?

Hopefully, you’re not dripping ice cream down your arm… or maybe you are. Either way, bracelets will get dirty over time.

Metal bracelets for Men: Step one is to determine what type of metal it is. If it’s stainless steel and water-resistant, wash it in warm water with a drop of dish soap. Be sure to dry it completely. Check with a jeweller if it’s real gold or silver.

Leather or beaded bracelets for Men: Pat down the bracelet with a damp cloth. Avoid using a dripping wet cloth or dunking the bracelet in water. Wipe the bracelet gently and then dry it with a dry cloth.

What bracelet can I wear to a black tie event?

A silver or gold chain bracelet will fit the formal event and look good with your suit or tux. Be sure to match your metals – silver-toned bracelet with silver-toned cufflinks .

What is a cuff bracelet?

Cuffs are usually made of metal and slip on and off the wrist easily. They’re like bracelets but they don’t close around the wrist. They give an edge to casual and tailored outfits and typically look better over time and after that well-worn patina develops.

Not to be confused with handcuffs. These are completely different and don’t look good with any outfit.

How long can I wear my festival bracelet?

Take it off in the parking lot on your way home. The festival is over… so is that fabric wristband.

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