Bracelets and blokes. It’s a complex mix. But in the last couple of seasons, bracelets for men have taken off as a major trend. Especially, among those style aficionados (think Pitti Uomo, per favore). From leather bands to braided cord, to wooden beads and metallic cuffs, the world’s fashion icons and film stars are flexing their wrist-game (beyond the foolproof watch) and adopting the bracelet.
But not without some rules, of course. The trick is finding bracelets that don’t look like you just raided your lady’s jewellery box. You want pieces that are stylish and masculine, made from interesting materials and in colours that are conducive to the mix-and-match stacked effect.
Not only will this kind of arm candy boost your style cred, it’s easier – and far less stressful – than relying on a hot date to raise your aesthetic profile. Here’s our guide to the best mens bracelets. Sweeten that wrist.
Know Your Bracelet Types
#1 Metal Chains & Cuffs
Metal bracelets, steeped in military tradition, are historically the most popular due to their simplicity and ruggedness. Getting specific, ID bracelets are key, rating high on the masculinity spectrum due to their bulkiness and silver tone colour. Feature pieces on their own, wear metallic bracelets on your right hand wrist, opposite the watch and play with matching the tone of the metal to your watch for a cleaner look to your accessories style.
As for metal cuffs, be careful not to buy one resembles a bangle. Burnished metal or oxidised styles make the cuff appear more masculine. Pairing a leather cuff with a metal variety injects some toughness into the wrist. Plus, it’s a great way to add texture and layering.
#3 Leather Bands
Like metal, leather is masculine and its formalities can be played around with. Wider cuffs are seen as more casual while finer, thinner bracelet types are more chic. Leather bracelets can be woven or simply a crafted, single piece of leather that wraps once or even twice around the wrist, then tied or closed with a press stud or clasp fastening. And, unlike metallic bracelets, leather contrasts well against watch dials, complementing the wrist nicely, as you stack your bracelet and timepiece together on the same arm.
#4 Fabric Wovens
The fabric woven, like its leather brother mentioned above, is quite popular. But its cotton or poly material mix makes it much cheaper than animal hide. Plus, colour and pattern is where the fabric woven shines, opting for a colour that matches your pocket square or tie when wearing a suit or your cotton shorts when lazing by the pool. Woven bracelets are designed to be stacked with a watch or complement a ring, and look great paired with a leather and metal bracelet, covering all your bracelet basics.
#5 Hybrid Charms
Special mention is order for this type hybrid variety. This type varies depending on the brand and occasion for wearing, but generally consists on a plain bracelet band in leather or fabric and a bold metal feature – the clasp itself or a metal tone charm attached the bracelet. The hybrid design – material and metal – makes it flashier than most, especially if the bracelet itself is brightly coloured edge with a bling-ed metal charm or glitzy clasp, designed in a bold motif (think an anchor, insect or flower).
#6 Bead Bracelets
In recent seasons, the beaded bracelet has earned top spot as the most popular arm accessory for men. And their popularity lies in their vast selection. From wooden varieties – for something ethnic-inspired – to luxury crystal, bone and glass versions, as well as more affordable and old plastic styles, you can find a bead to best match your mood, style and dress code.
They look great stacked, mixing bead patterns, sizing, material and colour for a combo that is oh so you. With a formal suit, go monochrome and minimal, while summer events – like the races or weddings require colour and texture, drawing on colours from your outfit to make the bracelet pop.
Now you’ve got a taste for mens bracelets, click through the slideshow for our 10 great examples of arm candy for men.