My brother and I were milling around the hippie-style shops in Boulder, Colorado, one sunny autumn afternoon, sniffing incense sticks and turning tiny buddha statues over in our hands until my brother walked up to a bowl of leather bracelets and stopped.
“Do you think I could pull off wearing bracelets?” he asked. After all, what’s a sister for if not to ask fashion advice?
I was surprised at the inquiry. During his college days, he had grown out a beard, wore leather and hemp bracelets, and considered getting a tattoo in San Francisco. In more recent days, he had spiffed up his look a bit—sporting some five-o’clock shadow and a digital watch on his left arm.
If you’re like my brother and wondering if you’d be able to pull of wearing bracelets, chances are, you’re the exact kind of dude who can rock one. Plenty of men of all ages wear bracelets, including Jeremy Clarkson from Grand Tour, Liam Hemsworth, Bradley Cooper, and Kenny Chesney.
Here are some rules of the road for men when it comes to wearing bracelets.
Don’t be afraid of getting colorful and creative
Some men opt for a single leather strand on their wrist, and others like getting festive with colorful beads and dyed hemp. Don’t feel like you have to stick with all brown, earthy tones. Sometimes a pop of color shows you don’t take yourself too seriously and can make you seem more approachable.
A good friend of mine wears a small beaded bracelet that his six-year-old daughter made that says “Best dad ever.” As a single dad, it gives him the opportunity to keep his kiddo close to his heart and show her he truly appreciates the gift. It’s also a great conversation starter.
I’ve seen men wearing rope bracelets that remind them of the boats they grew up sailing. I’ve seen musicians wearing guitar pick bracelets and men wearing bracelets with the coordinates of their hometowns or the initials of their partner. Personalized bracelets are thoughtful and add to your uniqueness.
Consider taking them off for important meetings or interviews
It goes without saying: think about taking off any jewelry if you’re going to a formal or corporate situation that requires a little more homogeny. While many companies are getting more relaxed about piercings, tattoos, and other forms of personal expression, it’s sometimes best to button up and test the waters. In professional situations, you want people to remember your brilliant ideas, not what’s on your wrist.
Large metal spikes died with the eighties. Bulky metal is for your belt buckle—not your wrist. Be sure whatever you choose doesn’t clash with your typical choice of threads or distract from your watch.
In general though, it’s harder than you’d expect to screw up wearing bracelets. A bracelet-wearing man is confident and comfortable with his masculinity and exudes a laid-back, creative vibe. Whether you choose colorful beads, sleek and modern metal, or rugged leather, don’t be afraid to rock a bracelet—or five.