"I think men who have a pierced ear are better prepared for marriage. They've experienced pain and bought jewelry." ~ Rita Radner
You know, I've been seeing more men than ever browsing the shows lately, so when I came across the above quote, I thought...Do men have a relationship with jewelry?
As with almost everything down through history, there seems to be a double standard for the sexes when talking about jewelry. And when it come to men wearing jewelry, that seems to hold true today as much as ever. Now, depending on where you live, different cultures around the world view these standards differently. However, jewelry sends signals, good or bad, about who we are, the commitments we have made, our belief system and our level in society. Therefore, especially in the world of business, there are some definite guidelines for what men can wear and are better off to avoid.
Acceptable accessories for well-dressed professional men seem to be of simple design and, for the most part, made from elements of metal and natural leather. Functional pieces, such as a gold or silver watch with a matching or a soft leather band would be a perfect accompaniment. A wedding ring is one accessory that has been accepted without question for as long as they have existed; but other types of rings in general are kept to a minimum. Large precious stones seem to be avoided, although a small stone in a ring or ear stud might be all right, if the dress code allows.
Some other ways to adorn business attire would be:
- Upgrade simple brass blazer buttons to gold, silver or mother of pearl buttons.
- Cufflinks for French or double cuffs made of precious metals and of simple design are more formal, while novelty designs and silk knots can be considered informal office wear and have become popular with younger men.
- Tie accents are both functional and ornamental.
- Lapel pins of a variety of designs can be strictly ornamental or can attach a commitment to a group or affiliation.
These are some of the basics practiced by the professional in a structured corporate setting. However, through the years, trends have changed drastically for more informal business environments and casual accessories. Here are a few:
- Watches, functional and worn by many, are acceptable in almost all circumstances, depending on the style, and are made of metal, leather, cloth, plastic and other synthetics and come in an array of subtle and outrageous colors and designs.
- Rings are symbols of commitment and affiliation - wedding and friendship rings, class rings, championship rings - and can usually be worn in any combination a man is comfortable with.
- Bracelets are widely acceptable men's wear today and are decorative, functional, cause-related and worn for medical awareness.
- Belt buckles can be monogrammed, trophies for contest winners or heirlooms.
- Necklaces are mainly personal preference in materials, lengths and combinations. They are favored among many men because they can be proudly sported outside or hidden when necessary under a shirt.
- Earrings have become almost as acceptable for men as for women these days, and can easily be removed if required for work.